Benson Gardens – Omaha, NE

Often confused with nearby Benson, Benson Gardens has a life of its own. While Benson Gardens benefits from the proximity of Benson’s trendy thrift shops, themed dive bars and ethnic restaurants, it has its own local beer haunts and community events worth bragging about. Located 7 miles from downtown Omaha, Benson Gardens doesn’t actually contain a garden. Yet what it lacks in park space its neighborhood organization more than makes up for in communal cohesiveness and civic engagement. Benson Gardens appeals to families and recent graduates, both who appreciate the amenities of Benson and the growing neighborhood identity within their own blocks. An easy work commute, safe streets and friendly residents make it a comfortable area to live in.

Restaurants & Nightlife

From the Middle East to Southeast Asia, across Europe and down through the Americas: every type of ethnic cuisine finds fans in the blocks surrounding Benson Gardens. Inside the neighborhood, locals rave about the broth and bun bo hue at Pho Viet. Though the interior lacks much creative design, diners pay more attention to the authentic food. Order delivery or dine in at this family-operated kitchen. At Caribbean Delights, one of Omaha’s only Jamaican restaurants, staff members happily point adventurous eaters toward traditional Caribbean meals. Can’t decide what to order? Try the fried plantains and jerk-seasoned chicken. The bar serves rum punch and daiquiris. Visit its website for daily specials, available on takeout orders. Danny’s Bar & Grill considers itself Omaha’s “Green Bay Packers Bar," complete with football on TV and game-day specials. The bar gets especially busy on half-price burger Mondays. Besides the burgers, the Phoenix wrap and potato teasers come highly recommended. Benson’s nightlife also lures residents with its slew of carefully themed dive bars, hipster lounges and casual pubs to choose from. Taste a variety of home brewed beers at Benson Brewery, such as the Om-aha IPA, coffee stout and chai beer. Stick around Benson Gardens for the reputably strong cocktails at Mai Tai Lounge. Enjoy the 1950s tiki theme, fish tanks and bar snacks from Mount Fuji Japanese restaurant upstairs. Go to Grant Street Bar for make-your-own-burger nights, board games and weekend beer pong tournaments. Benson also hosts the nearest live music venue, The Waiting Room. Here, catch local and regional acts in an intimate setting for cheap cover prices.

History & Culture

The Benson Gardens borrows its name from Erastus Benson, a philanthropist and investor who first purchased the land in this region of North Central Omaha. While next door Benson shares a namesake and history, it enjoys an arts and culture scene comparatively bigger than Benson Gardens. The neighborhood appreciates local attributes such as the Studio of Dance Arts. This performing arts school teaches courses in jazz, tap and ballet, culminating lessons in an annual community show. The Masonic Temple hosts social events such as dinners, fundraisers and galas. Each event has been created with the intention to involve and educate members of the surrounding community. Local festivities receive extra attention thanks to the neighborhood association, which organizes communal gatherings for its residents. To find out more, attend a monthly meeting and cookie swap, holiday party or the yearly summer block party and potluck.

Transportation

Like other Midwest cities, Omaha spreads out over vast amounts of space and necessitates the use of private vehicles. However, Benson Gardens’s small size and the amount of foot traffic from nearby Benson makes the neighborhood safe to travel through on foot or by bike. Several of routes of Omaha’s public transportation system, OMetro, pass through the neighborhood. Route 18 drives down 72nd Street toward Downtown. Route 8 follows Blondo Street, stopping at the North Omaha Transit Center and Crossroads Mall, and Route 4/14 runs along Maple Avenue. All three routes connect passengers with the Benson Park Transit Center, where they can transfer to other areas of the city. Buses run about every thirty minutes, with route 18 depositing riders downtown in the quickest time: 38 minutes. Downtown lies just 15 minutes east if you drive along Northwest Radial Highway, onto Cumming Street. Residents also make the journey by taxi, using two different ride sharing services – Lyft and Uber – that operate around the city. Both services utilize mobile applications to locate nearby drives. The cab company City Taxi Inc., based nearby, also drives customers around Omaha. While the neighborhood has no official bike lanes, several of its intersecting streets qualify as “continuous streets,” due to their residential locations and low levels of traffic.

Cost

The cost of living in Benson Gardens is about 34 percent lower than the average cost of living in Omaha. Goods, services and housing prices all run lower here; for this reason, expect to pay around $559 for a one-bedroom apartment. A pint of beer at the corner pub costs $3 to $4 dollars. Stick around for dinner and add at least $10 to the total bill. From any stop along the neighborhood’s Metro routes, a one-way bus ticket costs $1.75. Opt to drive instead and pay approximately 11 percent less than the national average cost of fuel.

Shopping

With Dodge Street and its malls so close by, residents of Benson Gardens live in a retail haven. The neighborhood’s small size may limit the number of stores within its borders, but specialty shops, discount outlets and high-end boutiques are just a two-minute drive away. Venues in neighboring Benson have a reputation for quality thrift goods, and Almost Music exceeds expectations with a large selection of used vinyl records. The passionate owner stocks local artists, as well as jazz, punk and rock favorites. Can’t decide which record to buy? Ask the staff to play a few songs over the speaker system. Be sure to check out the shelves of hard-to-find and rare books in the Solid Jackson bookshop, which shares floor space with Almost Music. On the opposite side of Benson Gardens, the consignment Hand Me Ups Furniture Store features new and used furniture, art, bedding and appliances. Local nonprofit group Angel Guardians runs the store, using monetary proceeds to support Omaha youth with intellectual disabilities. They also use Hand Me Ups as a vocational program, training young adults for positions around the store. Help out by decorating your home with items from this “Best of Omaha” award-winning store. Multiple name brand and specialty groceries surround Benson Gardens, giving residents plenty of choices for purchasing food staples. HyVee, No Frills, an Asian supermarket and a health store compete with in-neighborhood suppliers such as Bag ‘N Save and Fareway. The cozy Mediterranean and European Grocery looks like a house, and its friendly owner treats customers like guests. Drinks and snacks await browsing customers, and staff members help customers who need to find ingredients. Sign up for the store’s newsletter to receive alerts when fresh vegetables and herbs arrive. Daddy’s Neighborhood Fresh Market is the nearest farmer’s market, located a few minutes east of Benson Gardens. Multiple vendors and farmers sell homemade goods inside the store, which only sells wares from farms within a hundred mile radius. Stop by for grass-fed meats and organic produce. You can also order online and have your shopping delivered.

Parks

Benson Gardens residents simply cross 72nd Street to find ample park space in the immediate vicinity. Though the neighborhood does not have its own park, nearby Bowling Green Park provides 7 acres of land containing walking trails, picnic spots and a kids’ playground. Other amenities include a basketball court, football field and softball pitch. Head in the opposite direction to reach the Omaha Public Power District Arboretum. This “learning park” was designed to educate locals about safety concerns when planting near power lines. Wander around the park’s trails, read a book from the picturesque benches or admire the many varieties of trees and flowers. Hefflinger Dog Park, the nearest dog park, is located west on Maple. Let your pets play off-leash in the enclosed areas, which have been separated to allow adequate space for both large and small breeds. Cyclists hop onto the Keystone Trail, which passes through the neighborhood. This maintained route runs from North 90th Street and connects with the West Papio Trail, carrying on to Bellevue.
Cartie Apartments
8240 Blondo St, Omaha, NE 68134
2 wks
$535 - 650 1-2 Bed Available Now
844-312-3942