Thursday, May 1, 2014

The List - Things To Do In Omaha

Long-time readers will know that I have lived my whole life in Nebraska; except for about one year of it within a fifty mile radius of where I live now. Family keeps us here and I can't imagine that will ever change. In the cold, short days of the winter and the hot, hot days of the summer and the tornado season, I often wonder if family is enough to continue to suffer through all of that. And then the grass turns green and the birds return in the spring or the leaves change and football starts in the fall or the holidays arrive and we are but one hour from "home" and I know it is all worth it. If you don't live here, though, you may wonder what in the word (besides cheering on my Huskers!), there is to keep us entertained. After all, we don't have any mountains or beaches.

Henry Doorly Zoo Desert Dome
This week I want to share some of the things Omaha has to offer and the next edition I'll share things to do in Nebraska.

1. Henry Doorly Zoo - consistently ranked one of the top three zoos in the United States, our zoo is constantly growing and evolving. Set on the bluffs overlooking the Missouri River, the zoo includes a desert biodome (if you've watched the College World Series in years past, you've seen it in the background), a aquarium, an indoor rainforest. an aviary, a butterfly pavilion, and a chairlift.

2. Omaha boasts more restaurants per capita than any other major city in the U.S. There are a wide variety of ethnic choices, places serving food just like mom makes, great steak houses, and upscale restaurants that rival those in most cities.

Summer on the Platte River
3. Three rivers - that's right, three. Sure they aren't quite as impressive as Pittsburgh's three rivers but we've got them. The Elkhorn is a fun river for tubing, the Platte is wider than it is deep and you can often walk most of the way across it on sandbars in the summer, and the Missouri is the river for boating.

4. It's not all about football around here - we have sports of all kinds to enjoy. Omaha is home to the Kansas City Royals AAA team, the Stormchasers; two colleges with high-ranking teams in
TD Ameritrade Park, home of the College World Series
hockey, soccer, baseball, and basketball; and we support major sporting events such as the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in 2013, twice the U.S. Olympic Swim Trials (in 2016 we'll host for a third time) and, for twenty years, the College World Series. Also, we have a curling league which may not mean much to some of you but which I'm dying to get in good enough shape to join!

5. Music, music, music - no matter what kind of music you enjoy, you'll be able to find it here. Everything from a vibrant indie music scene to large outdoor concerts to a symphony to the top stars of every venue coming to town. In the summer we enjoy free concerts almost every weekend, indie music festivals, and Jazz On The Green every Thursday evening.

Joslyn Art Museum
6. Art - Joslyn Art Museum is our pride and joy (home to works by most major artists including a Rembrandt that they just "discovered") and it's free. But it's by no means our only art museum and there are a lot of smaller non-museum venues that host art shows as well as several art festivals and the Bemis Center for Contemporary Art which boasts a residency program.

7. A vibrant, revitalized downtown including park space, restaurants, shopping (book stores, antique stores, a Russian import store, record stores, and clothing stores), a walking bridge across the Missouri River and giant slides! We're also seeing revitalization in other areas of town that are becoming big night spots.

I have a guest room - you should come and visit!


  1. It seems like we only get up to Omaha when we're flying out of Eppley Field. It's less than an hour away, but our weekends are full and we usually just hang out here in Lincoln However, two of my favorite places are the Lauritzen Gardens and Stir Cove (for outdoor concerts). I'm hoping to get up to both later this summer.

  2. I was so jealous when the swim trials were there last time! And we alllllmost came for the figure skating championships.

  3. Apart from the tornadoes you've sold Omaha to me, Lisa. It sounds like a lively city and you have rivers even if you don't have the sea. I'd be right there to visit you if it weren't for the distance!

  4. It is on our list this summer! The zoo, the train station, and downtown. We need to coordinate at least for coffee or something!

  5. Great post. I live in a suburb just outside of Los Angeles and you'd think we'd have a plethora of book stores to choose from but we have one big chain and no indies. It's a sad, sad state of affairs given our city is so large. Even when I drive to work, which is over an hour each way, I am no where near a bookstore as the one we had, a Borders, closed years ago.

  6. Wow sounds like a great vacation! I absolutely love zoos but have never really thought of Omaha as a zoo place. Combine that with all the other variety definitely puts this on my radar as some place to go! Great post!

  7. Loved reading about your home state! I don't see many photos of Nebraska. The Platte River looks beautiful.

  8. I have never been to Omaha, but I do remember how beautiful Nebraska was as my family drove through on our way to Pennsylvania. I love visiting new places, imagining what life would be like there. :-) Thank you for sharing a bit of your home with us.