Hi LegalEagle48 –
You will love Omaha! July can be very hot, but there’s lots to do. The Zoo and Safari Park are excellent choices. I can’t really speak for Council Bluffs, as I have not spent a great deal of time in the city. Omaha also has some excellent museums, including the Durham Museum, set up in an old train station, and the Joslyn Art Museum.
Some of my favorite restaurants in the Old Market are M’s Pub, which has hearty, but modern pub food. They have entrees but also a wide variety of sandwiches. Upstream Brewing Company is also very good. They are a local microbrewery but also have a wide selection of pastas, pizza, sandwiches, etc. If you like sushi, there are two excellent restaurants downtown: Sushi Blue and Hiro 88. Both offer creative rolls and probably the best sushi in Nebraska. Also in the Old Market, Vivace has excellent, innovative Italian food.
Let me know if you need any other suggestions. http://www.visitnebraska.gov has excellent information about Omaha’s tourism destinations.
Enjoy your trip!
A weekend in Omaha.....
1) Check out Nicola's in the Old Market - be sure to get a table in the patio area. Nicola's is an authentic Italian Restaurant where everything is homemade. It is small, so you may want to make a reservation. I also agree with Alexis' ideas, but I didn't want you to miss my favorite.
2) If you are a wine fan, stop in to La Buvette. It is a little shop in the Old Market that is fun for a drink or snack.
3) Check out the Omaha Zoo and Durham Museum. If you have time, the botanical gardens make for a nice afternoon outside.
4) I love walking around the ConAgra Park and feeding the ducks/geese. Otherwise Lewis and Clark Landing is a fun walking area. Every hotel suggest Rick's Boatyard - I recommend it for drinks and appetizers while listening to the Jazz, but there are better meal options.
5) Sunday there is a Farmers Market in the Old Market, you should stroll thru the booths.
6) Council Bluffs has casinos. So if you like to gamble or hit a dance club, it would be worth a trip. Stir Cove also has good outdoor concerts. There is a fine dining restaurant called 360 in Harrah's some people like for the view and steak.
Enjoy your trip!
Council Bluffs quite a few places you may enjoy if you like history or scenic views. We have the General Dodge house; General Dodge is responsible for bringing the railroads to the Council Bluffs/Omaha area. We have several scenic outlooks with memorials to various people (Lewis and Clark, etc.) where you would get a great view of the river, Omaha, and surrounding areas.
We do have casinos. If you like to gamble, they're good. If not, there's no real reason to go.
Council Bluffs also has quite a bit of public art. I know there are quite a few pieces around town (www.bluffsarts.org). I'll tell you there are a couple pieces that everyone in town hates, but some people do like it.
We have a couple really good museums. We have the UP Railroad Museum located in our old library and the Western Historic Trails.
Finally, if you're looking for a cheaper hotel rate, you may want to check out Council Bluffs. We have some very nice hotels and the hotel tax is less expensive on our side of the river. CB is easy to get around and so close to all the awesome stuff in Omaha, it may be worth a look.
Skip the safari and spend more time in the zoo.
If you are an Aviation buff - the Strategic Air and Space museum is a must see - a great collection of aircraft , all inside. Nearby in Ashland , NE just west of the metro. If you enjoy art, the Joslyn Art museum is good - lots of Western art and not a whole day adventure. Interested in Horticulture? - Lauritzen Gardens - just north of the Zoo. As with the zoo , bring comfortable shoes.
I have heard nothing good about the safari park....
Council Bluffs - as was said, the Casinos and any possible events at the Mid America Center.
You must spend nearly a full day at the zoo. Go right when it opens. You can take in your own food and drinks. There are several indoor A/C buildings if it is too hot. Skip the Safari Park...the animals will be laying in the shade on a hot July day. It is fun to walk around the riverfront, Rick's Boatyard, and Bob Kerrey Pedistrian bridge in the evening. There is a small boat (for a fee) you can take on the Heartland of America Park's lake. Joslyn Art musuem is okay, you'd have to drive to that. The Durham Musuem is good, check what the current exhibit is. Check to see if there are any concerts at Century Link or at Holland Center. Council Bluffs---only Casinos and Railroad musuem.
I love Roja (mexican food)!
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