Omaha travel guide

Gateway to the West

Omaha Tourism | Omaha Guide

You're Going to Love Omaha

Omaha may be in central Nebraska, but that doesn't mean it's an isolated outpost that's only interested in agriculture. In fact, this city of over 400,000 people is a gourmet dining, family entertainment and music center to match almost anywhere else in the USA.

If all you want is a sporting spectacle, be in Omaha in June for the NCAA Baseball World Series. Or head over for Taste of Omaha, when artisan food producers from all over Nebraska seek to wow the taste buds of thousands of food lovers.

Any time of year, steak restaurants like Gorat's will redefine what you think a good steak should taste like. Indie venues like Slowdown host the latest bands all year-round, while the vintage stores and boutiques of the Old Market offer a cornucopia of items to satisfy any fashionista or bargain hunter.

When you couple all of that with family attractions like Omaha Zoo, it's not so hard to understand why Omaha is becoming such a popular getaway destination, and you can join the flow by booking a trip today.

Top 5 Reasons to Visit Omaha

The Best Beef in the USA

Omaha has more steakhouses per capita than any other American city. That's due to the superb beef that is raised in the Nebraska countryside. Dine on prime steak at local institutions like Gorat's or Spencer's to find out what real corn-fed steak tastes like.

College Sports

Every June, Omaha hosts the NCAA Baseball World Series, the most important event in the college baseball calendar. If you can't make it to the World Series, the Omaha Mavericks play high-level hockey and the Creighton Bluejays have one of the best college soccer teams in the USA.

Family-Friendly Attractions

Omaha is a wonderful place for families to visit. The city zoo is one of the best-run and most accessible zoos in the country, with its desert dome, aquarium and much, much more. There's also the captivating model railway in Lauritzen Gardens and tubing and boating on the Elkhorn River, so there's something for all ages to enjoy.

Indie Music Performances

Omaha's Saddle Creek record label has been responsible for some of indie rock's brightest talents, with alumni like Rilo Kiley, the Thermals, Bright Eyes and Cursive. See the latest crop of talent at venues like Slowdown or the Waiting Room.

Wonderful Shopping Experiences

Omaha is packed with opportunities to shop for antiques, vintage clothes and jewelry. The Old Market is the number one place to go, hosting the huge vintage collection at Flying Worm, the Old Market Artists Gallery and apparel boutiques like Curbside Clothing.

What to do in Omaha

1. Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium: The World's Best Zoo

Considered by many the world's finest zoo, Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium attracts millions of visitors each year. Highly-regarded for its animal conservation and research, the site was established in 1894 and features spectacular exhibits, including the largest wild cat compound in North America, the largest nocturnal exhibit and indoor swamp in the world, the Lied Jungle, a breath-taking indoor rainforest, and the Desert Dome- a sprawling indoor desert.

2. The Durham Museum: Relive the Industrial Revolution

Located within Omaha's spectacular Art Deco Union Station, the Durham Museum explores the history of the region and showcases a wide-ranging display of science and industry exhibits, as well as restored train cars, mid-century storefronts, regional artifacts, and the Byron Reed collection, which features rare coins and historic documents. Guests are also encouraged to visit the antique soda fountain and enjoy a phosphate or malt.

3. Joslyn Art Museum: A Timeless Collection

Built by Sarah Joslyn in memory of her husband, George, the Joslyn Art Museum, one of the country's most exquisite examples of Art Deco architecture, includes a sprawling concert hall, a fountain court, an educational technology gallery, a lecture hall, a café and a gift shop. The museum houses an outstanding collection of Greek ceramics and works by European masters, including Titian, Rembrandt, El Greco, Degas, Monet and Renoir. Featured American artists include Winslow Homer, Jackson Pollock, William Merritt Chase, and Tom Wesselmann.

4. First National's Spirit of Nebraska's Wilderness and Pioneer Courage Park: A Sculptural Treasure Trove

An homage to the American pioneers, Omaha's First National's Spirit of Nebraska's Wilderness and Pioneer Courage Park celebrates the courage and conviction of the early settlers. Its impressive sculpture park enables visitors to experience the journey of these brave men and women through one of the world's largest exhibits of bronze and stainless steel works. Sculptors include Edward Fraughton, Blair Buswell, and Kent Ullberg, who have meticulously recreated wagon trains, bison stampedes, and flocks of Canadian geese.

