The Top Things to Do and See in Omaha, Nebraska

Boat tours run on the lake at Omahas Heartland of America Park, where you might even meet the resident swans, Romeo and Juliet
Boat tours run on the lake at Omaha's Heartland of America Park, where you might even meet the resident swans, Romeo and Juliet | © Paul Brady / Alamy Stock Photo
Brendan Scully

Omaha, in the Midwest, is the largest city in the state of Nebraska. The history of Omaha is rich and full of cultural importance – and you’ll see it everywhere from the green spaces to the buzzing urban center. Here are some of the best things to do and see in Omaha to make your trip an authentic experience in the Midwest.
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Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium

Lion at Henry Doorly Zoo, Omaha

Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium is consistently rated as one of the top two or three zoos in the world. Dedicated to conservation, research, recreation, and education, the huge zoo is spread out over 130 acres (53 hectares) and houses more than 960 species. It has the largest indoor rainforest in the world, the world’s biggest indoor desert and the world’s largest nocturnal animal exhibit. Highlights include wet caves, an aquarium with sharks and penguins and the largest geodesic dome in the world.

TD Ameritrade Park Omaha

Omaha’s TD Ameritrade Park has been the home of the National College Baseball World Series since 2011. The series takes place each June and brings thousands of tourists and buckets of energy to Omaha. It’s also the home stadium for Omaha’s Creighton University baseball team, The Bluejays. This large stadium comfortably holds 24,000 people, so on a game night the mood is electric and, regardless of sports knowledge, you easily get sucked in. However, if sports really isn’t your thing, the park also holds several music concerts each year.

Heartland of America Park

This 31-acre (13 hectare) public park is located in downtown Omaha, adjacent to Conagra Lake and the Missouri River. Gondola rides are available across the lake less than five dollars and multi-colored fountains come to life at night, adding to the scenery. The lake also has a tour boat named General Marion, with tours available in the summer – and watch out for the resident swan couple, Romeo and Juliet!

Walk across the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge

Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge. Omaha, Nebraska.

Ever wish you could be in two places at once? Well, a trip to the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge can make this possible. This 3,000ft (914m) long footbridge allows visitors to cross the Missouri River and stand in between the states at Omaha, Nebraska, and Council Bluffs, Iowa. The bridge also offers some beautiful photo ops of the surrounding areas, and with its elegant, twisting architectural design, it is worth a snap or two itself.

Joslyn Art Museum

Free entry might draw you in, but it’s the beautiful atmosphere and impressive art galleries that make you stay. Joslyn is the principal fine arts museum in Nebraska, and the only museum in the state with a comprehensive permanent collection. Joslyn houses more than 11,000 works of art and sculpture, including pieces by Claude Monet and Veronese, plus outstanding collections by Renoir and Bouguereau. Temporary exhibits are added every year and patrons can enjoy strolling through the beautiful gardens on the property all year round, or just for the annual Jazz on the Green festival hosted in the gardens every July and August.

Enjoy a day or night out in The Old Market

The Old Market is an historic neighborhood in downtown Omaha. Follow the cobblestone streets to enjoy the many restaurants, shops and galleries The Old Market has to offer. Highlights include the Spaghetti Works, an Old Market institution serving authentic Italian food since 1974, and the Passageway Gallery, showcasing the works of local artists. The market also hosts a variety of events, including writing workshops and gallery showings for local artists and enthusiasts.

Lewis and Clark Landing

Sculpture at Lewis and Clark Landing Omaha Nebraska USA

History buffs are drawn to this public park right off the Missouri River, as it is said to be first landing spot of the Lewis and Clarke Expedition in 1804. The 23 acres hold several walking and biking trails which link to other parks and bridges, as well as statues and monuments including the Omaha Firefighter’s Memorial Monument and the second largest labor monument in the US. There are several fountains and plenty of tables with umbrellas, so when the sun is out its the perfect afternoon resting spot for the whole family.

Watch MMA at Ralston Arena

Ralston Arena is home to the Dynasty Combat Sports, a Western-based premier mixed martial arts organization that’s headquartered in Omaha. Here, fighters battle in a lively arena that houses thousands of spectators. Go for an experience you wouldn’t have in other large US cities. There’s a strong sense of community with these fights; locals show up in droves to support their Omaha fighters take on other competitors from the Northwest.

The Durham Museum

The Durham Museum is dedicated to showing and preserving the history of the Western region of the US. Built on the old Union Train Station site in Downtown Omaha, the museum showcases the history of some of the city’s oldest companies and has locomotives, train cars and a streetcar.

Lauritzen Gardens

Tulips, Lauritzen Gardens, Omaha’s botanical center, Nebraska, USA

Consisting of botanical gardens and an arboretum, Lauritzen Gardens span more than 100 acres (40 hectares). The gardens hold many events throughout the year, including the Fall Chrysanthemum Show, where Omaha’s relationship with its sister city Shizuoka, Japan, is honored through floral arrangements.

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