Nebraska’s largest city blends a famous zoo, top-notch museums and world-class dining into a lively downtown on the Missouri River.

By The editors of MidwestLiving.com

Do

The Berry and Rye Craft cocktails- such as Debonair Pear made with gin and pear liqueur flamed with green chartreuse- reflect the sexy appeal of this bar in the Old Market. theberryandrye.com

The Berry and Rye

Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge Spanning 3,000 feet across the Missouri River, the footbridge links Omaha and Council Bluffs, Iowa, and connects to trails and parks. visitomaha.com

Brysons Airboat Tours Zip up the Platte River at up to 40 mph, stopping to watch eaglets on nests or to explore a sandbar. Tours leave from Fremont, 30 miles northwest of Omaha. brysonsairboattours.com

Driftwood Paddleboard Adventures Glide along Zorinsky or Standing Bear lakes on a stand-up paddleboard excursion. Guides make even f irst-time paddleboarders feel at ease. driftwoodpaddleadventures.com

Durham Museum A restored Art Deco train station celebrates the state’s pioneer history and railroading legacy with exhibits, such as a streetcar, passenger train and home gallery, illustrating life 100 years ago. durhammuseum.org

Durham Museum.

Fontenelle Forest Adventurers can climb, zip and soar through the tree canopy on a new aerial course. Rehabbed eagles and owls enjoy their digs at the raptor refuge, while 19 miles of trails wind through the urban forest. fontenelleforest.org

Holland Performing Arts Center Outstanding acoustics and contemporary design draw patrons for the Omaha Symphony and world-class entertainers. Enjoy a cocktail and the downtown view at Skyview terrace rooftop bar. omahaperformingarts.org

Joslyn Art Museum One of the nation’s best examples of Art Deco architecture houses more than 12,000 pieces, including the glass sculpture Chihuly: Inside and Out. Admission is free. joslyn.org

Kaneko A revamped downtown warehouse features creative exhibits, performances and lectures. thekaneko.org

Lauritzen Gardens More than 2 miles of paths wind through gardens along the Missouri River; tropical and temperate plants thrive in the conservatory. lauritzengardens.org

Old Market Cobblestone streets crisscross the 20-square-block revived warehouse district with nearly 100 shops, galleries, taverns and restaurants. Special events include a Saturday farmers market and First Friday art walks. oldmarket.com

Old Market. Photo courtesy of Omaha Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium Be transported to the land of red pandas, Amur tigers, sloth bears and snow leopards at the $22 million Asian Highlands exhibit. It joins other immersive habitats, such as the African Grasslands, plus ocean, desert, rainforest, nocturnal and butterfly exhibits. omahazoo.com

TD Ameritrade Park Omaha The NCAA Men’s College World Series in June draws more than 300,000 fans to this baseball stadium near the Missouri River. cwsomaha.com

Eat

Au Courant Regional Kitchen The dishes change frequently as local harvests provide new ingredients at this Benson neighborhood restaurant. Sample the best of the New European cuisine with the Chef’s Pick tasting menu, a six-course dinner. aucourantrestaurant.com

Avoli Osteria White walls and stark black booths and chairs keep the focus on inventive northern Italian food. Not to be missed: the Bistecca Grilliata, a rare and tender 30-ounce ribeye from a Piedmontese, an Italian cow bred in Nebraska. avoliosteria.com

Block 16 Order from a chalkboard menu with options such as a Croque Garcon Burger with cheese, ham, truffle mayonnaise and a fried egg. Imaginative fry toppings at the downtown spot include dragon sauce, cheese curds and crushed fortune cookies. block16omaha.com 

Dario's Brasserie Think Cheers with a French accent. The friendly waitstaff serves Trappist monk ales, quiches, crepes and mussels. dariosbrasserie.com

Dinker's Bar Just off Interstate-80, a sign on the plain exterior boasts Omaha's Best Burger. You'll be sold after one bite of the Haystack Burger topped with honey-smoked ham and a fried egg. dinkersbar.com

The Flatiron Surf and turf is the way to go at this downtown classic. Think poached lobster with king crab and truffle-oil risotto or grilled beef tenderloin. flatironcafeomaha.com

