Elkhorn rests along the western frontiers of Omaha. Among the suburbanite housing developments and well-cultivated green space, this neighborhood proudly showcases its Western history with century-old architecture and traditional Americana design in the neighborhood center.
Wealthy Omaha businesswomen and men and lifelong residents love this neighborhood for its countryside peacefulness and old-town feel, while young professionals and growing families arrive in droves for the neighborhood's economic stability and comfort.
Miles of open countryside and nearby parks cater to neighborhood children, while a range of high-class eateries and community events ensure that residents never feel bored. From the excellent school systems to plentiful outdoor-recreation opportunities, Elkhorn ensures a healthy, stable life.
Restaurants & Nightlife
Nobody has ever said that the greater Omaha area lacks fine-dining restaurants and innovative BBQ grills, and Elkhorn residents can always find some of the best restaurants in the city right in the neighborhood.
Awarded as one of the best barbecue restaurants in the "Best of Omaha" competition, Boyd & Charlie's BBQ continually exceeds expectations for its premier southern-style barbecue and hearty Midwestern dishes. Along with the homemade sauce developed in the 1970s down in Alabama, Boyd & Charlie's serves up whole chickens for take-out while encouraging diners to enjoy ribs, steaks and much more in the friendly atmosphere of this unpretentious restaurant. Locals highly recommend the smoked beef brisket or the slow cooked, honey-whiskey glazed ribs.
Experience the beautiful life with old-country Italian fare in a classic European restaurant setting by checking out Bella Vita on North Main Street. Since 2007, this Italian restaurant has been able to give locals an authentic taste of traditional Italian dishes, such as the braised pork shank topped with a mushroom marsala or the iconic Lasagna Rustica. Whether for lunch, dinner or a late-night wine cap, this restaurant captures Italian elegance founded on the basis of good food and a bottle of wine.
Nebraskans love their steaks and steakhouses, and by taking a 10-minute drive to neighboring Waterloo, locals can enjoy some of the juiciest steaks and prime rib in the area at Farmer Brown’s Steak House on River Road Drive. Thrillist has placed this old-style steakhouse in their list of top 21 steakhouses in America, and Travel Channel’s Food Paradise made a spot for Farmer Brown's on the Steak Paradise 3 episode. Despite national fame, this modest diner only cares for customer satisfaction, and locals amass for the eye-popping Farmer’s Daughter Cut of prime rib, which visitors should take with a chalice of whiskey and a side of spaghetti.
Although a rich food culture abounds, Elkhorn remains fairly peaceful in terms of its nightlife. Locals can always discover several traditional, neighborhood bars in the area to watch the game, play some pool and enjoy a drink. Bars such as The Good Life Sports Bar and Grill cater to a diverse crowd while emphasizing a comfortable atmosphere and cheap, strong drinks. Most locals hit up Shevy’s Sports & Steaks for an elegant evening out or to watch the Nebraska Cornhuskers conquer the NCAA.
History & Culture
Elkhorn's rich history follows America's expansion westward via settlement and railroad construction. The extension of the Union Pacific Railroad to the area caused the U.S. General Land Office to plat the land surrounding Elkhorn in 1867, and the next 10 years in Elkhorn saw monumental growth. Once consisting of farmland and a picturesque Old West downtown area, Elkhorn grew into a growing Omaha suburb in the 1960s due to an influx of suburban migration.
Residents can explore the history of both the railroad and the city at the Elkhorn Historical Society, located on Glenn Street near the Westmont Community Park. True railroad enthusiasts should also check out the Union Pacific Railroad Museum in downtown Omaha.
In August, Elkhorn locals can enjoy the Nebraska Balloon & Wine Festival just down the street. This event features hot air balloons, a massive marketplace and enough wine tasting to make anyone a sommelier.
Wide open spaces, and long country roads and highways throughout Elkhorn mean that residents must use a car when going about their daily activities. Trips to downtown Omaha typically take around 30 minutes along West Dodge Road, though heavier traffic during rush hours can increase this commute. Locals can also enjoy easy access to a network of nearby interstates for longer trips, such as Interstate 80 to Lincoln or Interstate 29 to Kansas City. When returning home, car owners can always find free curbside parking, though most homes and apartment complexes provide sufficient driveways and parking lots for several vehicles.
