What are the best things to do in Omaha?

Michael Ream

From its famed zoo to the annual College World Series, there’s a slew of activities to keep you busy. Here are five best things to see and do in Omaha:
 
1. Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium. This zoo boasts close to 20,000 animals spread over a 100-acre-plus facility. There’s a large aquarium, an aviary and the world’s only indoor desert and rainforest, where you can spot everything from peccaries, cobras and meerkats to tree frogs, blue monkeys and boa constrictors. The zoo’s insect and butterfly pavilion and Expedition Madagascar room are worth checking out as well.
 
2. College World Series. This baseball tournament comes to town each June, drawing fans from all over the country to TD Ameritrade Park. The tournament has been around since 1950, and you can experience the tradition for yourself by visiting the stadium — it’s just a short walk from downtown.
 
3. Joslyn Art Museum. Housed in an impressive Art Deco building, Omaha’s art museum has a nice collection of contemporary works, with an emphasis on art of the American West. Temporary exhibits have showcased everything from folk art to photography to master painters and sculptors. Admission is free on Saturday mornings.
 
4. Old Market. This charming dining and nightlife district is squeezed into a cluster of historic blocks, all just a stone’s throw from the Missouri River. Take an evening to stroll past the restaurants, bars, art galleries and boutiques.
 
5. Eat at a steakhouse. Omaha’s once legendary stockyards are gone now, but the city is still known for its prime beef. You’ll see steakhouses scattered throughout town; we like Boiler Room, which also has a fantastic wine list.

  • On August 29, 2012
    Michael Ream answered the question: Michael Ream

    What are the best road trips from Omaha?

    A good road trip from Omaha is to the state’s capital, Lincoln, which is just an hour away. It is worth a visit for its two iconic structures: the Nebraska State Capitol and Memorial Stadium. The Nebraska State Capitol — a tall stone spire that soars 400 feet into the air — is the second tallest capitol in the United States and is visible for miles across the flat Nebraska plains. Across town is Memorial Stadium, home to the University of Nebraska Huskers. The stadium seats nearly 90,000 and has sold out every game since 1962, a national record.
     
    Lincoln also features some nice hiking and walking trails, its own modest zoo and several museums, including the Great Plains Art Museum, which showcases the works of Western artists like Frederic Remington. Downtown Lincoln also has a lively college town atmosphere, with some nice restaurants and cafes.
  • On August 29, 2012
    Michael Ream answered the question: Michael Ream

    What is the best thing to bring home from Omaha?

    The best thing to bring home from Omaha is some authentic Nebraska Huskers gear at Husker Heaven or Husker Hounds. You can also stop in at Jackson Street Booksellers, a book lover’s heaven with tomes in every subject spilling off the shelves and onto tables, chairs and the floor. The employees here are classic book geeks, and they just might be able to locate a hard-to-find book you’ve been searching for. Finally, you can always send home a taste of Omaha’s famed beef — Omaha Steaks will ship their goods to just about anyplace in the world.
  • On August 29, 2012
    Michael Ream answered the question: Michael Ream

    What are the best Omaha food experiences?

    No matter how many cuisines you sample in Omaha, the city is still all about beef. Steakhouses abound here, ranging from formal dining rooms to more casual, family-style places. You’ll hear many different recommendations from locals on where to find the best steak in town. Some prefer the longstanding favorite Gorat’s Steakhouse (it’s said to be Warren Buffet’s favorite), while others often visit the clubby, old-school atmosphere of Johnny’s Café or Cascio’s.
     
    The more contemporary Omaha Prime is conveniently located in the bustling Old Market district, while Brother Sebastian’s is decidedly offbeat, featuring décor designed to evoke a monastery and servers wearing long robes. If you want to bring the taste of local beef home with you, pay a visit to Omaha Steaks, which will ship steaks just about anywhere.
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  • On August 29, 2012
    Michael Ream answered the question: Michael Ream

    Where is the best nightlife in Omaha?

    Omaha has numerous nightlife options spread across the city. Probably the best places are found in the Old Market district, which has a nice selection of bars, clubs and happy hour specials. Check out the Dubliner Pub if you want to imbibe in an authentic Irish setting, or try Havana Garage for tropical drinks and cigars. The Nomad Lounge offers a sensual, decadent atmosphere and gets going later in the evening with booming dance music.
     
    A variety of nightlife options have sprung up in Midtown, where you’ll find numerous restaurants, bars and cinemas spilling around the Midtown Crossing and Aksarben Village developments. Also in the area is a trio of beer drinking establishments: Crescent Moon, Max and Joe’s and Huber-Haus. They are all connected, and each one specializes in different types of beers. Down the road, Brothers Lounge is a friendly neighborhood joint with a casual, rumpus-room feel to it.
     
