20 Things To Do In Omaha

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The largest city in Nebraska and one of the most historical in the Midwest. Omaha is where the Lewis and Clark expedition made their Nebraska stop in 1804 and where the Mormon pioneers sought refuge from religious persecution during the mid-1800s. Omaha is also the birthplace of several important American figures such as President Gerald R. Ford, African American Civil Rights leader Malcolm X and Nebraska billionaire Warren Buffet, placing this mid-sized Midwest city in the national spotlight. From a lively indie music scene to a pedestrian-only bridge spanning two US states, there are some interesting things to do in Omaha that include history, nature and culture.

Omaha, Nebraska

20 Things To Do In Omaha

Omaha green sign
Looking for interesting things to do around Omaha? You’ll find lots of historic attractions.

1- See the Gerald R. Ford Birthsite and Gardens

The Gerald R. Ford Birthsite and Gardens near downtown Omaha mark the birthplace of one of Nebraska’s most famous sons, the 38th President of the United States, Gerald R. Ford Jr. Ford grew up in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

He is the only U.S. president ever to be sworn into office despite never being elected to the presidency or vice presidency.

The memorial was erected in 1977 after Ford took over Richard Nixon’s presidency and features the adjacent Gerald R. Ford Conservation Center, which opened its doors in 1995.

Today, the site is a significant historic landmark in Omaha that celebrates the only US president Nebraska has ever produced and is one of the finest landmarks to stop by in the Cornhusker State.

The Gerald R. Ford Birthsite and Gardens are at 3202 Woolworth Ave, Omaha, NE 68105. Download the Omaha Scavenger Hunt and have fun exploring.

2- Relax at the Heartland of America Park

Covering an area of about 31 acres (13 ha) in downtown Omaha, the Heartland of America Park marks the spot where the Lewis and Clark expedition landed in Nebraska in 1804.

The park opened in 1990 and provides visitors with stunning vistas of the Missouri River and the downtown Omaha skyline, and it is one of the most popular outdoor attractions to stop by in eastern Nebraska.

Reopening in 2023 after a lengthy renovation that began in 2019, the park is best known for its eye-catching centrepiece fountain, which shoots water 320 feet (98 m) into the air.

Touted as one of the most romantic settings in Omaha, the park is illuminated with colourful lighting at night.

It has many things to keep you busy, including gondola rides, a scenic lake and several important historical monuments.

The Heartland of America Park is at 800 Douglas St, Omaha, NE 68102.

3- See the Lewis & Clark Landing

stamp representing Lewis and Clark
Finding out more about the Lewis and Clark expedition is one of the best things to do in Omaha.

Conveniently located right next to the Heartland of America Park lies the Lewis & Clark Landing, the official Nebraska landing place of Lewis and Clark’s famous 1804 expedition westwards.

The landing lies adjacent to the Missouri River and features an informative visitor’s centre where travellers can learn more about the pair’s legendary journey.

Centrally located and mere minutes from the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge, this is one scenic and immensely historic Omaha landmark you’ll want to stop by whenever you’re in Nebraska.

The Lewis & Clark Landing is at 345 Riverfront Dr, Omaha, NE 68102. Hire an electric bike and explore Omaha.

4- Catch a game at Charles Schwab Field Omaha

The state-of-the-art Charles Schwab Field, formerly the TD Ameritrade Park Omaha, is the official home of Omaha’s Creighton University Bluejays and the annual College World Series baseball tournament.

Featuring a seating capacity of around 25,000, the venue is one of Omaha’s largest entertainment centres and has played host to music concerts from some of the biggest names around the world.

Whether you’re a baseball fanatic or just looking for something new to do in downtown Omaha, stop by this lively sporting complex to cheer on the local varsity baseball team as they chase a National title.

Charles Schwab Field Omaha is at 1200 Mike Fahey St, Omaha, NE 68102.

5- Tour the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium

Young boy enjoy the view at an aquarium
Visiting Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium is one of the things to do in Omaha with kids.

South of downtown Omaha, the one-of-a-kind Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium are among the most remarkable places to visit in the Midwest.

The venue is home to the world’s largest indoor desert, the country’s largest indoor rainforest, and a large domed glass roof that’s both functional and eye-catching.

The venue was opened in 1894 and is recognised as one of the top five best zoos in the world.

Covering an area of more than 130 acres (53 ha), the zoo and surrounding Riverview Park is one of Nebraska’s most popular outdoor attractions and serves as a permanent refuge for a wide array of animals from virtually every region on Earth.

The Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium are at 3701 S 10th St, Omaha, NE 68107.

6- Explore The Durham Museum

Omaha buildings
Looking for things to do in Omaha? Check out our top 20 list.

Once the busiest train station in the region when it opened in 1931, the fascinating Durham Museum tells the story of Omaha and eastern Nebraska better than any other Midwest venue.

The museum is housed inside the station’s original Art Deco building and was converted from a derelict train station in 1995 to breathe new life into this historic Omaha landmark.

Today, the venue is one of the city’s most popular places to visit and houses thousands of permanent and rotating exhibits that range from a Bekins Moving and Storage truck to 19th-century replica Omaha cottages.

The Durham Museum is at 801 S 10th St, Omaha, NE 68108.

7- Catch A Live Event At CHI Health Center

The CHI Health Center is a state-of-the-art 18,975-seat arena that opened in 2003 as the Qwest Center Omaha.

Situated in downtown Omaha just across the road from the Lewis & Clark Landing, the arena is the official home of Creighton University’s men’s basketball team.

It plays host to the annual shareholders meeting of local conglomerate Berkshire Hathaway.

Boasting over 1.1 million square feet (102,193 m2) of total floor space, the arena is the go-to destination in Omaha for live sports and entertainment in eastern Nebraska.

From WWE events and championship boxing fights to rodeos and music concerts, this Omaha destination always has something going on to keep you busy and entertained.

The CHI Health Center is at 455 N 10th St, Omaha, NE 68102.

8- Walk From Nebraska To Iowa Across Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge

Downtown Omaha at twilight in winter
You’ll find plenty of cool things to do in Omaha at night.

Spanning the mighty Missouri River and the Nebraska-Iowa state border, the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge is a magnificent cable-stayed pedestrian-only bridge that opened to the public in 2008.

The bridge was named in honour of former Nebraska Senator Bob Kerrey, who played a pivotal role in securing the funding for the bridge during the early 2000s.

Stretching for over 3,000 feet (910 m), the bridge makes it possible to walk or bike from Omaha, Nebraska to Council Bluffs, Iowa, free of charge, all while taking in some of the most scenic views of the Missouri River along the way.

The Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge is at 705 Riverfront Dr, Omaha, NE 68102.

9- Stop By The Historic Old Market

Located right in the heart of downtown Omaha, the Old Market is the go-to place for bargain hunting in eastern Nebraska.

The Old Market venue is lined with historic red brick buildings and cobblestone streets, making travellers feel like they’ve stepped back into the 1920s.

Stores selling all sorts of trinkets and items can be found throughout this popular Omaha shopping area, including some of the region’s best restaurants and bars.

Developed back in 1871, this charming Omaha neighbourhood is on the National Register of Historic Places and is among the liveliest places to visit in Omaha.

10- Tour Joslyn Art Museum

The Joslyn Art Museum has been one of the top art institutions in Nebraska ever since this world-class venue first opened in 1931, growing into a state-of-the-art cultural institution currently home to over 10,000 individual works of art.

Specialising in works from the 19th and 20th centuries, the venue’s broad collection includes works from local and internationally renowned artists.

It is home to a significant amount of Native American art pieces.

Topped with Art Deco architecture, a man-made pond and plenty of greenery, the museum is a real treat in Omaha and has something in store for everyone to enjoy.

The Joslyn Art Museum is at 2200 Dodge St, Omaha, NE 68102.

11- Spend an afternoon at Kenefick Park

red hot air balloon
Floating in the sky in a hot-air balloon is one of the fun things to do in Omaha this weekend.

Located south of downtown Omaha, Kenefick Park is a popular day-trip destination thanks to its natural beauty and unique historic attractions.

The park is known for its trains and locomotives, which include the largest diesel-powered locomotive in the world and the biggest steam train in the world.

The park is within a stone’s throw from the scenic Lauritzen Gardens and provides visitors with some of the best vantage points of the Missouri River.

Named in honour of Union Pacific’s former CEO John C. Kenefick, this Omaha outdoor attraction is filled with picnic benches, plazas, informative plagues and pathways to make any visit a great time out.

Kenefick Park is at 100 Bancroft St, Omaha, NE 68108.

12- Stop by the Malcolm X Birthplace

Born as Malcolm Little in 1925, Malcolm X was one of the biggest advocates during the Civil Rights movements of the mid-20th century who spent his first years growing up right here in Omaha, Nebraska.

Little became famous for his radical viewpoints regarding African American segregation and integration at a young age, going as far as marching in D.C. to form a black state for African-Americans.

Little’s stance softened after he adopted the Muslim faith and took a pilgrimage to Mecca, and he ended up marching alongside figures such as Martin Luther King Jr. for an America for all.

Not much is left today of Little’s demolished childhood home in Omaha other than the site’s historical marker, however, it’s still one of the most significant historical and cultural landmarks in Nebraska to visit.

The Malcolm X Birthplace is at 3448 Evans St, Omaha, NE 68111.

13- Explore the Lauritzen Gardens

A short walk from Kenefick Park, the Lauritzen Gardens is a majestic 100-acre (40 ha) botanical garden that opened in 1995.

The venue is home to several themed gardens, rose and herb gardens, pathways, vivid flowers and all sorts of greenery, and overlooks the mighty Missouri River to the east.

The garden offers guided and self-guided tours to visitors and even hosts floral design and painting classes.

Complete with an informative visitor’s centre, a library, a Victorian Garden and a model railroad garden.

This unique Omaha landmark is a great place to stop by all year round.

The Lauritzen Gardens is at 100 Bancroft St, Omaha, NE 68108.

14- See a production at the Holland Performing Arts Center

The Holland Performing Arts Center is a world-class institution in downtown Omaha, home to the 2,000-seat Peter Kiewit Concert Hall, the 1,000-seat Courtyard and the 486-seat Suzanne and Walter Scott Recital Hall.

Opened in 2005, the venue is the go-to space for the theatrical and performing arts in eastern Nebraska and is renowned for its jazz and blues concerts.

The centre also serves as the permanent home of the Omaha Symphony Orchestra and Omaha Area Youth Orchestra, making it a worthwhile destination to stop by whenever you’re travelling around Nebraska.

The Holland Performing Arts Center is at 1200 Douglas St, Omaha, NE 68102.

15- Visit the Freedom Park Navy Museum

boat anchored along a waterway
Going boating is one of the fun things to do in Omaha, Nebraska.

Home to several retired naval warships and the Navy Museum of Omaha, the Freedom Park Navy Museum is an open-air exhibition space and history centre that’s one of Nebraska’s unique places to visit.

Opened in 1944, the park is located on the Missouri River’s banks and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Apart from the several naval vessels on display, the venue is also home to retired military aircraft, including a Douglas A-4C Skyhawk, an LTV A-7D Corsair II and a Sikorsky HH-52A Seaguard.

From the USS Hazard, a former WWII minesweeper, to the USS Marlin, a training submarine from the Cold War era, there’s so much to take in this fascinating Omaha landmark.

