Omaha’s Old Market is a diverse area of shopping, dining and entertainment. The area attracts all demographics a business could want – families and couples during the day, as well as into the evening. Toss in the younger bar crowd toward night time and the Old Market becomes a people watching extravaganza.
However, within the Old Market are smaller enclaves, each offering their own unique attractions. Contemporary art is available at the Bemis Center, Mangelson photo gallery and Kaneko art gallery. A sweet tooth’s desires can be satisfied at the Old Market Candy Store or Hollywood Candy, as well as Ted and Wally’s ice cream shop.
For us, we love the Old Market Passageway. The one-time alley was developed about three decades ago into a series of shops and restaurants. You can find a mélange of interests – Mexican food and steak dinners, international clothing and curiosity items at stores. You can browse a litany of books, as well as check out an array of artwork. The neat thing about the area is that several of the businesses have been a part of the Passageway for decades.
The basement level is probably our favorite part of the Passageway. I think it offers the most uniqueness of the building, with its concrete and brick floors, as well as darker interiors.
Trini’s – one of our favorite restaurants anywhere – has been part of the Passageway since about the beginning. Trini’s offers outstanding and delicious Mexican dinners. Lisa is love in with their fish tacos. I prefer the old standard burrito or enchilada. The appetizers are awesome. We usually go with chips and salsa. The salsa is just the right amount of spicy.
V. Mertz offers an upscale dining experience. We’ve visited V. Mertz during an Old Market food tour. The menu is outstanding. They have a great wine selection, too.
We’ve never eaten at Omaha Prime Steakhouse, but need to add that to our list. It’s on the second level of the Passageway – street level.
Moksha offers a variety of East Indian clothing and jewelry options for visitors. The store has been in the Passageway for decades. I love the smell of the incense sticks as you approach the store.
Yi’s offers shoppers Asian-fused handcrafted jewelry. The pieces we looked at were exquisitely designed. The store also offers accessories, such as wrist bands. Shoppers can also check out collectibles that can be showcased.
Our Bookstore offers an assortment of books, both fiction and non-fiction. There are classics and contemporary reads available. We plan to check this store out more often in the future, as it has a lot to offer.
OMA – Old Market Artists – is a cooperative featuring a dozen local artists. The works vary by style and medium.
White Crane Gallery caught our attention based on its logo alone – a white crane flying. We love all things crane. The gallery has been open almost 20 years. It offers a variety of styles, including paintings, ceramics, jewelry and glass works.
The second floor offers some interesting places to check out.
Souq, Ltd describes itself as offering an “eclectic array of goods.” That is an excellent description. You can find so many things inside the store – ethnic clothing, trinkets, jewelry, home decorations, gifts and souvenirs.
A walk through the Zodiac garden can be entertaining. Busts representing each zodiac sign are on display in the garden area, as well as against the building and fence.
All About Me Boutique offers women of all sizes an opportunity to check out fashionable clothing designs. The six-year-old business, which has been in the Old Market for about five of them, also offers accessories, including scarves and jewelry.
The Passageway Gallery is an artist cooperative, offering several styles of art, including photography, paintings and word carvings, as well as glass.
Other businesses located in the Passageway include Hair Market Salon and Le Wonderment (children and dog gifts).
The Passageway provides visitors as much variety as the rest of the Old Market. However, for whatever reason, it’s our favorite to visit downtown. That says a lot for the Passageway, because we love the Old Market and the charm it brings to Omaha. We recommend checking it out when in downtown Omaha.