Omaha Street Life

Downtown, Midtown, and all parts east of 72nd.

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Omaha Street Life

Postby ricko » Thu Sep 21, 2017 12:27 am

As someone in my 60's, I've observed Omaha's transformation over the years from a mid-sized (and kinda' boring, but nice) Midwestern city to a vibrant 21st Century city worth visiting just for the heck of it (let's face it, no one came to Omaha for a vacation 40 years ago). In the 80's, we had a street life that consisted of a few blocks in the Old Market, next to a dying downtown, and a dying South Omaha business district. That was pretty much the extent of "street life" in Omaha back then. I'd always fantasized Omaha having a smaller version of the vibrant street life I'd experienced in Chicago, D.C., New York, Montreal, and most European cities I've been to. I guess the point of this post is to reflect on my observation that Omaha is becoming a city with a vibrant street life. It's still in the process of becoming a reality, especially with Benson and the Midtown Crossing/Blackstone district taking off. I think eventually the Old Market/Downtown/North Downtown/South 13th/South 10th will be seamlessly integrated into a single vibrant urban core.

P.S.: This post was triggered by an alcohol-fueled weekend in NYC visiting friends. I could never live there unless I made a million bucks a year (it really IS that expensive), but the street life is unreal (and it goes on ALL NIGHT); you just need to get away from the tourist traps that are Broadway/5th Avenue/Park Avenue/Times Square, and wander over to 8th/9th/and 10th Avenues, especially around mid-town---best restaurants and bars anywhere, and I met a lot of very friendly people (yes, New York can be friendly too).

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Re: Omaha Street Life

Postby Stargazer » Thu Sep 21, 2017 1:02 am

I couldn't agree more... Omaha has come a long way, even in just the past couple of years, I've noticed several areas really hitting critical mass in street activity/vibrance. What's most exciting about it, is it' seems almost entirely fueled by young people. For years, we heard about brain drain, but by all accounts, that is over. Young people are staying in Omaha, and they're re-inventing it.

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Re: Omaha Street Life

Postby iamjacobm » Fri Sep 22, 2017 11:46 am

Haven't been in A/V much at all this summer for the first time in a while, but was there Monday night with a friend. The place was absolutely buzzing, not event at the park or Baxter just a normal Monday evening. Lots of runners and people enjoying the restaurants. The commitment to develop this area as a community rather than another suburban office/retail park really speaks to the increased street life Omaha sees. It also goes to support the tent pole development pattern Omaha has seen. While not everything urban and walkable is focused on DT our development patter creates more opportunities for neighborhoods across the city to benefit from strong design.

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Re: Omaha Street Life

Postby nativeomahan » Sun Sep 24, 2017 5:48 pm

I just got off a plane from a long weekend in Chicago (every time I go I kick myself for not making it an annual trip). The city is so incredibly vibrant and fun. It is truly a city of smaller communities. Perhaps hundreds of niche neighborhoods, with landscaped streets and sidewalks lined with boutiques, locally owned restaurants, bars, clubs and markets. Many are close to "el" stops. The sidewalk cafes are often jam packed well into the night in warmer weather. The same is true in Washington, D.C. and its suburbs, where I spent time in May.
Omaha has a few such neighborhoods...more than we did 10 years ago. These areas are magnets for the under 50 set (I'm 60, and there were plenty of people my age there as well). This is what makes a city worth living in. Not endless suburban tract housing and strip malls.
Chicago as a metro area is barely growing, but you would never know it if you spent time in or near the CBD, where at least two 70-95 story towers are under construction, plus numerous 20-40 story structures. I took one of the architectural boat tours yesterday (Highly, highly recommended!) and learned that's just one South Loop neighborhood has 3,400 apartments/condos under development. Almost every underdeveloped piece of land within sight of the Willis Tower is slated for development, as the economy is booming.
As Aksarben Village and MTC continue to build out Omaha will experience a sample of what larger cities are awash in right now. The area south of the Old Market is poised to explode with development in the next decade, I predict. And North Downtown still has a lot of potential for growth of new housing and entertainment venues.

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