This post was updated in 2017.
Relocation can be an overwhelming process, whether you’re traveling a few miles or across the country. You may fear picking the wrong neighborhood to suit you and your family, may wonder about the commute distance to your new (or existing) job, or may want to make sure you’re situated in an area with lots to do and a thriving community therein.
Thankfully, the Omaha/Council Bluffs area was rated the third best city to relocate to in the entire country! It is considered one of the most stable cities, with a persistent growth contributing to the city’s low unemployment rate of 4.2 percent — less than half of the national average.
If you’re considering relocating to the area or are simply a curious resident, you may have wondered what some of the more popular neighborhoods in the area are. That’s why we’re here to eliminate some of the mystery by listing some of the hottest spots in the area!
The Best Neighborhoods to Live in Omaha Include:
Aksarben Village is a self-contained community with nearly everything you could want in one convenient, fresh and exciting area. If you didn’t already know, Aksarben is “Nebraska” spelled backwards, and it has a history just as unique as its name’s origin.
The Knights of Aksarben, an organization focused on promoting cultural, agricultural, civic and educational enrichment in the area, purchased 200 acres of land in 1919. They constructed a coliseum and racetrack with barns to host entertainment events and facilities for livestock shows and agricultural programs.
Photos courtesy of Jones Bros. Cupcakes, Voodoo Tacos, Dudley’s Pizza and Tavern + Aksarben Cinema
In the early 2000s, the facilities were torn down and evolved into the modern village you see today. The Aksarben Village is currently an area of upscale apartments and condos, office and retail buildings, and park facilities. In surrounding residential areas, home prices average $120,000 and some of the larger brick and stucco homes reach the low $200,000s.
Aksarben Village hosts a wide variety of establishments. Satisfy your sweet tooth at Jones Bros. Cupcakes, grab a bite to eat at Voodoo Tacos or Dudley’s Pizza and Tavern, catch a movie at Aksarben Cinema, or attend a sporting event at UNO’s Baxter Arena. This is an affordable neighborhood with lots to do right outside your door!
Benson is the perfect neighborhood for the creative folks who are in pursuit of lots to do in the neighborhood. Foodies, artists, musicians and music lovers all thrive in this historic neighborhood — and they don’t have to pay a ridiculous amount of money to be able to call Benson home. This area offers affordable housing for first-time home buyers, with prices barely topping $100,000.
Photos courtesy of Aromas Bliss, Lot 2 Restaurant and Wine Bar + 1912
But this doesn’t mean you sacrifice culture and amenities, as the neighborhood has wonderful coffee shops (like Aromas Bliss), places to grab a drink (like 1912) and local restaurants (like Lot 2 Restaurant and Wine Bar). This neighborhood has it all. Just ask any local Omahan and they’ll agree that Benson is a desirable, exciting and evolving part of town.
Set foot on the cobblestone streets of Omaha’s Old Market to be a part of all the action. This is Omaha’s most historic and entertaining neighborhood, featuring an abundance of local shops, restaurants, galleries, entertainment venues, bars and more. And of course, the residential scene in the Old Market is thriving as a result.
The Old Market area has thankfully been able to retain some of its historic buildings from its former life as a wholesale and retail grocery center (hence the name “Old Market”). Several of these gorgeous buildings now house galleries, restaurants, boutiques, and other shops. Some of our favorites include Beansmith Coffee Roasters (for coffee), Bliss Old Market Bakery (for sweets) and V.Mertz (for fine dining). And the Omaha Farmer’s Market each Saturday is a much-anticipated neighborhood event from May through October!
Photos courtesy of Beansmith Coffee Roasters, V.Mertz + Bliss Old Market Bakery
Many upper stories have been transformed into apartments and condominiums, which makes them extremely sought-after and full of character.
The central location near downtown makes this historic neighborhood one of the best places to live.
It’s no secret that we love the Dundee neighborhood. Not only does this community host a vibrant retail area with top-notch restaurants, Dundee is also one of the best places to call home in the entire nation. That’s right! In 2011, the Dundee-Memorial Park neighborhood was named one of the nation’s 10 best neighborhoods by the American Planning Association. They considered Omaha among the elite neighborhoods nationwide because of its varied residential architecture, strong sense of community and ongoing commitment of residents to care for and beautify the neighborhood.
Photos courtesy of Hello Holiday, Blue Line Coffee + Pitch Pizzeria
Dundee residents have easy access to local restaurants, such as Pitch Pizzeria, wonderful local coffee shops like Blue Line Coffee, several high-end boutiques including Hello Holiday, and much, much more!
This is an extremely attractive area for the young couple or family looking to live comfortably while maintaining easy access to some of the best establishments in the area.
Believe it or not, La Vista is Nebraska’s most recent city to become incorporated. This community has grown significantly since its humble beginnings in 1960, as La Vista now has a population of over 16,000 and a thriving economy as a result.
Photos courtesy of Alamo Drafthouse Cinema
This neighborhood has a wide range of home styles and price points, which means this community fits people from all walks of life. Plus, there is so much to do in La Vista. One of our favorite features of this town is the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, a unique, state-of-the-art movie theater with a Star Wars-themed lobby, and a full-service restaurant and bar.
La Vista’s proximity to metro Omaha, its healthy economic state, amazing schools and wonderful residential options make this a great neighborhood to live in.
We’ve previously spelled out a few of the reasons we love Papillion — and our fascination continues. Ranked the 2nd best small city to live in, Papillion grew from its origins as a small railroad town in 1870 to the thriving community it is today. You can find a wide range of homes, apartments and condominiums to fit just about any price range and lifestyle.
At the heart of the city lies the beloved Halleck Park, a 70-acre green space featuring trails, baseball fields, tennis and basketball courts, a large pavilion, a stocked fishing lake and various playground areas. Another popular attraction in Papillion is Werner Park, the new home of the Omaha Storm Chasers. An action-packed minor league baseball game at Werner Park makes for the perfect spring and summer activity as a family!
Photos courtesy of Nebraska Brewing Company, Absolutely Her + SPIN! Neapolitan Pizza
Papillion has great shopping opportunities, including a large number of shops at Shadow Lake Towne Center or local shops around town like Absolutely Her, an upscale consignment boutique. We love SPIN! Neapolitan Pizza and Nebraska Brewing Company for grabbing a bite to eat or winding down with a drink.
Above all, Papillion has been nationally recognized among the top 10 smaller communities for its livability, affordability, educational system and environment for raising a family. Those reasons (and so many others!) make Papillion one of the best neighborhoods in the Omaha area.
The beauty of a small town is the ability to become closely connected to your neighbors, become a “regular” at local small businesses, have a personalized residential experience, and be able to retreat to nearby larger cities every once in awhile. The tight-knit community of Ralston has all of the above in store — and more!
Ralston’s annual Fourth of July celebration is a testament to their traditions, strong sense of community, and ability to celebrate and have a good time. This fireworks display and parade attracts people from all over the metro area, and has become an important event for the community.
Photos courtesy of Ralston Arena + Yvonne Wagner
One of the main hubs for activity in Ralston lies within the Ralston Arena, which hosts ice hockey games, parties, receptions, meetings, large craft and trade shows, musical performances, and more.
You’ll find well-maintained homes along the tree-lined streets of Ralston, with various styles appealing to all ages and demographics. Ralston is a community with personality, comfort and the small-town feel you’re looking for.
What is your favorite neighborhood in the area?
There are 120 after all, so there’s bound to be a favorite of yours that we didn’t include!