5. Lauritzen Gardens: Flowers for All Seasons

With its breath-taking display of seasonal plant varieties, Lauritzen Gardens, a living museum, is an oasis in the heart of Omaha along the Missouri River. This botanical garden and an arboretum showcases- among others highlights- a festival garden, with vibrant annual plantings and open lawns, a Victorian garden featuring the exquisiteness of both English and Victorian gardens, a reproduction of Nebraska's vast wildflower-filled prairie lands which is charmingly named The Song of the Lark Meadow, and a bird sanctuary providing a natural habitat for a variety of Midwestern birds. Visitors can also enjoy hikes along woodland trails and waterfalls.

6. Iowa State Capitol: A Graceful Political Center

Opened in 1886, Iowa's State Capitol is probably the city's most recognizable and elegant building. Famous for its five domes, including a central dome that is covered in gold. Towering some 275 feet above the ground, the pinnacle of the dome can be accessed through a spiral stairway, and it's worth the effort - the views are superb. And when you get back down, take a tour and see quirky exhibits like the scale model of the USS Iowa and porcelain figures of every one of the state's First Ladies.

Henry Doorly Zoo and AquariumHenry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium
The Durham MuseumThe Durham Museum
Joslyn Art MuseumJoslyn Art Museum
First National's Spirit of Nebraska's Wilderness and Pioneer Courage ParkFirst National's Spirit of Nebraska's Wilderness and Pioneer Courage Park

1. Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium: The World's Best Zoo

Considered by many the world's finest zoo, Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium attracts millions of visitors each year. Highly-regarded for its animal conservation and research, the site was established in 1894 and features spectacular exhibits, including the largest wild cat compound in North America, the largest nocturnal exhibit and indoor swamp in the world, the Lied Jungle, a breath-taking indoor rainforest, and the Desert Dome- a sprawling indoor desert.

2. The Durham Museum: Relive the Industrial Revolution

Located within Omaha's spectacular Art Deco Union Station, the Durham Museum explores the history of the region and showcases a wide-ranging display of science and industry exhibits, as well as restored train cars, mid-century storefronts, regional artifacts, and the Byron Reed collection, which features rare coins and historic documents. Guests are also encouraged to visit the antique soda fountain and enjoy a phosphate or malt.

3. Joslyn Art Museum: A Timeless Collection

Built by Sarah Joslyn in memory of her husband, George, the Joslyn Art Museum, one of the country's most exquisite examples of Art Deco architecture, includes a sprawling concert hall, a fountain court, an educational technology gallery, a lecture hall, a café and a gift shop. The museum houses an outstanding collection of Greek ceramics and works by European masters, including Titian, Rembrandt, El Greco, Degas, Monet and Renoir. Featured American artists include Winslow Homer, Jackson Pollock, William Merritt Chase, and Tom Wesselmann.

4. First National's Spirit of Nebraska's Wilderness and Pioneer Courage Park: A Sculptural Treasure Trove

An homage to the American pioneers, Omaha's First National's Spirit of Nebraska's Wilderness and Pioneer Courage Park celebrates the courage and conviction of the early settlers. Its impressive sculpture park enables visitors to experience the journey of these brave men and women through one of the world's largest exhibits of bronze and stainless steel works. Sculptors include Edward Fraughton, Blair Buswell, and Kent Ullberg, who have meticulously recreated wagon trains, bison stampedes, and flocks of Canadian geese.

5. Lauritzen Gardens: Flowers for All Seasons

With its breath-taking display of seasonal plant varieties, Lauritzen Gardens, a living museum, is an oasis in the heart of Omaha along the Missouri River. This botanical garden and an arboretum showcases- among others highlights- a festival garden, with vibrant annual plantings and open lawns, a Victorian garden featuring the exquisiteness of both English and Victorian gardens, a reproduction of Nebraska's vast wildflower-filled prairie lands which is charmingly named The Song of the Lark Meadow, and a bird sanctuary providing a natural habitat for a variety of Midwestern birds. Visitors can also enjoy hikes along woodland trails and waterfalls.