    Finally, go to West Omaha to find the Holiday Lounge and Interlude Lounge — both throwbacks to an earlier era, with a retro atmosphere and strong drinks. Not far away from those spots is the Mai Tai Lounge, tucked away in the basement of the Mt. Fuji Inn. You’ll know exactly what you’re getting here — the bar’s alcoholic concoctions have their own ratings system based on the potency of the drink.
  • On August 29, 2012
    Michael Ream answered the question: Michael Ream

    What is the best way to see Omaha in one day?

    The best way to see Omaha in one day is to begin on a Saturday morning at the farmers’ market in the Old Market district. Next, take a short walk up to Gene Leahy Mall, a strip of green in the heart of the city that has paths winding past lagoons, an amphitheater and a nice view of Omaha’s skyline. Stroll over to The Durham Museum in the city’s old train station, and stop for lunch along the way in one of the Old Market’s many fine restaurants.
     
    In the afternoon, hit Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium, which can easily consume a few hours. After dinner, a good option is a ball game — either the minor-league Omaha Storm Chasers baseball team or the insanely popular University of Nebraska Huskers football team, who play down the road in Lincoln. Omaha also boasts plenty of nightlife, ranging from quiet bars to dance clubs to numerous cinemas found throughout the city.
  • On August 29, 2012
    Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question: Forbes Travel Guide Inspector

    Where are the best places to eat in Omaha?

    While its legendary steaks dominate the restaurant scene in Omaha, there’s more than just red meat in this Midwest city. Here are Forbes Travel Guide’s picks for the best places to eat in Omaha:
     
    1. Boiler Room. Sleek, modern décor is the setting for this unique Omaha steakhouse. The changing menu touches on both the latest international trends and down-home country food, with an emphasis on beef and game meats. The restaurant’s bar is the place to go for Mad Men-era cocktails as well as masterful pours of classics like gin and tonic.
     
    2. Gorat’s Steakhouse. In a city renowned for its steakhouses, this old standby has been turning out tasty cuts of beef for more than 60 years. Order a thick filet mignon or sirloin, or other classic steakhouse fare such as shrimp cocktails and clam chowder. While you’re there, keep your eyes peeled for local celebrity Warren Buffet — Gorat’s is known to be one of his favorite spots in Omaha.
     
    3. The Grey Plume. A rather ordinary storefront conceals this dining hotspot in Midtown. Dishes emphasize seasonal flavors, and may include salmon, trout, lamb and beef — all with great sauces. Don’t miss the charcuterie — it’s a local favorite. The Grey Plume also has an extensive wine list, and the staff will be happy to suggest a bottle to go with your meal.
     
    4. Marks Bistro. Upscale comfort food is the rule at this cozy eatery inside a converted home. Its famed mac and cheese is made with Asiago, blue, cheddar and Havarti. There are several sandwiches on the menu, as well as selections that include pad thai, leg of lamb and roast chicken. The outdoor patio is ideal for dining with a glass of wine on a pleasant day.
     
    5. V. Mertz. Innovative cooking abounds at this longtime favorite in the Old Market district. The menu changes frequently and features dishes with fresh ingredients, all exquisitely prepared. The atmosphere matches the food at this formal eatery — you’ll see white tablecloths and dark woods. There’s also an extensive wine list.
  • On August 29, 2012
    Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question: Forbes Travel Guide Inspector

    Where are the best places to stay in Omaha?

    As a gateway to the Great Plains, Omaha is Nebraska’s largest city but it’s not one that’s lined with top luxury hotels. However, there are a few good places to stay with great amenities and thoughtful touches. Here are five that Forbes Travel Guide recommends:
     
    1. The Cornerstone Mansion. Omaha’s only historic inn is found inside this handsome Gothic Revival home, which was built as a 10,000-square-foot showcase in 1894. Antique furnishings and décor mix with modern amenities that include free WiFi. There are seven guest rooms and suites, and some come with fireplaces. A continental breakfast is served weekdays in the grand dining room, while a full cooked breakfast is served on weekends.
     
    2. The Magnolia Hotel. This boutique hotel has a mash-up of designs — it’s a hip combination of classic Italian architectural details and modern color schemes. The relaxing guest rooms feature comfortable beds and sweeping views of downtown. There’s also an all-day restaurant, a hopping bar and complimentary milk and cookies at bedtime.
     
