With an increasingly diverse population and an equally rich history, the communities of Omaha have much to be proud of. North Omaha is no exception with a wide array of shops, restaurants, parks, murals and gardens bringing life to this historic community.

The pride and deep-rooted heritage of North Omaha reaches a fever pitch every odd-numbered year when thousands of Native Omahans return home for Native Omaha Days. Nothing short of a supercharged community-wide family reunion, Native Omaha Days, which runs from July 26 through August 2, sees relatives who have left for better opportunities, or simply a new start, reconnect with loved ones and friends. As you prepare for hot days at Carter Lake and long nights on The Deuce, take a look at this list and discover North O!

North O! Art & Events

Native Omaha Days parade, photo courtesy of Visitomaha.com

Native Omaha Days, July 26 – Aug. 2, 2021

Every year ending in an odd number, a massive influx of native Omahans return to North Omaha to celebrate the community’s rich history and heritage. This year is slated to be the biggest yet. Native Omaha Days 2021 takes place July 26 through August 2 and will feature outdoor jazz concerts, golf tournaments, movie nights, gospel fests and a parade down North 30th Street. The biennial event was founded by two African American women, Bettie McDonald and Vera Johnson, for the Black population living predominantly in North Omaha. Its purpose was to reunite family and friends who moved away from their hometown. Since COVID-19 restrictions have loosened, many are expected to join the fun this year.

July 27 — Movie Night at Film Streams

July 28 — Gospel Fest at Morning Star Baptist Church

July 28 through July 31 — Festival Square at the Bryant Center on 24th Street.

July 28 — UNO Black Studies 50th Anniversary at UNO (4 p.m. to 6 p.m.)

July 29 — Jazz at the Greens at Dodge Riverside Golf Course (Council Bluffs, Iowa)

July 30 — Native Omaha Days Golf Tournament at Dodge Riverside Golf Course (Council Bluffs, Iowa)

July 30 — A Stroll Down Memory Lane

July 31 — 23rd Biennial Homecoming Parade Celebration! 30th and Lake to 30th and Sprague (8:30 a.m.)

July 31 — Culture Fest at the Malcolm X Memorial Foundation (noon to 5 p.m.) July 31 — (Evening) Blues Night featuring Pokey Bear and Big Robb at the Malcolm X Memorial Foundation (7 p.m. to 11 p.m.)

(Event information reported by Paul B. Allen IV)

Juneteenth Celebration

June in North Omaha marks one of the nation’s longest Juneteenth festivals, lasting an entire week. The festival, which celebrates the abolition of slavery, features a large parade, concerts and many other commemorative events. Read more local Reader coverage of this year’s Juneteenth here.

Photo courtesy of UCA Facebook page

The Union for Contemporary Art

  • 2423 N. 24th St.
  • (402) 933-3161

The Union offers fellowships and gallery space to some of the most promising artists in North Omaha. Learn more here.

Photo courtesy of Culxr House Facebook page

Culxr House

Founded by local hip-hop artist and organizer Marcey Yates, the Culxr House is one of Omaha’s premier community centers and a home for artists of many disciplines. Keep up with everything happening at the Culxr House on Facebook, Instagram and Youtube.

Omaha is home to one of the largest populations of South Sudanese immigrants in the country

African Cultural Festival

  • Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021
  • 2 p.m. – 10 p.m.
  • Stinson Park (2285 S. 67th St.)
  • Tickets: $10

Presented by Afromaha, the African Cultural Festival is an annual event that honors Omaha’s growing population of African refugees and immigrants. Omaha is home to one of the largest populations of South Sudanese immigrants in the country, and the festival has grown to be a celebration of multiple African countries and cultures.

Photo from North Omaha Murals Reddit

Street Art and Murals

North Omaha is home to many beautiful murals and street art projects that have been commissioned by the city and local nonprofits. With projects like the Justice for James mural on 24th and Browne, this beautiful art illustrates the spirit of North Omaha.

North O! Historic Locations

Great Plains Black History Museum is one of 81 museums nationally focused on African American History, and is the only museum in Nebraska focused on the History of African Americans

Great Plains Black History Museum

Looking for a trip down memory lane? Located just a few blocks south of Lake Street, the Great Plains Black History Museum is a library of North Omaha. The museum features rotating exhibits and a carefully curated archive. It is housed in the Jewell Building, which was home to the Dreamland Ballroom for more than 40 years, and featured performances by many touring jazz and blues legends, including Duke EllingtonCount BasieLouis ArmstrongDizzy Gillespie and Lionel Hampton.

