Because I have a young son, I often focus on what to do with young kids. However, I realize that pre-teens & teenagers aren’t going to jump up and down when presented with some of the options I wrote about in “Things to Do in Omaha with the Under-5 Set.” After talking to several teens in our family – and dragging my 14 year old niece around town for in person feedback – I’ve compiled a list of places to go that should interest your teenager in Omaha should you come and visit us.
- Shopping – We have three indoor malls (Regency Court, Westroads and Oakview) and several outdoor malls (Village Pointe, One Pacific Place and Midtown Crossing) that attract shoppers from all over. According to a (completely scientific) survey of teens I know, Westroads and Village Pointe are the “best” places to shop. One thing to note: many of the malls in Omaha have curfews where teens younger than 17 are not allowed in the public areas after 9 p.m., unless they are with a legal parent or guardian over the age of 25.
- The Old Market – Our downtown, outdoor district, which appeals to older teens or the teen that likes offbeat clothing, stores and music. The Old Market is a favorite of everyone on weekend nights in the spring & summer thanks to musicians that play on the corner and people watching, but during the day its perfect for strolling around and looking at stores. Teens in particular should like Drastic Plastic, Flying Worm Vintage, or Homers Music. The food – particularly Ted and Wally’s Ice Cream Parlor or Bliss Bakery are great hits for a snack that doesn’t break the bank.
- Sports – If you’re teen enjoys sports, Omaha has a number of teams that you can watch for just a fraction of the cost of a pro ticket. For summertime, there’s Creighton Bluejays Baseball, which is now held at the new TD Ameritrade Stadium. Also in summer is the College World Series, and if your teen really loves baseball, it’s a great way to immerse them in the sport. If you visit us in fall or winter, you can watch Creighton play basketball or catch the University of Omaha Mavericks play hockey – both at the Qwest Center Omaha. I’m a season ticket holder for Creighton basketball, and I can’t tell you how many teens I see there each game – in groups by themselves or with families.
- The Zoo – When I asked my niece if the Zoo was something she would recommend for teens, she wasn’t particularly enthused. However, she goes with us often, and always enjoys herself – and it’s an experience that I think translates across family members of all ages. If everyone in your family is a teen or pre-teen, I highly recommend you check out the IMAX Theater at the Zoo. If you don’t have an IMAX in your town, it can be a great way to up the “cool” factor for teens that drag their feet.
These are just a few areas and activities that may make your teen’s trip to Omaha a bit more exciting. Since every teen differs, I also recommend letting them do some research of their own – either at the Visit Omaha website (www.visitomaha.com) or via Google – and work some of their requests in.