Solar eclipse. Two words and one big event we weren’t going to miss in all of it’s totality glory. The hubs and I met a friend in Nebraska for the eclipse. The weekend leading up to it, we had a little getaway in Omaha, Nebraska. My, what a wonderful hidden gem in the Midwest. I never anticipated I would vacation to Omaha. I figured Omaha would always be a pass-through travel stop along they way to see my family (in rural Nebraska), or a quick stop to connect to another destination. We had such a wonderful time, and will definitely be back. What is there to do you ask? So much!
Hilton of Omaha
We stayed at the Hilton of Omaha just south of the airport. It was a snap to get to the hotel. The lobby was gorgeous, and our room was great. If you travel to Omaha for a concert or event at The CenturyLink Center, stay at this hotel! There is a cross walk over the road that connects the hotel and venue. Super convenient. Plus, you can grab drinks at the hotel bar before or after the event. No need to get a Lyft or drive.
The weekend we were there, Lady Gaga was performing. It was great people watching. My husband and I sat on their fabulous patio, drink-in-hand, watching all of the folks go by.
We had an excellent breakfast both mornings we were there are Liberty Kitchen (in the hotel). They have a wonderful patio fireplace. It was surprisingly cool when we were there, so the fire and a cup of coffee were nice in the morning. In addition to Liberty Kitchen, there was the hotel bar and a Starbucks coffee shop for food and drink. Other amenities included a workout area, spa with massage and facial services, and a pool area.
The Old Market
Omaha’s Old Market was a mile-or-so walk from our hotel. The Old Market is Omaha’s historic district, and is filled with cobblestone streets, shopping, dining, pubs and microbreweries. It’s a popular area among the locals and tourists alike. All of the restaurants were moderately full, and the area was buzzing with families, college kids and young adults.
Upstream Brewing Company
The first night, we had casual fare at Upstream Brewing Company. They have pub food (which was okay) and a selection of Upstream beer (which was great). I tried a flight of four beers – American Wheat, Firehouse Red Lager, Dundee Export Scotch Ale and the seasonal Day-O Wit. The Firehouse Red Lager and Day-O Wit were my favorites. The Day-O Wit reminded me of pine trees and citrus. It was oddly delicious.
The second evening, we ate at Le Bouillon in The Old Market. This was our kind of place. Fabulous drinks, fantastic food, and a great atmosphere. We munched on appetizers while sipping our cocktails, and had great conversation for a couple of hours. We got the Jambon de Bayonne, Bone Marrow and Broiled Crab Tartine as appetizers. The Jambon de Bayonne was by far the favorite. The dish had a generous portion of delicately sliced French ham and Marcona almonds (my favorite), all atop a praline compote. In addition to tartines and charcuterie, the restaurant also offers a raw bar with oysters and tartares, salads and entrees.
Henry Doorly Zoo
The. Best. Zoo. Ever. The Henry Doorly Zoo is wonderful. The exhibits are so interactive and fun. There is a desert dome, a rain forest exhibit, an amazing gorilla exhibit and so much more.
In addition, they have a Skyfari (ski lift across the zoo), and a train that takes you around the upper areas of the zoo. There are great areas for kids to burn off their energy and learn about animals and nature. Also, be prepared for a hilly walk around the zoo. Omaha is surprisingly hilly. Our ankles and shins got a workout after walking around the zoo for five hours. This is a must-do activity.
To Wrap it Up
Omaha is a wonderful hidden gem of a city in the Midwest. There is so much more to do – lots of great museums and a great art scene. We will definitely return to do more sight seeing. Visit the zoo and Old Market for fun food, shopping and immersing yourself with the local crowd. If you have visited Omaha, what was your favorite activity in the city?