24th Street, “Jazz,” by sculptor Littleton Alston, 2004. Photo courtesy of Visitomaha.com

24th & Lake Jazz District

The historic jazz district of North Omaha located at the intersection of 24th and Lake streets was once a thriving hub of jazz clubs and small businesses. With the new cold-pressed juice and smoothie bar Ital Vital Living, plus Fair Deal Village MarketPlace, which offers a fresh grocery store and locally owned boutiques, the heart of North Omaha is set to beat again!

Malcolm X Memorial Foundation

  • 3448 Evans St.
  • (800) 645-9287
  • info@malcolmxfoundation.org
  • Mon. – Fri.: By appointment only, Sat.: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., Sun.: By appointment only

Located just five minutes northwest of 24th and Lake streets, the Malcolm X Memorial Foundation is a 17-acre park honoring the life and legacy of Malcolm X, who was born in Omaha in 1925. Complete with a historical marker and replica of Malcolm’s birth home, the Malcolm X birthplace has become a valued resource for the community of North Omaha.

Photo credit: rocor via Flickr (Note: This is a picture of the Black Panther logo, not of the North O marker.)

24th & Emmet Black Panther Marker

Following the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. and the Omaha riots in 1968, a wave of activism swept through North Omaha. By 1970, Omaha was home to chapters of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense and the National Committee to Combat Fascism, which was led by Ed Poindexter and David Rice. Learn more about North Omaha’s revolutionary past at this marker.

A penny postcard with a bird’s-eye view of Technical High School, which opened in 1923.
Photo credit: Penny Postcards from Nebraska

Omaha Technical High School / OPS Teacher Administrative Center (TAC Building)

Once dubbed the largest high school west of Chicago, Omaha Technical High School (Tech High) produced some of North Omaha’s most celebrated natives. Omahans such as Heisman Trophy-winner Johnny Rodgers and successful actor John Beasley once graced the halls of this historic building, which is now home to Omaha Public Schools’ Teacher Administrative Center, located at 3215 Cuming St.

Benson, 1987
From 35mm slide by J Michael McBride. Found on Benson History (@historicbenson) Facebook page.

Historic Downtown Florence and Benson

The areas of Florence and Benson were once the epicenter of small townships equipped with their own banks and grocery stores. Now home to several thriving small businesses, these historic areas give a glimpse into North Omaha’s past.

North O! Tasty

Pettit’s Pastry – Bakery, 502 N. 16th St.

Big Mama’s Kitchen – Soul Food, 2112 N. 30th St., Accelerator Suite 201

Time Out Foods – Fried Chicken, 3518 N. 30th St.

Jackson’s Take-Out – Soul Food, 6209 Ames Ave.

JET Sports Bar – Bar & Grill, 7444 N. 30th St.

From the Dripped + Draped Facebook page

Dripped + Draped – Coffee, 6015 Maple St.

Cajun Kitchen – Soul Food, 2819 N. 30th St.

Mixins Rolled Ice Cream – Ice Cream, 1405 Jackson St.

Bills BBQ and Package Liquor Store – BBQ, 4414 N. 24th St.

Jim’s Rib Haven – BBQ, 3801 Ames Ave.

One of the newest local businesses in North Omaha, Ital Vital Juice Shop. Photo by Ariel Panowicz

Ital Vital Living – Juice Shop, 2323 N. 24th St.

Emery’s Cafe – Soul Food, 2118 N. 24th St., Suite 101

Best Burger. – Fast Food, 2112 N. 30th St.

Lutfi’s Fried Fish – Fried Fish, 7440 N. 30th St. & 2527 N. 72nd St.

A Taste of New Orleans – Seafood, 6023 Maple St.

Smokin Doezha’s Wangs & Thangs LLC – Grill, 3030 Martin Ave.

Chaima’s African Cuisine – African, 5060 S. 107th St.

North O! Shops and Souvenirs

LeFlore’s New Look Fashions

  • 1806 N. 24th St.
  • (402) 933-7800
  • Lefloresnewlookfashions@gmail.com

Head to LeFlore’s for men’s and boys’ dress clothes and accessories. Want to get a feel for what LeFlore’s has to offer? Check out the store’s Facebook page.

Aframerican Bookstore

  • 3226 Lake St.
  • (402) 455-9200

Filled with books, African clothing and trinkets, the independent, African-American-owned Aframerican Bookstore is a gem nestled in the heart of North Omaha.

Terence “Bud” Crawford Store

  • 3701 N. 24th St.

Check out the headquarters of Omaha’s own Terence “Bud” Crawford, a world boxing champion. The “Team Bud” store has all the gear you need for your next fight!

Milk The Game Clothing

A North Omaha staple, Milk The Game is a local clothing boutique that represents the ingenuity and work ethic of North Omaha natives.

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