August 15, 2019

14 Great Places To Get Nebraska Donuts

Nebraska might not have an official donut trail like Ohio, but we have some excellent donut shops. I created this post to feature donut shops throughout Nebraska, in large cities and small towns. And, because I’m inspired by that Ohio donut trail, I created my own version of a Nebraska Donut Trail at the end of the post. Enjoy!

14 must-visit donut shops in Nebraska - Tour the state by visiting bakeries and trying what they're famous for! Donut shops are all locally-owned and found in large and small towns. #Nebraska #Doughnut #Guide

Why some Nebraska donut shops didn’t make the list

The criteria to be on this Nebraska list included A) the donut shops needed to be locally-owned shops and B) they needed to sell donuts, obviously. In some cases, the bakeries were more famous for other pastries (and I’ll point those out later), but still, donuts have to be available at the bakery in order to be included.

In cities that had more than one locally-owned donut shop, I used two methods to decide on which to include.

For Omaha, I went with my favorite since I have compared the options (and there are a lot of great options). I’m more of a traditional donut fan, so cake donuts without a lot of frills are my favorite, and thus, Olsen Bake Shop was picked over something like, say, Bob’s Donuts.

In Lincoln, I looked at various review sites plus this story about Lincoln donut shops. Since websites kept ranking a chain as the top donut shop, I selected the highest ranking locally-owned shop.

Side note: I nearly included all the Daylight Donuts that popped up in a few Nebraska towns. But, it’s a chain, and not even a Nebraska chain, so please don’t point out that the lone donut shop in your town was left off this list if it’s a Daylight Donuts. 

Where to find great donuts in Nebraska

Ready to explore the state one donut shop at a time? Here are some of the best places to find donuts in Nebraska! Whenever possible, I included fans’ feedback on the bakery.

So, if you are a fan and want to chime in about your favorite bakery, leave me a comment.

Bluffs Bakery

Where: 1520 Broadway, Scottsbluff

About: According to the Bluffs Bakery Facebook page, the Bluffs Bakery bakes its products from scratch and uses all fresh ingredients. “We make every item from scratch. We also try to buy as many local ingredients as we can. That includes Robinson Honey from the honey farm in Scottsbluff, NE.”

Bluffs Bakery is owned by Ron Ahlers, Sr., a master baker, and Chris Ahlers. The bakery’s Facebook page said Ron was one of the first 500 certified bakers in the United States. Two other bakeries on this list are connected with the Ahlers (Gering Bakery and Rolling Pin Bakery).

What readers say: Jessica H. said both Gering Bakery and Bluffs bakery both have cute cookies and an assortment of cakes and donuts but that Bluffs bakery has a larger assortment of cookies, bagels, and muffins, and so many donuts doughnuts. “Bluffs also had Italian sodas (not great) and other breakfast and lunch items.”

Delight Donuts

Where: 818 S. 13th St., Norfolk

About: To be honest, not much is out there about this bakery in Norfolk. From what I can see in photos, though, this donut shop sells giant donuts.

What readers say: According to Jill T. “I can’t be in Norfolk without stocking up on Delight donuts!!! Best donuts and most amazing owners! Definitely a Norfolk staple! Nothing beats seeing that pink box on the break room table.”

Gering Bakery

Where: 1446 10th St., Gering

About: Gering Bakery, along with Bluffs Bakery and Rolling Pin Bakery, is owned by Ron Ahlers, Sr., and Chris Ahlers.

What readers say: Amanda C. grew up in Gering and said “The Gering bakery has delicious donuts and cookies. They also make absolutely incredible cabbage burgers! 🤤 I miss that bakery!”

Katie M. puts it simply: “I love the Gering Bakery!”

Jessica H. said between Bluffs Bakery and Gering Bakery, she prefers Gering Bakery. “Gering Bakery and Bluffs bakery both have cute cookies and an assortment of cakes and doughnuts. Gering has a better and larger assortment of doughnuts and a little bit of bagels. Bluffs bakery has a larger assortment of cookies, bagels, and muffins, but not as large of an assortment of doughnuts. I like Gering’s cookies better.”

Jim And Connie’s Blair Bakery

Where: 132 S. 17th St., Blair

About: Located not too far from Omaha, Jim and Connie’s Blair Bakery has a lot of fans here. They sell more than donuts, including pfeffernusse at Christmas time.

What readers say: Jim R. has childhood memories at the Blair bakery and said they have the best glazed donuts. “I always recommend to friends and coworkers to stop by there and get a glazed donut when they are in the area.”

Susan L. and Annie R. is also fans of their glazed donuts. Annie mentioned something about being sure to get them when warm, because, yeah. “Jim and Connie’s Blair Bakery is the BEST. I drive from Omaha to get their glazed donuts.”

Kelli K. is a big fan, too. “Love love love Jim and Connie’s in Blair!!!! Get the donuts, long johns, bear claws, okay there isn’t any of their pastries that are not delicious. I’ve had co workers in Omaha offices specifically request jim and Connie’s donuts they are so good!! Get there early on Friday, though – it is Blair tradition the high school kids bring donuts to share in homeroom on Friday.”

And, the bakery’s donut holes gets a recommendation from Katie W. “Jim and Connie’s glazed donut holes are one in a million. My coworkers from Omaha request for me to stop quite often and they are never disappointed!”

Kimball Bakery

Where: 124 S. Chestnut St., Kimball

About: Not much is out there about this small town bakery, other than they have the most unique of offerings (I’ve seen the picture): A glazed donut man.

What readers say: Jessica H. said her visit was rather disappointing at Kimball Bakery, but she did let me know they had a cute glazed man.

Kimmel Orchard & Vineyard

Where: 5995 G Road, Nebraska City

About: Kimmel Orchard has been around since 1925. Being an orchard, the draw is all-things-apples. So, obviously, you get the apple donut.

The apple donuts are made fresh every Monday, Wednesday and Friday (seasonally).

What readers say: Maureen Q. said “Best donuts ever!! It’s been too long since I’ve had them.”

Olsen Bake Shop

Where: 1708 S. 10th St., Omaha

About: It’s easy to miss this donut shop just south of the Old Market – it’s a true hidden gem. Olsen donuts are fresh and no frills, just great tasting. It’s near the zoo and botanical gardens if you want a place to walk off the donut calories.

What readers say: “I only eat Olsens bakery donuts. Best in town,” said Jephrey M.

Dan H. agreed, saying “They’re the best I’ve ever had, period. Try other donuts when I’m out of town and nothing ever compares.”

Nebraska Doughnuts - Find some of the best in the state at Olsen Bake Shop in downtown Omaha.

Randy’s Donut Shop

Where: 201 Capitol Beach Blvd., suite 5, Lincoln

About: Randy’s competes with a popular regional chain with Nebraska’s only location (ahem, Hurts Donuts). However, from the reviews I’ve read online, Randy’s has a following.

