For every person living in the “fly-over” state of Nebraska, there are 3 cows roaming around somewhere. That fact alone should say all you need to know about the scenery and life-style that categorize most Nebraskans. When I told my family and friends I would be flying out to the medium-sized-suburban sprawl that is Omaha, everyone wondered if my Veganism had turned me into a corn-obsessed tourist bound for fields of yellow & gold bounty. (Come to think of it….I don’t think I actually saw any corn fields at all while I was there!!!) Omaha, surprisingly, is anything but the meat-and-potato, slow-down-there’s-a-tractor-ahead kind of place. I had a wonderful time. There’s plenty of cool things to see and do in Omaha, and I think it’s a
little very overlooked place. Here’s my Quick and Dirty Guide to Omaha:
Top Things to See and Do in Omaha, Nebraska
Every time you head somewhere new, you should always plan your stay by asking yourself: What can this place do/cook/show better than anywhere else? What makes them unique?
That’s exactly what I asked myself. Low-and-behold, I found some awesome places, restaurants, and activities that impressed me:
#10 Ethiopian Restaurant
No frills, No advertisements, no name….and not even a door. This place is literally a hole-in-the-wall, seated next to a corner convenience store, where you enter and find a second door within to access the “Ethiopian Restaurant”, which serves (surprise!!!) Ethiopian food. It’s cheap, delicious, hospitable and a hidden gem in the heart of Omaha.
#9 Nebraksa Furniture Mart
Screw the Mall of America. If you need anything (and I do mean ANYTHIING), you can find it at the Nebraska Furniture Mart. Its quite possibly the largest shopping plaza I have ever seen.
I was so very close to purchasing a drone for Instagram purposes, but I had to hold out.
#8 Heartland of America Park
Fountains. Ferry Rides. Greenery.
Every city needs a good park, and this one hits the nail on the head!!!
#7 Old Market
Artisans. Music. Food. Free Smells.
Sip on a cold beverage and take in the sounds of live music while observing the colonial style architecture.
Poke around all of the unique shops, or just hang out and enjoy the vibes.
#6 Lauritzen Botanical Gardens
There’s nothing better than the warm scent of a blooming plant. Though my personal favorite botanical gardens are the San Diego Gardens, these ones were just the kind of nature therapy I needed after a long day of exploration.
There’s also the sunken gardens in Lincoln, if you need your plant fix- a corner park complete with koi pond and water lillies.
#5 Joselyn Castle
Because who doesn’t like castles?
#4 Pitch Pizza
Delicious Pizza, good beer, and an awesome ambiance. Pitch was a fun dinner spot, but what really took the cake for me was their cocktail menu.
I’m a sucker for a good Moscow Mule…..and they had 9 different kinds!!! You better believe that I though about trying them all.
(Don’t worry, I didn’t)
Though there weren’t many vegan options here, I was able to alter the menu to suit my needs. (They didn’t have dairy free cheese, unfortunately)
Note: I highly recommend happy hour over an actual mealtime at this restaurant. Most often times there are 2 hour waits otherwise
#3 Blatt Table and Beer
Not only do they have tons of beer on tap, but they actually have a menu for just about anybody. Nebraska was the last place I was expecting to find restaurants catering to my Veganism. I was totally proven wrong!!!
Blatt had quite a few options on their menu for me to peruse, and not a single one was “salad”!
Try their currywerst pretzel-dog. You won’t regret it!!
#2 SAC Flight Museum
Though I was quite intimidated by some of the bombs that the flight museum had on exhibition (I got chills looking at the shells of the larger weapons….especially after reading what kind of destruction they could cause), the flight museum does have quite the selection of war planes, transit planes, and helicopters. It’s worth the drive to see some of these antiques!
A Quick and Dirty Guide to Omaha: Saving the best for last!!!!
#1 Henry Doorly Zoo
The Grand Zoo, which has been ranked #1 in the world multiple times is a defining feature of Omaha. They It’s the largest in the world, and has the coolest (and largest) indoor desert in the world. Below that, was actually my favorite exhibit.
You step down deep in the belly of the dome and find an underground swamp, and all the nocturnal exhibits. The swamp is complete with a white aligator, crocodiles and other bayou-type critters of all shapes and sizes.