Gorat's Steakhouse Hometown billionaire Warren Buffett favors this classic spot that serves tender steaks and seafood in an old-school, family-friendly setting. goratsomaha.com

Grey Plume An ever-evolving organic menu celebrates ingredients from Nebraska farms, such as a bison burger oozing with juicy flavor. Recycled wood floors and tabletops add warmth to the contemporary setting. thegreyplume.com

HIRO 88 Patrons come to this hip Old Market restaurant for the sushi, but the Japanese and Chinese entrees are delicious as well. Try the mild peanut butter chicken. hiro88.com

Hiro 88

Boiler Room Restaurant Two-time James Beard semifinalist Tim Nicholson serves up fine-dining fare like rabbit croquette and Wagyu steak in a brick-walled space that was once the boiler room for the 120-year-old Bemis Bag Company Building. boilerroomomaha.com

Acadian Grille Don’t skip the skillet cornbread at this restaurant serving Southern comfort food in an elegant space in the Dundee neighborhood. acadiangrille.com

J. Coco In an old Dundee-neighborhood grocery store, the chef delights guests with the likes of spice-dusted ribeye with mashed potato balls and collard greens. jcocoomaha.com

Johnny's Cafe The Kawa family ages its own beef. Omaha's iconic steak house has been located in South Omaha since 1922. johnnyscafe.com

Modern Love New York City transplant Isa Moskowitz cranks out comfort food and desserts in this vegan beacon. The Mac and Shews—creamy with cashews—won us over. modernloveomaha.com

Mula Mexican Kitchen and Tequileria In the Blackstone District, sip a margarita while deciding between a torta sandwich or tacos in hand-rolled corn tortillas. mulaomaha.com

Nite Owl Eclectic '70s- inspired decor, craft cocktails, juicy burgers and fun dishes like fried Oreos make the Nite Owl one of the city's hippest bars. niteowlomaha.com

Over Easy Ingredients from area farms, gardens and dairies flavor creations such as fruit-filled toaster pastries and Dutch baby pancakes. overeasyomaha.com

Plank Seafood Provisions In the Old Market, an oyster bar and the skeleton of a boat hanging from the ceiling inject coastal flair. Visit during happy hour for half-price oysters. plankseafood.com

Plank Seafood Provisions

Saddle Creek Breakfast Club Go vegan (chickpea toast, tofu rancheros) or traditional (ham and eggs, French toast) at this breakfast hot spot northwest of Midtown. Saddle Creek Breakfast Club Facebook

Stirnella The seasonal menu might include toasted beef ravioli, sweet corn risotto and striped bass with braised artichokes at this gastropub in the Blackstone District. stirnella.com

Via Farina Chefs make pasta by hand and pull pizzas from a wood-fired oven in the open kitchen. Try the Egg Yolk Raviolo, with ricotta and a sunny yolk oozing out of a single piece of filled pasta. goviafarina.com

Zio's Pizzeria There are three around town, but the Zio's Old Market location is convenient for downtown visitors. Mix and match 40 toppings to create a slice of pizza perfection. ziospizzeria.com

Stay

Element Omaha Midtown Crossing Full kitchens, rain shower baths and posh mattresses—along with free bikes and an included breakfast—make for great stays in an eco-friendly hotel. elementomaha.com

EVEN Hotel Omaha Downtown This new fitness-centered hotel offers exercise space and ergonomic work stations in every room, healthy eats, and a 24-hour gym. ihg.com

Omaha Marriott Downtown at the Capitol District The 12-story hotel takes advantage of its views with a rooftop pool and river- and city-view rooms. It’s next to the Capitol District’s urban town square, with restaurants and events like movie nights and concerts. marriott.com

Hotel Deco XV The lobby and 89 rooms in this 1930s building blend Art Deco and modern elements. A remodeled first floor features the Monarch Prime & Bar, which specializes in steaks. hoteldecoomaha.com

Magnolia Hotel Omaha Guests sink into comfy beds with custom linens at the 1923 building near the Old Market. magnoliahotelomaha.com

Residence Inn Omaha Downtown A vintage FBI poster, vault door and terrazzo tile remind guests of the all-suite hotel’s days as the Federal Building. A free shuttle to nearby attractions saves parking hassles, and free grocery delivery service keeps your kitchen stocked. marriott.com

More information visit visitomaha.com

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