According to the Lincoln Journal Star “Another family-owned local establishment, Randy’s lauds freshness, hand-made quality and cost as indicators of its success. Staff member Amanda Ryan said that Randy’s price of 85 cents for a doughnut is the lowest in town. Options include the ever-popular original glazed raised doughnut as well as other raised options and multiple cake doughnut choices.”

Rolling Pin Bakery

Where: 2044 10th Ave., Sidney

About: The Rolling Pin Bakery is the third of the Ahlers’ great bakeries in Nebraska. Learn more about their approach to baking in the Bluffs Bakery “About” section.

Am I missing a hidden gem of a donut shop in Nebraska? Leave a comment and let me know!

Rosie’s Deli & Rolls

Where: 1519 M St., Ord

About: Rosie’s is more than only a donut shop – it’s a full deli. A lot of fan reviews online point out that not only is the food great, it’s all reasonably priced.

Sehnert’s Bakery and Bieroc Cafe

Where: 312 Norris Ave., McCook

About: Sehnert’s has been around since 1957 and run by the same family. While this is the place to go to try the famous bieroc of Nebraska, it’s included on this list because they also have tasty donuts.

It’s worth pointing out that this is the lone Nebraska bakery that can say they have a James Beard America’s Classic Award, which they earned in January 2019.

What readers say: Want donut recommendations? Stacy W. has a few. “Sehnert’s is an institution in my hometown. Anytime people come back to town this is a must stop. For donuts the sundae donut and apple fritters are a big draw. My personal favorite item are the peanut butter brownies.”

Monica J. pretty much convinced me that I need to try one of everything off their menu. Here’s what she said about Sehnert’s: “The buttercream frosting is the BEST! I remember my mom ordering cakes from there ever since I was little ❤️ I’ve found no buttercream that compares. With that being said, the chocolate Sundae is freaking the best ever. Also- the cream horns are to die for. Every Holiday season they also make Stollen bread- ridiculous. I can’t even explain the goodness that happens in your mouth after eating a piece of warm Stollen from the oven. I’ve never had anything like it. You can just taste all of the homemade goodness.

Another item I’ve ordered since I was young is the Delaware Doughnut! It’s a cheese and sausage filled “doughnut”- no icing. 🤤🤤 And last- the bieroc (runza). I order dozens of these to take home. There’s just nothing like the homemade “bread” flavor. I personally LOVE the hamburger/cheese/sauerkraut. I can’t eat Runza’s runzas because I grew up on these and they’re that good.”

Nebraska Donuts - Sehnert's Bakery and Bieroc Cafe is in McCook, Nebraska
Photo courtesy Tor Olson – Olson Photography

Sunrise Bakery

Where: 419 Court St., Beatrice

About: This long-time bakery celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2017 – and it’s stayed in the family (current owner Clayton Replogle is the great-great-grandson of the original owner).

According to the Beatrice Daily Sun “The donuts, the bread, the cakes, the puddings and creams: everything but the fruit filling is made from scratch in the kitchen.”

What readers say: Samantha M. brought Sunrise Bakery to my attention. She said “My family loves their rolls and when we moved away whenever we visit our grandparents we stop in to get their buttered rolls and donuts!”

Amanda V. agreed, and said “Still trying to find a place in Omaha that even comes close to comparing!”

Verdigre Bakery

Where: 405 S. Main St., Verdigre

About: Verdigre, Neb., is billed as the kolache capital of the world. Soooo, here’s a bakery where you’re probably better off ordering what they’re famous for (kolaches).

But, this is a donut list, so fear not, Verdigre Bakery has donuts.

What readers say: I didn’t get a lot of reader responses about donuts here because – big surprise – kolaches kept coming up.

Beth L. said “We love the kolaches at the Verdigre Bakery!!”

While kolaches are their specialty, Andrea N. said she prefers to order the rohliky there (and if you’re curious, Andrea said the kolaches made by the Methodist church in town during Kolache Days are the best). “Rohliky is the thing at Verdigre’s bakery. I get that every time I go back. … Donuts are good there too! But I nearly always just get rohliky.”

LeAnna B. is another one who has a preference to kolaches made elsewhere (her in-laws’ recipe). She was disappointed with the kolaches there. “I had much higher hopes than what we ate from the bakery.”

Wahoo Bakery

Where: 544 N. Linden St., Wahoo

About: Like any great Nebraska bakery, Wahoo Bakery sells cakes, cookiesand rolls in addition to donuts (and of course, kolaches).

Check ahead of time to see what their donut of the month is. They’ll sell the specialty flavor on Saturdays.

Guide to the best (and locally-owned) donut shops in Nebraska! This post includes the Nebraska Donut Trail, with stops throughout the state, including the Panhandle and cities like Omaha and Nebraska. #doughnut #guide #Nebraska #USA

The Nebraska Donut Trail

Now that you’ve got a list of Nebraska donut shops, why not go visit them? Grab a map and loosen your belts, I created a donut trail for the state.

The Nebraska donut trail starts and finishes in Omaha. The round-trip nature of the trail allows for people to start at any point. The route I have mapped out is a little more than 1,200 miles.

Nebraska Donut Trail - 14 places to get fresh donuts in Nebraska

Here are your stops:

  1. Olsen Bake Shop, Omaha
  2. Kimmel Orchard & Vineyard, Nebraska City
  3. Sunrise Bakery, Beatrice
  4. Randy’s Donut Shop, Lincoln
  5. Wahoo Bakery, Wahoo
  6. Bluffs Bakery, Scottsbluffs
  7. Gering Bakery, Gering
  8. Kimball Bakery, Kimball
  9. Rolling Pin Bakery, Sidney
  10. Sehnert’s Bakery and Bieroc Cafe, McCook
  11. Rosie’s Deli & Rolls, Ord
  12. Verdigre Bakery, Verdigre
  13. Delight Donuts, Norfolk
  14. Jim And Connie’s Blair Bakery, Blair

Many bakeries on this list are known for something other than donuts. It’s forgivable if you show up at one of them and buy something else to eat instead of a donut. I won’t tell anyone.

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July 31, 2019

20+ Omaha Museums You Should Visit

Whether you’re visiting Omaha for the first time or you’ve lived here for 20 years, there’s a museum out there waiting for you to visit. Whenever someone asks for suggestions on things to do in Omaha, I almost always recommend visiting one of our museums – we have something for everyone.

Looking for things to do in Omaha, Nebraska? Visit a museum! Here's a guide to Omaha museums and galleries, including the must-see attractions. #guide #Omaha #Nebraska

Top Omaha museums to visit

Below I share some of my favorite museums in Omaha and the ones that are considered the must-visit cultural attractions. They’re the ones that are the most-visited and happen to be the ones I’m most familiar with.

For the six museums featured in this post, I share tips on what’s the must-see thing at each and what makes each unique. You’ll also find some other tips that I think are helpful for planning, like roughly how much time you may spend there and if there is food available for purchase.

The second section includes museums and galleries that are notable but I may not be as familiar with or haven’t visited yet. I’m not about to give you tips for museums I haven’t visited yet, so for the list, I provide a description on what you can expect.

