Two-Day Getaway in Omaha
Beyond having one of the nation's most famous zoos, Nebraska's largest city blends independent shops, artfully landscaped parks and world-class dining into a lively downtown, just minutes from the site of college baseball's biggest games and the Missouri River.
The Old Market is still hoppin', but Omaha's appeal extends beyond its famous district.
One of the nation's finest Art Deco buildings houses Joslyn Museum and its more than 11,000 pieces, including the mammoth Chihuly: Inside and Out.
Chef Dario Schicke blends fresh ingredients with Belgian beer at his namesake Dario's Brasserie in Dundee.
Hang out at independent record store Saddle Creek Shop for live performances and album shopping.
Durham Museum, a restored train station, carries visitors back to the state's railroad days with a soda fountain, old streetcar and passenger train.
Modern design and solid acoustics draw sophisticated patrons to Holland Performing Arts Center for the Omaha Symphony and award-winning entertainers.
Each night, Magnolia Hotel Omaha puts out free milk and cookies, and guests sink into beds covered in custom linens (from $149).
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.
Two miles of paths wind through formal gardens and an arboretum at Lauritzen Gardens along the Missouri River.
Lovers of dives will appreciate Dinker's Bar south of downtown; Midwest Living® ranked its burgers among the region's best.
El Museo Latino's art and cultural exhibits put the 24th Street Latino district into context.
More than 1,300 species reside at the Henry Doorly Zoo. The Desert Dome, jungle, aquarium and Skyfari (a chairlift above animal enclosures) makes this one of Nebraska's most popular attractions.
At Zio's Pizzeria, guests mix and match 40 toppings.
More information: Omaha Convention and Visitors Bureau (866) 937-6624; visitomaha.com
Great Places to Splurge on Dinner
1 Hiro 88 Sushi is the main attraction at this Asian-fusion restaurant in the Old Market. 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 Dundee 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 locavoric menu celebrates ingredients from Nebraska farms, such as the bison in a flavorful, juicy burger. Recycled wood tabletops and floors 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 seasonal farm-to-table menu that changes daily. Expect appetizers such as a tender tête de cochon (pig head) and entrees like a braised rabbit leg. (402) 916-9274; boilerroomomaha.com
One Big Party
Fans from across the nation congregate at TD Ameritrade Park Omaha for about 10 days each June for the NCAA Men's College World Series. Food and beer tents, sports bars and restaurants surround north downtown's brick stadium, 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 $169). Even the amenities are reminiscent of the building's early days; overnight shoe shines and valet parking are complimentary. The luxury begins in the lobby's swanky Encore Lounge and continues in guest rooms with plush mattresses and eight-spray European-style shower panels. (402) 991-4981; hoteldecoomaha.com