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Not everyone can or wants to be in a relationship for a variety of reasons — and people should respect that. For those cool, calm souls, there is a humbling, even liberatory experience to be had alone.

And if you live in Omaha, you may have noticed that there tends to be a lot of couples. You might even see them taking up too much space on the sidewalk. But the best single minds circumvent comparisons, work on themselves and have good times.

Use this city and that creative mind of yours to survive and thrive as a single person in Omaha. Take any of these ten ideas for a spin; you just might have some fun.

As the Delta variant spreads through the community, remember to get fully vaccinated and mask up — even if you’re fully vaxxed — before checking out these activities.

Don’t be afraid of signing up for open mic night, especially if you have never done it before!

Attend a concert or an open mic night

In pre-pandemic Omaha, you could count on live and local music almost daily. Now shows, including open mics, are returning to the city. All you single cats will have ample opportunity to horse around at a venue you’ve always loved, or that is new to you. Go alone and make new friends, or go with friends; either way, it will be a good time. How many songs are about finding love or a friend at a concert? Too many.

Anyone living in this town won’t have to look far to find a venue. Check out long-established open mics like those at The Down Under Lounge (hosted on Wednesdays) or open mics that are newer, such as Emmet’s Tavern on Thursdays. And visit The Reader‘s event calendar to stay up to date on local shows.

From intense cross-fit programs to fun and lighthearted exercises, there are several levels of intensity to respect in a group fitness class.

Get into group fitness

No, you should not expect to find your soulmate sweating bullets at the gym. But group fitness classes are an opportunity to meet new people and have fun in the name of staying in shape.

You and your peers can get a good workout led by an instructor or personal trainer who knows how to get the group riled — just remember to drink plenty of water. And with coronavirus cases on the rise, be sure you’re fully vaxed, and maybe even masked, before getting sweaty in a group setting.

Romantic daydreams aside, group fitness can be a support mechanism for those who struggle to stay motivated exercising alone. Some people — bless their hearts — require a human face and voice to help them keep their steam, and there is nothing wrong with that. In fact, because that experience is so universal, you will likely find that you encourage a fellow straggler as well.

Several facilities offer group fitness activities and classes in the Omaha area. For example, the YMCA hosts group fitness classes daily. You can find them online in the Y’s event calendar. If, with the rise of the Delta variant, you’re being coronavirus cautious, check out the Y’s virtual fitness classes.

Ziggy Marley wrote one of the best television theme songs ever, centered around libraries, for the beloved children’s cartoon, Arthur – entitled “Believe in Yourself.”

Check out your local library

Omaha has some top-tier libraries, thanks to the city’s affinity for reading — and thanks to the employees, from librarians to custodians, who keep the books on the shelves and the atmosphere feeling cozy. If you have yet to check out a library in your city, what are you waiting for?

Libraries have long been a haven for all walks of life, including the single. You can get lost in the aisles of their bookshelves in the name of discovery, or ask a librarian for a literary recommendation. Either way, count on some wholesome fun.

Bonus: The Omaha Public Library offers many educational programs, ranging from neat workshops and guest speakers to writers’ groups in which literary creatives get friendly feedback. Check out the library’s event calendar for more.

If coffee is not your thing, try out some new tea.

Hit up old friends for coffee

If the last year taught us anything, it taught us much. This includes the fact that life can be crazy, and friendship is priceless. So, if you feel that catching up with old friends is just what the doctor ordered, and neither of you wants to kick it at each other’s place, consider grabbing coffee.

Together, you can recall the good old days, make new memories, and continue to grow – all over a piping cup of fresh brew. And assuming that you are not in the mood for some gas station brew (as lovely as it can be), there are plenty of local establishments for you to revisit or discover. After all, Omaha loves coffee.

But more than just a good atmosphere, you will almost certainly want a good bean juice to keep the conversation flowing. Check out the old-school comfort of 13th Street Coffee and Tea or the vegan café Amateur Coffee and familiarize yourself with some great drinks.

Remember your pet waste bags.

Take your pooch (or a borrowed one) to a park

There is something about going to the park with a dog that recharges the mind and spirit of humans. Your dog, or your borrowed dog, be it from a neighbor or family member, will love you for it, too. Together, the both of you can revel in your freedom.

And this is the part where you can find an obligatory mention of how dogs can also function as babe magnets, though they are also magnets for everyone else – especially other dogs. Essentially, you never know what adventure you and the poochie can find on any given day in Omaha at the park, as long as you are together.

And there are several prime, dog-friendly parks to choose from and explore. That includes the social Hanscom Park – which features a separate, fenced-in area for dogs to play – and the spread-out serenity of Chalco Hills – which also features a small fenced area by the main entrance. Grab your leash and mingle!

Fontenelle Forest was added to the National Registry of Historic Places in 1974.