    3. Hotel Deco XV. True to its name, this historic hotel — it was built in 1930 — is decked out in Art Deco décor. In the guest rooms, expect spa-like showers, hardwood floors and Italian furnishings. Other perks include iPad rentals and a sophisticated onsite restaurant. 
     
    4. Hilton Omaha. This Hilton gives quick access to the neighboring CenturyLink Center via an indoor skywalk, and it’s also just a short walk to TD Ameritrade Park. Recently renovated, the hotel has a spa, sauna, whirlpool and salt-water indoor pool. Dining choices include a casual bar and grill that whips up a yummy Sunday brunch.
     
    5. Omaha Marriott. Out in west Omaha, this large hotel is ideal for the business traveler. A concierge team will help you with all your last-minute needs, and there are two pools (one outside and one in) and a nice workout facility.
  • On August 29, 2012
    Michael Ream answered the question: Michael Ream

    Where is the best shopping in Omaha?

    For the best shopping in Omaha, head to the Old Market district. Flush with art galleries, antique dealers and small shops, this is a shopper’s mecca located conveniently just outside downtown. Poke around Souq for unique imported items, and Nouvelle Eve or Nebraska Clothing Company for men’s and women’s fashions. Drastic Plastic and Homer’s Music are classic old-school record stores that sit across the street from each other, making comparison shopping a cinch. The Antique Annex, Fairmont Antiques and Mercantile and Second Change Antiques are all endlessly interesting shops filled with various curiosities.
  • On August 29, 2012
    Michael Ream answered the question: Michael Ream

    What are the best things to do with kids in Omaha?

    Kids will love playing in Omaha’s parks, museums and zoo. Here are our picks for the best things to do with kids in this Midwest city:
     
    1. Visit the Ak-Sar-Ben Aquarium. Tucked away in a state recreation area just outside of the city, this modest aquarium has lots of native Nebraska fish as well as other displays on animal and plant life. After checking out the aquarium, take a hike on the nearby trails or sit down for a family picnic.
     
    2. Explore The Durham Museum. Housed in Omaha’s restored Union Station, this museum features soaring ceilings and original Art Deco furnishings throughout the sprawling interior. Exhibits focus on local history and include displays on Omaha businesses and significant events, as well as temporary exhibits from the Smithsonian Institution and other venues.
     
    3. Zip around Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium. Kids will love checking out the vast menagerie of creatures from all over the world at this huge zoo, which features lots of reconstructed native animal habitats. There’s also an IMAX theatre and a mini-train ride.
     
    4. Stroll through Lauritzen Gardens.
    Facing the riverfront with sumptuous views of the surrounding countryside, this botanical garden covers more than 100 acres of lush landscape. Kids will love the children’s garden, bird sanctuary and arboretum with native trees.
     
    5. Play at Omaha Children’s Museum. There is lots of hands-on fun at this museum, which has numerous areas where kids can try out their scientific and artistic talents and play with the toys on hand. There are numerous temporary exhibits as well.
  • On August 29, 2012
    Michael Ream answered the question: Michael Ream

    What are the best things to do in Omaha?

    From its famed zoo to the annual College World Series, there’s a slew of activities to keep you busy. Here are five best things to see and do in Omaha:
     
    1. Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium. This zoo boasts close to 20,000 animals spread over a 100-acre-plus facility. There’s a large aquarium, an aviary and the world’s only indoor desert and rainforest, where you can spot everything from peccaries, cobras and meerkats to tree frogs, blue monkeys and boa constrictors. The zoo’s insect and butterfly pavilion and Expedition Madagascar room are worth checking out as well.
     
    2. College World Series. This baseball tournament comes to town each June, drawing fans from all over the country to TD Ameritrade Park. The tournament has been around since 1950, and you can experience the tradition for yourself by visiting the stadium — it’s just a short walk from downtown.
     
    3. Joslyn Art Museum. Housed in an impressive Art Deco building, Omaha’s art museum has a nice collection of contemporary works, with an emphasis on art of the American West. Temporary exhibits have showcased everything from folk art to photography to master painters and sculptors. Admission is free on Saturday mornings.
     
    4. Old Market. This charming dining and nightlife district is squeezed into a cluster of historic blocks, all just a stone’s throw from the Missouri River. Take an evening to stroll past the restaurants, bars, art galleries and boutiques.
     
    5. Eat at a steakhouse. Omaha’s once legendary stockyards are gone now, but the city is still known for its prime beef. You’ll see steakhouses scattered throughout town; we like Boiler Room, which also has a fantastic wine list.