At the end of the post, you’ll find a section of museums near Omaha that are easy enough to include in your itinerary if you’re a visitor, though technically, they’re not in Omaha.

Things to know about to Joslyn Art Museum

Top museums in Omaha - Omaha's largest art museum, Joslyn Art Museum, is a free attraction you should visit.

Where: 2200 Dodge St. (downtown Omaha)

What makes it unique: A beautiful building, a visit Joslyn Art Museum is one of the best free things to do in Omaha. 

Must see thing: I’m a particular fan of the small Impressionist collection, which include Degas, Monet and Cassatt. The museum has a large collection of American West and Native American art. Don’t leave without dipping your toes in the fountain out front. In the summer, kids often will wade through it. 

How much time: Allow between 2 to 3 hours; if you’re there with kids, expect to spend about an hour in the Art Works area.

Cost: FREE, though special exhibits are often an additional fee. Often, there is a discount to see the special exhibit on Thursday nights. One recent exhibit was free on the first weekend of each month.

Is it kid-friendly? It can be very kid-friendly. Head to the lower level to visit Art Works, an interactive space for making art related to exhibit pieces. Also, you can check out themed backpacks with activities for kids. Read my guide to visiting Joslyn Art Museum with kids.

Cafe? Yes, it’s located in the atrium. The food is pretty good, if a bit pricey. No special food items that are necessarily just for kids. Do not try to bring your own food in. You can picnic in the sculpture garden.

Things to know about The Durham Museum

Omaha's best museums - Learn about local and regional history and railroading history at The Durham Museum in downtown Omaha.

Where: 801 S. 10th St. (downtown Omaha)

What makes it unique: Housed in Union Station, The Durham Museum is a large museum celebrating the region’s history, with a particular emphasis on the railroad. 

Must see thing: Walk through the restored trains on the lower level. 

How much time: You can easily spend at least 3 hours at the museum (more if you like to read descriptions).

Cost: $11, adults; $8, seniors; $7, children (ages 3-12); FREE, children 2 and younger

Is it kid-friendly? Yes, there’s a hands-on play area on the lower level, plus no kid can resist the huge model train display. Read my guide to visiting The Durham Museum with kids.

Cafe? Yes, Union Station’s soda fountain is the cafe. Don’t leave without trying a root beer float or phosphate. Outside food is not permitted.

Things to know about Omaha Children’s Museum

Museums of Omaha to visit with kids - The top museum to visit with young children is Omaha children's Museum.

Where: 500 S. 20th St. (downtown Omaha)

What makes it unique: Omaha Children’s Museum is the best place to go for hands-on play with an educational emphasis for kids under the age of 10. It’s also the most-visited museum in Nebraska.

Must see thing: The Imagination Playground is the most popular permanent exhibit. I personally think the Tinker Lab is pretty unique and worth a stop. Read my tips for visiting Omaha Children’s Museum.

How much time: You could spend a day here, but kids may start to tucker out after 3 hours. If your kids don’t take naps anymore, expect to spend at least 4 hours here.

Cost: $13 for kids and adults ages 2 and older; $12 for seniors; free for children younger than 24 months. If you have a membership to another science center or children’s museum, you may get a discounted admission (or FREE!). Read more about reciprocal museum admission here.

Is it kid-friendly? Of course! There’s a family bathroom near the Imagination Playground, as well as a nursing room.

Cafe? There is a small cafe upstairs offering pizza by the slice, hot dogs and other kid-friendly fare. You’re also welcome to bring your own food.

Things to know about KANEKO

One of the museums and galleries found in downtown Omaha is KANEKO, where the exhibit space features mostly temporary exhibitions like this sound playground.

Where: 1111 Jones St. (downtown Omaha)

What makes it unique: KANEKO is truly a creative space that’s hard to define. It’s part gallery, part performance space, part gathering space for creatives.

Must see thing: KANEKO is an ever-evolving space so the must-see thing is usually whatever the special exhibit happens to be. When I visit with my family, there’s usually at least one area that appeals to the kids, something they’re allowed to touch. And every so often, it’s much like an art gallery where everything is “no touch.”

How much time: Expect to spend about 1 to 2 hours here.

Cost: FREE

Is it kid-friendly? Some special exhibits are more accessible to kids than others. We almost always find something pretty cool there that’s OK to touch and therefore OK for kids. There are occasional family-friendly events there.

Cafe? No

Things to know about Bemis Center For Contemporary Art

Bemis Center For Contemporary Art is an Omaha art gallery to visit near the Old Market.

Where: 724 S. 12th St.

What makes it unique: The Bemis Center For Contemporary Art has an excellent artist residency program. Take advantage of the open studio days to meet the artists and see what they’re working on.

Must see thing: Much of this space is temporary art exhibitions, so you never know what you’re going to find. But, one thing you can find there is the Art-o-Mat, an art vending machine that dispenses real, one-of-a-kind art!

How much time: You can expect to spend about an hour here unless you’re visiting during one of their special events like open studios or a family day. Then, plan on about 2 hours.

Cost: FREE

Is it kid-friendly? The art itself may or may not appeal to kids when doing a self-guided tour, so try to visit during open studios or one of the family days. I find the art here to be more thought-provoking than other places, which sometimes just doesn’t register with younger kids.

Cafe? No.

Things to know about Boys Town Hall of History & Father Flanagan’s House

Learn about this history of Boys Town by visiting the Hall of History, Father Flanagan's home and stopping by the Visitor's Center (which is home to the world's largest ball of stamps).

Where: 14057 Flanagan Blvd, Boys Town, Neb. (West Omaha)

What makes it unique: What was started by Father Flanagan in 1921 for a few orphaned boys is now the National Historic Landmark Boys Town. Visit the Hall of History, tour Flanagan’s home and stop by the Visitor’s Center to learn all about it.

Must see thing: Everyone says the world’s largest ball of stamps at the Visitor’s Center is a must-see, but I prefer the Hall of History with its replica bus to climb aboard and the memorabilia from the Spencer Tracy movie “Boys Town.”

How much time: Plan about an hour or 2 hours to visit.

Cost: FREE

Is it kid-friendly? Yes, though it’s not very hands-on.

Cafe? Yes, breakfast and lunch is available at a cafe in the Visitor’s Center.

More galleries and museums in Omaha to visit

Hot Shops Art Center in NoDo Omaha features dozens of work studios and galleries of work made by local artists.

Omaha has a lot of smaller galleries and museums that are worth visiting. Many on the list below are quite niche. Expect to spend about an hour or less at each.

Artist Co-operative Gallery – This Old Market art gallery features more than 30 artists and artisans. Expect to find unique paintings, sculptures, textiles and more. Exhibit openings are a great time to visit and meet some of the artists.

Czech and Slovak Educational Center and Cultural Museum – This museum tucked in Crossroads Mall in Midtown Omaha is dedicated to the history of Czech and Slovak immigrants.

El Museo Latino – Located in South Omaha, this is the Midwest’s first Latino art and history museum. The museum has several special events worth checking out.