16- Tour the General Crook House

Situated north of downtown Omaha in the historic Fort Omaha area, the General Crook House was built in 1879 to serve as the primary residence of distinguished Civil War general George Crook.

The US Army’s Department of the Platte administrative district built the home for Crook and his family, with Crook being the only commander ever to occupy the home.

The home is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, featuring a distinct Italianate design, hipped roofs and an asymmetrical two-story layout.

It is among the standout landmarks in the acclaimed Fort Omaha Historic District near downtown Omaha.

The General Crook House of Art is at 5730 N 30th St, Omaha, NE 68111.

17- Plan an Indie Music Venue Crawl

Omaha is among the hottest destinations in the United States for live indie music, with several unique bars and festivals dedicated to the indie music scene.

You’ll have a pick of Omaha venues when deciding where to start your indie music venue crawl in eastern Nebraska, such as the ever-popular Barley Street Tavern, which hosts live jazz, blues, folk and pop music every night of the week.

There’s also The Waiting Room, an energetic music lounge specialising in various music genres that helped launch the careers of well-known artists such as Imagine Dragons, Wiz Khalifa and Macklemore. 

18- Tour the Mormon Trail Center

The state-of-the-art Mormon Trail Center, located roughly 7 miles (11 km) north of downtown Omaha, tells the tale of the many Latter-Day Saints members who passed through Nebraska on their journey west towards Utah.

Taking visitors on a thought-provoking journey of the challenges the 90,000 pioneers faced during their arduous journey across America, the centre is like a time capsule depicting 19th-century life in the Midwest.

Complete with a full-sized log cabin, covered wagons, and the Mormon Pioneer Cemetery, the centre is among the most important historic landmarks to visit in Omaha and one of the most important sites in North America for modern-day Mormons.

The Mormon Trail Center is at 3215 State St, Omaha, NE 68112.

19- Stop by Florence Mill

Florence Mill, also commonly referred to as the Weber Mill, Mormon Mill, Grist Mill or Old Pink Mill by many Nebraskans, is a historic grain mill built by Mormon leader Brigham Young in 1846.

The mill is located on the historic Winter Quarters Mormon pioneer encampment near downtown Omaha and is a stone’s throw from the Mormon Trail Center.

The mill remained in operation from 1846 until the 1960s and is the only Mormon-built Winter Quarter structure still standing.

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the mill is now a museum and art gallery that exhibits countless Mormon artefacts, 19th-century photographs and 1854 newspaper clippings.

There’s also a popular farmer’s market at the mill between June and September every year, making it one of the many must-visit landmarks in Omaha.

The Florence Mill is at 9102 N 30th St, Omaha, NE 68112.

20- Visit the beautiful Joslyn Castle

trinity cathedral front view
Exploring the city’s historic buildings such as the Trinity Cathedral is one of the things to do in Omaha, Nebraska.

Omaha’s beloved Joslyn Castle, officially titled “Lynhurst”, is the former estate of newspaper magnates and philanthropists George and Sarah Joslyn.

The Joslyns commissioned this striking 35-room Scottish Baronial-style estate in 1903, built by architect John McDonald on the farmstead just outside downtown Omaha.

The estate was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1972.

It was designated an Omaha Landmark Historic Structure in 1979, cementing its place as one of the must-see places in eastern Nebraska.

Today, the estate and surrounding gardens are part of the Nebraska Statewide Arboretum and open for tours and special events.

Joslyn Castle is at 3902 Davenport St, Omaha, NE 68131. 

Top Tours

Omaha Scavenger Hunt – The West’s Glorious Gateway.
Omaha Pedego Electric Bike Rentals – explore on two wheels.
Omaha – Eppley Airfield Airport One-Way Transfer – book your transfers online now!

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Jessica Shaw is a storyteller who has lived in four U.S. states - Missouri, Georgia, Ohio and Illinois - and has visited many others. She loves history and nature and is a big fan of road tripping.