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.
Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium
Credit: Courtesy of Omaha Convention and Visitors Bureau

Day 1

More than 17,000 animals of almost 1,000 different species reside at Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo. The Desert Dome, Lied Jungle, aquarium, Asian Highlands and Skyfari (a chairlift above animal enclosures) makes this one of Nebraska's most popular attractions—and one of the world's top zoos.

Nebraska garden
Lauritzen Gardens conservatory
| Credit: Courtesy of Omaha Convention and Visitors Bureau

Just a mile away lies another major attraction: Lauritzen Gardens, where two miles of paths wind through formal gardens and an arboretum along the Missouri River, and tropical and temperature plants thrive in the 17,500-square-foot conservatory.

Plank Seafood Provisions in the Old Market makes a great stop for lunch or an afternoon snack. An oyster bar and the skeleton of a boat hanging from the ceiling inject coastal flair. Visit during happy hour for $1 off oysters and other deals.

Or head to Modern Love in Midtown; 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.

Durham Museum

If you've got time for one more stop this afternoon, the Durham Museum, a restored train station, carries visitors back to the state's railroad days with a soda fountain, old streetcar and passenger train.

Peregrine Hotel, Omama
Peregrine Hotel Lobby
| Credit: Courtesy of The Peregrine Hotel Omaha

The Peregrine Omaha Downtown, Curio Collection by Hilton, features peregrine-inspired art in a stylish, recently renovated downtown building, a perfect location for your one-night stay.

Sushi is the main attraction at Hiro 88, an 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.

Want an evening on the town? Modern design and solid acoustics draw arts patrons to Holland Performing Arts Center for the Omaha Symphony and award-winning entertainers.

Day 2

The 12 square blocks of the Old Market bring the romance of Europe and energy of SoHo to the Midwest.

Try lunch at M's pub, a longtime Old Market favorite that still scores with dishes like pot roast, lamb burger and Thai pork satay. The popular lahvosh (Armenian crackers with Havarti cheese) comes in more than a half-dozen variations; try the Omaha with roast beef.

El Museo Latino's art and cultural exhibits put the 24th Street Latino district into context, and Kaneko, a revamped downtown warehouse, features creative exhibits, performances and lectures.

Bob Kerrey Bridge
Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge
| Credit: Courtesy of Visit Omaha

Walk across the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge and you'll see the exact point at which you cross from Nebraska to Iowa—it's marked in the cement.

Save the Date

Fans from across the nation congregate at Charles Schwab Field Omaha (formerly 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. Check the schedule for other events at the field.

Next Time You Visit

The Joslyn Art Museum — one of the nation's finest Art Deco buildings and home to more than 11,000 pieces, including the mammoth Chihuly: Inside and Out—is closed for construction and renovation until 2024.