Gen. Crook House – This beautifully restored home of the Civil War hero is found on the North Omaha campus of Metro Community College.

Great Plains Black History Museum – Located in North Omaha on historic 24th Street, the museum preserves the contributions and achievements of African Americans throughout middle America.

Historic Florence Bank and Depot Museums – The Florence Bank is Nebraska’s oldest bank. Learn about the Florence neighborhood history at the bank, plus visit the depot that dates back to 1888 and has a caboose and railroad displays.

Hot Shops Art Center – Located in NoDo (North Downtown), this multi-level building is home to galleries and working spaces of more than 80 artists of every imaginable medium. Time your visit during the May or December open house and see demonstrations like glass blowing.

Love’s Jazz and Arts Center – This center preserves and highlights the African American culture of North Omaha, and particularly highlights the impact the neighborhood had on jazz music. The space includes the Preston Love gallery, a performing arts area and an exhibition space. 

Modern Arts Midtown – This art gallery is an extension of Modern Arts Midwest in Lincoln, Neb., and features local and regional contemporary artists. The exhibition space features abstract and traditional art forms ranging from paint, sculpture, photography and textiles.

Mormon Trail Center at Historic Winter Quarters – The museum and visitor’s center at Winter Quarters tells the history of the migration of 90,000 pioneers to the Rocky Mountains. Displays include a log cabin, covered wagon, oxen and handcart. 

South Omaha Museum – South Omaha Museum preserves and celebrates that which makes South O so unique to this area, like the stockyards and Rosenblatt Stadium. The museum gives tours of the area and presentations.

Split Gallery – This downtown art gallery is a space created by artists for artists. Find exhibitions, pop-up shows and studio sales, as well as performances, lectures, workshops and more.

Museums and historic sites near Omaha

Museums near Omaha - Strategic Air Command and Aerospace Museum is located about 30 miles from Omaha.

Fort Atkinson State Historical Park (Fort Calhoun, Neb.) – The main draw is the actual fort, though there is a visitor’s center to explore as well. I recommend visiting on one of the living history weekends when they have re-enactors demonstrating what life was like in the early 1800s. Read more about the fort’s living history weekends here.

General Dodge House (Council Bluffs, Iowa) – This stately home of Grenville M. Dodge was built in 1869. Dodge was a major figure in the railroad history of the area, as well as a Union Army general and politician. 

Strategic Air Command and Aerospace Museum (Ashland, Neb.) – Get up close to aircraft and space travel memorabilia at this Smithsonian affiliate. This large museum is home to to the largest collection of Cold War aircraft and artifacts in the United States.

Union Pacific Railroad Museum (Council Bluffs, Iowa) – This free museum celebrates the long history of Union Pacific. There are interactive exhibits that appeal to kids.

Western Historic Trails Center (Council Bluffs, Iowa) – This small, free attraction has displays about the Lewis & Clark, Oregon, Mormon and California Trails, all of which passed through the region. I visited it with the kids and shared details about it here.

Omaha is home to world class museums and galleries. Here's a guide to visiting the most popular art and history museums and the hidden gems of Omaha. Read this post for tips for visiting the biggest museums in Omaha, as well as suggestions on nearby museums to include on an itinerary. #Nebraska #history #art

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July 23, 2019

25+ Nebraska Festivals and Events Worth The Road Trip

How does one even begin to list all the unique annual festivals and events in Nebraska? Well, you can’t. Nebraska has a ton of festivals. So, I created this post to include the best festivals that I think are worth the drive or are so quirky, you have to go to it at least once.

Unique and quirky, ethnic festivals and rodeos, here are 25+ Nebraska festivals. Some of the more unique annual events include the Wayne Chicken Show, Half-Way To St. Patrick's Day and NEBRASKAland Days, as well as many foodie festivals. Events on this list are in all seasons, so there's always something to see and things do in Nebraska.

This post is divided into sections to help you narrow down your list. First, I included the biggies, the festivals that are incredibly popular that I think should be on your radar. Then, I’ve got categories for quirky Nebraska festivals, ethnic festivals and other random themes I came up with.

Finally, at the end of the post, I wrote about which part of Nebraska all these festivals are, in case you’re not sure where some towns are located on a map.

If you think there’s a Nebraska festival that should be on this list, leave me a comment or send me an email!

5 Nebraska festivals you should go to at least once

Must-see Nebraska festivals - Railroad Days is held each year in July in Omaha and in nearby Council Bluffs

AppleJack Festival – Every September, 60,000 to 80,000 people flock to Nebraska City for a weekend of, well, apples. Think apple cider donuts, candy apples, apple pie…you get the idea. The AppleJack Festival also a craft fair, parade, carnival. and more.

MAHA Music FestivalMAHA Music Festival is Omaha’s largest multi-day music festival. Some of the biggest names currently touring play on the MAHA stages each August.

NE SciFest – For most of April each year, locations around Nebraska hold special events as part of Nebraska Science Festival. Some of geared toward kids, like Lil’ Scientist Day, some are for adults (usually involving chemistry and booze), but overall, most events are for the entire family.

NEBRASKAland DaysNEBRASKAland Days is part music festival, part rodeo. Held each June in North Platte, the weekend is packed with the usual fair events like a parade, as well as big name music acts and the Buffalo Bill Rodeo.

Railroad DaysRailroad Days celebrates the Omaha metro’s connection to the railroad (Ground Zero started across the river in Council Bluffs, Iowa). Several cultural venues and museums plan activities to celebrate, including music, mini train rides and the chance to tour each location and get up close to trains. I update the events each year on the blog.

Quirky Nebraska festivals and annual events

Quirky Nebraska Festivals - Kool-Aid Days is held each August in Hastings, Nebraska
Photo courtesy of Kool-Aid Days

Avoca Duck Races – On the last Saturday in January, the town of Avoca holds the annual Avoca Duck Races as a fundraiser for the volunteer fire department. Being January in Nebraska, the race is on ice. That’s right, real ducks race across ice.

Wayne Chicken Show – The Wayne Chicken Show is held on the second weekend of July in Wayne, Neb. The theme is always chickens, and from that, all things are planned (with a lot of humor). There’s an unusual egg judging contest, the world’s largest chicken dance, and the Wayne Chicken Show National Cluck-Off…to name just a few things planned. It’s an entire weekend of festivities.

Kool-Aid Days – Since Kool-Aid was invented in Nebraska, it makes sense that we’d celebrate it each year. Kool-Aid Days is held the second full weekend of August each year in Hastings, Neb., and it features an assortment of fun events and games like a Kool-Aid drinking contest, rides, and the world’s largest Kool-Aid stand.

Nebraska Prairie Chicken Festival – Male prairie chickens are known to do a pretty interesting dance to attract a mate. So, obviously, there needs to be a weekend dedicated to it. The festival takes place every April in Burwell, and as you can imagine, involves quite a bit of bird-watching.

