When you hear the word “Omaha,” chances are your mind flashes to mail-order steaks or Warren Buffett. And while these might be two of the city’s most famous denizens, Omaha has a lot more going for it than beef and billionaires.
This Nebraska city scored high in the economics category thanks to low cost of living, high-quality job opportunities and a strong, steady economy that has proven its ability to weather turbulence. Looking to build your career in tech, or maybe launch a startup of your own? Omaha shared the #1 spot with Lincoln on our list of up-and-coming tech hotspots last year.
As far as amenities go, Omaha is packed with fun things to do, amazing restaurants, parks, sporting events, museums, a world-renowned zoo and a fantastic theater and art scene. Omaha also scored extremely high in the infrastructure category, which means the city makes it easy for residents to get around — even during those harsh Nebraska winters.
Local Obsession: Bob the Bridge (AKA Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge), a one-of-a-kind bridge with a larger-than-life personality. Bob is one of the longest pedestrian bridges to connect two states (Nebraska and Iowa) – which means if you stand in the right spot, you can actually stand in two states at the same time, which locals call “Bobbing.”
Climate Described in 6 Words Or Less: It’s Nebraska. Plan accordingly.
Top Industries and Employers: Omaha is famous for being the home of Berkshire Hathaway (and its legendary founder Warren Buffett), and the financial industry has a large presence here. Other top industries in Omaha include health care, education, tech and agriculture.
Quintessential Meal: Let’s get real: You can’t go to Omaha and not eat a steak at one of the city’s many fantastic steakhouses.
Favorite Weekend Activity: The Omaha Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium, which is internationally known as one of the best zoos in the world. While the zoo fills 160 acres, the largest and most impressive exhibits are indoors, perfect for exploring year-round. Winter got you down? Hike through America’s largest indoor rainforest with roaring waterfalls and swinging gibbons.
After-Work Meetup Spot: The Blackstone District is a fun, walkable spot with several breweries, restaurants and bars.
Best Brewery: We're big fans of Benson Brewery.
Beloved Bookstore: Jackson Street Booksellers
Free Way to Have Fun: Check out Omaha’s fantastic art scene. Many of the city’s museums are free and are truly world-class.
Truly Hidden Gem: Walk into the small, unassuming liquor store appropriately named The Looking Glass. Greet the laid-back store clerk with a smile and browse around the small space filled wall-to-wall with spirits of all types. Here comes the trick that makes the magic happen: tell the clerk you’re looking for the Wicked Rabbit. Without hesitation, the clerk approaches a shelf containing a lone bottle by the same name and with a small push the entire wall opens up to a magical speakeasy. You’re welcome.
- Winona Dimeo-Ediger