Guests in Omaha for US swim trials flock to the Old Market, business owners say it’s a much-needed boost

OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) – Now that fans and swimmers have had a few days to settle in, they’re out and about exploring all that Omaha has to offer.

Many flocked to the old market on Saturday.

“I think it’s busy. Bred back to life, ”said business owner Mark Donovan.

Between the sessions of the second day of the US Olympic Swim Trials, fans and swimmers will check out some places to eat and play!

“I’m really surprised at how much stuff there is. I’m super excited when I googled various cafes near the pool this morning … that I had a lot to do and a lot to choose from, so that was really exciting! ”Said Zach Mertens, swim coach.

The old market was hit hard during the pandemic. Many restaurants had to close temporarily.

Events like the US Swim Trials and CWS have all been canceled. The anticipation of the guests returning to Omaha has been growing for a long time.

Now, a year later, the tables are full and the hectic season has officially started. The Omaha people say it’s a great feeling to see people again.

“It’s nice to see Omaha, that’s one of the great things about Omaha, the variety of sights and places to visit and do! It’s nice to see! I’m sure the zoo is very busy today, ”said Amy Vlasnik, an Omaha resident.

Business owner Mark Donovan has been taking carriage rides in the Old Market for almost 45 years. The last year has been one of the worst he has ever known.

He says it helps everyone after a tough year to have swimming attempts again after five years.

“I’m starting to see people come back and it’s really invigorating. I’m very optimistic about that! ” said Donovan.

Those out of town say they can’t wait to explore further during their stay.

“It’s pretty cool! This market has a lot of history. Omaha seems like a really cool city so we’re just trying to get out and see the culture, see some of the restaurants and enjoy our time here while we’re here,” said Griffin Hadley, swimmer.

The Omaha Downtown Improvement District Association has expanded security in the Old Market for the whole of June as the area expects nearly 30,000 guests a day.

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