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Omaha Staycation; Holiday Edition 2017

Amidst the chaos we all know as “The Holiday Season” it is all too common that our last memories of the year, especially as parents, are consumed with stress and busy schedules trying to make sure everyone around us has the most magical and memorable holiday possible. Don’t get me wrong here; doing as much as possible for others is something I pride myself on. I also believe in taking time for myself, I believe in building romance in my marriage,

I believe that Omaha has so much to offer, and I believe in creating circumstances where multiple parties benefit from a common deed.

That being said, I decided to take on our enchanting city for a night out with my wife, a “staycation” if you will, and thought I would share our experiences in hopes that some of you will enjoy what’s in your very own backyard as well. We enjoyed a locally inspired itinerary which included, but was not limited to the central entertainment, A Christmas Carol performed by the Omaha Community Playhouse, preceded by a catered picnic at Kenefick Park, a late night dinner at the newly reopened M’s Pub, and a one night stay at the historical Hotel Deco. I hope you enjoy this little write up highlighting just a few of the local gems Omaha has to offer for a great night out.

I am going to start with the main attraction; A Christmas Carol at the Omaha Community Playhouse. This is something my wife had been to in the past and was really excited about revisiting the experience. I will admit that this one was mostly for her but I truly didn’t expect such a grand production and to be so pleased with the performance. Everything about the performance was of the highest quality, from the cast, musical and dance numbers, costumes, set, lighting and everything else that goes on backstage that I wouldn’t even realize. It all came together so wonderfully and it was tremendously entertaining from start to finish. It was inspiring to see so many truly talented individuals from our very own city thriving onstage, and the children, the future of Omaha’s theater, showed undeniable discipline and passion. During intermission I got up to stretch my legs and visited with a couple in the front row who have been attending the theater for nearly 30 years. They were there proudly watching their grandson who was in the production. I would love to see my own girl’s on that stage performing this Christmas classic, or any show for that matter. I suppose my wife felt the same was as I saw her pick up a brochure for the Henry Fonda Theater Academy on our way out. Jerry Longe as Ebenezer Scrooge, for a twelfth year, was the highlight of the show. He was immersed, emotional and comical with an effortless air, and he received a well deserved standing ovation at the end.

Before we headed to the show we began our date night extravaganza by visiting Archetype Coffee in the Blackstone District, which is a fun little spot that friends of ours have been raving about for years and we figured we had to add it to the list!

The coffee and atmosphere were awesome, it’s a little out of the way for us but somewhere I would definitely revisit this brick wonderland for a coffee date or business meet-up.

Next I headed to Cubby’s Old Market downtown to pick-up a catering order I had placed. We had been to a March of Dimes fundraiser recently where a variety of Omaha chefs prepared a dinner sampling and different packages to bid on and we were shocked to see Cubby’s Old Market Catering! Who would have thought the gas station place would be the best? It was the only one we visited twice! This beef and cheese pressed Panini sandwich that was served with a jam-like dipping sauce is something we have literally been talking about since that night! I called into head chef Sherri and she was more than helpful while placing my order. There was a minimum catering order of 25 sandwiches, but I figured “what the heck” this is supposed to be a fun night out, and this ended up being the culinary highlight of the night. Needless to say these sandwiches are almost polished off, even though we had the intention of freezing them! My wife was so surprised and excited; she couldn’t believe I placed a catering order for a picnic for two. Honestly what made this experience most worth it was the customer service; I will definitely have Sherri at the top of my list for any catering needs in my future. I think you would be pleasantly surprised with their menu and the quality preparations; I myself am looking forward to giving their deli a try next time I am in the area. I guess it’s not JUST a gas station!

We enjoyed our picnic up at Kenefick Park, which was blistering cold up on the hill but totally worth it to see the sunset over Omaha and enjoy the scenery and silence of the night. We finished up our preshow activities with a stroll through Lauritzen Gardens, where we hold a membership and visit often with our daughters. The holiday lights and poinsettia display just gets you in the Christmas spirit, this is something I would recommend visiting while hosting out of town guests for a fun indoor nature experience.

After the show ended we headed to M’s Pub downtown, which has recently reopened after closing down nearly two years ago due to a fire that nearly destroyed the entire building. We visited M’s Pub on a tour about a month before their reopening date to see the progress and it was really fulfilling to go experience it for the first time after being restored to its former glory. Per a recommendation we ordered the baked shrimp havarti to share and it stole the show of the entire meal. Gentleman, add this to your list of lavish (but reasonable) date night dinner hot spots.

A meal at M’s and a stroll around the market make for the perfect evening that can be appreciated during any season.

After M’s I surprised my wife with her first trip to the Max, one of America’s best gay nightclubs, to top off our night with a dance party spectacular. It was nothing short of a hit. Last on the list is our one night stay at the historic Hotel Deco, it was prime location for stopping between activities downtown, it was really the deco style of the hotel that set a theme for the night. It is a registered Historic Landmark with swanky, bold décor that will make you feel like you are staying with Mr. Jay Gatsby himself.

I had so much fun planning this night out for me and my wife, and we really enjoyed every second of it.

The way it made us slow down and appreciate each other and appreciate this fine city we live in during the fast paced month of December is something I am very grateful for.

We ended this year making fine memories together, and I look forward to turning this locally inspired night out into a Manley tradition. If you have any recommendations for us or if you would be interesting about hearing about our January staycation I would love to hear from you!

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