Best Things To Do in Omaha (Updated 2024)

Ryan Renner - Omaha Real Estate Agent
By: Ryan Renner, Realtor

I have helped many families moving to Omaha. Contact me if you have any questions about the Omaha area or need help buying a home.

You are going to be shocked by all the things there are to do in the Omaha area. Below are some of the best attractions in the area.

Map of Omaha Attractions

Henry Doorly Zoo

Entrance Sign to Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo

Arguably, the biggest and best attraction in Omaha. The Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium is frequently ranked as the top one or two zoos in the United States and the world.

Notable Facts:

  • The largest cat complex in North America
  • The world’s largest nocturnal exhibit and indoor swamp
  • The Lied Jungle is one of the world’s largest indoor rainforests
  • The “Desert Dome” is the world’s largest indoor desert, as well as the largest glazed geodesic dome in the world.
  • An aquarium with aquatic habitats from polar regions, temperate oceans, the flooded Amazon rainforest, and coral reefs.

Check out our Local’s Guide to the Henry Doorly Zoo.

Wildlife Safari Park

Looking at Elk at Wild Safari Park in Ashland, Nebraska

The Wildlife Safari Park is an incredible drive-thru experience that’s affiliated with the Henry Doorly Zoo. It highlights North American animals specifically, and it has beautiful hiking and driving trails for you and your family to enjoy.

Here’s our Guide to the Wildlife Safari Park.

Joslyn Art Museum

Joslyn Art Museum

Joslyn Art Museum is temporarily closed. It will reopen on Tuesday, September 10, 2024, after being closed for two years for a major addition.

The Joslyn Art Museum (The Joslyn) is a fine arts museum near 24th and Dodge Streets. The museum’s exterior is made of impressive Georgia Pink marble, while the interior is made of 38 different marbles from all over the world. The Joslyn has a beautiful sculpture garden covering its grounds and two stunning Chihuly sculptures accentuating the interior.  Apart from special traveling exhibits and performances, admission to the Joslyn is free.

Notable Collections Include:

  • Rembrandt
  • Delacroix
  • Degas
  • Monet
  • Renoir
  • Matisse
  • Pollock

Gene Leahy Mall and The Riverfront

Gene Leahy Mall Water Feature
Gene Leahy Mall Water Feature

The Gene Leahy Mall renovation is part of the massive RiverFront project by the city of Omaha. It’s a massive property in downtown Omaha that creates the perfect space for anyone looking to get a little sun! And, if you grew up going to the Gene Leahy Mall, don’t mourn the improvements. There are plenty of nostalgic features that will remind you of those childhood memories!

Notable Attractions:

  • Sculpture Garden
  • Arches Playground
  • Performance Pavilion
  • New and Classic Slides
  • Pond and Boat Cove
  • Dog Park

Kiewit Luminarium

Kiewit Luminarium in Downtown Omaha

After years of anticipation, the riverfront’s newest attraction, the Kiewit Luminarium, has officially opened its doors, welcoming eager visitors to explore its interactive exhibits.

The Kiewit Luminarium is an interactive facility that features 100+ interactive science exhibits. Each activity gives you and your kids the chance to learn about biology, environmental science, engineering, and more at the same time that you get in touch with your creative side.

College World Series

College World Series Game in Omaha

The College World Series is an annual baseball tournament that takes place in Downtown Omaha every June. The CWS has been held in Omaha since 1950, originally at Rosenblatt Stadium until moving to the state-of-the-art Charles Schwab Field in 2010.  The College World Series comes with a plethora of entertainment outside of the games themselves. Each day of the series is accompanied by attractions like live music, beer, retail tents, and more. Visitors will find everything they need to enjoy the College World Series to the fullest, between the Old Market and NODO Districts.

Here’s a list of things to do during the College World Series.

Durham Museum

Durham Museum in Downtown Omaha
Durham Museum

The Durham Museum is located south of the Old Market on 10th Street. The museum is housed in Omaha’s former Union Station. The Library of Congress and the National Archives provide the museum with a range of shows. The museum is an affiliate within the Smithsonian Affiliations program.

Lauritzen Gardens

Lauritzen Gardens with Downtown Omaha in the Background

Lauritzen Gardens is a botanical garden and arboretum located in south Omaha near the Henry Doorly Zoo. The arboretum and bird sanctuary covers 4 acres and includes various plant communities like: prairie, savannah, oak hickory forest, maple linden forest, farmstead windbreak, marsh, and floodplain river margin.

Featured Gardens:

The Arrival Garden
The Festival Garden
The Victorian Garden
The Song of the Lark
The Woodland Trail
A Rose Garden
Japanese Garden
Tree Peony Garden
Model Railroad Garden
The Garden of Memories
The Marjorie K. Daugherty Conservatory

Joslyn Castle

Joslyn Castle, part of the National Register of Historic Places, is a mansion located in the Dundee/Midtown area of Omaha near 39th and Davenport Streets. In the late 70s, Omaha designated the Joslyn Castle as a city landmark. The famous home was built in Scottish Baronial style in 1903.

