10 Surprising Things To Do In Omaha, Nebraska (That You Probably Didn’t Know About)

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Omaha, Nebraska is one of the most underrated cities in the entire United States. Why do I say that? The town boasts a diverse bucket list of things to do all the while not getting that over-crowded, touristy congestion. Now, that is not something you can easily find!

However, when most people hear about the area they’re not quite sure what there is to do. Here is a complete guide of 10 Surprising Things To Do In Omaha! (Some you’ve probably never heard about)

Things To Do In Omaha

Feel Like You’re In a Tropical Oasis Without Buying a Plane Ticket

Visit the Lauritzen Gardens

Lauritzen Gardens, things to do in omaha nebraska

Lauritzen Gardens is a 100-acre property with over 15 different types of gardens, exhibits, and a pretty gigantic greenhouse. Not only is it nice take a morning or evening stroll through the gardens (it gets quite toasty during most afternoons), Lauritzen Gardens have amazing events that seem to happen every week!

From yoga, photography tours, and kid activities, you’ll for sure find something that fits everyone’s tastes. It costs $10 to get in and I would recommend getting the $3 tram ride that will take you around the park so you can cover more ground.

Dangle Your Feet Above Exotic Animals

Kid-friendly activity in Omaha

henry doorly zoo in omaha
photo courtesy of

I’m sure you’ve heard about the Omaha Zoo. You know, the one that consistently ranks in the Best of the Nation year after year! But have you heard about the unique Skyfari Experience?

You’ll get to enjoy a new perspective from the zoo for a whooping $3 ($6 round-trip). It’s quite impressive as you sit in that open-air chairlift and dangle your feet above not only beautiful treetop views, but also over amazing animals.

Don’t miss this experience while visiting the Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium.

Looking for a weekend trip from Omaha? This Kansas City Tourist Guide will help you plan the perfect KC Weekend!

Go Hiking Near Omaha (Really!)

Hiking trails near Omaha

Hitchcock nature center, thing to do near omaha

When I first moved to the midwest from Utah I was devastated thinking about how this would impact my hiking! I lived for the trails and visiting places such as Zion National Park, Moab, and Southern Utah was a common weekend trip.

However, I was pleasantly surprised with the hiking in Omaha! My favorites so far include Fontanelle Forest, Heron Haven, and the Hitchcock Nature Center.

While the Hitchcock Nature Center is not technically within the city limits, it’s only about a 22-minute drive from downtown Omaha. If you’re short on time, take the Badger Creek Trail. You’ll get amazing ridge-line prairie views that are best enjoyed during sunset.

Glamping at Platte River State Park

Unique camping near Omaha

Glamping in Platte River State Park near omaha Nebraska

If you’ve been following along with Part Time Tourists for some time now, you’ll know that Steve and I absolutely love glamping! Glamping is luxury camping and we’ve been able to try out some unique campsites such as the one in Moab, Utah and Upstate NY.

Platte River State Park now is home to several upscale glamping cabins that have queen-sized beds, fire pits, modern bathroom, and kitchen amenities!

Perhaps my favorite part? That you can roll out your bed onto the deck and sleep under the stars! How utterly romantic is that.

Looking for another unique glamping destination in Nebraska? You’ve got to check out these epic domes that are halfway between Omaha and Lincoln!

Watch a Classic On An Outdoor Screen

Outdoor movie in Omaha

The Capitol District offers “Classics on Capitol” each Wednesday night during the summer season. The summer movie series features iconic movies such as The Sandlot, Back To the Future, and The Goonies.

What’s even better is that The Beam (the permanent oversized, outdoor screen) is surrounded by delicious food such as Lighthouse Pizza. So grab some food to go and enjoy a classical summer night.

Enjoy An Adults Only Night At The Zoo

21+ Event During The Summer

Looking for a little adults only fun? You’re in luck. Omaha is filled with entertainment and activities for when you want to leave the kids at home. My favorite adults-only activity that I’ve participated in takes place at the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium. During the summer on select evenings, you can experience “Late Night at the Zoo”.

Not only can you enjoy the exhibits with less crowds, there are plenty of food and drink options available! A throng of local food trucks are on scene serving up delicious foods like pizza, burgers, BBQ, and more! Don’t miss out on all the yummy dessert options available too.

In addition to the local food truck cuisine, there’s a variety of alcoholic beverages to enjoy during the most unique cocktail hour you’ll ever experience!

Visit the events page to get their updated schedule each year.

