Top Things to Do in Omaha

Nebraska’s largest city blends a famous zoo, top-notch museums and world-class dining into a lively downtown on the Missouri River.


Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge

Spanning 3,000 feet across the Missouri River, the footbridge links Omaha and Council Bluffs, Iowa, and connects to trails and parks.

Durham Museum Omaha
Durham Museum. Jay Wilde

Durham Museum

A restored Art Deco train station celebrates the state's pioneer history and railroading legacy with exhibits, such as a streetcar, passenger train and home gallery, illustrating life 100 years ago.

Elkhorn Outfitters

Rent gear at this adventure sports base for paddleboarding, mountain biking, river tubing, or in winter, snow tubing and ice fishing.

Fontanelle Forest Omaha Nebraska
Courtesy of Fontanelle Forest

Fontenelle Forest

Adventurers can climb, zip and soar through the tree canopy on a new aerial course. Rehabbed eagles and owls enjoy their digs at the raptor refuge, while 19 miles of trails wind through the urban forest.

Joslyn Art Museum

Closed for construction and renovation until 2024. One of the nation's best examples of Art Deco architecture houses more than 12,000 pieces, including the glass sculpture Chihuly: Inside and Out. The Joslyn is undergoing extension renovation and slated to reopen in 2024.


A revamped downtown warehouse features creative exhibits, performances and lectures.

Nebraska garden
Lauritzen Gardens conservatory. Courtesy of Omaha Convention and Visitors Bureau

Lauritzen Gardens

More than 2 miles of paths wind through gardens along the Missouri River; tropical and temperate plants thrive in the 17,500-square-foot conservatory.

Old Market
Courtesy of Omaha Convention and Visitors Bureau

Old Market

Cobblestone streets crisscross the 20-square-block revived warehouse district with nearly 100 shops, galleries, taverns and restaurants. Special events include a Saturday farmers market.

Omaha Children's Museum

Kids can play at changing tires, shopping for groceries, being a firefighter and exploring a child-size hospital at the museum's Imagination Playground.

Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium Desert Dome
Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium, Desert Dome. Blaine Moats

Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium

At one of the nation's top zoos, be transported to the land of red pandas, Amur tigers, sloth bears and snow leopards at the $22 million Asian Highlands exhibit. It joins other immersive habitats, such as the African Grasslands, plus ocean, desert, rainforest, nocturnal and butterfly exhibits.

omaha river front
Courtesy of the Riverfront

The RiverFront

A $300 million revitalization transformed Omaha's downtown along the Missouri River into an area called The RiverFront, encompassing three downtown parks: Gene Leahy Mall, Heartland of America Park and Lewis and Clark Landing, which reopened in 2022 and 2023. The largest, Heartland of America Park, retained its lake, fountain and walking trails but added new features like a Skate Ribbon for ice skating in winter and roller skating in warm weather. Gene Leahy Mall contains a performance pavilion, sculpture garden, dog park, playground and more. Lewis and Clark Landing features a prairie garden, a sandy urban beach with firepits, nearby volleyball courts and a destination playground.

Eat and Drink

Au Courant Regional Kitchen

The dishes change frequently as local harvests provide new ingredients at this Benson neighborhood restaurant.

Block 16

Order from a chalkboard menu with options such as a Croque Garcon Burger with cheese, ham, truffle mayonnaise and a fried egg. Imaginative fry toppings at the downtown spot include dragon sauce, cheese curds and crushed fortune cookies.

Boiler Room Restaurant

Two-time James Beard semifinalist Tim Nicholson serves up fine-dining fare like rabbit croquette and Wagyu steak in a brick-walled space that was once the boiler room for the 120-year-old Bemis Bag Company Building.

Early Bird Brunch

Order a stack of Cereal Killer Pancakes topped with sprinkles of your favorite cereal or chow down on Tater Tots breakfast nachos at Early Bird.

M's Pub

A longtime Old Market favorite, M's still scores with dishes like pot roast, lamb burger and Thai pork satay. The popular lahvosh (Armenian crackers with Havarti cheese) comes in more than a half-dozen variations; try the Omaha with roast beef.

Modern Love

New York City transplant Isa Moskowitz cranks out comfort food and desserts in this vegan beacon. The Mac and Shews—creamy with cashews—won us over.

Mula Mexican Kitchen and Tequileria

In the Blackstone District, sip a margarita while deciding between a torta sandwich or tacos in hand-rolled corn tortillas at Mula.

Plank Seafood Provisions
Plank Seafood Provisions. Blaine Moats

Plank Seafood Provisions

In the Old Market, an oyster bar and the skeleton of a boat hanging from the ceiling inject coastal flair at Plank. Visit during happy hour for oyster deals.

Saddle Creek Breakfast Club

Go vegan (chickpea toast, tofu rancheros) or traditional (ham and eggs, French toast) at this breakfast hot spot northwest of Midtown.

Via Farina

Chefs make pasta by hand and pull pizzas from a wood-fired oven in the open kitchen. Try the Egg Yolk Raviolo, with ricotta and a sunny yolk oozing out of a single piece of filled pasta.


Element Omaha Midtown Crossing

Full kitchens, rain shower baths and posh mattresses—along with free bikes and an included breakfast—make for great stays in an eco-friendly hotel.

EVEN Hotel Omaha Downtown

This fitness-centered hotel offers exercise space and ergonomic work stations in every room, healthy eats, and a 24-hour gym.

kimpton cottonwood historic hotel
Brandon Peterson

Kimpton Cottonwood Hotel

Restored to its 1916 glory, the Blackstone District lodging (formerly The Blackstone Hotel) greets guests with a grand marble staircase, garden lounge with pool views, and 205 luxe rooms and suites.

Omaha Marriott Downtown at the Capitol District

The 12-story, 333-room hotel takes advantage of its location with a rooftop pool and river- and city-view rooms.

Residence Inn Omaha Downtown

A vintage FBI poster, vault door and terrazzo tile remind guests of the all-suite hotel's days as the Federal Building. A free shuttle to nearby attractions saves parking hassles, and free grocery delivery service keeps your kitchen stocked.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles