Nebraska’s largest city, Omaha, continues to up its game as a destination for meetings and events and leisure travel. Working my first two years out of college for a large bank holding company based in Omaha, the recent announcements caught my attention.
Streetcar Line - A $306 million streetcar line will give groups, visitors and residents a free form of transportation from the downtown convention district to a variety of entertainment options in midtown Omaha. The three-mile route will connect 13 stops including Omaha’s downtown convention center and arena, Charles Schwab Field Omaha (home to the NCAA Men’s College World Series) and entertainment districts including the Old Market, Blackstone District and Midtown Crossing all featuring locally owned restaurants, bars, retail shops and venues. The expected completion date is 2026.
Riverfront Park - The first phase of the city’s new 90-acre, $300 million Riverfront Park in downtown opens this summer and includes a performance pavilion, interactive water features, a sculpture garden and state-of-art playground. Insurance powerhouse Mutual of Omaha has unveiled plans to build a skyscraper towering more than 40 stories that will anchor Riverfront Park. The Fortune 500 company, headquartered in Omaha, employs 4,000.
Eppley Airfield Project - In addition to the new skyscraper and streetcar, a $500 million dollar expansion and modernization project is planned for Omaha’s airport, Eppley Airfield (OMA).
New Attractions - The $101 million Kiewit Luminarium, designed to inspire creativity in science, technology, engineering and math, is currently under construction along the riverfront and planning a 2023 opening. Steelhouse Omaha, a new $109 million downtown live music venue, is slated to open next year.
“Beginning this year, and for the next five years, Omaha will start to transform into a whole new city,” says Visit Omaha Executive Director Deborah Ward. “The development happening here is unprecedented. New entertainment options and increased accessibility will add even more to the city’s appeal as a visitor destination.”