Thinking about moving to Omaha? You’re not alone! There’s something for everyone in Nebraska’s largest city, which has been recognized as a top destination for young professionals, families, and retirees. In fact, this fast-growing city is frequently named one of the best places to live in the Midwest and one of the top places to live in America. Here are 16 things to know about living in Omaha!
Big City with Small City Costs
When you think of Nebraska, you probably picture acre after acre of farmland and cattle, but that’s not the case in Omaha. With a population of nearly 500,000, it’s actually one of the 50 largest cities in America! Despite its size, Omaha maintains a low cost of living and affordable housing—the median home price is $139,800 and median monthly rent is $819—which makes it one of the most affordable U.S. cities to live in!
Business Is Booming
It should come as no surprise that the city Warren Buffett calls home is considered one of the most recession-proof cities in the U.S. In addition to Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, Omaha has four other Fortune 500 companies—ConAgra Brands, Union Pacific, Kiewit, and Mutual of Omaha—and five organizations in the Fortune 1,000. Not to mention, this Nebraska hub is home to First National Bank of Omaha, the largest privately owned bank in the U.S., as well as several tech companies like Buildertrend and Hudl. With all of these major employers and an unemployment rate of just 3.8%, it’s easy to see why Omaha is considered a fast-growing city for job opportunities!
Home to Top Hospitals
With several nationally recognized hospitals and research centers, Omaha is one of the top 15 U.S. cities for healthcare. You’ll find standout medical education, research facilities, and patient care at University of Nebraska Medical Center. Child healthcare is a big deal in Omaha as well, with Children’s Hospital & Medical Center Omaha and Boys Town National Research Hospital striving to improve the way Americans care for their children. Omaha also has Methodist Women’s Hospital, which is dedicated to women’s health and has delivered more babies than any medical center in the region since its inception. On top of all that, Omaha is the headquarters of CHI Health, one of the top health systems in the country!
Experience All Four Seasons
If you plan on living in Omaha, leave room in the closet for flip flops, snow boots, and everything in between! Omaha’s weather varies greatly from season to season—summers tend to be hot and humid, while winter temperatures routinely fall below 30 degrees and produce an average of 31 inches of snow each year. The fall and spring tend to be quite mild, however, and are perfect for spending time outdoors!
Attend Excellent Universities
Want to learn new skills or earn your degree? Omaha is home to several great colleges that can help you further your education! Study law, health sciences, the arts, and more at Creighton University, one of 28 Jesuit colleges in the U.S. Choose from more than 200 degree programs among six colleges—including Business Administration and Geographic Information Science & Technology—at University of Nebraska Omaha. Enroll in the accelerated nursing program or one of the other healthcare programs at Nebraska Methodist College, an affiliate of the Methodist Health System. Earn a degree at your pace and 100% online from Bellevue University. Or check out Metropolitan Community College—the Culinary Arts and Management program has produced a number of local and national chefs and is regarded as one of the best in America!
There’s No Beating the Zoo
Spanning more than 130 acres and housing nearly 1,000 different species, Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium is one of the largest zoos in the world! Here, you’ll find the Desert Dome, the world’s biggest indoor desert, and the Suzanne and Walter Scott Aquarium, which allows guests to walk through a tunnel tube as fish, sea turtles, and sharks swim above and around them. Spot different species of monkeys and macaws as you stroll through the Lied Jungle, feed giraffes at the Scott African Grasslands, and get close and personal with nature’s largest primates in the Hubbard Gorilla Valley. These exhibits and more are why Henry Doorly is recognized as one of the top zoos in the country!
Plenty for Sports Fans to Love
Omaha may not be known for its professional sports teams, but there’s more than enough action for even the most avid sports nut to get their fill! Join the packed house at the CHI Health Center Omaha to cheer on the Creighton Men’s Basketball team. Catch a glimpse of future MLB stars at Werner Park, home of the Omaha Storm Chasers (MiLB). Watch America’s best swimmers compete for a chance to represent their country at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials. Learn the team chants during a Union Omaha (USL) pro soccer game. Or get your hockey fix by catching a UNO Mavericks game at Baxter Arena!
