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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Every June, Omaha becomes a baseball city like no other as the best college teams in the country converge for their World Series at TD Ameritrade Park. Book ahead if you plan to attend, as tickets sell out incredibly quickly.
Also held in June, Taste of Omaha is the city's number one gastronomic event. Held Downtown, it brings together farmers, chefs and artisan food producers from all over Nebraska, offering tasters, classes and talks as well as a chance to stock up on gourmet treats.
Omaha is also a famous city on the indie rock scene, primarily thanks to the Saddle Creek record label, which is the stable of artists like Bright Eyes and Rilo Kiley. You can often find the label's major acts in action at venues like the Waiting Room, so be sure to check their schedules.
The most popular attraction in Nebraska, Omaha's city zoo is one of the best in America. It has a huge nocturnal animals exhibit, an aquarium and a fascinating desert dome, and it's a magical family destination.
Omaha isn't short on museums. In fact, there's something for everyone, with a diverse selection that includes the Strategic Air and Space Museum, the entertaining Children's Museum and the Durham Western Heritage Museum, which is housed in the stunning old Art Deco train station.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Central Omaha is the best neighborhood to base yourself, and there are plenty of comfortable family hotels in the area. Some of the most popular include the Hilton Omaha on Cass Street, the Magnolia Hotel and the Holiday Inn, all of which are close to city center shopping and attractions. Alternatives include the Comfort Inn at the Zoo, which is handy for one of the city's leading attractions, and B&Bs like the Cornerstone Mansion in southern Omaha, which provides high-quality accommodation in an elegant 1890s property.
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.
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.
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 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).
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.
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.
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.
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.