10 things to do in Omaha during winter

He Ain't Heavy He's My Brother Statue at Boys Town

Winter doldrums settling in? Need a reason to get out of the house? How about 10 interesting places to visit in Omaha?

1. Passageway in the Old Market – Home of some unique shopping, the Passageway also calls Trini’s Mexican restaurant and V. Mertz home. In the building’s courtyard, a sculpture garden highlights the astrological signs.

The Passageway in the Old Market

2. Staying in the Old Market, check out Hollywood Candy. It has a wide range of vintage candy and soda flavors. The store has possibly the world’s largest collection of Pez dispensers, ranging from sports teams to Star Wars. You may run into Elvis and Marilyn Monroe, or at least their likenesses. Vintage record albums, etc., are available for purchase. Check out the old-fashioned malt shop set-up.

Pez dispensers of all kinds and more can be found at Hollywood Candy

3. How about a trip to NoDo? North Downtown Omaha is home to Hot Shops! It’s a shop of eclectic art shops – ranging from photography to glass blowing. We’ve enjoyed our trips there. You can watch people working on pieces of art in a wide range of area. I love watching the glass blowing – the way the artists use the heat and water to mold the piece and then rolling them into shape.

Hot Shops in North Downtown Omaha

4. Joslyn Art Museum offers free admission. Between the sculpture garden walk and the special exhibits, the Joslyn Art Museum offers a lot to see and do for visitors. Among visitors’ favorite exhibits is the Chihuly glass that hangs floor to ceiling on the second level of the museum. The museum’s permanent collection includes pieces from early Egypt to modern interpretations of everyday life. Special exhibits (which have an admission fee) have included King Tut artifacts, Andy Warhol art and a look at the Union Pacific Railroad.

Chihuly art piece at Joslyn Art Museum

5. Durham museum offers an interesting look into Omaha’s history. The Durham is located at the site of Omaha’s old Union Station depot. The top level offers a look back at a depot in the early days. The lower level houses permanent and temporary exhibits. Among the permanent collection is a look at the 1898 Trans-Mississippi Fair and Native American life. Special exhibits have featured a look at life in 1968, as well as children-focused events.

Trans Mississippi exhibition display at Durham Museum

6. Lauritzen Gardens and Conservatory offers year-round view of flowers ad plants. Omaha’s botanical garden added the new conservatory in late fall. The conservatory offers a look at plant and flower life in tropical and temperate climates. The Garden is home to a visitor center and outdoor walk consisting of a variety of plant attractions. The Rose garden is one of our favorites, as well as the wetlands route. Special exhibits are hosted at the visitors center, and have included the annual Poinsettia show, as well as life-sized Lego exhibits.

Conservatory at Lauritzen Gardens

7. Boys Town Hall of History takes a look at Father Flanagan’s dream of saving young people. “He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother” has been the cornerstone of this home for boys and girls since it opened under the leadership of Father Flanagan. The Hall of History (museum) tells the story of Boys Town, with authentic pieces of history for the viewing. The school was famous for its traveling bus back in the day, as its teams would travel nationally to play some of the best football and basketball teams in America.

Boys Town Hall of History

8. Strategic Air and Space Museum gives visitors a look into flight. The SAS was once known as the Strategic Air Command Museum, before it relocated from near Offutt Air Force Base to a few miles outside Omaha in Cass County. It explores the history of air and space, including SAC’s story in the Cold War and space capsules. My favorite plane – the SR 71 Blackbird – welcomes visitors in the lobby.

Strategic Air and Space Museum

9. Children’s Museum is a great place to take the kids and let them burn off energy. Families love visiting the Children’s Museum, with its interactive exhibits. We’ve brought our nieces to the museum a few times. Unfortunately, the little buggers are outgrowing it. But, the museum has quite a few neat attractions for youngsters. There is the grocery store area, where kids can “shop” as well as be cashiers. There are other attractions, such as a mechanics garage, scrapbooking and then special exhibits.

Omaha Children's Museum

10. Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium is home to several exhibits. The Omaha zoo isn’t just for summertime. With its indoor attractions, including the Desert Dome, Rainforest, aquarium and butterfly house, there is plenty to do and see. In addition, animal exhibits are open – cat complex, giraffe barn, gorilla and orangutan houses, as well as the Madagascar exhibit. The world’s top zoo has so much to offer visitors.

Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium

In addition to these attractions, Omaha offers other attractions for people, including the photo gallery and store of world-class photographer Thomas Mangelsen. Omaha’s performing arts are alive and well at the Orpheum and Holland theaters. Nebraska-Omaha and Creighton sports teams field some of the best college basketball and hockey teams in the United States at the Century Link Arena.

Omaha Performing Arts

If you’re a foodie, Omaha offers so many opportunities to enjoy good steak, Italian, pizza and ice cream. You may to check out one of the many bus tours that Omaha Culinary Tours offers. They even offer a walking tour of the Midtown area, where the Reuben sandwich was invented at the old Blackstone Hotel.  I can attest to the great job they do and the great food you’ll try.

Omaha Culinary Tours

So, as you can hopefully tell, Omaha has a lot to offer folks during wintertime. I hope you enjoy your visit and check out the Big O!