Elkhorn residents also enjoy a vibrant bicycle culture, where expansive neighborhood streets and minimal traffic foster safe bicycling. Riders should be attentive of other drivers, however, as a lack of bike lanes increases the chances of an accident. Locals who prefer to walk can experience flat, comfortable streets for pleasant strolls. Few sidewalks line neighborhood streets, and locals should wear bright colors or carry a flashlight when walking at night.
Several taxi companies operate throughout Omaha, but residents trying to hail one from the curb may find themselves waiting for hours. Instead, call ahead or use a smartphone to access ride-sharing services such as Uber. The Omaha Metro just barely reaches the Elkhorn neighborhood, and residents looking for a ride should head to 180th Street and West Dodge to catch Route 92. Route 94 and Route 15 also pick up riders at the Lakeside Hospital Park-and-Ride Lot.
The cost of living in Elkhorn remains moderately lower than Omaha average, and residents often pay about 3 percent less for entertainment and amenities than the state average. Newcomers to the area can expect the median rent for a one-bedroom apartment to hover around $753.
Traveling to the Omaha city center via the Omaha Metro costs $1.25 for a one-way ticket, while car owners in the area pay about 14 percent less than national averages for gas. A pint of beer at local pubs costs around $3.
Elkhorn has a high-energy shopping scene and no shortage of exciting and unique shopping centers to browse. Locals rarely need to travel into downtown Omaha to discover an array of high-end stores and boutiques.
Olde Towne Elkhorn endures as the go-to spot for locally-owned stores and convenient, characteristic shops ideal for both tourists and locals alike. From interior design to gardening, the historic Olde Towne caters to the neighborhood's needs in a pleasant, social setting. For a more modern shopping experience of designer goods, head to the Village Pointe Shopping Center west of 168th Street.
Located within the Olde Towne Elkhorn historic center, Little Scandinavia introduces visitors to a wide selection of traditional and unique Scandinavian gifts and decor. Enjoy a complimentary coffee with every visit, and stock up on Dale of Norway sweaters, Scandinavian cookbooks and classic Christmas items straight from the Baltic countries.
Another essential shop in the Olde Towne, The Whistle Stop Country Store houses small and stylish shop on Elkhorn Drive, featuring one of the largest inventories of authentic and artisan antiques ideal for rustic and interesting home decor. From vintage to handmade, The Whistle Stop allows locals to transform their home into a unique recreation of historic styles dating back to the 19th century. Furthermore, each season also brings a new selection of antiques, vintage items and locally crafted goods.
Elkhorn residents have to travel when stocking their refrigerators with brand-name foods and kitchen staples. The Hy-Vee on 178th Street remains the closest supermarket packed with a massive variety of affordable goods as well as organic fruits and vegetables. A Wal-Mart Supercenter sits 4 miles west of Elkhorn on West Maple Road.
To enjoy farm-fresh fruits and vegetables as well as sustainable meats straight from the countryside, visit the year-round indoor farmers market at Tomato Tomato. This Multi-Farm Community Supported Agriculture program features over 900 members, and visitors can always get their hands on locally produced food at its peak freshness.
Elkhorn sits right toward the edge of the Omaha city limits, which also means that local residents have quick and easy access to the miles of open countryside and Midwestern recreational opportunities. The namesake Elkhorn River caters to both the relaxed fisher, and the adventurous canoe and kayak enthusiasts, while the larger Platte River opposite of Waterloo allows for several access points for comprehensive river activity in both the summer and winter. Boats on the river need state registration, and fishers must have a fishing permit.
Within the neighborhood, locals also can enjoy a variety of neighborhood parks. These parks cater to visitors of all ages and include everything from playground equipment for the children to basketball courts and soccer fields for the athletes. Ta-Ha-Zouka Park features around 180 acres of open space and well-cultivated amenities, such as a championship horseshoe court, a softball field, a four-court sand volleyball area, a disc golf course and much more. Access to Ta-Ha-Zouka Park remains free, and dogs can join visitors as long as they remain leashed.
To let Fido run free without a leash, locals can take their pets to either the Hanscom Park Dog Park or the Hefflinger Dog Park, both of which sit about 8 miles to the east. Free admission allows locals to bring their pets and socialize as much as they want.
Every year in August, Ta-Ha-Zouka Park also hosts the widely attended Elkhorn Days. This prominent annual event brings the community together for a fun-filled weekend packed with family events, including a bike rodeo, fireworks and a parade.