Testicle Festival – Held every Father’s Day weekend at the Ashland restaurant, Around The Bend, the Testicle Festival is a big event. Featuring live music and a beer garden like any decent festival, with the real draw being a chance to try fried bull testicles. For the daring, you can take part in the ball eating contest.

Experience the world at Nebraska ethnic festivals

Ethnic festivals in Nebraska include the annual Cinco de Mayo celebration in South Omaha.
Photo courtesy Nebraska Tourism

†††Wilbur has a festival called Czech Days in August. It’s self-proclaimed the Czech Capital of the U.S.A. Another “capital” is the Danish Capital of Nebraska, Dennebrog, where they celebrate the town’s heritage one weekend in June during Grundlovsfest.

For a taste of Germany, Henderson is home to the German Smorgasbord every March. GermanFest is held in Syracuse in July. Okotoberfest is big in Omaha, and you can find celebrations at Crescent Moon and the German-American Society. Find other Oktoberfest celebrations in Norfolk.

For more than 90 years, Bridgeport has held an annual Greek Festival every August. In Omaha, St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church puts on a Greek festival for three days every August.

There are a lot of Irish in Nebraska, so you can bet there are big Irish celebrations. What can you expect from the Irish Capital of Nebraska, O’Neill? O’Neill has a huge St. Patrick’s Day festival with the claim to fame of having the world’s largest shamrock and their own 13,410-pound O’Neill Blarney Stone. Nearby Greeley, also celebrates St. Patrick’s Day…six months in advance. The town has the Half-Way to St. Patrick’s Day Festival every September and it’s so popular, the population nearly quadruples for the day.

There’s just one festival to keep in mind if you want to experience Mexico: South Omaha’s Cinco de Mayo festival. This huge event the first weekend in May is popular and includes a very popular parade and carnival.

Nebraska has its fair share of Swedish descendants. Enjoy the Swedish Midsommar Festival in Strombsburg, Swedish Days in Holdrege or the Scandinavian Midsummer Festival in Omaha. June is the time for these Swedish festivals.

Two towns have festivals celebrating the Czech and Slovak dessert, kolache or kolach. There’s the Kolache Shoot-Out in Elba every February and the Kolach Days each June in Verdigre.

There’s a unique festival celebrating Sister Cities, rather than a single country. Each year on two Sundays in August, families can visit Omaha’s Sister Cities from Ireland, Mexico, Lithuania, Japan, China and Germany. The WorldFest is held at Omaha Children’s Museum.

Top festivals in Omaha

Top festivals in Omaha - Every June, the Omaha Summer Arts Festival is held in downtown Omaha. The Children's Fair at the festival includes the opportunity for kids to buy art.

Holiday Lights Festival – Christmas lasts six weeks in Omaha. The Holiday Lights Festival kicks off on Thanksgiving night with a tree lighting ceremony in downtown Omaha and a free concert at the Holland Performing Arts Center. Then events and activities are held around downtown Omaha, including outdoor ice skating, a free family festival on the first weekend of December and fireworks on New Year’s Eve.

Note: Due to construction in downtown Omaha, the tree lighting will be held in the Old Market in 2019.

Omaha Summer Arts Festival – It’s not summer without this arts festival. Held during a weekend in June in downtown Omaha, the Omaha Summer Arts Festival includes juried art displays, live music, a children’s fair, and plenty of food options.

Omaha Restaurant Week – Every September, Omaha’s best restaurants participate in Omaha Restaurant Week. Restaurants offer a pre fixe menu making it very affordable to try some of the best in the Omaha food scene. As a bonus, a portion of Omaha Restaurant Week proceeds will go to Food Bank for the Heartland.

O Comic Con – Celebrate pop culture and comics with fellow fans at O Comic Con. Enjoy meet and greets, demonstrations, children’s activities, and more during this two-day event. Originally, the annual event in June was held in Omaha but now it’s just across the river in Council Bluffs (but it still counts as an Omaha festival, right?).

Omaha Film Festival – Since 2005, Omaha has had its own film festival. It’s grown so much, Omaha Film Festival been named one of MovieMaker Magazine’s 2019 “50 Film Festivals Worth the Entry Fee.” The festival is held every March.

Taste of Omaha – A festival celebrating the food scene in Omaha, Taste of Omaha is a June outdoor event with vendors, live music, and demonstrations. It’s not unusual for it to take on a carnival atmosphere, as there are typically some rides, as well.

Explore Nebraska one festival at a time - From the Chicken Show and Kool-Aid Days to Avoca Duck Races, Nebraska has a variety of festivals and annual events for families and those seeking the quirkier side of the state. #Nebraska #festival #guide

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July 14, 2019

15+ Quirky Restaurants in Omaha

I’ve written a lot about great Omaha restaurants and the best kid-friendly restaurants. Now it’s time to dive to look around Omaha and beyond and see what’s unique, what’s unusual in the Omaha dining scene. So here’s my list of the quirky restaurants in Omaha and nearby.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. At no additional cost to you, if you make a purchase after clicking on an affiliate link, I will receive a small compensation for referring you.

Unique and quirky restaurants in Omaha and in nearby towns - This list includes restaurants with unique atmosphere and decor, peculiar menu items, or one-of-a-kind entertainment. #dining #guide #nebraska

This list is divided into sections. The first section covers restaurants that either have quirky atmosphere and decor or offer some unique form of keeping diners entertained. The second section features restaurants with weird or off-the-wall menu items.

Discover even more unique and quirky restaurants in the book “Unique Eats and Eateries of Omaha.” It’s written by two of my friends, Tim and Lisa Trudell (AKA, The Walking Tourists), and they’ve included and quite a few restaurants on this list, and several more. They provided several photos for this post, too.

Restaurants near Omaha with quirky entertainment or decor

Want a restaurant in Omaha that stands out from the crowd? Here are a few of Omaha’s most unique restaurants, from a chance to dine with monsters, raccoons and flashing boaters.

Quirky Omaha restaurants include Alpine Inn, where diners can watch raccoons through large windows as they pick at discarded chicken bones.
Photo courtesy Omaha Convention and Visitors Bureau

Alpine Inn

Where: Northeast Omaha

Alpine Inn has been a family-run establishment for three generations. Appearing to look more like a bar than a restaurant, Alpine Inn proudly has one thing no one else in the area offers: Raccoons.

Your dining entertainment is watching raccoons and stray cats pick at discarded chicken bones. Don’t worry, they’re not indoors. You watch them through a window.

People are divided if the fried chicken served at Alpine Inn is good or not, though. The raccoons seems to like it.

One of the most unique places to dine in Omaha is Brother Sebastian's Steakhouse & Winery, where the theme is old California monastery.
Photo courtesy The Walking Tourists

Brother Sebastian’s Steakhouse & Winery

Where: Central Omaha

Ever just felt like dining in an old, California monastery? Haven’t we all? Brother Sebastian’s is one of Omaha’s oldest steakhouses and its atmosphere hasn’t changed much since the beginning.

It’s dimly lit and servers are dressed as monks. There’s stained glass windows and wine barrels in keeping with the monastery theme.

