For all of you die-hard college baseball fans out there, this is a place that needs to be at the top of your bucket list. And if you don’t find yourself in this category…well it still needs to be on your bucket list. Omaha is a bustling city with something exciting to do around every corner. It’s not only home to the ‘greatest show on dirt’: a historic downtown, posh dining and boutiques, and a world-class zoo are just a few of the other gems that this town has to offer.
Old Market – This historic area of Omaha is filled with fine dining, friendly pubs, and exciting nightlife. The plethora of hotels in this district make it easy access for guests to all that the Old Market has to offer. The cobblestone streets are filled with street performers to entertain you while you wander. Along the way, you’re bound to find a store or gallery that pulls you in. For me, it was the store with the little Chanel bag in the window. Pretty in Patina is an adorable, trendy little boutique located in the heart of downtown. It boasts vintage high-end clothing and accessories (hello Louis Vuitton and Versace) all the way to pieces that are super affordable (yet still gorgeous!). I tried on a pink vintage Chanel dress and fell in love (unfortunately, the $1295.00 price tag didn’t love me back). In order to cope with my loss, I went to Upstream Brewing Company. No, I didn’t drown my sorrows in alcohol (an activity that’s frowned upon for 20 year olds – ya know, even if you’re getting your master’s degree). I enjoyed their angel hair pasta with tomato vodka sauce while watching the game on one of the many big screens. The pool tables on the second level gave the restaurant a sophisticated and effortless vibe. From the ritzy restaurants and superb shops, to candy stores and art galleries, there’s something for everyone in Omaha’s Old Market.
Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium/Rosenblatt – Located just two minutes from Omaha’s historic downtown, the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium is an absolute must-see. In 2014, tripadvisor.com named it the world’s best zoo. With the world’s largest indoor desert, America’s largest indoor rainforest, and countless other exhibits and attractions, it’s easy to see why. My personal favorite was the Suzanne and Walter Scott aquarium, which is home to over 85 Antarctic penguins and a 70-foot shark tunnel. Before you venture to Henry Doorly, be sure to give yourself plenty of time to walk around and explore everything in full (it took me four hours to get through everything!). Also, make sure to wear your most comfortable pair of shoes: the sprawling 130 acres is no joke. On your way out, be sure to stop by the historic Rosenblatt stadium memorial which is located right next to the zoo’s parking lot. Rosenblatt stadium was home to the College World Series tournament from 1950-2010. It was even home to a couple of minor league farm teams. You can stand on the original location of home plate, and take in the history of this once roaring stadium.
Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge – Bob Kerrey is a 3,000 foot long pedestrian sky bridge that connects Council Bluffs, Iowa to Omaha, Nebraska. It overlooks the mighty Missouri river, and is located adjacent to the Lewis and Clark landing (remember learning about them in 5th grade history?). This modern cable bridge gives the most fantastic views of the city of Omaha, and allows visitors the chance to stand in Iowa and Nebraska at the same time. Despite an incredible amount of wind on the day I visited, the Bob Kerrey Pedestrain bridge was an unforgettable experience.
College World Series – What’s a trip to Omaha without a little college baseball? The NCAA Division 1 College World Series tournament is held at TD Ameritrade Park every June. During this time, the CWS brings in fans from all around the country to watch the top 8 teams play for a national title. The atmosphere in TD Ameritrade is unlike any other: the fans are passionate, the ballpark food is mouth-watering, and it’s always a party in the outfield (usually with about 50 beach balls – no, I’m not kidding). And of course, the baseball is top notch. No matter who you’re rooting for, expect to have an amazing time at the College World Series.
Whether you’re making the trip to Omaha for baseball or not, just make the trip! You won’t be disappointed. I’m already making my plans for next year’s trip – I hope to see you there!