The 12 square blocks of the Old Market bring the romance of Europe and energy of Soho to the Midwest.
Artists showcase work in a revived warehouse at Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts.
At Zio’s Pizzeria, guests mix and match 40 toppings.
Two miles of paths wind through formal gardens and an arboretum at Lauritzen Gardens along the Missouri River.
Mod decor, an extensive wine list and a small-plate menu warrant finding the hidden gem Taste Bistro, where chicken comes dressed in capers, tomatoes and olives in a lemon-butter sauce.
The modern design and attention to acoustics draw sophisticated patrons to Holland Performing Arts Center for the Omaha Symphony, Broadway stars and smash hits like Wicked.
Each night, Magnolia Hotel Omaha puts out free milk and cookies and guests sink into beds covered in custom linens (from $119).
Housed in one of the nation’s finest Art Deco buildings, the Joslyn Museum’s more than 11,000 pieces include artists and explorers of the American West.
The art and cultural exhibits at El Museo Latino put the 24th Street Latino district into context.
Lovers of time-worn dives will appreciate Dinker’s Bar south of downtown; its burgers were ranked among the region’s best by Midwest Living®.
Dishes such as Armenian lahvosh flatbread with Thai chicken keep things interesting on a largely American menu at M’s Pub in the Old Market.
Cool kids hang out at independent record store Saddle Creek Shop for live performances and album shopping.
More information: Omaha Convention and Visitors Bureau (866) 937-6624; visitomaha.com
Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium The Desert Dome, jungle, aquarium and Skyfari (a chairlift above animal enclosures) makes this one of Nebraska’s most popular attractions. (402) 733-8400; omahazoo.com
Durham Museum The restored train station celebrates the state’s pioneer history and railroading legacy with an old streetcar, passenger train and soda fountain. (402) 444-5071; durhammuseum.org
5 Great Places to Splurge on Dinner
1 Hiro 88 Sushi is the main attraction at this Old Market restaurant. We love the Michigan roll with its tempura shrimp, avocado, cucumber and crab. The Chinese entrees are delicious, too. Don’t miss the peanut butter chicken. (402) 933-5168; hiro88.com
2 J. Coco In an old neighborhood grocery store, the chef delights guests with starters of Korean-style tacos and entrees of udon noodles and shiitake mushrooms topped with a crispy duck breast glazed in soy sauce and blood orange juice. (402) 884-2626; jcocoomaha.com
3 Grey Plume An ever-evolving organic menu celebrates ingredients from Nebraska farms, such as the flavorful, juicy bison burger. Recycled wood floors and tabletops add warmth to the contemporary setting. (402) 763-4447; thegreyplume.com
4 Boiler Room Industrial and trendy, the interior of this Old Market spot sets the stage for a menu that includes a tender tête de cochon (pig head) appetizer and a braised rabbit leg with black barley, braised leeks, sweet potato gratin and pea tendrils. (402) 916-9274; boilerroomomaha.com
5 Lot 2 In the Benson community, the locally sourced menu includes an eclectic array of American and international cuisine, such as flatiron steak and rosemary frites; house-made bangers and mash; and meat and cheese boards. (402) 504-4200; lot2benson.com
One Big Party
TD Ameritrade Park Omaha hosts the NCAA Men’s College World Series for about 10 days each June, drawing fans from around the country to the brick stadium. Food and beer tents, sports bars and restaurants surround the downtown ballpark, so there are plenty of places to party after the final out. (402) 546-1800; tdameritradeparkomaha.com
Stay to Remember
Located across the street from the Orpheum Theater, the restored 1930s Hotel Deco XV features sleek neoclassical touches in a silver, black and white palette (89 rooms from $159). Soft lighting and attentive service set a romantic tone at the hotel’s Zin Room restaurant. Try the salmon Florentine, topped with roasted red pepper aioli or the steak with peppercorn crust and Cognac crème. (402) 991-4981; hoteldecoomaha.com