Tag Archives: getaway

Welcome to the Weekend

January 3, 2014 by
Illustration by U.S. Travel Association

“Welcome to the weekend.” It’s a phrase that inspires feelings of relaxation, fun, and the freedom to do what you want to do, when you want to do it. It’s also a phrase that’s stimulating tourism revenue for Omaha.

The Omaha Convention and Visitors Bureau’s Welcome to the Weekend advertising campaign promotes Omaha as a Midwest destination for memorable weekends and plays up our strength as a quick getaway for people living in cities such as Kansas City, Des Moines, and Sioux Falls. The campaign is different from your typical tourism advertising, focusing on building an emotional connection with the audience by capturing authentic visitor experiences on video. The commercials aired regionally from late April through early October, on network and cable television, in movie theaters and online on websites such as Hulu, TripAdvisor, and VacationFun.com. In addition, the Omaha CVB partnered with Radio Disney to promote Omaha during Disney-produced community events in Kansas City and also purchased regional radio advertising to promote its Welcome to the Weekend savings card.

Since advertising began, VisitOmaha.com, the city’s tourism website, has seen a 46 percent increase in website visits from the regional markets targeted by advertising. The VisitOmaha social media audience has grown 20 percent to more than 94,000, and more than 6,000 people from 48 states have requested the Welcome to the Weekend savings card.

What’s really exciting to see is since the beginning of the year, there have been more than 35,000 additional weekend hotel room nights booked in Douglas County over last year. Multiply those additional room nights by the average dollar amount a traveler spends in Omaha and it comes to, conservatively speaking, an additional $4.8 million spent in our city. Investing in promoting our city is paying off, and that’s welcome news any day of the week.

Questions or comments? E-mail us at info@visitomaha.com.

Dana Markel is Executive Director of Omaha Convention & Visitors Bureau.

 

Get Your Game On!

June 20, 2013 by

Staying fit can be a real challenge for a busy mom, particularly when she spends a good chunk of her day behind a desk at work or playing chauffeur to active kids. So, too, can finding time for socializing with friends, who often have similarly hectic schedules that make planning a get-together nearly impossible.

Committing to play in a weekly beach volleyball league is an ideal way busy moms can ensure they get regular, quality exercise time in the outdoors, while at the same time enjoying a few hours socializing with teammates. It’s scheduled “me time” with physical fitness built in!

The Digz, a beach volleyball facility at 4428 S. 140th St. in Omaha, is a popular destination for many who enjoy the bump, set, spike sport. The sports arena features eight outdoor sand volleyball courts and, beginning this summer, four indoor/outdoor sand courts that can be enclosed during the colder months.

The Digz offers sand volleyball leagues year-round. New sessions of six-on-six recreational co-ed leagues, and four-on-four competitive leagues start every eight to nine weeks. Games are scheduled Sunday through Friday from 6:30-9:30 p.m. Courts are lit for nighttime play, and the facility also features a sports bar and grill, so players can catch a bite before or after a game or spend a bit more adult time catching up over a beverage.

Manager Mary Nabity says Digz sees about 400-600 players each night for league play during its summer session, which runs through Aug. 11. “We’ve been open now about eight years,” she says. “People really enjoy it. It can get crazy-busy here some nights, but it’s a lot of fun.”

Sempeck’s Bowling and Entertainment Center, at 20902 Cumberland Rd. in Elkhorn, offers its Sandbaggers Beach Volleyball in three sessions: spring leagues run April 21-June 20; summer leagues run June 21-Aug. 20; and fall leagues run Aug. 21-Oct. 15. Recreational, intermediate, and power play leagues are all offered, as are women-only and co-ed team play. Games run Monday through Friday from 6:30 p.m. on, and on Sundays beginning at 4:30 p.m.

The Sandbaggers’ facility, which opened in spring 2012, features six outdoor courts, all with nighttime lighting and automated scoring. A nearby playground allows older kids to enjoy some outdoor playtime during Mom’s matches (though it’s unsupervised). A horseshoe court and beanbag games are nearby as well. After games, Sempeck’s large, outdoor patio offers guests full-menu service and features live entertainment on Friday nights in the summer.

Owner Steve Sempeck says more than 180 teams were registered to play in the center’s spring leagues this year—that’s double last year’s team count. “We anticipate our summer leagues will fill to capacity with 275 teams,” he adds. “That’s about 1,500 players.”

Sempeck says Sandbaggers attracts a wide array of players. “Everyone from young singles just out of college to old guys like me in their 50s,” he jokes. “The majority are here for the recreational leagues and the social aspects of play. But we do have a power league—two on two, just like in the Olympics—and they’re in it competitively. They’re great to watch.”

This spring, Omahan Vicki Voet joined a beach volleyball league after a long absence from the game. “I just started back in April,” she says. “I had been in a league about 20 years ago with my husband, Perry, at the Ranch Bowl—before kids.”

Now an empty nester, Voet says she was looking for a way to reconnect with her interests and friends.