Put it all together and the effect is actually quite romantic.

Guaca Maya

Where: South Omaha

South Omaha is where you go for good Mexican food. Guaca Maya sets itself apart from other restaurants in South Omaha, though. I liken its dining room to a Mexican plaza…but an indoor plaza. It’s colorful, for sure.

I’m told there’s also someone making fresh, homemade tortillas right out in the open. I didn’t notice that when we visited, but I can see it fitting in there.

One of the oldest Omaha restaurants is Johnny's Cafe, with unique retro decor to check out.

Johnny’s Cafe

Where: South Omaha

Johnny’s Cafe has been around since 1922, making it one of Omaha’s oldest restaurants. The decor is the draw here – it’s so old school and retro. The massive front doors are just the start.

The lobby is fun to wander around, but really, it’s the dining room and bar area that steal the show (though, ladies, peek in the bathroom to see the funky tiles). The look of the place is so iconic, it served as a scene in Alexander Payne’s film, “About Schmidt.”

One caveat: The dining experience itself was pretty bad for my family. So, while the look is quirky, I must caution you that I’ve not returned since our last visit.

Monster Club is Omaha's only monster-themed restaurant.
Photo courtesy The Walking Tourists

Monster Club

Where: Old Market

One of the newest restaurants in the Old Market, The Monster Club is a horror movie-themed eatery. From the decor to what’s playing on the screen, there’s no mistaking the monster love.

It’s surprisingly kid-friendly (assuming your kids aren’t spooked by Hollywood monsters) – there’s a kid’s menu.

Photo courtesy The Walking Tourists

Surfside Club

Where: Northeast Omaha

I love Surfside Club but not for its food (it’s all fried…but the fritters are great). I love dining outdoors and this is one of the few places where you can sit with a view of the Missouri River. And it’s a festive kind of place.

However, the quirk of this place is what’s going on the river itself. People who go to the Surfside know that it’s pretty common to have boaters attempt to one-up each other entertaining the restaurant crowd. Usually that involves mooning the diners.

Wicked Rabbit

Where: Downtown Omaha

Part of the fun of the Wicked Rabbit is that you don’t know what to expect, other than, you know, there will be drinks there. Wicked Rabbit is a speakeasy and to get to it, you’ll need to use a secret passage hidden behind a wall in a small shop next to Hotel Deco.

The dimly lit, small bar is cozy and feels removed from the rest of the world.

Quirky honorable mentions

Quite a few Oh My! Omaha Facebook fans mentioned restaurants that had quirky decor, particularly those with with memorabilia or nostalgic decorations. Some of those mentioned include Lisa’s Radial Cafe, 11-Worth Cafe, Shirley’s Diner, Louie M’s Burger Lust, and Goldbergs In Dundee.

I’m particularly indebted to Louie M’s, since Lou helped me collect photos and stories for my book, “Lost Restaurants of Omaha.” The restaurant is a trove of particularly for interested in seeing photos of what Omaha’s Little Italy once looked like.

Restaurants with quirky menu items

eCreamery

Where: Midtown Omaha

This ice cream shop typically has an odd flavor or two on rotation (avocado ice cream, anyone?), but that’s pretty standard for ice cream shops. eCreamery is unique for having the Dundee Dozen ice cream challenge.

The Dundee Dozen is eating 12 scoops of ice cream, gelato or sorbet of your choice, then topped with 12 toppings of your choice and a bunch of whipped cream. If that sounds manageable, don’t forget that you have just 20 minutes to finish it on your own.

Unique restaurants and bars in Omaha - The Homy Inn is known for its unique offering on tap (four kinds of champagne).
Photo courtesy Omaha Convention and Visitors Bureau

The Homy Inn

Where: Midtown Omaha

Confession: The Homy Inn is pretty much just a bar (unless you want to count the peanuts served in a dog bowl). But The Homy, as we call it, is on this list because of what’s on tap.

Champagne. They have four kinds of champagne on tap. So, yeah, you can get a pitcher of champagne at The Homy Inn if you so choose.

A unique spot in Omaha, Laka Lono Rum Club is a tiki bar that has both the quirky atmosphere and the quirky menu items.

Laka Lono Rum Club

Where: Old Market

Confession No. 2: Laka Lono Rum Club is also a bar and not a quirky restaurant. I love a good tiki bar, and Laka Lono embodies tiki life to the fullest. It has the quirky atmosphere, complete with pufferfish lights (I mean, real pufferfish that have been tinkered into becoming lightbulbs).

But, the draw here is definitely the rum drinks and their unique presentation. Some will arrive at the table on fire.

Group drinks are available too. Four types of group cocktails are available, serving anywhere from 2-3 people to 10-11 people.

M’s Pub

Where: Old Market

Almost everything on the menu of this Old Market favorite is great, and not exactly what anyone would consider quirky. Everything, that is, except for the carrot dog.

The carrot dog is the M’s Pub veg alternative to the hot dog, and it’s what it sounds like. The “dog” is marinated and grilled, served on a whole wheat hoagie and topped with lettuce, tomato, relish, stone ground mustard and sauerkraut.

Quirky restaurant near Omaha - Round the Bend in Ashland, Nebraska, is home to the annual Testicle Festival
Photo courtesy RedThread

Round The Bend Steakhouse

Where: Ashland, Neb.

It looks like your typical Nebraska steakhouse, but Round The Bend Steakhouse serves more than a prime cut of beef. This restaurant is home to the Testicle Festival. Every Father’s Day weekend, the festival has live music, fireworks, ball eating contests, and well, just regular portions of fried testicles to eat.

If you can’t make the June event, the menu always has “Beef Fries” to order at any time. For the faint of heart, you can just order one… it’s called a Buck A Nut.

Stella's Bar & Grill is home to one of the craziest food challenges, The Stellanator. You have 45 minutes to eat a burger that six patties, six fried eggs, six pieces of cheese, 12 pieces of bacon, lettuce, tomato, fried onions, pickles, jalapeños, peanut butter, and a bun...plus fries.
Photo courtesy The Walking Tourists

Stella’s Bar & Grill

Where: Bellevue, Neb.

A regular contender for the best burger in Omaha on various lists (and some national ones), Stella’s has something no one else has: The Stellenator.

The Stellenator is a food challenge few can conquer. You have 45 minutes to eat a burger that six patties, six fried eggs, six pieces of cheese, 12 pieces of bacon, lettuce, tomato, fried onions, pickles, jalapeños, peanut butter, and a bun. Oh, and an order of french fries.

Learn about Omaha's most unique restaurants & bars - Plan a night out at one Omaha's most unique restaurants, including a monster-themed restaurant, a steakhouse that resembles a monastery, and a place where you can watch raccoons through the window while you dine.

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May 27, 2019

20+ Best Fourth Of July Events In Nebraska In 2019

Communities across Nebraska celebrate the Fourth of July with parades, concerts and, of course, fireworks. Some cities begin patriotic festivities up to a week before July 4. From Lincoln to Norfolk and Hooper, here are the best 2019 Fourth of July events in Nebraska! You’ll find all of the big Omaha fireworks displays and Fourth of July events on this list, too.