Witness the Greatest Show on Dirt
For about three weeks each summer, Downtown Omaha becomes the epicenter of the college baseball universe! Fans from all over the country flock to Nebraska’s largest city to root on their favorite team in the College World Series at TD Ameritrade Park. Thousands watch as the nation’s eight best teams battle it out for the title. The CWS is one of Omaha’s top events each year, even if you’re not a sports fan! There’s plenty to do outside the ballpark, including sampling food from friendly tailgaters, enjoying games and concerts in the outdoor pavilion, and exploring the various restaurants and attractions in the downtown area!
You Can Find an Event for Any Interest
Omaha’s calendar is chock-full of fun events and festivals, so there’s sure to be one to suit your interests! Rock out at Maha Festival, a four-day collection of concerts, comedy acts, and slam poetry readings. Sample bites from local restaurants, sing along with live music, and watch some of the city’s best chefs compete at Taste of Omaha. Catch the latest styles and trends in fashion each spring and fall at Omaha Fashion Week, one of the largest fashion week events in the country. Cheer on some of the best steer wrestlers, bronco riders, and barrel racers at Omaha River City Rodeo. Peruse work from some of the nation’s best artists at Omaha Summer Arts Festival. Relax on the grassy knolls at Midtown Crossing while listening to famous jazz musicians at Jazz on the Green. Celebrate with live music, polka dancing, and plenty of cold brews in the Bier Garden at Oktoberfest. Or embrace Italian heritage while participating in the bocce ball tournament, dances, and cannoli eating contest at Santa Lucia Italian Festival.
Explore Omaha’s Arts & Culture
You can get a sense of Omaha’s unique culture through its museums, theaters, music venues, and more! Admire paintings, journals, sketches, and sculptures from all over the world at Joslyn Art Museum. Stroll through real train cars from the 1940s and ’50s, a replica grocery store from 1915, and a rawhide Native American tent at Durham Museum. Discover local and national plays put on my professional actors at Bluebarn Theatre. Get tickets to a touring Broadway musical, laugh until your sides hurt at a standup comedy show, or attend a thrilling Opera Omaha performance. Catch a concert featuring the Omaha Symphony at Holland Performing Arts Center. Or see a kids show like Penguin Problems at The Rose Theater.
Spend a Day in the Old Market
Downtown Omaha’s The Old Market is a historic neighborhood with cobblestone streets, old brick buildings, and incredible local dining and nightlife. Shop for retro candy, handmade fudge, and the largest selection of Jelly Belly flavors in Nebraska at Hollywood Candy. Take your tastebuds to France by ordering Cassoulet or Duck Frites from Le Bouillon. Wander down the Old Market Passageway to find locally crafted pottery, blown-glass sculptures, jewelry, and more at Old Market Artists Gallery. Go back in time by flipping through the used CDs, DVDs, and vinyl records at Homer’s Music & Gifts. Schedule a romantic horse-drawn carriage ride in the evening to experience the entire market. Or stop by the Omaha Farmers Market on weekend mornings from June through October to find produce, herbs, dairy, eggs, fresh pastries, and more.
It’s a Great Place for Families
With all the things to do with kids in Omaha, you’ll have no problem keeping the young ones entertained! Watch them play in the two-story barn, practice shopping in the grocery store, and more at Omaha Children’s Museum. Spend an afternoon floating along the lazy river, zipping down water slides, and more at Fun-Plex. Traverse the treetops rope course or relax in the giant wave pool at Eugene T. Mahoney State Park. Putt through and around volcanos and dinosaurs at Prehistoric Putt. Go to Lee G. Simmons Conservation Park & Wildlife Safari, where they can spot American bison, grey wolves, prairie dogs, and bald eagles. Or enjoy some family fun with bowling, arcade games, laser tag, sand volleyball, and more at The MARK.