“I have been trying to find myself since the kids left for college,” Voet shares. “Volleyball is something I’ve always enjoyed…it’s very competitive and requires endurance, and exercise is very important to me. It’s great because [playing again] allows me to be with my friends and socialize at the same time. And I enjoy playing as a team.”

Since joining the spring league, Voet says she’s thoroughly enjoyed the experience. “The weather is usually good, and I love being outdoors. And it’s something I look forward to each week. We all just get out there to have fun!”

The Digz
4428 S. 140th St.
402-896-2775
thedigz.com

Sempeck’s Bowling & Entertainment Center
20902 Cumberland Dr.
402-289-4614
sempecks.com

Greenbelly

January 25, 2013 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Trying to find somewhere to meet up with your girlfriends during your lunch hour that will have delicious, healthy fast food? Perhaps you should try the Coconut Chicken, Grilled Chicken Bruschetta, or Asian Peanut Crusted Chicken at Greenbelly. You might think we’re talking about some hearty entrées, but these are actually salads!

Greenbelly originally began as The Cooking Club, Inc., a catering company whose sole purpose was to share their love of fine metropolitan cuisine. But today, Greenbelly is the host of some of the healthiest, most mouthwatering salads in Omaha, as well as an eco-friendly restaurant environment.04 January 2013- Greenbelly Restaurant is photographed for Her Magazine.Manager Stacey Eckley explains that Greenbelly’s eco-friendly environment means that all of the silverware, cups, containers, etc. are all made from plants—like corn and potatoes—which makes them 100 percent environmentally safe. As for the food, Eckley says, “We try to get food as organic as possible, and as local as we can. For example, our tomatoes are from hot houses in O’Neill, Neb. What we’re trying to do is provide a healthy fast food.”

Some of the most popular meals at Greenbelly are their salads, but they also have whole-wheat or white Ciabatta paninis, whole-wheat wraps, and grilled pizzas rolled in olive oil. Eckley says their most popular pizza is the Greek, which has Gyro meat, tomatoes, onions, feta, kalamata olives, Greek dressing, and Tzatziki (white cucumber) sauce.04 January 2013- Greenbelly Restaurant is photographed for Her Magazine.

With seating for over 100 at their new location on 114th & Dodge, Eckley says Greenbelly’s ever-growing clientele includes people from all walks of life. “Some days, you’ll see a construction worker, and the next you’ll see a vice president of a bank. Also, we’re close to Nebraska Dance, so we get a lot of young dancers, as well as their moms, coming in after their classes to get healthy salads.”

As they say at Greenbelly, “Great food makes a great company.”

Greenbelly
210 N. 114th St.
402-334-1300
thegreenbelly.com

Cantina Laredo

November 25, 2012 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann and Cantina Laredo

Looking for a warm atmosphere during the cold winter months to get away with your girlfriends for some drinks and mouthwatering food? Look no further than Cantina Laredo in Midtown Crossing!

This Mexican restaurant boasts a relaxed dining area with a cozy fireplace, upscale bar scene, outdoor patio, private dining room (no room fees!), and seven flat-screen TVs. As for the fare, Cantina Laredo creates beautiful plates of Mexican gourmet made with traditional techniques. Anyone familiar with traditional Mexican cuisine will be taken back to a past vacation along the Mexican coast or countryside. The authentic experience is also made complete with a wide variety of imported tequilas and Mexican beers.

Margarita special, Her'Rita

Margarita special, Her’Rita

Try the chips and top-shelf Guacamole appetizer (made fresh tableside) with a Casa ‘Rita (house margarita), which is a premier blend of Giro Silver Tequila by Sauza, Cointreau, and fresh-squeezed lemon and lime juices. Or indulge in the most popular entrée, the Enchiladas Veracruz—chicken enchiladas filled with spinach and Monterey jack cheese topped with tomatillo sauce, marinated vegetables, and queso fresco. And, of course, you can’t forget about the rich Mexican Brownie sizzled in Mexican Brandy Butter with your choice of vanilla or cinnamon ice cream for dessert!

If you’re just meeting up for drinks, however, and feel like mixing it up, ask for the Her ‘Rita, which was carefully created to celebrate women making a difference in Omaha! The authentic Mexican cocktail combines a premier blend of Giro Silver Tequila by Sauza, Triple Sec and fresh-squeezed pomegranate, lemon and lime juices to create a delicious anomaly of flavors to please any woman’s palate.

Cantina Laredo featured entree, Enchiladas Veracruz

Cantina Laredo featured entree, Enchiladas Veracruz

Every Thursday from 4pm to close, Cantina Laredo hosts a Ladies’ Night with half-off house margaritas and wine by the glass for every woman who walks in the door. And Happy Hour runs from 4-7pm on weekdays with large house margaritas for just $5!

Cantina Laredo
120 S. 31st Ave., Ste 5107
402-345-6000
cantinalaredo.com