Planning a visit to Omaha? Smart move. It’s a vibrant city with plenty of things to do and see. Whether you’re into music, the outdoors or a little of everything, there’s something here for you. We’ve rounded up some of our favorites to help you plan your trip or just get to know us a little better.
Here are some tried-and-true favorites:
There are some places in Omaha that you really have to see.
The go-tos you’ll find in every travel guide and on every list. The truth is, they’re there for a reason.
Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium
It was named the best zoo in the world in 2014, and it’s not hype. Home to a fantastic aquarium, new grassland exhibit with elephants, an indoor rainforest and more, it’s a great way for anyone to spend the day. (Tip: It gets busy in the summer. Get there early and head for the indoor area you’d most like to see to avoid some crowds. Or go toward the end of the day. Exhibits stay open for an hour after the entry gates close, and crowds tend to thin out.)
Foodies, shoppers, artists and fans of the nightlife will all find something to love in the historic Old Market District. It has a charm and buzz that really can’t be beat.
Joslyn Art Museum
With an eclectic collection, outdoor sculpture garden, area for kids to do hands-on art activities and more, this is a great place to spend some time. Plus, it’s free to the public.
The Durham Museum
Housed in what used to be the Omaha Union Station, the Durham features beautiful architecture, a historic look at Omaha and an impressive list of temporary exhibits.
Here’s what the locals tell their friends and families not to miss when they come for a visit:
This area is home to a sunken garden, which is perfect for an after-dinner walk, but some people come just for the huge built-in slides. Tip: Bring waxed paper to sit on as you slide; you’ll double your speed—and your fun.Wildlife Safari Park
Operated by the Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium, but located just west of Omaha, the lesser-known Safari Park has 50 acres of grassland you can drive through. There’s also a place to park and visit a petting corral with goats and chickens. Then take a short walk to an eagle aviary, wetland area or bear and wolf exhibits.Everyone has their favorite neighborhood in Omaha, and Benson is one that’s been making a splash. It’s a thriving art scene, and the nightlife offers an alternative to the Old Market. Its defining characteristic might just be its diversity. Visit fine dining restaurants like LOT 2 or go with something more casual like Pizza Shoppe Collective, which often has live music. Elsewhere, Beercade has, you guessed it, beer plus an arcade and 1912 has rooftop seating. There’s a little something for everyone.
The Wicked Rabbit
Hidden somewhere on Harney St. in the Old Market, this speakeasy is all about mystique, atmosphere and great drinks. To find it, brush up on your Alice in Wonderland terms and “look” closely.
The new, state-of-the-art tech lab gives the community free access to innovative technologies. They say it best: “Free and open to all, Do Space is a community technology library, a digital workshop, and an innovation playground filled with opportunities to learn, grow, explore and create.” Good for all ages.
Home to a pottery maker, glass blower, welding sculptor and more than 80 studio artists, they also have four gallery spaces open to the public.
If you’re looking for local comedy, this is your place. They have a selection of craft beers, and you can catch everything from stand-up to improve to sketch. Shows are generally Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Check their site for an up-to-date schedule.
Locals, calm down. We know there are a million restaurants and bars you love, and we didn’t include them all in this list. Omaha really is a foodie city, and its home to some of the best. But this is one you might not find on the standard roundups. The reason we tell our out-of-town friends about this dive bar? It’s the only place in Omaha that serves champagne on tap. Fair warning: Think walls lined with tchotchkes and pitchers of champagne, not hushed voices and clinking glasses.
Main Street in South Omaha
This culturally rich area has historic buildings, great food and places to shop. If it fits in your schedule, take advantage of the South 24th Street walking tour.The Mormon Trail Center
This one’s perfect for school-age kids learning about pioneers and history buffs alike. Visit this attraction to see the site of the Winter Quarters for Mormon Trail travelers, plus a history lesson.
Open for tours on the first and third Sundays of the month, this Victorian home is really a sight to see. The residence was built in 1903 for one of Omaha’s most prominent families, and today it’s a great place to learn about them, Omaha and the home’s unique architecture.
And that’s just the start! This list could truly go on and on. Locals and Omaha fans, add your personal favorites in the comments.