6. Iowa State Capitol: A Graceful Political Center

Opened in 1886, Iowa's State Capitol is probably the city's most recognizable and elegant building. Famous for its five domes, including a central dome that is covered in gold. Towering some 275 feet above the ground, the pinnacle of the dome can be accessed through a spiral stairway, and it's worth the effort - the views are superb. And when you get back down, take a tour and see quirky exhibits like the scale model of the USS Iowa and porcelain figures of every one of the state's First Ladies.

Henry Doorly Zoo and AquariumHenry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium
The Durham MuseumThe Durham Museum
Joslyn Art MuseumJoslyn Art Museum
First National's Spirit of Nebraska's Wilderness and Pioneer Courage ParkFirst National's Spirit of Nebraska's Wilderness and Pioneer Courage Park

Top activities & attractions in Omaha

Where to Eat in Omaha

Omaha is a superb dining city and many of the best establishments center their menus around Nebraska's exceptional corn-fed beef. The best steaks in town are to be found at Gorat's Steak House, but book ahead as tables are in demand. The ribeye from Spencer's for Steaks and Chops is another local legend, while there are also great Italian restaurants like Piccolo Pete's, Japanese options like Hiro Sushi and exotic alternatives like Ahmad's Persian Cuisine. So take your pick, Omaha's got it covered. Expect to pay less than $20 for a high-quality meal and $30 or more for the finest steaks at places like Gorat's.

Most popular restaurants in Omaha

American
Wonderful (374 reviews)
$$$$
Italian
Wonderful (328 reviews)
American
Wonderful (218 reviews)
Contemporary American
Wonderful (205 reviews)
American
Very good (177 reviews)
American
Wonderful (130 reviews)

When to visit Omaha

Omaha in November
Estimated hotel price
$111
1 night at 3-star hotel
Omaha in November
Estimated hotel price
$111
1 night at 3-star hotel

Omaha has a fairly extreme climate, with blazing hot summers and bitter winters, which makes the shoulder seasons easily the most attractive times to visit. Between April and June, the city is warm and welcoming (but June offers more attractions with the NCAA World Series and Taste of Omaha). Halloween is another great time to go. The city opens a number of "haunted houses", there are seasonal attractions at Vala's Pumpkin Patch and family fun at the Carnival of Terror.

Data provided by weatherbase
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Temperatures
Average
Fahrenheit (°F)
Data provided by weatherbase

How to Get to Omaha

Plane

Omaha's Eppley Airfield Airport is just a few minutes from Downtown Omaha and is served by major airlines like American Airlines, United, Delta, Southwest and Express Jet. There are no public buses from the airport, but shuttle bus services run from the lower level of the terminal. Taxis are also available at the terminal and should cost between $25 and $35 to reach your hotel. Another option is vehicle rental, and outlets like Alamo, Dollar and Avis are present at Eppley Airfield.

Train

Omaha's small Amtrak station can be found at 1003 S 9th St and is a stop on the California Zephyr route, which connects the city to San Francisco and Chicago.

Car

Those driving to Omaha can reach the city easily via the interstate highway network. I-80 links the city to Chicago and the east, along with San Francisco. Take I-29 from cities to the north or south, such as Kansas City.

Bus

Omaha's Greyhound terminal is located at 1601 Jackson St, and the company is a good way to travel their cheaply, with connections to cities like St Louis, Kansas City, Chicago and Minneapolis. Megabus also stop in Omaha, and $1 fares from cities like Chicago and Des Moines are regularly available if you book in advance.