Joslyn Castle in Midtown Omaha

The 35-room mansion is a popular venue for weddings and celebrations with its superior exterior and lavish interior including a reception hall, music room, ballroom, a library and gold drawing room.

Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge

The Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge crosses the Missouri River and connects Omaha with Council Bluffs, Iowa.

Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge in Downtown Omaha

“The Bob,” as it is sometimes called, stretches over 3,000 feet making it one of the longest pedestrian bridges in the country. 

It’s to the north of the Luminarium and downtown Omaha. It’s free and open 24 hours a day. 

Orpheum Theater

The Orpheum Theater is located on 16th Street in Downtown Omaha. Managed by the Omaha Performing Arts Society, the Orpheum has hosted the best of performing arts for more than a century. The original theater was built in 1895; then called the Creighton Theater. Following a great fire in Downtown Omaha, the current, larger theater was built on the same site. The theater is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and continues to be a popular venue for weddings, galas and other celebrations.

Newer additions to the theater include a digital marquee and Skylink enclosed walkway, which connects a parking garage to the theater. The Orpheum Theater Skylink was added in 2004 for increased convenience and accessibility to the Orpheum. The 200-foot-long elevated, enclosed and climate-controlled walkway connects the OPPD parking garage to the Orpheum Theater.

Strategic Air Command Museum

The Strategic Air Command & Aerospace Museum is located southwest of Omaha along I-80. The “SAC” Museum is dedicated to showcasing artifacts of the United States Airforce with impressive displays including historic aircrafts, space vehicles and missiles. This is a popular destination for school field trips as the museum is highly regarded for its educational programs, dynamic programming.

Airplane inside the Strategic Air Command & Aerospace Museum in Ashland, Nebraska

According to the Museum’s website, the facility includes a glass atrium, two aircraft display hangars, a traveling exhibit area, a children’s interactive gallery, a 200-seat theater, a museum store, an aircraft restoration gallery, and a snack bar. SAC is also very close to Mahoney State Park, making it a great destination for a day or weekend of family fun.

Mahoney Park

Located along the Platte River near I-80, the Eugene T. Mahoney State Park has a range of activities available year round. “Mahoney” is Nebraska’s second most visited tourist attraction after the Henry Doorly Zoo. Mahoney is a popular venue for conferences, retreats, and field trips!

Amenities Include:

Paddleboat Rentals
Mini Golf
Frisbee Golf
Horseback Riding Trails
Sports Fields/Courts
Picnic Areas
Hiking Trails
Cabins & Lodging
Cross-country Skiing
Toboggan Runs
Ice Fishing
Ice Skating Rink
Activity Center
Indoor Playground
Activity Simulators
Kountze Theater

The Bemis Center for Contemporary Art

The Bemis Center is located at the corner of 12th and Leavenworth Streets in the Old Market. The Bemis Center is widely known for its Artist-in-Residence programs, offering sponsored artists an apartment, studio and gallery space for developing new collections of work. The museum showcases more than 20 exhibitions annually, within their three main galleries. The Bemis Center is a great space for educational tours, charity and private events.


The mission of the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts is to provide residency opportunities to artists from around the world, so that they may develop new ideas, expand their practice and engage the community.

Omaha Children’s Museum

Founded by a group of local educators, the Children’s Museum is located southwest of the Old Market on 20th Street. This one-of-a-kind facility caters to the growing minds and imaginations of youth with an innovative concept surrounding the idea of learning through play.

Omaha Children's Museum

Museum Amenities:

Traveling Performances
Field Trips
Summer Camps
Birthday Parties
Creative Arts Center with Theater
Artist-in-Residence Studio
Community Sculpture and Art Island
Charlie Campbell Science and Technology Center
Inventors Workshop
Science Showplace
Imagination Playground
Sandy’s Splish-Splash Garden


  • In 2004 and 2010, the museum was honored with Leading Edge Awards for Visitor Experience from the Association of Science and Technology Museums.
  • The museum’s Science Lab has been featured on the PBS Kids website.

Boys Town

In 1917, Father Edward J. Flanagan established a boarding house that became Father Flanagan’s Home for Boys. Flanagan welcomed all boys, regardless of their race or religion and later purchased Overlook Farm in, what is now west Omaha, to expand into what became known as the Village of Boys Town. After a decade, Boys Town grew into a school with dormitories and administration, even electing its own government and mayor.

Boys Town National Historic Landmark Sign at Entrance

Charged by the President of the United States, Father Flanagan traveled the world, spreading is mission and advising leaders on how to care for displaced children. The Boys Town National Research Hospital opened in 1977 and is a nationally recognized treatment center for children with hearing and speech disorders.

Boys Town’s Mission

Changing the way America cares for children, families and communities by providing and promoting an Integrated Continuum of Care® that instills Boys Town values to strengthen body, mind and spirit.