Creative Spaces | 7 Spaces in Omaha to get Creative Inspiration
Written by JoAnna LeFlore
As Omaha grows into a welcoming city for creatives and entrepreneurs, you might notice a few spaces across town focused on helping you get into the zone. We’ve put together a list of a few hidden gems that offer inspiration and provide a supportive environment for the creative at heart. What you’ll notice at each venue, is a diverse crowd of creatives and resources that are almost too good to be true.
402 Arts Collective/Aromas in Benson - 6051 Maple Street, Monday - Saturday 9am-5pm
Hidden Gem: You can do more than host a meeting or grab coffee here. Aromas is part coffee shop, part performance venue (402 Arts Collective) with a stage set with lighting and audio equipment. It also has great gallery-style lighting for local artists to showcase their work. The stage is booked in advance but they are open to hosting performances with a good cause behind them. If you’re just looking for inspiration, this place is prime with local talent on Mondays for Open Mic and First Fridays.
Caffeine Dreams - 4542 Farnam Street, M-Th 6:30a–11p, Fri 6:30am–Midnight, Sat 7am–Midnight, Su 8a–11p
Hidden Gem: This Midtown favorite also has a great coffee and baked goods menu along with plenty of wall space for emerging visual artists to display their work. We heard through the grapevine that if you get some work up here, it’s likely to get sold due to the traffic that comes through this place. Caffeine Dreams is also one of the only places locally owned that stays open late, until 11pm. They know that creativity can happen long after the lunch hour so they make sure their doors are open. This place also has an outdoor patio area in the back large enough to host a neighborhood cookout. One last cool perk about this gem is that if you are hoping to run into other ambitious doers and thinkers, they are probably spending time here. It’s the best place to meet somebody if you have never been to Omaha before and want to get connected.
Creative Library at Kaneko - 1111 Jones Street, Monday – Friday 10am-5pm, Saturday 11am-4pm
Hidden Gem: This library is not your typical library. It operates through the University of Nebraska but housed in an art venue in the Old Market that is home to some of the most creatively inclined events in this city (Omaha Fashion Week, Big Omaha, plus awesome art exhibitions). This library is attractive to the person who really needs to get some research done on whatever genre of art you can think of. You can find books and videos that are sure to give you different perspectives and help you better understand how your work can influence the world. You cannot check out books here unless you have a college ID but you can still chill out for a couple of hours on their plush orange and blue couches and get lost in a few pages.
DO Space - 72nd & Dodge Street, Open 9am-9pm Daily
Hidden Gem: The venue that everybody is talking about made it to our list not because of its popularity, but because it truly does support artists and entrepreneurs getting in the zone. Once you get a membership, which is available automatically if you have a library card, with this amazing place you can take advantage of the meeting space, computers, printers and workshops covering all things digital and awesome. The computers are stacked with Adobe suite along with several video editing programs, there's a 3D printer in the building and an attached Dunkin' Donuts when you get hungry. If you don’t have a membership to this place yet you're crazy, because, well, IT’S FREE.
Elmwood & Memorial Park - 6005 Underwood Ave, 5am-11pm Daily
Hidden Gem: You might wonder why a park made it to this list and it’s honestly because we believe that nature is the best fertile ground for true inspiration and productivity. As long as the weather is bearable, you can guarantee that spending time at these parks will leave you refreshed, focused and motivated to dig deeper into your creative practice. These parks are folded between the campus of the University of Nebraska, Omaha (UNO) where you can always find people to meet or you can take a walk to clear your head. The best times to go are in the mornings before noon when all of the outdoor athletes get there.
No More Empty Cups - 1502 S 10th St #100, Open 7am-4pm Daily
Hidden Gem: This coffee shop has the greatest community room you will ever find which is connected to an outdoor garden, also open to the residents who live upstairs. You have to reserve the community space in advance in order to use it for large groups. But if you’re coming alone, the coffee shop has a great vibe that offers clarity and focus while you work. Thankfully you can get plenty of natural sunlight anywhere in the shop so just find a cozy seat near a window and get into the zone!
Sozo Coffeehouse - 1314 Jones Street, Su 1pm-midnight, Mon/Wed-Fri 7am-midnight, Tues 7am-6pm, Sat 8.30am-midnight
Hidden Gem: Omaha’s largest coffee shop in downtown Omaha, PERIOD. This place really is the plug of all plugs. It offers 6 private study rooms, a performance hall fit with professional stage audio and lighting, pool tables, room for local artwork and cozy couches all over the place. Once you cop a seat, you will not want to leave. Sozo is like the getaway for people with awesome ideas who just need some space to build their dreams into a reality. It’s like going to your favorite secret hideaway and disappearing for a few hours, only to come out with the greatest ideas you’ve ever had. The best part about this is that you can rent a private room for $2 an hour. Who else does that? Finally, we thought you should know that this place is open later than all the rest due to their commitment to booking local performing artists on the weekend. You don’t have to leave when you run out of coffee. If you’re in a zone, you can stay there, uninterrupted, and dedicate even more time to your passion projects.
We hope you feel motivated to check some of these spaces out the next time you are looking for a place to get in the zone. And if you happen to see us there too, don’t be a stranger and say what’s up!