Top Recommended Layover Activities:
1. Old Market
1007 Howard St, Omaha, NE 68102 · 402-341-7151
The heartbeat of Omaha recreation starts in this concentrated area of shops, restaurants, and galleries. This historic warehouse district, which houses a variety of dining, nightlife, and shopping options, is where locals and tourists go to find fun and entertainment. Revitalized during the 1960s, the Old Market features cobblestone streets and quaint brick buildings. The area runs from 10th to 13th Street and from Jackson to Farnam Street.
2. Gerald R. Ford Birthsite and Gardens
1326 32nd St, Omaha, NE 68105 · 402-444-5955
Part of the Nebraska State Historical Society, this site pays tribute to the 38th President of the United States, who was born in Omaha. The Gerald R. Ford Birthsite features a beautiful rose garden, named in Betty Ford's honor, as well as a kiosk that showcases the former president's birth documents. The site also has mementos from his tenure in the White House and a replica of the house he was born in, which was destroyed in an early 1970s fire.
3. Henry Doorly Zoo
3701 South 10th St, Omaha, NE 68107 · 402-733-8401
The Henry Doorly Zoo, considered one of the best in America, is home to a range of species, including lions, tigers, bears, birds, and fish. The site has more than one hundred acres of space, more than four thousand animals in residence, and a number of living habitats. Favorites include a free-flight aviary and a walk-through aquarium. The zoo attracts more than a million guests yearly and even has an IMAX theater. Added treats include the zoo’s polar bear pools and North America's largest cat complex.
4. Malcom X Birthsite
3448 Pinkney St, Omaha, NE 68111 · 402-455-5253
Malcolm X, originally known as Malcolm Little, was born in Omaha in 1925 and is known as a civil rights leader. The birth site includes more than 10 acres of land and commemorates the contributions this international leader has made. Although most of the property still needs development, there is currently a historical marker noting his birthplace. Eventually, the site will be developed to showcase articles and memorabilia from this civil rights leader's life.
5. Strategic Air Command Museum
28210 West Park Hwy, Ashland, NE 68058 · 402-944-3100
Two hangers house the metal strength, like that of a Boeing B-52B Heavy Bomber, which empowered the military's Strategic Air Command. This museum honors the men and women who have flown to protect the United States. Visitors are not allowed inside the decommissioned planes, but their mere presence and size are overwhelming. The SAC Museum also features various displayed artifacts and an interactive gallery. A bonus includes seeing the Apollo 9 Command Space Module and the Vela Satellite, both of which sit inside the hangers.
Top Weekend Getaways And Day Trip Excursions:
1. College World Series
1202 Bert Murphy Dr, Rosenblatt Stadium, Omaha, NE 68107 · 402-554-4044
The College World Series is synonymous with Omaha. The city has been hosting the June event since 1950, and its hospitality, planning, and friendly spirit keeps the NCAA coming back for more. The event pits eight regional champions in competition with the finalists facing off for the championship. The stadium sits in the beauty of a magnificent bluff, which affords fantastic views in addition to the baseball. Game times vary so check listings.
2. Holiday Lights Festival
14th St And Farnam St, Gene Leahy Mall, Omaha, NE 68102 · 402-345-5401
Omaha rings in the holidays with an impressive light ceremony that features more than one million bulbs. The initial lighting ceremony takes place on Thanksgiving evening, and the display extends the length of the Gene Leahy Mall, from 8th to 14th St between Farnam and Douglas Streets. The lighting kickoff features choral groups and bands, performers, horse-drawn carriages, and a parade. There is also a fireworks display on New Year's Eve.
3. River City Roundup and Rodeo
455 North 10th Street, Omaha Convention Center and Arena, Omaha, NE 68102 · 402-554-9611
During September, the city celebrates its western heritage with a classic rodeo and roundup. The rodeo, a sanctioned Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association event, includes bull riding, bareback riding, and steer wrestling competitions. The River City Roundup and Rodeo, a five-day event, is sponsored by the Knights of Ak-Sar-Ben (a charitable organization benefitting heartland communities and youth), and held at the Omaha Convention Center and Arena. Additional activities include a parade, barbecue cook-offs, a 4-H stock show, hot air balloon rides, concerts, and several exhibitions.
4. Summer Arts Festival
Farnam St, Omaha, NE 68102 · 402-896-5976
For more than a quarter of a century, the city has welcomed summer by celebrating the arts. The Summer Arts Festival showcases a variety of visual and performing art forms. The late-June event is free and open to the public. There are also taste tents, a number of arts and crafts exhibits, as well as activities for kids. Taking place on Farnam Street, between 17th and 20th Streets, this annual event is both lively and festive.
5. Ak-Sar-Ben Aquarium
21501 West Hwy 31, Gretna, NE 68028 · 402-332-3901
With an aquarium, terrarium, and educational classroom on hand, this is a great site to visit. The Ak-Sar-Ben Aquarium showcases fish native to the state of Nebraska in a tank environment. The facility has 11 tanks with viewing windows. A variety of fish, including largemouth bass, crappie, albino catfish, and tiger muskie, are on display for viewing. The site also has an amphibian and reptile area where bullfrogs, crawdads, and salamanders can be seen. The aquarium's goal is to educate the public about the natural water life that lives in the area's lakes, streams, and ponds.