Thursday, May 1, 2014

The List - Things To Do In Omaha

Long-time readers will know that I have lived my whole life in Nebraska; except for about one year of it within a fifty mile radius of where I live now. Family keeps us here and I can't imagine that will ever change. In the cold, short days of the winter and the hot, hot days of the summer and the tornado season, I often wonder if family is enough to continue to suffer through all of that. And then the grass turns green and the birds return in the spring or the leaves change and football starts in the fall or the holidays arrive and we are but one hour from "home" and I know it is all worth it. If you don't live here, though, you may wonder what in the word (besides cheering on my Huskers!), there is to keep us entertained. After all, we don't have any mountains or beaches.

Henry Doorly Zoo Desert Dome
This week I want to share some of the things Omaha has to offer and the next edition I'll share things to do in Nebraska.

1. Henry Doorly Zoo - consistently ranked one of the top three zoos in the United States, our zoo is constantly growing and evolving. Set on the bluffs overlooking the Missouri River, the zoo includes a desert biodome (if you've watched the College World Series in years past, you've seen it in the background), a aquarium, an indoor rainforest. an aviary, a butterfly pavilion, and a chairlift.

2. Omaha boasts more restaurants per capita than any other major city in the U.S. There are a wide variety of ethnic choices, places serving food just like mom makes, great steak houses, and upscale restaurants that rival those in most cities.

Summer on the Platte River
3. Three rivers - that's right, three. Sure they aren't quite as impressive as Pittsburgh's three rivers but we've got them. The Elkhorn is a fun river for tubing, the Platte is wider than it is deep and you can often walk most of the way across it on sandbars in the summer, and the Missouri is the river for boating.

4. It's not all about football around here - we have sports of all kinds to enjoy. Omaha is home to the Kansas City Royals AAA team, the Stormchasers; two colleges with high-ranking teams in
TD Ameritrade Park, home of the College World Series
hockey, soccer, baseball, and basketball; and we support major sporting events such as the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in 2013, twice the U.S. Olympic Swim Trials (in 2016 we'll host for a third time) and, for twenty years, the College World Series. Also, we have a curling league which may not mean much to some of you but which I'm dying to get in good enough shape to join!

5. Music, music, music - no matter what kind of music you enjoy, you'll be able to find it here. Everything from a vibrant indie music scene to large outdoor concerts to a symphony to the top stars of every venue coming to town. In the summer we enjoy free concerts almost every weekend, indie music festivals, and Jazz On The Green every Thursday evening.

Joslyn Art Museum
6. Art - Joslyn Art Museum is our pride and joy (home to works by most major artists including a Rembrandt that they just "discovered") and it's free. But it's by no means our only art museum and there are a lot of smaller non-museum venues that host art shows as well as several art festivals and the Bemis Center for Contemporary Art which boasts a residency program.

7. A vibrant, revitalized downtown including park space, restaurants, shopping (book stores, antique stores, a Russian import store, record stores, and clothing stores), a walking bridge across the Missouri River and giant slides! We're also seeing revitalization in other areas of town that are becoming big night spots.

I have a guest room - you should come and visit!

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