The Food Scene Is for Real
Omaha’s restaurant scene has taken tremendous strides in the last several years and is now a major foodie spot! Start your day with creative takes on brunch like Cinnamon Roll Pancakes or the Meat Head Benny at Early Bird. Treat yourself to a six-course tasting menu put together by a James Beard-nominated chef at Au Courant. Conquer your hunger with Stella’s Staple Burger and Sweet Potato Waffle Fries at award-winning burger joint Stella’s Bar & Grill. Experience amazing sushi with the Aburi Wagyu or Truffle Scallop at Yoshitomo. Feast on Burnt Ends or The Tank sandwich crafted by an award-winning pitmaster at Porky Butts BBQ. Savor Rigatoni Bolognese or Lumache Carbonara at Dante, one of Omaha’s best Italian restaurants. Feed the whole family with New York-style pies like the Burrata Baller or the OG3 at Virtuoso Pizzeria. Or indulge with a cone of Red Velvet Cake or Butterscotch Cheesecake at ice cream favorite Ted & Wally’s.
There’s No Shortage of Steak
Nebraska is known as the “Beef State” for a reason, and Omaha is its steak capital. The city is home to Omaha Steaks, one of the largest marketers of beef in America, which has satisfied hungry Omahans with ribeyes, strip steaks, porterhouses, and all things beef since 1917. Don’t feel like grilling your own steak? Let Omaha’s best steakhouses do the cooking for you! Try the famous Whiskey Filet or a Trail Boss Prime Rib at The Drover. Feast on a Filet Mignon or a Bone-In Ribeye at Spencer’s for Steaks and Chops. Conquer your appetite with the massive 22-ounce Omaha T-bone at Gorat’s Steak House. Dine on a 10-ounce ribeye and crab legs with the Surf & Turf at Anthony’s Steakhouse. Or order the Bone-In New York Strip with Blue Cheese Potatoes at Omaha Prime.
Visit the Many Breweries
Omaha doesn’t have a long history as a craft beer destination, but a recent influx of new and exciting breweries have made it an up-and-coming beer city! Play cornhole, Chippo golf, and giant Yahtzee while sampling beers like the Tan Limes and Hot as Helles in the Stave Room at Kros Strain Brewing. Enjoy the gorgeous Omaha weather with a Jalapeño Pineapple Pils or a glass of Honest American Whisky on the patio at Brickway Brewery & Distillery. Cool down from a jog with the Scriptown Running Club with a Yotus IPA or Saddle Creek Wheat at Scriptown Brewing Company. Visit the tasting room to savor the Tropic Wonder and Pre-Prohibition Lager at Lucky Bucket Brewing Co. Down a Cardinal Pale Ale or Coffee Fathead during Rockin’ Bingo at Nebraska Brewing Company. Want to try beers from multiple breweries at once? Get out to Omaha Beer Week, an annual summer celebration with festivals, food-pairing parties, and a bus tour.
Spend a Night on the Town
Looking for a good time on the weekends? Check out Omaha’s unique bars, clubs, and nightlife spots! Find a classic dive bar atmosphere and champagne on tap at the Homy Inn. Sip on craft cocktails inside Omaha’s premier speakeasy Wicked Rabbit—and don’t forget to stop as its sister bar Alice. Catch fabulous drag shows and some of the best dance parties in the city at gay bar The Max. Play skee-ball, pinball, and more than 50 classic arcade games while drinking craft beers at Beercade. See standup sets from renowned comedians like Dave Attell, Larry the Cable Guy, and Ray William Johnson at Omaha Funny Bone. Challenge your friends to axe-throwing competitions while enjoying cold brews at Flying Timber Axe Throwing. Or select from more than 60 beers on tap, including Metz Jubilee Beer and Vanilla Bean Blonde Ale, while sharing an order of Reuben Eggrolls with your crew at Omaha’s original alehouse Crescent Moon.
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