Why should we visit your town/city?
It may be an overstatement to call Omaha, Nebraska a hidden gem—there are hundreds of thousands of people who live here and even more who stop by now and then. Still, Omaha is not the first place many people think of when brainstorming where to take a fun weekend off. But you will not be disappointed: if you’re looking for an intimate dinner, a retro concert with your girlfriends, or a chance to cheer yourself hoarse at a baseball game, Omaha is the place for you. You can hop from neighborhood to neighborhood to feel different atmospheres and enjoy delicious food, friendly locals, and cheap drinks.
Where should we stay?
Hotel Deco: From the moment you step into the uber-chic Monarch bar, you'll swoon for this place. Originally an office building, Hotel Deco has been restored and remade into an upscale, unique place to stay in the heart of downtown Omaha. The location cannot be beat: walking distance to steakhouses and bars, and mere feet from one of the city’s most renowned theater venues, the Orpheum Theater. Also, there’s a speakeasy in the area: ask around, and you may be let in on the secret!
Cottonwood Hotel: You could also be one of the first to stay in one of Omaha’s newest spots. The Cottonwood Hotel is another stunning blend of old and new. It was recently refurbished and adds a focal point to one of Omaha’s youngest neighborhoods, the Blackstone District. If you stay at the Cottonwood, you can stroll up the street to a farm-to-table ice cream shop, pause for a yoga class, and toast with some rosé—all within three blocks.
Where should we eat?
Omaha hits it out of the park with eateries. Omaha Steaks may be the first thing to occur to you—and the steaks are certainly worth a try!—but there’s so much more than that.
Au Courant: You'll never have the same meal twice at Au Courant, which offers a $60 per person tasting menu that changes with the seasons and with their local suppliers’ offerings. While never compromising on taste, the artists at Au Courant take pride in sourcing their ingredients locally, and the results are stunning. Au Courant is located in the hip Benson neighborhood, and after your meal, you should certainly grab a beer at the Infusion brewery down the street.
The Drover: Although there is more to Omaha than steaks, The Drover is not to be missed. This is the most unassuming, but consistently top-notch steakhouse I have ever been to. The service is impeccable, the wine pours are healthy, the line is out the door, and the steaks are phenomenal.
Farine+Four: If you visit Omaha for a weekend, this is your brunch spot. Don’t question it, just go. Sublime bread, pastries, and breakfast sandwiches. Grab a mimosa too.
Via Farina: This spot was walking distance from my first apartment in Omaha. The beautiful aesthetic drew me in, and the charred, wood-fired pizza brought me back again and again. If you love Italian food, this is definitely worth a visit.
Which coffeehouses are the best and why?
Archetype Coffee: If you want a delicious cup of coffee, opt for their Ethiopian blend and enjoy the ambiance in one of their shops. There is usually a delightful mix of people: families with kids, older customers playing chess, plenty of young adults on laptops. If you want to go for a chat, to read, to work, or just to savor your coffee, Archetype is a perfect place.
Blue Line Coffee: Another good coffee option is Blue Line in the Dundee Neighborhood. Blue Line has a variety of baked goods for different dietary needs. Grab a cup, a muffin, and stroll through the historic neighborhoods within walking distance.
What sites should we see?
Omaha’s Zoo: Want to feed a giraffe and walk underneath a shark? Make time to visit the Omaha Zoo. It is an uplifting experience, because the facilities are very well-tended, and the animals seem comfortable. If you have kids with you, this cannot be missed. You can get up close and personal with a gorilla and watch dozens of penguins swimming at breakneck speed.
The College World Series: If you visit Omaha during the CWS in June, you will catch the city in one of its very nicest atmospheres. Every year, fans from the two schools that made it to the final championship come to Omaha. You can go to the game, you can tailgate, you can watch the game at one of numerous sports bars near the stadium. The energy is high, and the attitudes are very positive. If you come in the fall, however, you can make a trip one hour west to Lincoln, Nebraska to catch a Nebraska home football game: around here, it’s considered almost a religious experience.
Harney Street Tavern: HST has live music many nights and often does not charge a cover. Omaha has more live music than people expect. And it has several large, Broadway-level theaters. But if you want to see the hidden gems while you visit, you can’t go wrong with HST.