Top 10 Things to Do and See in Omaha, Nebraska

by Jordan Burgmeier

Omaha, Nebraska, has plenty to offer if you find yourself there for a day, weekend or even a full week. Often people might drive right through Omaha without a second thought, but truly they are missing some great sights and hidden gems in the city. You’ll have no problem finding something to do, see, or eat while visiting this Nebraska city.

1. Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium

Possibly one of the most notable things to visit while in Omaha would be the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium. From the Desert Dome to the Elephant Family Quarters, you can embark on a safari with over 17,000 animals from 962 species.  The Aquarium side of Henry Doorly is filled with so much to see, from colorful coral reefs to Antarctic penguins, there is something for everyone. One notable spot in the Zoo is the Butterfly and Insect Pavilion. Here you can walk through an inside garden and might even get a butterfly to land on you.

website | 3701 S 10th St., Omaha, NE 68107

2. Old Market District

The Old Market District will keep you walking. From arts and entertainment to food tours and hidden gems, there is a lot to explore.  This historic neighborhood is home to more than 30 area restaurants, art galleries, collectible stores, pubs, and entertainment spots. One hidden gem is the Old Market Passageway, perfect for getting that super cute Instagram shot. Don’t forget to grab some snacks from the Old Market Candy Shop located down the street! Ted & Wally’s Ice Cream is also a local favorite and an absolute must to end your day on a sweet note.

website | 1122 Howard St., Omaha, NE 68102

3. Capitol District  

Head down to the Capitol District for nightlife and delicious food. During the winter, you can enjoy the outdoor ice rink in Downtown Omaha’s modern town square. New events are always coming to town, all of which can be showcased on the plaza located here. So whether you are coming into town for a weekend away, attending a show, seeing the big game or are simply sight-seeing, the Capitol District will be the perfect spot for you to stop and grab some food and drink. With 20 bars, restaurants and coffee shops to choose from you are sure to find something to delight your taste buds.

website | 1022 Capitol Ave., Omaha, NE 68102

4. Joslyn Art Museum

Opened in 1931, the Joslyn Art Museum is home to a variety of collections and hosts special exhibitions frequently.  From ancient Greek pottery to modern 20th-century paintings, this museum has a touch of everything inside its marble walls. The piece Glowing Gemstone Polyvitro Chandelier, by artist Dale Chihulyis, will instantly grab your attention, but don’t forget to wander around to see all these amazing collections the museum has to offer. The Joslyn Art Museum also includes an outdoor sculpture garden that will take you out of the urban environment of the city for a moment.

website | 2200 Dodge St., Omaha, NE 68102

5. Lauritzen Gardens

Located in the South Omaha neighborhood of Omaha, the Lauritzen Gardens are a botanical garden and arboretum that are sure to delight. Admire an impressive variety of flowers, shrubs and trees in this 4-acre arboretum. Narrated tram and private golf cart tours are also available if you choose to visit this beautiful sight. That being said, some planning is required as these can fill up and must be scheduled at least a week ahead. You can bring your dog along during certain hours and enjoy the garden with your furry friend. Just make sure to bring a leash!

Courtesy of Visit Omaha

website  | 100 Bancroft St., Omaha, NE 68108

Need some outfit inspiration for your day at the gardens? Shop any of these floral dresses that are perfect for the occasion:

6. Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge

This 3,000-foot long footbridge across the Missouri River is between Council Bluffs, IA, and Omaha, NE, and connects a multitude of walking and biking trails. This is the first pedestrian bridge to connect two states. In addition, the views are amazing day and night. At night, multi-colored lights illuminate the bridge, and the view offers a great panorama of the Omaha skyline. In the middle of the bridge, there is a plaque designating where the border between Iowa and Nebraska is over the river. It is common for visitors to place one foot in each state and snap a picture.   

Courtesy of Visit Omaha

website | 705 Riverfront Dr., Omaha, NE 68102

In the market for a new bike to take for a spin on the bridge? Shop our favorites here:

7. Omaha Children’s Museum

Bringing kids along for the ride is easy and enjoyable with the help of locations like the Omaha Children’s Museum.  These interactive exhibits will get the kids involved and excited about art and science. Omaha Children’s Museum is a member of the Association of Science and Technology Centers. Mainly serving families with children ages 8 and younger, this is Nebraska’s most-visited museum.    

Courtesy of Visit Omaha

website | 500 South 20th St., Omaha, NE 68102

8. Mallory Kountze Planetarium

Need to get a little further away than Omaha? Travel to the stars by visiting the Mallory Kountze Planetarium, which is located on the University of Nebraska of Omaha campus. These programs are educational, and the topics often include constellations, mythology, discussion of planets and spacecraft in our solar system. Additionally, the Mallory Kountze Planetarium includes a “ViewSpace,” which allows guests to learn even more about what is currently happening in space. Show times are listed on their website, so you can plan ahead and get a glimpse into our galaxy.

website | 6001 Dodge St., Omaha, NE 68102

9. Durham Museum

Located in Omaha’s former Union Station, the Durham Museum is devoted to showcasing and honoring the history surrounding the western region of the United States. In 1931 the doors opened and the museum has been educating the public ever since. Exhibits include a streetcar, 1940s storefronts and other artifacts depicting history. It is also home to the Byron Reed collection. This collection is made up of some of the rarest coins and documents in the world. Temporary exhibits also are on display at the Durham Museum because of its ties to the Library of Congress, National Archives and the Field Museum.

SAMSUNG CSC

website | 801 S 10th St., Omaha, NE 68108

10. Joslyn Castle

The Joslyn family has made many notable contributions to the Omaha community. The Joslyn Castle stands as a reminder of this family’s legacy. This castle gives the guest an opportunity to connect with these remarkable philanthropists and Omaha’s history. You can also take a tour of this iconic landmark located in the heart of Midtown Omaha. Tours include viewing the main, second and third floor of the Scottish Baronial mansion. Getting to know about some of the biggest philanthropic contributors to Omaha, might just teach you something you didn’t know about the city.

website | 3902 Davenport St., Omaha, NE 68131.


Omaha is filled with countless things to keep you and your travel buddies busy. The chance to visit this exciting city should not be skipped over. Omaha is sure to show you a wonderful time no matter what spots you choose to visit.

Visiting somewhere else soon? Check out some other places to go in our travel section!

And if you want to take a break from sightseeing but just wish to relax, check out this Top 10 things to do at the Disney Parks:

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