Omaha Nebraska is the largest city in the state. It is located on the eastern
border of the state on an oxbow meander of the Missouri River, right across
the water from Council Bluffs
in Iowa. This location means that one of
the things to do in Omaha is enjoy the Iowa riverboat casinos as well as the
Iowa casino actually in Council Bluffs. Additionally, the river oxbow has created
an area of land surrounded on three sides by the river and Iowa territory. This
is the location of Eppley Airfied, the busiest of the state’s airports, which
also serves Council Bluffs. In fact, people who go to the airport from Nebraska
must actually travel through portions of Iowa. This important airport means
that many Omaha vacations start here. Most Nebraska
vacation packages will include time in the city, and Omaha events are major
Native Americans, primarily Omaha, Pawnee, Otoe, Missouri, Ponca, and Ioway, were the first inhabitants of this area. The first significant European visitors were from the Lewis and Clark Expedition in 1804, and a number of forts and fur trading outposts were built along the river. As with Native Americans throughout the Great Plains, the Native American people began almost immediately to cede their lands to white settlers; the last to do so were the Omaha in an 1854 treaty. Of all the Omaha events to impact the history of the state and the country, the great westward migrations of the mid 1800s was perhaps the most significant. The river location of Omaha Nebraska made it a primary river fording site for the wagon trains, and its location in the approximate center of the country later made it an important transportation hub – especially when the railroads came. The city was the original capital of the state, but it was moved to Lincoln (named for the then recently-assassinated President) just after the Civil War. One of the attractions in Omaha today is the old State Capitol building.
You can explore this history at some of the many museums and the many historic districts in the city. Chief among these is the Old Market District, listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It is the dining, arts, and entertainment center of the city, and most Omaha vacations will spend time here. Tours of the city will reveal more than 100 individual structures and properties on the National Register of Historic Places, including Joslyn Castle, a whimsical Scottish baronial style mansion built in 1903. This was the home of George Joslyn, a paper milling and newspaper magnate. His wife Sarah endowed the respected Joslyn Art Museum, site of numerous cultural Omaha events and which possesses and fine art collection.
Other attractions in Omaha Nebraska include the internationally respected Henry Doorly Zoo. There are several zoos in the state, and this excellent Omaha facility also owns and operates the Lee G. Simmons Conservation Park and Wildlife Safari located in Ashland.
Omaha vacations can take advantage of numerous other attractions and things to do. If you’re deciding when to go, consider the popular Omaha events such as Blues, Jazz & Gospel Festival in August. You can combine this with a visit to the Omaha Black Music Hall of Fame. There are several theaters and performing arts centers. The Durham Museum is a fine history museum, and the Omaha Children’s Museum offers something exciting for all ages. You can visit historic Fort Omaha as well as attend the annual River City Roundup held there in September and celebrating the western and pioneer history of the region.
Top image: Omaha CVB - Timothy Kean