If you have an event you’d like to see added to this list, please email me – ohmyomaha@gmail.com.

Updated list of Fourth of July celebrations in Nebraska, including fireworks displays, fun runs, parades and free concerts. Family-friendly events in Nebraska | Things to do in Nebraska this summer | Things to do on the Fourth of July in Nebraska | Omaha Fourth of July #USA #Midwest #events

I’m going to divide this up into two sections: One for Omaha Fourth of July events (and Omaha fireworks) and the rest of Nebraska. There’s just a lot going on in Omaha!

Omaha Fourth of July Events

City of Omaha Celebrates America Free Concert & Fireworks Show

When: June 28, 6 p.m. (fireworks at 10 p.m.)

Where: Memorial Park in Omaha

What: A live concert by co-headliners Little Steven (Steven Van Zandt) and Chris Isaak followed by the fireworks finale.

Cost: FREE

Autism Friendly Independence Day Celebration

When: June 29, 6 to 10 p.m.

Where: Autism Center of Nebraska in Omaha

What: Autism Society of Nebraska hosts the family-friendly event includes indoor and outdoor activities, and ends with a fireworks display. To accommodate noise sensitivities, ASN will provide earplugs or bring your own headphones.

Cost: FREE

College Home Run Derby & OWH Independence Day Fireworks

When: June 29, 7 p.m.

Where: TD Ameritrade Park, 1200 Mike Fahey St. in Omaha

What: The top men’s NCAA baseball players participate in a home run derby followed by fireworks.

Cost: Tickets start at $10

Lake Manawa Fireworks

When: June 29, 10 p.m.

Where: Lake Manawa State Park, 1100 S. Shore Drive in Council Bluffs, Iowa

What: Free fireworks show in a state park setting.

Cost: FREE for Iowa residents; $5 entry fee for non-Iowa residents

Monday Night At The Movies “Independence Day”

When: July 1; park opens at 5 p.m. and move starts at dusk

Where: Turner Park at Midtown Crossing in Omaha

What: Enjoy a free movie in the park. Bring blankets and chairs.

Cost: FREE

Ralston Independence Day Celebration

When: July 3 and 4

Where: Ralston, Neb.

What: An annual event that includes a family street dance, fire department water fights, Picnic In The Park, and a parade.

Cost: FREE

Firecracker Flight

When: July 4, 8 to 11 a.m.

Where: Baxter Arena, Omaha, Neb.

What: This Fourth of July-themed running event is for families and includes a 5k and 10k option.

Cost: $32 if registered before June 16. 2019; kids’ fun run is FREE.

Boys Town Fireworks

When: July 4, at around 10 p.m.

Where: Fireworks shot from the football field at Boys Town in Omaha.

What: A long-time tradition, the fireworks display at Boys Town is large.

Cost: FREE

Omaha Storm Chasers Game & Fireworks

When: July 4 and 5, game starts at 7:05 p.m. with fireworks following

Where: Werner Park, Papillion, Neb.

What: Enjoy fireworks following the Storm Chasers’ games against the Nashville Sounds.

Cost: $8 for berm seating on up to $25

Red, White & Zoo!

When: July 4-7, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Where: Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium, 3701 S. 10th St.

What: Go on a self-guided tour in search of red, white and blue animals. The first 500 people to walk through the gates on Wednesday, July 4 will receive a free patriotic gift 

Cost: Included with regular zoo admission

Nebraska Fourth of July Celebrations

47th Annual Platte Center Fourth of July celebration

When: June 28-28 and July 4

Where: Platte Center, Neb.

What: Several events are planned including a mud volleyball tournament and Red, White & Blessed Fun Run on June 29,  and a parade at 10:30 a.m. on July 4.

Cost: FREE (fun run and volleyball tournament have admission fees)

Red, White, & Brass featuring the Plymouth Brass

When: June 30, 4 p.m.

Where: First-Plymouth Church, 2000 D St., Lincoln, Neb.

What: It’s a concert featuring patriotic music performed by a brass band.

Cost: $20, adults; $15, seniors; and $10, students

Independence Day Celebration

When: June 30 through July 6

Where: Nebraska City

What: A small-town celebration of freedom with a weeklong carnival and an hour-long fireworks extravaganza. Some events planned include yoga, a fun run and an ice cream social.

Cost: FREE (carnival wristbands and some tournaments and events are additional fees)

Seward Fourth of July

When: July 1-4

Where: Seward, Neb.

What: Seward, recognized as “America’s Small Town Fourth of July City,” hosts an old‑fashioned family celebration each year that lasts several days.

Cost: Most events are FREE

Related post: The Seward celebration is on the list for the 10 Unforgettable Things To Do This Summer In Nebraska.

Uncle Sam Jam

When: July 3, 4 to 10 p.m.; live music starts at 6 p.m. and fireworks will go off at 10 p.m.

Where: Oak Lake Park, First and Charleston streets, Lincoln, Neb.

What: A family-friendly community celebration with games, canoeing and live music by Soul Dawg. Fireworks end the night. Food vendors will be there.

Cost: FREE

Annual Hooper Fourth of July Fun Run

When: July 4, 8 a.m.

Where: Begins and finishes at Hooper Park in Hooper, Neb.

What: There are two races – a 10k and a 2-mile run/walk. The course is flat and will be run through the residential area of Hooper.

Cost: Entry fee is $20 with a T-shirt if received by June 23, 2019. As of June 24, entry to the race will be $25 and participants will not be guaranteed a race shirt. Day of entries will be accepted at $30 and will not be guaranteed a shirt.

Madison Fourth Of July Parade

When: July 4, 10 a.m.

Where: Main Street in Madison, Neb.

What: Madison’s annual parade to celebrate the Fourth of July.

Cost: FREE

Stanton Fourth Of July Parade

When: July 4, 10 a.m.

Where: Stanton, Neb.

What: Stanton’s annual parade to celebrate the Fourth of July.

Cost: FREE

Norfolk Fourth Of July Parade

When: July 4, 10 a.m.

Where: Norfolk Avenue in downtown Norfolk, Neb.

What: Norfolk’s annual parade to celebrate the Fourth of July.

Cost: FREE

1899 Independence Day Celebration

When: July 4

Where: Stuhr Museum of the Pioneer Prairie in Grand Island, Neb.

What: This summer tradition includes a parade through our 1890s Railroad Town, a concert by the Silver Cornet Band, historic patriotic program, pie eating contests, games on the green and more.

Cost: Adults, $10; children, $8; Stuhr members, FREE

Murdock Fourth of July Celebration

When: July 4

Where: Murdock, Neb.

What:  The town of Murdock has an all-day Fourth of July celebration.

Cost: FREE

July Fourth Flea Party

When: July 4

Where: Fairbury City Park, 421 City Park Road, Fairbury, Neb.

