Last updated: 11:05 AM ET, Thu March 19 2015

Touring the Madness: Omaha, Nebraska

Features & Advice | Tom Bastek | March 19, 2015

Touring the Madness: Omaha, Nebraska

Photos courtesy of their respective attractions.

It may still be a little cold in the great state of Nebraska, but that isn’t going to keep you from going there to root on your team. If you have some extra time, Omaha is an incredibly hip, fun place to spend a couple of extra days.  And if you like red meat and friendly locals, all the better. Here are a few ideas of the many of things to do and see in Omaha.

Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium

One of the best zoos in the country, there are over 130 acres of area to cover on your trip. The zoo boasts the largest cat complex in North America, the world’s largest nocturnal exhibit and indoor swamp, the world's largest indoor rainforests, and the world's largest indoor desert. They still run an oil-powered steam engine driven zoo train around a 2.5 mile track around the park. Make sure to check out the 70-foot tunnel under the shark tank!

Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge

Rarely will a pedestrian bridge be featured in our articles about a city, but rarely are pedestrian bridges 3,000 feet long, 52 feet high and cost $22 million dollars. The bridge was opened in 2008 and connects “the Port of Omaha's Miller Landing to One Renaissance Center in the former Dodge Park Playland in Council Bluffs.” The bridge is a spectacle at night as much as during the day because of programmable lighting along and on top of the bridge.

Hot Shops Art Center

The three main businesses that make up the Hot Shops, and also where the name “hot” derived from, are Bruning Sculpture, Hot Shops Pottery, and Crystal Forge. They host over 80 studio artists and four gallery spaces in the old Serta Mattress Factory building located downtown. The doors are open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the weekends. You may not be in town long enough for a class, but that doesn’t mean you can’t meander through for a look-see.

Upstream Brewing Company

Brian Magee opened the Upstream Brewing Company in 1996 and has been going strong ever since. They keep everything as fresh as possible including the food, the beer and the atmosphere. The do brunch, lunch and dinner and the chefs at either location are willing to work around any food allergies that you may have. They have a great menu with of course the Omaha signature dish, steak, as a highlight. There are pasta dishes, sandwiches and salads as well. Personally I am sold on the Bavarian pretzel bites and the pork schnitzel.

Brother Sebastian’s Steak House and Winery

Ok, so if you are in Omaha, you figure you have to get a steak. As you can probably imagine, not only are there a bunch of steak houses, but you can pretty much get a steak everywhere and anywhere. (I wonder if McDonald’s has steak on the menu?) That being said, you can also believe that there is no shortage of opinion when it comes to the best steak house in Omaha. But only one of these steakhouses gives you the ambiance of an old-world California monastery with “friendly ‘monks’ that paper you in subdued, romantic surroundings.”  They also grill a kick-ass rib eye. There is chicken and fish for the less red-meaty type people. A blast from the past that is worth the trip.

So there you have an introduction to Omaha. Many people don’t know the city save for the fact that they host the College Baseball World Series. There is a lot to see and get to know. Let me know what else you like to do in Omaha in the comments below!


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