Go Tanking

Nebraska’s version of tubing down a river near Omaha

When I first heard of tanking in Nebraska I honestly had no idea what to even think! I quickly found out that tanking is essentially floating down a river in a livestock watering tank.

Relaxing? Most definitely. Unique? Without a doubt. Something that you didn’t know you could do in Omaha, NE? It was for me.

Tank Down The Elkhorn is the closet location to downtown Omaha where you’ll get to enjoy this slow float perfect for any summer day!

tanking in nebraska
Photo courtesy of Visit Nebraska

Visit a Bridge That Has Its’ Own Instagram Account

Visit the Bob Kerry Pedestrian Bridge

Huh? You heard it right! The Bob Kerry Pedestrian Bridge which connects Nebraska to Iowa is so famous that it has its’ own account.

A popular, local activity called ‘bobbing’ is when you walk across the bridge to the exact spot where you can have one foot in Nebraska and the other in Iowa!

It reminded me of when I visited Four Corners and had my two feet and two hands all in different states. This is a must-do activity while visiting Omaha.

Bob Kerry Pedestrian Bridge, Omaha


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Picnic at a Scenic Skyline Overlook

Lewis and Clark Scenic Overlook

I’m always on the hunt for a great view so every time I visit a new city I look up “Best views in Omaha” or “best rooftop views in Omaha.” You get the picture. So after doing a little google searching I stumbled on to the Lewis and Clark Scenic Overlook. This monument,

“Honors the expedition of Lewis & Clark and their historic meeting with the Otoe and Missouri Indians.”

Bring a picnic, stay for sunset, and enjoy these incredible westward views. Pro tip- Don’t get confused by the Lewis and Clark Landing, which is a park in downtown Omaha. Make sure you get directions for the scenic overlook instead.

Lewis and Clark Scenic Overlook, things to do in Omaha

Pretend You’re in Venice

Take a gondola ride in Heartland Park

Gondola rides in Omaha at the heartland of america park
Photo Courtesy: Omaha Convention and Visitors Bureau

We loved our time in Venice, and what better way to relieve that past vacation than by cruising along the Heartland of America Park in a gondola.

Haven’t gotten the chance to visit Italy? This is your chance to pretend you’re in that romantic country. And honestly, sunset on the water with the fountains and the sun gleaming off the buildings is incredibly beautiful.

You can find Heartland Gondola at 8th And Farnam in Omaha.

Looking for more romantic things to do? Check out this List of Surprisingly Romantic Things To Do In Nebraska City!

Get That Perfect Mural “Instagram Shot”

Murals in Omaha

Whether you’re into Instagram or not, Omaha is a dream come true for art lovers, photographers, and tourists. The city is covered in unique murals on every block (well maybe not every block, but quite a few).

Some have a clear message while others are left to your own interpretation. You can spend a whole day chasing and finding those perfect murals in Omaha for that photo resulting in a unique, vacation souvenir.

Here’s one of my fav murals because I’m a sucker for anything patriotic. Plus my sister and brother in law make a cute couple that we had to stop and take a picture in front of it!

Murals in Omaha

Additional Kid-Friendly Options in Omaha

There are so many amazing things to do in Omaha that we didn’t even get to 1/124834 of it! Another thing that Omaha is known for is their kid-friendly museums.

Two of the top museums in Omaha are the Durham Museum and the Children’s Museum. This article shares tips and tricks for visiting the Omaha’s Children’s Museum with young kids.

The Durham museum is also a fan-favorite! Be sure to read this guide when planning a visit (don’t miss the soda foundation and candy counter)!

We hope you enjoy your Omaha, Nebraska trip and put a few of these surprising things to do in Omaha on your list! We’d like to thank Visit Omaha for collaborating with us on this post. All opinions remain our own.

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  1. cindy ladage says:

    I love the glamping option here, so cool and the Lauritzen Gardens look amazing! I need to get back to Nebraska. I was in Grand Island but only in the state briefly!

    • Jess Darrington says:

      Yeah the glamping option is pretty new to the area from what I am told so you’ll have to come back and give it a try 🙂

  2. Melissa says:

    Knew you’d find the secrets of the Midwest! Pretty sweet life out there. #midwesterneratheart

  3. Nikki says:

    These photos are gorgeous! I’ve lived in Omaha for over 15 years and you’ve captured our city beautifully! Welcome!

    • Jess Darrington says:

      You are lucky to have lived here for 15 years, the city is beautiful! Thank you for the warm welcome 🙂

  4. Platte River State Park looks incredible! Great list!

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