By Kamrin Baker
Ideas for this article were originally published by Fresh U.
Many University of Nebraska at Omaha students are Omaha-natives and have grown up in some pocket of the Metro area. As was the case for me, I spent my first 18 years of life in Millard; understanding suburbia as the norm and Oakview Mall as the most exciting part of a week off from school. When I came to college at UNO, I unearthed so much more about this city– even beyond the exposed brick walls in the Old Market, although those are still classic.
So many hidden gems reside near the university and its surrounding living environments– and the best part is that from March 19-24, students who have yet to uncover these Omaha features, have the opportunity to do so. Below is a list of things you either a) need to know about life in Omaha, Neb. or b) things I suggest you do with your week off.
1. The weather is subject to change.
Just a few weeks ago, I was hammocking on my patio and enjoying the sunlight on my skin, and two days after, the university was contemplating a snow day. If you look at the forecast for Spring Break, it might act as something as a guide, but it is also definitely a little bit off.
2. Nothing in Omaha will be more than 20-25 minutes from where you are at any given time.
If you’re hoping to visit some nice coffee shops, skedaddle over to the Nebraska Crossing outlets, or just pick up a scoop of ice cream in Dundee, it shouldn’t be too much of a drive. Sometimes I wish we had a bigger city, but this is the beautiful benefit of the Midwest.
3. The Lauritzen Gardens offer a perfect and affordable day trip.
The current exhibit at the Lauritzen Botanical Gardens is Metamorphosis, a vast art display of recycled plastics that have been turned into art. The nature-inspired sculptures are beautiful even in photographs, so a $10 non-member fee seems like nothing for a day with Mother Nature.
4. If the sun isn’t shining very bright, head to a matinee at the Omaha Community Playhouse.
The OCP will be showing “James and the Giant Peach” during Spring Break, which has been a favorite story of mine since third grade.
5. If the sun is shining, snag a hammock and take a nap in an Elmwood Park tree.
The Outdoor Venture Center in H&K offers equipment rentals for a small fee. Whether you want a couple hours to yourself to crack open a nice book in the park, or you want to camp for a week, the OVC has you covered.
6. Go shopping!
While Oakview Mall has a stellar Claire’s (at least that’s what I remember from middle school Spring Break), the local shops near UNO are where you should be. A few of my favorites are Hello Holiday, LuvBird, Scout, the Denim Saloon, and Lion’s Mane Vintage.
7. Enjoy some brunch.
Omaha is full of wonderful locally-owned restaurants– and brunch is obviously the best meal of the day. Stop by Amato’s, the Saddle Creek Breakfast Club, Early Bird or Lisa’s Radial Cafe!
8. Protest for something you care about.
The March For Our Lives will be held on March 24 in Washington, DC. A sister protest will also be hosted by the city of Omaha. Now is a better time than any to get involved in democracy.
9. Volunteer for a service project through the Community Engagement Center.
If you have time on your hands, this would be a great and fulfilling way to stay busy and make some change.
10. Catch up on stories by the writers at the Gateway Student Newspaper.
Didn’t think I’d let you get off the hook, did you?