Ask a Local: Nebraska Transcript
What I love about Nebraska, it’s a really inspiring place to explore. As a photographer, I can tell you, there are some awesome stories around here. For me, it’s been so much fun to get to capture some of them and I’m always looking for more.
A really special thing about Omaha is the creative community. There’s this amazing energy that everyone just wants to collaborate, help one another and just create something new all the time. And if you want to explore Omaha through the lens, we have an awesome Facebook group that can give you anything from locations to shoot, best spots to eat in between or even ask for someone to go on the shoot with you. People are really interested in meeting up and exploring together here.
With that said, one of my favorite places to shoot is the Little Bohemia neighborhood. It’s full of history but also lots of new things popping up all the time. I love to shoot inside the coffee shop, which has amazing light, but specifically here in the Tiny House Bar. I love the eclectic-ness of the spot, the beautiful furniture, the window light, the unique – kind of hilarious – wallpaper, the drinks after a shoot – it’s awesome.
We have a local artist, Watie White, who has beautiful murals all over town that are really fun to find and really fun to shoot in front of. And the cool thing about Watie’s murals is he loves to pinpoint locals and tell their stories through his art.
Everyone’s heard of Silicon Valley, right? But around here, we like to call ourselves the “Silicon Prairie” because of all the startups, not only starting up but growing up, all over the Great Plains. And there are a ton of local makers – like, a ton. And they pop up everywhere including makers’ markets like Bench, Love the Locals, Hutch Fest and a bunch of others.
But I also think you can get a great sense of Omaha through our food. There’s incredible restaurants like Yoshitomo, which was just voted the number one restaurant in Omaha. Another favorite of mine is this fun little French restaurant with a great patio outside with wine, bread, cheese, everything that’s amazing. There are a lot of awesome restaurants in Old Market too. It’s a ton of fun just to walk around. And you obviously have to try out Crescent Moon where the original Reuben sandwich was created. And if you didn’t know, a Rueben is corned beef topped with some sauerkraut, a little bit of Swiss cheese, thousand island dressing – all on rye bread.
Wait, is it really only on one type of bread?
So now, let’s talk about the arts scene. If you go nowhere else, I suggest checking out Kaneko. It’s a smaller local gallery with changing exhibits, oftentimes experimental or interactive. And then I’d check out the Joslyn, which is the bigger art institution in the city, and they have tons of exhibits that flow through all the time and they’re incredible. And we also have live performances happening all year, all over the city. One of my favorite places to see a show is the Waiting Room. It’s an awesome space and they have incredible acts that come through all the time. Oh! And Mr. Toad’s Sunday jazz nights. They’re the best. And while we’re talking about music, if you collect vinyl, you have to stop by Homer’s Record Store. They have an amazing selection that’s constantly being updated. And whenever my dad’s in town, he’s sure to stop by.
So, if and when you come to Omaha, I’m excited for you to see the Omaha that I see. And as you go through our neighborhoods, you’ll not only see the history – and it’s rich and thriving, and we’re super proud of it – but what you’ll also see is the newness, the collaboration, the new art going up on the walls, the new storefronts opening their doors, chefs feeling like they can put up a restaurant and have it thrive. It’s awesome as not only a creator and artist to see other people doing that, but for me to believe I can do it too.
One of the things I find really beautiful about Nebraska and building my business here is that I’m not constricted by trends. I feel a lot more freedom here to be creative on my own terms. Lincoln does have a smaller town vibe than, say, Omaha, but I love having my bakery here in Lincoln. I can’t imagine having it anywhere else. We’re really connected to nature, and when I’m not actually here in the bakery, I love to go to our local parks and visit the local farms to see what they’re up to and what’s growing. Like the people who supply our eggs here at the bakery, they started one of the first biodynamic farms in the country. They actually farm by the moon cycle, seriously, and have one of the top-rated eggs in the entire country, which I didn’t even know was a thing.
Our downtown area is super cute, really quaint. It is iconic Americana. You’ll see breweries, Indian restaurants, Mexican restaurants. So, when I have friends coming in from the coast, I always take them to my favorite pupuseria and they actually rival places that they’ll eat out in New York City, and that’s really cool.
And there’s this really amazing punk rock ice cream parlor called Ivanna Cone that people love. It’s so popular. And recently they actually took our vegan cinnamon rolls and made it into a vegan ice cream flavor. So, you should definitely try that.
And for kids, we have a nationally ranked children’s museum. My nephew and niece love it. And there’s also the Bay. So, the Bay is actually this really interesting place. It was founded and is run by this guy named Mike Smith who I think is a really positive and incredibly inspiring person.
I would say the Bay is Nebraska’s creative haven for skateboarders, musicians and artists. And we created the bougiest skate park, coffee shop, concert venue, community art space – I don’t believe in just the state of Nebraska, but I believe anywhere across the country. Best cup of coffee you’re going to get in Lincoln, Nebraska, is right here served up by my man. Let me show you guys the skate park.
And they’ll also, at the Bay, teach kids as young as like 2 or 3 how to skateboard, which, I wish I would have learned that young.
So, we really exist to give kids a place to build what they’re passionate about. And I honestly think a place like this can only happen in Lincoln, Nebraska, which is why we call it the good life. Because that’s why it can happen here.
Another really cool thing that’s happening in Lincoln is gravel cycling. Gravel cycling is really unique to this part of the country because we have a lot of gravel roads right outside of the city, and people travel from all over the world for things called “gravel grinders,” which are self-supported endurance gravel cycling events. My husband actually just finished one that was almost 400 miles.
What’s different about gravel cycling is there’s a lot less traffic; there’s no cars buzzing by you constantly. It’s just a lot more beautiful. The highways are flat, and the gravel roads are hilly and fun.
There you have it. But even if you aren’t into gravel grinders, we have an amazing ride share program and a really, really extensive bike trail system.
Actually, there’s this local restaurant called Hub Café that’s run by a local farmer. I love it. It’s right on Antelope Valley, which is a great bike trail. And so, you can hop on your bike and get there super easily.
Whenever people come to visit me, they say, “This feels like a spa trip. It’s just so easy. I’m breathing clean air. I can get everywhere so easily.” And it always makes me so happy to hear because I think that what we have here is so special and I just love sharing it.