Omaha City Guide: Neighborhoods & Things to Do
The biggest city in the state, Omaha, Nebraska is situated on the Missouri River a little bit north of the mouth of the Platte River. With a population just shy of 500,000, Omaha is the second largest city in the states of the Great Plains, which include Nebraska, Kansas, North Dakota, and South Dakota. This city has a lot of great things to do, from delicious restaurants to sports to an amazing art scene. It scores high on infrastructure for being easy to travel around (unlike other cities with perpetual traffic jams and road construction).
As a city in the center of agricultural hub of the United States, Omaha benefits from the many farms surrounding it – and of course, Nebraska is known for its tasty steaks! Because of its proximity to so many local farms, Omaha is a leader in the “farm-to-fork” movement of promoting sustainability by sourcing food from local sources when possible. This also means Omaha’s many restaurants offer some of the best, freshest food available! Speaking of food, the Reuben sandwich – corned beef, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut and Russian dressing on grilled rye bread – was invented here in Omaha…not to mention butter brickle ice cream, cake mix and TV dinners. Some bigwig corporations call Omaha their home, including Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, one of the “The Fab 5” (the others are: ConAgra, Union Pacific, Peter Kiewit Sons’ and Mutual of Omaha). Because so many tech startups hitched their wagon here, the area also has gained the nickname “Silicon Prairie.” With lots of great job opportunities and many wonderful neighborhoods, Omaha is a fabulous place to live. Looking for an apartment for rent in Omaha? Our Omaha city guide will assist you in finding the neighborhood that fits your exact needs.
Omaha city highlights
Omaha, Nebraska has many great things to see and do. Here are just a few of the amazing attractions in this lovely plains city:
- Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium: Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium is lauded as one of the world’s finest zoos, because of its amazing habitats. These include a massive geodesic dome, the largest indoor rainforest in North America and the biggest indoor desert on the planet.
- Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge: Formally known as the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge, locals in Omaha call this 3,000-foot bridge “Bob.” The bridge soars over the Missouri River, connecting Nebraska with Iowa. It also provides access to over 150 miles of hiking and biking trails. If you take a selfie on the state line running through Bob the bridge, it’s called “Bobbing.”
- The NCAA Men’s College World Series: If you love basketball, then you’ll love having access to the best teams in college baseball as they fight for the championship during the NCAA Men’s College World Series.
- Joslyn Castle: Joslyn Castle is a regal-looking historic home built in 1903 in “Scottish Baronial” style. It’s situated the Gold Coast Historic District of Omaha. This Omaha landmark is available for public tours.
- The Durham Museum: Your first impression when you walk into this gorgeous Art Deco building from 1931 may simply be “Wow!” Originally, the Durham Museum operated as Union Station and was architected by Union Pacific Railroad as its “showpiece,” as Omaha was its headquarters. The building is an official National Historic Landmark and now houses hands-on exhibits, including restored train cars, model trains, rare coins and even 1940’s storefronts. The museum also has an authentic old malt shop with a soda fountain.
Omaha city guide to the best neighborhoods for renters
Looking for a wonderful place to live in the city of Omaha? Our Omaha city guide can help. Check out some of these great neighborhoods in Omaha, Nebraska.
Mostly west of 72nd Street and beyond Interstate 680, West Omaha is a collection of smaller neighborhoods including Boys Town, Wedgewood, Deer Ridge, Harvey Oaks and more. Known for its restaurants featuring signature thick, juicy steaks as well as pork tenderloin sandwiches, West Omaha also has many great bars and pubs to visit with fresh soup. The Village of Boys Town was named a National Historic Landmark in 1985. A beautiful area with lots of trees, Boys Town used to be a farm that was purchased in 1921 to help youth in need. Currently 400 boys and girls get help at the Boys Town campus in the Village.
Downtown Omaha offers amazing views of the Missouri River, especially if you are lucky enough to get an apartment in a high-rise. It’s an exciting place to live, with lots of old-school steakhouses, modern restaurants, bars and music clubs with jazz and more.
Midtown Omaha features many great apartments, including mixed-use locations where you can enjoy a walkable lifestyle with convenient access to shops, pubs, restaurants and movie theaters.
The Blackstone District is a pedestrian-friendly, historic district in Omaha. The main area runs along Farnam Street from 36th Street to 42nd Street. This revitalized neighborhood offers cultural enrichment, fine dining, shopping and lifetime.
A beautiful historic area of town with genuine cobblestone streets, Old Market has been revitalized into a destination with seductive shops, delicious restaurants, nightlife and street performers. You can also find many fascinating art galleries here.
This happening area filled with popular restaurants, shops and bars has a really interesting history. It’s actually one of the few places in the United States that a Japanese balloon bomb exploded during World War II. You can find a plaque marking where the bomb hit in this exciting Omaha neighborhood.
North Omaha is planted north of Downtown Omaha and offers some of the oldest and quaintest neighborhoods in the city such as Near North Side, Saratoga, Florence and Bemis Park. You’ll find a Mormon Temple here and the Mormon Pioneers’ Winter Quarters. With a large African-American community, North Omaha is the birthplace of civil right activist Malcolm X.
Northwest Omaha runs south of the Douglas-Washington County line and west of Interstate 680, approximately 15 miles from Downtown Omaha. This lovely neighborhood features many quiet residential areas and parks to enjoy.
Benson is a thriving historic pocket neighborhood in Omaha, Nebraska originally founded in 1887. It’s also known as the “party animal of Omaha” because of its happening nightlife and live music. You can find great craft beer here as well as some fab restaurants. Actor Nick Nolte used to live here.
Central Omaha contains both urban commercial areas and suburban-style neighborhoods, including Old Loveland, Indian Hills Village and West Dodge Addition. The University of Nebraska Omaha is situated here, making it an ideal location for students.
Little Italy is of course the area where Italian immigrants settled in Omaha, Nebraska. It was also a popular area for bootlegging (illegal alcohol) during the Prohibition years. It still offers many Italian cultural attractions, such as the annual Festival of Santa Lucia and La Festa. Now the area attracts a diverse population who enjoy the neighborhood’s unique culture and restaurants.
The historic suburban city of Bellevue was the second oldest settlement in the state, dating back to the 1830s. It’s the oldest “continuous town” in Nebraska. Bellevue is French for “beautiful view.” And for that beauty, check out the Fontenelle Forest Nature Center with over 1,000 acres of hardwood forest, wildlife and wetlands.
Council Bluffs is actually a separate city located across the Missouri River in Iowa. Originally known as Kanesville, the history of this city dates back to the early 1800s, where it was the start of the Mormon Trail. This suburb of Omaha has many historic attractions, a Harrah’s Casino, and lots of lovely parks.
Located southwest of Downtown Omaha, Papillion is a suburb of the city with a population of almost 20,000. This town is known for its high quality of life and has actually been nationally recognized for it. In fact, Money Magazine has ranked the suburb in its top ten places to live multiple times. You’ll find many great parks here, including the Walnut Creek Recreation Area next to scenic Walnut Creek Lake.