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Discovering Omaha: 10 Must-Do Activities in the Heart of the Midwest

Photo things to do in omaha

Omaha, Nebraska may not be the first city that comes to mind when thinking of travel destinations, but this Midwestern gem has a lot to offer. From its rich history to its vibrant food scene, art and culture, outdoor adventures, landmarks and attractions, family-friendly activities, nightlife, shopping, sports and recreation, and hidden gems, Omaha has something for everyone. Whether you’re a history buff, a foodie, an art enthusiast, or an outdoor adventurer, Omaha has it all.

Key Takeaways

  • Omaha has a rich history that is worth exploring, from its pioneer roots to its role in the railroad industry.
  • The food scene in Omaha is diverse and delicious, with must-try dishes like the Reuben sandwich and Omaha-style pizza.
  • Art and culture thrive in Omaha, with museums, galleries, and theaters showcasing local and national talent.
  • Outdoor enthusiasts will love Omaha’s parks, trails, and recreational activities, including kayaking on the Missouri River.
  • From the Henry Doorly Zoo to the Old Market, Omaha has plenty of must-see landmarks and attractions for visitors.

Omaha’s Rich History: Exploring the City’s Fascinating Past

Omaha has a fascinating history that dates back to its founding in 1854. As one of the first settlements in the Nebraska Territory, Omaha played a significant role in the westward expansion of the United States. Today, visitors can explore the city’s rich history through its many historical landmarks and sites. The Durham Museum, located in the historic Union Station, offers a glimpse into Omaha’s past with its exhibits on transportation and local history. The General Crook House Museum provides a look into the life of General George Crook, a prominent figure in Omaha’s history. Other notable historical sites include the Joslyn Castle, the Mormon Pioneer Cemetery, and the Lewis and Clark Landing.

The Best of Omaha’s Food Scene: Where to Eat and What to Try

Omaha is known for its diverse and delicious food scene. From steakhouses to farm-to-table restaurants to ethnic cuisine, there is something for every palate in Omaha. One must-try dish is the famous Omaha steak. Known for its quality and flavor, Omaha steaks are a staple of the city’s culinary scene. Some popular restaurants to try include The Drover, where you can enjoy a mouthwatering steak in a cozy atmosphere, and Block 16, which offers unique and creative sandwiches and burgers.

Discovering Omaha’s Art and Culture Scene: Museums, Galleries, and More

Category Number
Museums 10
Galleries 25
Public Art Installations 50
Performing Arts Venues 15
Annual Art Festivals 5

Omaha has a thriving art and culture scene, with numerous museums, galleries, and performing arts venues to explore. The Joslyn Art Museum is a must-visit for art enthusiasts, with its impressive collection of European and American art. The Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts showcases cutting-edge contemporary art from around the world. For performing arts lovers, the Orpheum Theater and the Holland Performing Arts Center offer a variety of shows and performances throughout the year.

Outdoor Adventures in Omaha: Parks, Trails, and Recreational Activities

For those who enjoy spending time outdoors, Omaha offers plenty of opportunities for outdoor adventures. The city is home to numerous parks and trails where visitors can hike, bike, or simply enjoy a leisurely stroll. Some popular parks include Heartland of America Park, which features a beautiful lake and fountain, and Lauritzen Gardens, a botanical garden with stunning displays of flowers and plants. For more adventurous activities, visitors can try their hand at kayaking or paddleboarding on the Missouri River or go fishing at one of the many lakes in the area.

Must-See Landmarks and Attractions in Omaha: From the Zoo to the Old Market

Omaha is home to several must-see landmarks and attractions. One of the most popular is the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium, which is consistently ranked as one of the best zoos in the world. With its diverse collection of animals and interactive exhibits, the zoo offers a fun and educational experience for visitors of all ages. Another must-visit attraction is the Old Market district, a historic neighborhood filled with shops, restaurants, and art galleries. Other notable landmarks include the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge, which spans the Missouri River and offers stunning views of the city skyline, and the Durham Museum, housed in a beautifully restored Art Deco building.

