Omaha is a city in Nebraska that deserves a lot of love, yet it doesn’t really get that love. There are so many things to do in Omaha, Nebraska. So, when you visit Omaha, you must spend more than a day or two there. After all, where else can you spend time by the river, while enjoying the hustle and bustle of a busy city? Omaha seems to have it all and you can embrace everything as you determine what to do in Omaha, Nebraska during your next vacation.
Where is Omaha, Nebraska
You will find the city of Omaha directly on the Missouri River. It is approximately ten miles to the north of where the mouth of the Platte River is located. You can easily reach this amazing city from many different states, which is perfect for road trip vacations.
Best Time to Visit Omaha, Nebraska
Most people choose to visit Omaha in the summer with the second largest group arriving in the spring. Therefore, if you are looking to avoid the crowds, you may want to consider spending time in Omaha during the fall. However, if crowds are not an issue for you, spring and summer in Omaha are amazing.
Weather in Omaha, Nebraska
Omaha has four seasons, so you may decide the best time to visit is during the season that you love the most. We can tell you that the summers bring warm temperatures, while the spring and fall brings rain and the winter brings snow and cold.
20 Free (or Nearly Free!) Things to Do in Omaha, Nebraska
1. Walk Through the Old Market
Walking through the Old Market is one of the best free things to do in Omaha. However, it is only free if you do not purchase anything along the way. This Omaha attraction is in one of the oldest areas of the city. As you wander around, you can do a little window shopping at the antique stores and art galleries.
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2. Walk Over the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge
One of the best things to do in Omaha with kids, if you are looking to tire them out, is to walk over the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge. This bridge is sixty feet over the water and 3,000 feet long. You can easily walk from one state to another on this bridge, since it connects to a neighboring state.
3. Experience the Public Art Displays
Public Art Displays are scattered throughout the city of Omaha. Wandering around and experiencing them is one of the fun things to do in Omaha this weekend. The sculptures will be an instant favorite but make sure you keep going until you find the largest public mural in the country and the playful juggler.
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4. Visit the Joslyn Art Museum
One of the more popular tourist attractions in Omaha, Nebraska is the Joslyn Art Museum. Admission is free at this museum and there is something for everyone in your family to fall in love with. An Art Pack can be used as a guide throughout the galleries. With more than 11,000 works of art, that guide can come in handy. On the inside of this museum, you will see pieces by Pollock, Monet, Renoir, and many other artists. The kids may prefer the Discovery Garden outside though. There are twenty different works of art out there and you will all love wandering between them all.
5. Watch a Parade
There are many parades held in the city of Omaha throughout the year but watching one will take some planning on your part. After all, you will need to be in this city when the parade is taking place to see it! A couple of the more popular city parades include Millard Days, Florence Days, St. Patrick’s Day, and Cinco de Mayo.
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6. Wander Around Mt Vernon Gardens
The multiple gardens throughout Mt Vernon Gardens are filled with flowers year-round. This garden is especially beautiful though when it is beginning to bloom during the springtime. This is one of the many family things to do in Omaha, especially if you are trying to keep your kids outdoors in the fresh air all day long.
7. Attend a Festival
Festivals are almost a weekly event in Omaha, Nebraska during the summer months. If you are planning a vacation in Omaha for the months of June, July, or August, you should be able to attend at least one of them. Festivals are included on the list of kid friendly things to do in Omaha. A few of the most popular festivals include Santa Lucia Festival, Summer Arts Festival, Taste of Omaha, and the Greek Festival.
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8. Take a Tour of Boys Town and the Father Flanagan House
Father Flanagan knew there was a better way to care for kids, families, and communities and he made those dreams come true with Boys Town. You can tour the entire village, as well as the Father Flanagan House. You must realize that this is one of the most iconic Omaha attractions and has been designated as a National Historic Landmark District. During your Omaha visit here, you should also check out the world’s largest Ball of Stamps, because this is where that massive ball lives.
9. Visit the Gerald R. Ford Birth Site and Gardens
The location of this Omaha attraction is where Ford’s grandparents lived and where Ford also lived for a couple weeks after his birth. The original home was destroyed by a fire back in 1971. There is a kiosk located there with information about the original home, as well as a rose garden that was dedicated to Ford’s wife. Next to this site is the Gerald R Ford Conservation Center. There is a small exhibit filled with Ford memorabilia inside the center.
