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Omaha has consistently been ranked as one of the top places to live in the country. With affordable housing, short commute times, and a diverse economy, Omaha can offer big-city amenities at a small-town price. Money Magazine recently ranked Omaha as one of "The 5 Best Big Cities" in America. Home to four Fortune 500 companies (Berkshire Hathaway, Kiewit, Union Pacific, Mutual of Omaha), Omaha was able to weather the 2008-2009 recession better than any of the 100 largest American cities, according to the Brookings Institute.
The city is about more than just its economy, however. The people know how to have fun, too.
A FOOD DESTINATION
The farm-to-table movement has swept across the nation in a big way. Omaha is on the forefront of this movement. People all over the country are taking notice.
“ Top 10 Foodie City” –Livability.com
“ 6 Great Small Cities for Food Lovers" –Wall Street Journal
“ Omaha: Foodie Outpost ” –Money Magazine
“ In Omaha, Farmers and Chefs are Good Together” –The New York Times
From inexpensive ethnic foods to steakhouses and new American fare, there is something for everyone.
The Grey Plume serves up seasonally driven, local cuisine in Omaha’s Midtown Crossing, and has been recognized by the James Beard Foundation five times. The Old Market is home to The Boiler Room. Housed in a building dating back to 1896, The Boiler Room recently received a rave review from The New York Times. For a more budget-friendly option, take a trip to Block 16. The casual joint offers up “farm-to-table street food.” Just make sure that you get there early, because the place fills up fast.
Home to Omaha Steaks, this city knows what quality meat is supposed to taste like. For an old-school Omaha Steakhouse, visit The Drover. Famous for its whiskey-marinated steaks, The Drover was featured on the Travel Channel’s Man vs. Food. There is also Mahogany Prime Steakhouse, which Thrillist.com named as one of the “21 Best Steakhouses in America.” And if hamburgers are your thing, try Brewburgers, which was featured on the Food Network show Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives.
MUSIC AND MUSEUMS
Home to the nationally-known indie rock record label Saddle Creek Records, Omaha is a hot spot for music lovers. Omaha’s own Maha Music Festival attracts bands and fans from across the country, the 18,000-seat CenturyLink Center brings in some of the biggest names in the industry, and we are proud to welcome UNO’s Baxter Arena as the newest venue to Omaha. The Holland Performing Arts Center has received awards for its superb acoustics, and is home to Omaha Symphony Orchestra.
Free outdoor concerts can be found all across town during the summer. From Stinson Park in Aksarben Village on Saturdays, to “End of Summer Concert Series” at Turner Park at Midtown Crossing, there’s something for every music aficionado. The “Bank of the West Celebrates America” concert at Memorial Park attracts over 50,000 Omahans every year, who always stay to enjoy the mesmerizing firework show at the end of the night.
History lovers need to visit The Durham Museum. Built in 1931, the former Union Station is one of the finest examples of Art Deco architecture in the United States. Along with hosting national exhibits, the museum tells the history of Omaha and the surrounding region. Another Art Deco gem, the Joslyn Art Museum was constructed in 1938 and is Nebraska’s largest art museum. Known for its marble exterior, the Joslyn also recently revealed a Rembrandt painting, Portrait of Dirck van Os (ca. 1658). There’s also the Kaneko-UNO Library. Located in three historic warehouses in the Old Market, the nonprofit cultural organization is committed to fostering creativity in the community.
A GRACIOUS HOST
Since 1950, the College World Series has called Omaha home. In 2011, the tournament was moved to the 24,000-seat TD Ameritrade Park in downtown Omaha. The only reoccurring host city for any NCAA tournament, thousands of fans from eight teams flock to Omaha each June. For 10 days, the area around the ballpark is filled with tailgates, beer gardens, food trucks, and baseball-themed activities. It has become a mecca for any baseball fan.
Omaha has also hosted the Olympic Swim Trials at the CenturyLink Center in 2008 and 2012. The trials will be returning in 2016, as the Olympic Committee selected Omaha over finalists St. Louis and San Antonio.
The CenturyLink Center also hosted the 2013 U.S. Figure Skating Championships, and the first and second rounds of the NCAA Basketball Tournament in 2008, 2012, and 2015. In 2018, Omaha will be the host of the Midwest Regional for the tournament, joining other host cities Boston, Atlanta, and Los Angeles.
ESCAPE IN THE CITY
In 2014, TripAdvisor named the Henry Doorly Zoo the best in the world. The “Desert Dome” is the world’s largest glazed geodesic dome, and is also the world’s largest indoor desert. Right beneath the Desert Dome lies “Kingdoms of the Night,” the world’s largest nocturnal exhibit. It’s also home to America’s largest indoor rainforest, the Lied Jungle, and a 70-foot long shark tunnel, where visitors can safely walk beneath sharks and admire other sea life in the Suzanne and Walter Scott Aquarium.
A short drive south of downtown and near the zoo is the Lauritzen Gardens, Omaha’s botanical center. The gardens are a living museum of four-season plant displays right in the heart of a city. There are more than 100 acres to explore.
In the middle of the city, sitting side-by-side, are Omaha’s most iconic public spaces. Created in 1887, Elmwood Park is nestled between the UNO campus and Aksarben Village. The walking trails meander through towering, 100-year-old trees and creek beds. If you start on the southern end of Elmwood Park and walk north, you will discover Memorial Park. The 67-acre park straddles the Dundee-Happy Hollow Historic District, which is home to Warren Buffett and Academy Award winning filmmaker Alexander Payne.
MAKING OLD NEW AGAIN
Designated as a historic district by the National Register of Historic Places, most of the buildings in the Old Market were constructed around the turn of the 19th century. Today, the red brick buildings and cobblestone streets are filled with boutiques, art galleries, bars, and restaurants.
A more recent revival has been occurring in Benson, one of Omaha’s oldest neighborhoods. Founded in 1887, Benson has emerged from the ashes and is now the place to be for a night out. Maple Street in downtown Benson is lined with craft cocktail bars, breweries, music venues, and some of the best restaurants the city has to offer.
Blackstone is another revitalized historic district. This lively, pedestrian-friendly community offers unique cultural experiences that include restaurants, shops, nightlife and businesses.