12 Things You’ve Got to Do in Omaha

I’d never been to Omaha until a few months ago when I traveled to Nebraska for the Omaha Half Marathon. This was my first time in Nebraska and I was eager to see what was there, aside from well-known billionaire Warren Buffett.

I also knew about the Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium. It’s consistently ranked among the top zoos in the world. I also included a visit to this zoo as the one thing you’ve got to do in Nebraska in my popular post, One Thing You MUST Do with Kids in Every U.S. State. So, naturally, I was going there too. But, what else should I do?

I was only in town three or four days. I stayed at the EVEN Hotels Omaha Downtown. This was my first experience with the wellness-focused EVEN Hotels brand and it was a great fit for me. Every guest room has yoga mats, balance balls, and resistance bands.

Even better, a quick scroll through the TV channels and you’ll find multiple 10- and 20-minute workout videos. Since I was in town for a half marathon I wasn’t looking for a hard-core workout while at the hotel, so these short videos that ranged from stretch to core were just right.

The wellness doesn’t end with the in-room balance ball and yoga mat. Of course, there’s a fitness center and classes, but in the shower, you’ll even find wellness-inspired products, like a sweet orange refreshing shampoo and an energizing grapefruit and mint shower gel.

If you too find yourself in Omaha, here’s a look at what you’ve got to do:

1. See the World’s Largest Ball of Stamps. Yes, it’s in Omaha. Well, it’s just outside of town, in Boys Town, Nebraska at the Leon Myers Stamp Center. The World’s Largest Ball of Stamps is made up of more than four million stamps and weighs 600 pounds.

2. Reclaim Your Zen at Lauritzen Gardens. Lauritzen Gardens is a 100-acre property that’s home to some of the most beautiful botanical gardens, including a delightful Children’s Garden and a Model Railroad Garden with model trains choo-chooing all across the garden.

3. Snap Selfies with Two of the Greatest Locomotives. Adjacent to Lauritzen Gardens is Kenefick Park, home to Centennial and Big Boy, two of the Union Pacific Railroad’s largest and most powerful locomotives. Take the stairs or the tram to the top of the hill to see the trains.

4. Traipse Through a Sculpture Garden. At Joslyn Art Museum, explore the colorful sculpture garden outside the museum before heading in to take in works of art. Kids will love fun sculptures at Discovery Garden, like Pencil Bench and Folded Square Alphabet O.

5. See a Degas at Joslyn Art Museum. I still remember studying famous French works of art in my French 4 class in 11th grade, so I was beyond thrilled to see a Degas sculpture at the Joslyn Art Museum. Make time for Little Dancer, as well as multiple children’s programs at the museum.

6. Walk or Boat Around Heartland of America Park. It’s an enjoyable break to take a walk around the lake at Heartland of America Park. Pack a lunch to watch the fountains and the ducks, or enjoy a ride in a gondola. The views of downtown Omaha from the park are fantastic.

7. Get Pinned Around Town. As you walk around Omaha, you may notice giant blue push pins, like the one here. These mark the top 15 attractions in Omaha and you’ll find them at attractions like Heartland of America Park and Lauritzen Gardens.

8. Visit Holy Family Shrine. You’ll need to drive about 30 minutes outside Omaha to see Holy Family Shrine, but it’s definitely worth the trip. This glass shrine can be seen from the highway, but it’s a must to see it up-close. It’s also a place where travelers go to seek divine intervention.

9. Spend the Afternoon at the Zoo. This was my first time at Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium and it definitely lived up to the hype. Say hello to the elephants, ride the tram or train, and take a spin on the carousel. Kids will love the highly-interactive Children’s Adventure Trails.

10. Make Time for Tanukis. While you’re at the zoo, keep your eyes open for the popular Japanese raccoon dog sculptures called Tanukis. You’ll find at least a dozen in the Bear Canyon area of the zoo. These brightly colored sculptures are designed to spark imagination and discovery.

11. Stand in Two States at Once. Walk or bike across the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge. At about the mid-way point you’ll be able to stand in both Nebraska and Iowa at the same time. There are bike rental stations on both sides of the bridge so you can get in some miles on paved paths.

12. Check Out Warren Buffett’s House. Yes, while you’re in town, you should drive by Warren Buffett‘s house. I was eager to see how a billionaire lived and I knew it was a modest house. So, here it is. It’s literally on a main road and is easy to do a drive by. 🙂

Have fun in Omaha. I’m eager to make it back one day. 

Disclaimer: I was hosted by Visit Omaha while I was in town. However, I was not compensated for this article and all opinions expressed here are my own.