What: In addition to the flea market, the Fairbury Community Band performs at 10:30 a.m. and there is a fireworks display at dusk.

Cost: FREE

City of Hickman Fireworks Display

When: July 4, 10 p.m.

Where: Main Park in Hickman, Neb.

What: A long-running tradition, this fireworks display can be viewed from Main Park. Bring chairs.

Cost: FREE

Living History Fourth Of July Celebration

When: July 6 and 7, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Where: Fort Atkinson in Fort Calhoun

What: See volunteers portray what life was like on a military fort in the 1820s. The theme for the weekend is the Fourth of July and activities will be based on the holiday celebration.

Cost: Included with valid Nebraska State Park permit

Related post: Living History At Fort Atkinson In Nebraska

Big Bang Boom

When: July 6, 1 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Where: Skyview Lake, Norfolk, Neb.

What: The inflatable midway and food vendors start at 1 p.m. Live music begins at 5 p.m. and fireworks start at 10 p.m.

Cost: There is a fee for the wristbands for the midway.

Fourth of July is celebrated with parades, festivals, baseball games and more throughout Nebraska. Check out this list of things to do in Nebraska every 4th of July, including Omaha 4th of July events! List includes community-wide celebrations, concerts, fireworks displays and more. #familytime #fourthofjuly #USA #Nebraksa

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May 19, 2019

College World Series Guide To Omaha Hotels & Dining

You’ve got your College World Series™ tickets, you know when you need to be at TD Ameritrade Park… now what? This College World Series guide is designed to help you plan a trip to Omaha for the games. If you don’t have hotel reservations, read on for suggested places to stay. If you don’t have a restaurant plan for dining before or after the game, read on. Feel free to comment with any specific questions – I’m happy to help!

Related post: Essential Guide To The College World Series

Headed to Omaha for the College World Series? Here are locals' tips on where to eat, where to drink, and where to stay near the ballpark. #guide #Omaha #Nebraska #tips

Hotels for College World Series fans

Omaha has plenty of hotels, but if you’re looking for a room within walking distance of TD Ameritrade Park, you’d better book early. The closest hotels will be full when the College World Series start in June.

If you want some hotel recommendations, here are my top picks for CWS hotels:

– If you want to be within walking distance to TD Ameritrade Park, look at Holiday Inn Omaha Downtown, Hampton Inn & Suites, Homewood Suites by Hilton, Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott, and Cambria Hotel. I can vouch for Holiday Inn being a great location for families, especially with its small indoor waterpark.

Tips for College Works Series Fans - Hotels near College World Series Games Cambria Downtown Omaha, which has some rooms with views of the ballpark
Cambria Downtown Omaha is one of the city’s newest hotels. Some of the rooms have a view of TD Ameritrade Park. Request a top floor room with an even number and you may luck out with this view.

– The Old Market has several hotel options as well, and they could be within walking distance if you’re willing (and don’t mind the heat!). Many will likely have some sort of shuttle  service, too. My family’s favorite is Embassy Suites because the rooms are large, the manager’s happy hour is great, and it has possibly the best complimentary hot breakfast in town.

Tips for College Works Series Fans - Hotels near College World Series include an Old Market favorite, Embassy Suites. The size of the rooms, complimentary breakfast and happy hour make it popular with out of town visitors.
All rooms at the Embassy Suites in the Old Market of Omaha face the large atrium of the hotel. Strolling along the bottom floor, you’ll find water features, as well as a lot of seating for the complimentary happy hour and breakfast.

– If North Downtown and Old Market hotels are booked (or out of your price range), look further afield. Consider looking at hotels that are near the airport, on the outskirts of downtown or in Midtown Omaha. DoubleTree is a great option, and for a more chic historic stay, check out Magnolia. While Magnolia doesn’t have a pool, Pickles Travel stayed there with her family and wrote a good review of the Magnolia family experience. At Midtown Crossing, you’ll find Element, known for its eco-friendly practices.

Restaurants & bars suggestions for CWS fans

This is my favorite topic: Eating. Omaha has a lot of great restaurants, so you’re in for a treat when you visit during the College World Series! I’ve written about the 20+ must-try restaurants in Omaha, so it’s a good post to start with.

Tip: If you’ve brought kids with you to the CWS, start with this list of downtown Omaha restaurants that are great for families.

Where to eat near the College World Series games - Blatt Beer and Table is one of the closest restaurants to TD Ameritrade Park. It's home to the delicious Dirty Bird sandwich.
My favorite guilty pleasure: The Dirty Bird sandwich at Blatt Beer and Table. Blatt has several locations, including one next to TD Ameritrade Park in downtown Omaha.

I asked my Facebook fans to share some of their restaurants recommendations, and they mentioned a few great places to eat near TD Ameritrade Park. Near the stadium, Emily K. recommended Blatt Beer and Table. I’d have to second this recommendation – there’s a reason why it shows up on all of my “best of” restaurant lists for Omaha. However, due to its proximity to the stadium, be ready for a wait. But, hey, if you snag a seat on the rooftop, it’s worth it, right?

Like parties? If you’re looking for a restaurant or bar scene that’s going on the nutty side, insiders tell me that Capitol District and Mattress Factory will have the largest parties.  There are several other bars outside the stadium that are a blast to be at pre- and post-game.

Recommended downtown Omaha restaurants and bars for CWS fans - Lighthouse Pizza & Fries in the Capitol District has great pizza, plus if you enjoy beer, you'll have to check out the self serve taps.
Lighthouse Pizza & Fries has a location in the Capitol District with self serve taps.

Not looking for a party? I’d recommend getting out of the NoDo area around the stadium. Head to neighborhoods like Benson and Blackstone for a variety of local restaurants and bars without the rowdiness (usually).

In the Old Market area, bars to head to include Barry O’s or the Stadium Club. Several bars around Omaha become specific spots for teams. Barrett’s on Leavenworth Street, for instance, is definitely big for LSU fans. Dannel T. recommends you try Big Mama’s Kitchen And Catering, which was featured on “Diners, Drive-ins, & Dives.” You’ll get your fix of Southern good eats there.

Another recommendation was in Midtown Omaha, Ann D. suggested Spezia. Spezia is an Italian restaurant with a pretty big steak selection. There are a ton of places to get steaks in Omaha (and who comes to Omaha and doesn’t seek out the best steak??!).

Want some more food ideas?

The following lists will include restaurants in downtown Omaha, but also many that are a few miles away from TD Ameritrade Park. Note the address, especially if you’re relying on public transportation or Lyft.

So, let’s see, what are you hungry for?

For the best pizzerias in Omaha, read this post.

Need breakfast inspiration, check out these 19 places to get breakfast in Omaha. If you just want donuts, read this post instead.

Want to cool off with ice cream? Here are 8 great places to get ice cream in Omaha.

College World Series fans' guide to restaurants, bars & hotels. Here are some tips on where to stay near the baseball stadium, plus tips on nearby restaurants and bars you can go to between games. Find kid-friendly suggestions, too. #Omaha #Nebraska #Guide

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