I had the opportunity to write a guest post in Whitney Matheson’s Pop Candy blog. Pop Candy is a part of USA Today. I’ve been reading Whitney’s work for a number of years now, so it was fun to have an opportunity to write about Omaha.

The post is part of a series of posts to introduce Pop Candy readers to pop-culture events/places in different cities across the United States. The posts are written by readers. She asks for readers to write for their respective cities. I offered to write for Omaha, and she asked if I could write something up. I worked on the piece throughout the month of June. I was grateful for the opportunity. It was a lot of fun to write.

In compiling the list, I realized there were a number of angles I could write this. One of the first things I acknowledged is I wouldn’t please everyone, especially those in Omaha. So, I just tried to compile the best list I could, and tailor it to Pop Candy readers.

The first draft of events/places I came up with was over twenty, and when I asked around for suggestions the list grew even more. It was a good problem to have with Omaha, too many events/places to recommend to people.

If you know me, and read this blog, it shouldn’t be a surprise why I included Big Omaha, Dundee, Amsterdam, The Old Market and Krypton Comics on the list.

I tried to avoid anything related to Warren Buffett and the Huskers. In a lot of people’s minds they are already synonymous with the area. I hoped to enlighten people, outside the area, with the post. It’s a reason why I was hesitant to include the Henry Doorly Zoo. (I thought it was too obvious, but then realized I didn’t want to have a “hipster” list.) When I have out-of-town friends and family come visit I always recommend the zoo. It made sense to include it on the list.

Here are a sample of the events/places I considered, but ended up cutting.

  • Jazz on the Green
  • 24th Street (North & South Omaha)
  • The Boiler Room
  • Bookworm
  • Benson
  • Joslyn Art Museum
  • Shakespeare on the Green
  • Waiting Room
  • Film Streams
  • Ted & Wally’s
  • Maha Festival
  • River City Social Club

One of the tough things was which restaurants, bars, coffee houses and more to include. I could have done a list solely based on that. I tried to work in a few of them when writing about Dundee, Old Market and the Henry Doorly Zoo. Of course, Amsterdam was a separate entry. What can I say, it’s my go-to place for food.

When editing down the list I noticed it slanted toward downtown and midtown Omaha. I tried to think of other events and places outside those areas, but I thought it would be a reach to include them in the list. Village Pointe is nice, but it’s not necessarily a distinct and/or pop-culture hot spot in the area.

Why a list of eleven? Well, I whittled my list to a stereotypical ten, but wanted to mention Rainbow Rowell. When it comes to Omaha and pop-culture, I don’t think there is anyone better to speak on the topic. So, I added an additional spot and discussed her work. That’s why there is eleven.

It’s funny, the inclusion of Krypton Comics has generated the most feedback. This isn’t surprising when considering “fanboy” culture. I grew up going to Dragon’s Lair off Blondo Street, and I like Legend Comics and Coffee. Krypton is a great place, though. It’s where I often go to buy comics and collectibles. My boys love going there. If I was to recommend a comic shop to someone visiting from out-of-town, I’d recommend Krypton. That isn’t a knock on the other local establishments. They are great places. (Although, some of the Legend Comics and Coffee fans aren’t too happy with me.)

I wanted to get a good cross section of Omaha places and events in the list, with a pop-culture slant, and I’m pleased with the end product. Are there more that could be included? Of course! It’s why I said in the opening, “While this list is a starting point, talk to anyone here and they’ll be more than happy to get you where they think you’ll have the most enjoyable time in Omaha”.

Click here to read the post at Pop Candy.

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