"O!!" Omaha by bocmaxima

Omaha Travel Guide: 258 reviews and 445 photos

Why Come to Omaha?

Omaha is not a traditional tourist destination by any sense of the word. In fact, there seems to be relatively little effort to attract tourists and very little of Omaha could be called "touristy" (maybe Old Market, but that's a stretch). So why do I come to Nebraska regularly?

I have five reasons I give people:

- The people: People in this region have the friendliest of the Midwest but the sensibility of the Plains. Everything is very down-to-earth and unpretentious. Omahans are very friendly and love to hear about how much you like their city and like Nebraska (especially the Huskers).

- Pizza: I would put Omaha in the Top 5 pizza cities list for the US. New York and Chicago are obvious, San Francisco I would probably put at #3. Omaha would likely follow though. Ask an Omahan where to get pizza, and they'll likely tell you some place other than Zio's. Zio's is awesome though, so please do get there, particularly for lunch ($6.50 for slice + salad + soda).

- Music/arts scene: Saddle Creek Records is headquartered here, sporting bands like Cursive and Bright Eyes (formerly). Contrast that with the music of 311, who is also originally from here. There are some excellent local bands and, on top of that, excellent local music venues.
Omaha has a First Friday art crawl, but also always has various art events going on. Pick up a paper when you arrive and you'll find something going on, even during the week.

- Quality of attractions: The traditional tourist attractions in Omaha are just way above par. The Dunham Museum is absolutely fantastic, they have a great zoo and the botanical gardens is first-rate. Doing everything Omaha has to offer in the way of attractions would fill two, full days and leave you feeling satisfied that you didn't waste your time, as often happens in other cities.

- Beauty: If someone ever tells you that Nebraska is flat, ask if they've been anywhere in Nebraska except places along Interstate 80. I-80 unfortunately follows the basin of the Platte River, which is horrifyingly flat. However, go 5 miles away from the Platte River, and it becomes nothing but rolling fields. This is especially true as you near the Missouri River, and makes Omaha a strikingly hilly city. For a really pretty experience though, drive past Omaha's suburban fringes one evening and watch the sun set on one of the countless isolated, gravel farm roads that criss-cross the landscape. Gorgeous!

My Visits to Omaha

My first visit to Omaha was in the fall of 2007. I flew to Kansas City to take advantage of the last throes of ExpressJet's branded passenger service, rented a car, then drove through the plains to Lincoln. After a night there, I drove through Omaha and planned to spend the rest of the day and evening in Kansas City. However, Omaha blew me away so much that I ended up not arriving in Kansas City until about 11pm that night.
I returned in April 2010 to find it much cooler and much more brown. However, it was still gorgeous. Unfortunately, I had to work (telecommute), so I didn't get nearly as much time to explore the city.
I returned again in May 2011 to wonderful weather and a full plate of Omaha to explore.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Beautiful, lots to see and do, unpretentious, inexpensive
  • Cons:Less than agreeable winters
  • In a nutshell:Omaha? Yeah!
  • Last visit to Omaha: May 2011
  • Intro Updated May 6, 2011
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