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10. Explore KANEKO
KANEKO can be found within three historic warehouses and visiting there is one of the best things to do in Old Market Omaha. When you are looking for indoor things to do in Omaha, you don’t need to look any further than the galleries within KANEKO. There are numerous exhibits throughout. KANEKO also holds many different public programs.
11. Watch a Little Shakespeare
Shakespeare comes to life on the green in Omaha. The pre-performance times are interactive, so it is an excellent thing to do with kids in Omaha. You will want to check out the schedule for Shakespeare on the Green, so you do not miss out on this thing to do in Omaha for free. This is also an excellent date night Omaha idea if you are looking for romantic things to do in Omaha and have someone to watch the kids.
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12. Learn More About History at the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail Visitor Center
A visit to this visitor center will have you learning so much about Lewis and Clark and the journey they made so many years ago. This is one of the best things to do in Nebraska and you must put it on your list of fun things to do in Omaha, NE today. You will find this visitor center next to the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge, so we recommend having them both on your itinerary for the same day.
13. Relax and Have Fun at All the Omaha Lakes
If you are looking for outdoor things to do in Omaha, Nebraska, the lakes have all you are looking for and so much more. While you can simply relax on the shorelines of any of the Omaha lakes, we recommend going out boating or fishing if you have the time.
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14. Visit the Mormon Trail Center
The Mormons made the trek from Illinois all the way to Utah back in the 1800s. This center documents a lot of the information from that time. This may not be one of the top tourist attractions in Omaha, Nebraska, but it is one of the things in downtown Omaha, Nebraska you will want to have on your list.
15. See the Bronze Sculptures at First National’s Spirit of Nebraska’s Wilderness and Pioneer Courage Park
There are more than one hundred bronze sculptures within this park. Each one weighs between 400 pounds and six tons. This area covers six blocks of downtown Omaha. Every one of the sculptures shares a story of the westward journey of the pioneers.
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16. See the Locomotives at Kenefick Park
This lush park is filled with native plants, but that is not what draws the locals and tourists there. Instead, it is the two locomotives that were part of the Union Pacific Railroad on display that makes this park one of the top tourist attractions in Omaha. This is one of the kid friendly things to do in Omaha at any time. A visit will have you seeing the Centennial No 6900 and the Big Boy No 4023. The signs share all the information you need to know about these two locomotives. This is one of the fun things to do in Omaha this weekend with kids that you will want to allow extra time for.
17. Head Down to the Riverfront
The riverfront in Omaha is incredibly beautiful and you will love hanging out down there. This is one of the free things to do in Omaha that is fun for the entire family. Walk over to the Lewis and Clark Landing to see the Monument to Labor Sculpture. You can even just walk with no destination in mind.
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18. Hike the Trails Throughout Omaha
There are a couple trails throughout Omaha, and you can hike them during your visit. As long as you have kids that don’t mind walking, this can be one of the fun and free things to do in Omaha with kids.
19. Visit the Heartland of America Park
This park is known for the fountain and light show, but the thirty-one acres offer so much more. You can easily spend all day at this park and stay for the light show once the sun has set in the sky. Of course, you can also spend your day seeing the other Omaha attractions and then stop by this park before you go back to your hotel at night.
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20. See the Birds and Flowers at Lauritzen Gardens
Lauritzen Gardens is Omaha’s very own botanical garden. The arboretum is filled with all the plants from seven different regional communities. Outside, there are many other gardens to see, but don’t forget to take the time to visit the bird sanctuary too.
Expert Tips for Traveling to Omaha, Nebraska
You are always going to find tips for traveling to different destinations around the country if you take the time to look for them. Here are a couple expert tips we have found for when you choose to visit Omaha:
Visit During the Winter – One of the best ways to save money during a vacation in Omaha, Nebraska is to travel there during the winter months. While this city is quite affordable all year long, the prices really drop during the colder months of the year.
Take Advantage of the Free Airport Shuttles – Almost every single Omaha hotel in the downtown area offers a free airport shuttle. We recommend contacting your hotel in advance to confirm this and to book your ride from the airport.
Utilize Public Transportation – Unless you really have your heart set on renting a vehicle when visiting Omaha, we recommend utilizing the Metro. There are 28 different routes throughout the entire downtown area and each ride is reasonably priced.
These are the twenty free, or nearly free, things you can do in Omaha, Nebraska. You may find other free things to do in Omaha once you arrive. Due to the overwhelming number of free things to do in Omaha, you can easily take a vacation there without a very large travel budget. This means you may find yourself capable of taking more than one vacation since you will be saving yourself some money during your travels.