Some locals in Omaha think that their city is of one of America’s best kept secrets and want to keep it that way. Others wish that more people stopped in Omaha (instead of just flying over it) because there is more to the city than Mutual of Omaha, Omaha Steaks and Warren Buffett: Omaha is also a creative incubator and the Silicon Prairie of the region.
Omaha is a small city made of contrasted districts in the downtown area. The real surprise for us was to discover the Old Market District after a long drive from Colorado. The Old Market is authentic and delivers an old Western charm that can no longer be found in a majority of American cities.
Omaha seeks to bring its population back on the streets and revive the city center. Inspired dining venues such as M’s Pub or The Boiler Room are local favorites in the area and prove that restaurants that blend design with fine food are an integral part of a city’s appeal. A number of affordable urban living developments surrounding the market are attractive alternatives to suburban neighborhoods.
The world renowned Bemis artist-in-residence center (pictured above), set up by Ree Kaneko in the early eighties has had considerable influence on the creative character of Omaha and helps to diversify the local population (we spotted a couple of young Japanese artists struggling to order steaks at M’s Pub). The recently opened Kaneko Center is another initiative that explores new creative possibilities for Omaha (see our blog post and video), and we heard that a new design school may also be seeing the light of day in a few years time.