By JT Gracher, Contributor
For a UNO student, it’s nice to take advantage of the academic opportunities provided by the school. But it may be more exciting living in one of Omaha’s cultural hotspots.
Surrounding the campus is an assortment of shops and hangouts, many within walking distance.
Westroads Mall is a short drive up Dodge Street, featuring a variety of restaurants and the Rave movie theater. Jimmy John’s, Red Lobster, Smash Burger and Hu Hot Mongolian Grill share 72nd Street. Elmwood and Memorial parks provide opportunities for recreation and relaxation.
However, there are many more nearby opportunities for entertainment.
One place for students to escape and enjoy themselves is Midtown Crossing. This growing area offers shopping, restaurants and entertainment. Restaurants range from burgers to ice cream to fine dining. Anyone looking to spend some money can find a variety of retail stores.
Marcus Midtown Cinema offers a combination of restaurant and entertainment.
“It’s really cool how you can chill and eat at the same time,” said David Pontier, a 22-year-old English major. “You don’t even notice the servers.”
Molly Skold, marketing and public relations director for Midtown Crossing, said the area is growing fast.
“We’ve got a lot to offer the students in Omaha,” Skold said. “A little something for everyone.”
Another nearby hub for society and fun is Aksarben Village, a shopping and cultural center that offers services ranging from food and drink to movies and a farmer’s market.
Jones Bros. Cupcakes is frequented by a variety of people, but Britani Blunt, one of the restaurant’s managers, said students are a common sight during the school year.
Aksarben Village “has a lot going on,” Blunt said. She added that the movie theater, Aksarben Cinema, brings people in.
Other attractions include Juice Stop, which, according to employee Brooke Schluchter, is commonly frequented by students from the nearby dorms.
Mojo is a place for food, drink and music, and the Liv Lounge across the street is a more traditional establishment for drinks and conversation.
“I really like the Liv Lounge,” said Brad Shields, a 24-year-old art major. “It’s really classy. None of the extra shenanigans.”
Besides Aksarben Village, there is more entertainment down Dodge Street in the Dundee area.
Dundee presents a variety of restaurants and historical landmarks, such as the Dundee Theater.
This theater, built in 1925, specializes in art films, but also plays cult films during “Midnight at Dundee,” including pictures like “Donnie Darko,” “Rocky Horror Picture Show” and “The Big Lebowski.”
Another feature is Dundee Dell, a restaurant that, according to its website, offers 753 different brands of single malt scotch.
“It’s hard to find time to get away from school work, but at least there are tons of places to go when I can,” said Scott Christian, a 21-year-old business major.