Get lost at Fontenelle Forest

If you want something a bit more low-key than the best zoo in the world, or any of the intense, bewildering natural attractions throughout the state, you can get lost in nature right here in Omaha. If that sounds appealing, Fontenelle Forest near Bellevue is the nature reserve you must visit.

Together, you and your crazy, deep friends can break the cycle of humankind against nature, rekindle that deep connection to life all around you, and return to city life with new sensibilities. You can remain incredibly adultlike even while you tell scary stories while bug and scavenger hunting – all while experiencing the quiet wild that exists in this reserve, spread across 1,400 acres.

And there are also scheduled events throughout the week, including some standout exhibits each month. Become a member or a patron if you want to support the vision of Fontenelle Forest. And if you merely want a free day pass, all you must do is check them out, like a book, at one of the Omaha, Bellevue, or Council Bluffs Public Libraries.

According to the Nebraska Legislature, over 37 million people are food insecure throughout the United States.

Volunteer at a food pantry

Food pantries serve an essential role in the world, and Omaha is not exempt. Plenty of individuals and families living in this city survive on their local pantries, and last year so even more wondering where to find food. And those pantries could not function, could not feed the hungry, without its volunteers. That is why you should volunteer for Food Bank for the Heartland.

Maybe you will meet another kindhearted volunteer who is living single. But never mind that for a second. Ultimately, helping others is a reward by itself. There is always something to be learned and something to be done in service to others, no matter where you are in life.

You can register to volunteer by checking out the event calendar on the Food Bank for the Heartland website. A date in bright green signifies volunteer events are taking place. From there, it will show a waitlist for volunteers, or there are several volunteers wanted. Sign up and have fun!

Einstein said, “education should commence at birth and cease only at death.” A bit morbid, but true.

Learn something new at a class

If you are single and find you have time and yearn to do something new with your life, consider taking a class – any class. There are several educational programs and opportunities scattered throughout the city, operating outside of the boundaries of higher education. So, even if you have had a bad experience in a Nebraska social studies class, never give up on the prospect of education.

Plus, classes offer opportunities to meet new people. Find friends who share similar interests with you right away, and make the learning experience even more enjoyable for both of you. Or if you prefer to fly solo, that is okay, too.

It’s easy to find a righteous class. For example, if you dig art, visit The Kaneko or PACE in Council Bluffs to attend a hands-on, inspiring workshop, class, or lecture. If you fancy dance classes, consider aerial and circus arts training classes at Omingbird Aerial Gym. And if it has been a minute since you have entered a shop class, check out some courses at Bench. Ultimately, if you are interested in learning something, now is the time to learn it.

Sam Mercer, his son Mark, and his family are responsible for preserving the Old Market. Picture found on Facebook page

Try something new in the Old Market

The Old Market is one of the most innovative and populated areas the city has to offer, with roughly 40 businesses lining the streets of the historic neighborhood. And if you have not yet visited every corner and crack of this downtown marvel, then you can make something of a game out of exploring the uncharted territory with your loud, respectful buddies.

There is a special thrill in experimenting with a new restaurant or in connecting with a known restaurant in an unfamiliar way. Try something new at your favorite eatery in the Old Market or visit a new shop altogether to support local food, maximize your taste palette, and get more out of the city you live within. You could even check out the Farmer’s Market.

And if you are not looking to eat or shop, check out one of the several art galleries or live music venues. Nearly anything you could ever want to enjoy while being single exists at this hub. Be safe and have fun.

You could even try Scrabble at a Benson bar. Found on Benson Neighborhood Association’s Facebook page.

Try something new in Benson

Something like a sibling to the Old Market, the Benson Entertainment District offers a variety of live entertainment, frosty cold ones, and mouthwatering dishes for those city dwellers who prefer to fly solo. The vibrant young people flock here because they know the sheer range and quality of businesses, in addition to the social fabric, promises a good time. And like anywhere else, you never know who you will meet.

Even if it merely means playing a new game at Beercade, switch things up. And if you have never been stepped inside Beercade, let alone played an archade game, “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” is a much more challenging than it looks.

And although larger venues like Reverb Lounge and The Waiting Room Lounge (the latter of which has been named Readers’ Choice Best of the Big O) draw quite a crowd with concerts, be sure to check out some of the smaller functions, no less impressive, at the B Side of Benson Theatre. There is always some live entertainment in the likes of Benson.

Subscribe to The Reader Newsletter

Our awesome email newsletter briefing tells you everything you need to know about what’s going on in Omaha. Delivered to your inbox every day at 11:00am.

Become a Supporting Member

Subscribe to and become a supporting member to keep locally owned news alive. We need to pay writers, so you can read even more. We won’t waste your time, our news will focus, as it always has, on the stories other media miss and a cultural community — from arts to foods to local independent business — that defines us. Please support your locally-owned news media by becoming a member today.

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