Family-Friendly Fun in Omaha: Activities for Kids and Parents

Omaha is a great destination for families, with plenty of activities to keep kids and parents entertained. The Omaha Children’s Museum offers interactive exhibits and hands-on activities for children of all ages. The Omaha Zoo is also a popular choice for families, with its wide variety of animals and educational programs. For outdoor fun, families can visit the Fun-Plex Waterpark and Rides or go on a bike ride along the Keystone Trail.

Nightlife in Omaha: Bars, Clubs, and Entertainment Venues

When the sun goes down, Omaha comes alive with its vibrant nightlife scene. The city offers a variety of bars, clubs, and entertainment venues where visitors can enjoy live music, dance the night away, or simply relax with a drink. Some popular nightlife spots include The Waiting Room Lounge, a live music venue that hosts both local and national acts, and The Berry & Rye, a speakeasy-style bar known for its craft cocktails.

Shopping in Omaha: Unique Boutiques, Markets, and Malls

Omaha is a great destination for shopping enthusiasts, with its unique boutiques, markets, and malls. The Old Market district is a popular shopping destination, with its charming shops and boutiques offering everything from clothing to home decor to handmade crafts. For those looking for a more traditional shopping experience, Westroads Mall and Village Pointe Shopping Center offer a wide variety of stores and restaurants.

Sports and Recreation in Omaha: Catching a Game or Joining a League

Sports fans will find plenty to do in Omaha, whether it’s catching a game or joining a recreational league. The city is home to several professional sports teams, including the Omaha Storm Chasers (Triple-A baseball), the Omaha Lancers (junior ice hockey), and the Omaha Beef (indoor football). For those who prefer to participate rather than spectate, Omaha offers a variety of recreational leagues for sports such as soccer, softball, and volleyball.

Hidden Gems in Omaha: Exploring the City’s Best-Kept Secrets

While Omaha has plenty of well-known attractions, the city also has its fair share of hidden gems waiting to be discovered. One such gem is the Joslyn Castle, a stunning mansion that offers guided tours and hosts special events. Another hidden gem is the Florence Mill, a historic building that now houses an art gallery and hosts live music performances. For a unique experience, visitors can explore the Underground Tunnels of Omaha, which were once used for bootlegging during Prohibition.

Omaha may not be the first city that comes to mind when planning a vacation, but it has a lot to offer. From its rich history to its vibrant food scene, art and culture, outdoor adventures, landmarks and attractions, family-friendly activities, nightlife, shopping, sports and recreation, and hidden gems, Omaha has something for everyone. So next time you’re looking for a new travel destination, consider exploring Omaha and discovering all that this Midwestern city has to offer.


What is Omaha?

Omaha is a city in the state of Nebraska, located in the Midwestern region of the United States.

What are some popular attractions in Omaha?

Some popular attractions in Omaha include the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium, the Joslyn Art Museum, the Durham Museum, and the Old Market district.

What outdoor activities can I do in Omaha?

Omaha has several parks and outdoor spaces, including the Heartland of America Park, the Gene Leahy Mall, and the Lauritzen Gardens. Visitors can also enjoy hiking and biking trails along the Missouri River.

What is the best time to visit Omaha?

The best time to visit Omaha is during the summer months, from June to August, when the weather is warm and there are many outdoor events and festivals.

What is the food scene like in Omaha?

Omaha has a diverse food scene, with many restaurants offering local specialties such as Omaha steaks, Reuben sandwiches, and Kool-Aid pickles. There are also many international cuisine options available.

What cultural events can I attend in Omaha?

Omaha has several cultural events throughout the year, including the Omaha Summer Arts Festival, the Omaha Film Festival, and the Omaha Symphony Orchestra.

What is the nightlife like in Omaha?

Omaha has a vibrant nightlife scene, with many bars, clubs, and music venues located in the downtown area. The Old Market district is a popular destination for nightlife activities.