Airlines serving Omaha

United Airlines
Good (2,947 reviews)
Lufthansa
Good (2,376 reviews)
American Airlines
Good (4,505 reviews)
KLM
Good (359 reviews)
Air France
Good (436 reviews)
British Airways
Good (1,587 reviews)
Delta
Excellent (3,165 reviews)
Iberia
Good (965 reviews)
Qatar Airways
Good (1,318 reviews)
Air Canada
Good (1,668 reviews)
Finnair
Good (736 reviews)
Scandinavian Airlines
Good (460 reviews)
Alaska Airlines
Excellent (2,879 reviews)
JetBlue
Good (1,324 reviews)
ITA Airways
Good (156 reviews)
Aeromexico
Good (775 reviews)
ANA
Excellent (177 reviews)
Aer Lingus
Good (467 reviews)
Japan Airlines
Good (530 reviews)
Korean Air
Excellent (287 reviews)
Show more

Where to stay in Omaha

Downtown Omaha – Omaha is a prosperous commercial center, so much of the Downtown area is dominated by offices, but it still has plenty of charm for tourists. It is home to the city's major performing arts centers like the Orpheum Theater, the Omaha Children's Museum and the CenturyLink Center, Omaha's sporting hub.

Popular Neighborhoods in Omaha

Bemis Park – Omaha's most beautiful residential area, Bemis Park was mainly built in the 1890s and 1900s, and these days it can feel a bit like a time capsule. The area is a treat to walk around, but there's more to do than look. You can dine with the locals at the Crescent Moon Ale House or relax in the serene surroundings of Bemis Park itself, with its biking trails and children's playgrounds.

The Blackstone District – Omaha's culinary and craft ale center, the Blackstone District is ideal for bar hoppers and gourmet food fans. Grab a Reuben sandwich covered in swiss cheese and corned beef in the neighborhood that invented it, or try out Omaha's newest craft ale pubs like Huber Haus or Farnam House. It's always a fun place to spend time.

Where to stay in popular areas of Omaha

Most booked hotels in Omaha

Kimpton Cottonwood
Excellent (8.9, 191 reviews)
$158+
Cambria Hotel Omaha Downtown
Excellent (8.8, 870 reviews)
$116+
Hotel Deco
Excellent (8.5, 174 reviews)
$135+
Country Inn & Suites by Radisson, Council Bluffs
Excellent (8.3, 1338 reviews)
$89+
Courtyard by Marriott Omaha La Vista
Excellent (8.3, 137 reviews)
$132+
Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites Council Bluffs I-29, An IHG Hotel
Excellent (8.2, 527 reviews)
$112+
See all hotels

How to Get Around Omaha

Public Transportation

Omaha's buses are generally reliable and affordably priced at just $1.25 per journey. If you fancy being a little more active, there's also an electric bike rental scheme called QuikByke, which runs on weekends during the summer.

Taxis

Taxis in Omaha are a good way to get around the city. Rates are $2.95 for the meter drop, then $2.30 per mile after that (although discounts are available for senior citizens, so don't miss out). Uber is a cheaper option, charging a meter drop of $0.40 and $0.90 per mile (with a minimum fare of $5.05).

Car

Renting a car is a cost effective and enjoyable option for getting around Omaha. There are plenty of on-street parking spaces in the center of town, and rates vary depending on how much demand there is for spaces. The best way to pay is by downloading the Park Omaha app, which leads you through every step.

The Cost of Living in Omaha

Shopping Streets

There's no shortage of places to shop in Omaha, with everything from mega-malls to exclusive boutiques. At the highest end of the scale, jewelry fans should definitely visit Borsheim's. Owned by famous investor Warren Buffet, it has a massive catalog of pieces that will take your breath away. For general shopping, Crossroads Mall features stores like Sears and Target while Oak View Mall is the place to head for apparel, with J.C. Penney and Kohls outlets in the complex. Another charming upscale location is the Old Market, where you can dine at small restaurants and shop at small-scale independent stores like Flying Worm Vintage and the Imaginarium.

Groceries and Other

Omaha is an easy place for self-catering visitors to find the groceries they need. Independent grocery stores are all over town, including Patricks Market on Howard and Jacobo's Deli which specializes in Mexican products. There are also standard supermarkets in most neighborhoods, including Walmart and Baker's. Prices are usually very affordable, with a gallon of milk costing $3 and a pound of apples $1.75.

Cheap meal
$11.00
A pair of jeans
$42.87
Single public transport ticket
$1.50
Cappuccino
$3.86
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