Top 10 Things for Active Travelers to Do in Omaha | Midwest Living

Top 10 Things for Active Travelers to Do in Omaha

Jog across a pedestrian bridge, float down the Elkhorn River, hike or bike along trails—the Omaha area offers plenty of recreational choices for active travelers.
Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge. Photo courtesy of Omaha Convention and Visitors Bureau.
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Heartland of America Park. Photo courtesy of Omaha Convention and Visitors Bureau.
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Zorinsky Lake. Photo courtesy of Omaha Convention and Visitors Bureau.
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1) Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge Named for a former Nebraska senator, this curved cable bridge connects Omaha and Council Bluffs, Iowa. Walkers, runners and bikers get stunning views of the downtown skyline and the Missouri River that flows 60 feet beneath (bring your camera for a photo op). If the 3,000 feet across aren’t enough for you, the bridge also links to 150 miles of trails on dry land. (402) 444-5900;

2) Heartland of America Park The walking path, pretty lagoon, and World War II and Heartland Memorial monuments at this city park are fine to visit any time of year, but the showstopper is the fountain, which puts on flashy water and light shows several times a day between May and October. Gondola rides around the 15-acre lake are an added draw during summer visits. (402) 444-5900;

3) Tank down the Elkhorn You’ve been tubing, kayaking and canoeing, but chances are you’ve never been “tanking.” These round floats are 8 feet in diameter and equipped with small tables for leisurely journeys down the Elkhorn River—no paddling required. Each tank accommodates up to four people; trips last four to five hours. Available Memorial Day through Labor Day; reservations required. (402) 709-8693;

4) Zorinsky Lake Park This West Omaha green space has tree-lined, paved walking-biking trails, playgrounds, baseball diamonds, soccer fields, and a lake begging for boating and fishing. Admission’s free to this year-round park. In the summer, splash in teh aquatic center's spray features, water slide and large public pool. (402) 444-5900;

5) Blue Planet Natural Grill This sleek cafe in a strip mall has made a name for itself by serving delicious, healthy, organic food. The menu includes standard vegetarian fare such as tofu, granola and salads, but there’s also a selection of burgers, pasta bowls and whole-wheat pizzas. We like the Hawaiian ahi tuna wrap—grilled-to-order with pineapple, avocado and carrot. (402) 218-4555;

6) Schramm Park State Recreation Area Come to enjoy the Platte River views and 3-mile nature trail at this day-use park 30 miles southwest of downtown. The Ak-Sar-Ben Aquarium pays tribute to the site’s life as an 1880s fish hatchery with short films, a terrarium, and 12 viewing tanks stocked with native and introduced species of fish. (402) 332-3901;

7) Tomato Tomato This year-round indoor farmers market shows off Omaha’s best seasonal produce, along with wine, honey, herbs, cheese, meats and baked goods. Stock up on fresh, healthy ingredients for a picnic at a local park, or hit the on-site deli (open 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.) for soups, salads and sandwiches. (402) 933-0893;

8) Eugene T. Mahoney State Park Just southwest of Omaha in Ashland, these 690 acres of fun outdoor recreation are open all year. In summer, swim, golf, play tennis, fish, hike or boat. In winter, check out the cross-country skiing trails and toboggan runs, or whirl around the ice skating rink. Camping facilities and a motel-style lodge provide overnight options. (402) 944-2523;

9) Blatt Beer and Table After a full day of activity, this congenial sports bar is a great spot to kick back with some tasty eats and an icy craft beer. The prime downtown location also makes it ideal for a pregame meal if you’re heading to nearby TD Ameritrade Park for some baseball. The food is mostly pub grub, with a few healthful options such as char-grilled chicken. (402) 718-8822;

10) Holiday Inn Downtown Omaha An enviable location near TD Ameritrade Ballpark and other downtown attractions makes the Holiday Inn a great spot for travelers. A complimentary shuttle zips guests to the Old Market Entertainment District. The 10,000-square-foot water park promises fun with a three-story body slide, whirlpool and activity pool. From $89. (402) 341-0124;

And don't forget Omaha's classic attractions, such as the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium, beautiful Lauritzen Gardens and the Old Market district — all great places for active travelers to get in lots of walking!


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