Omaha, Nebraska is not first on everyone’s travel to-do list by far. It is not even second. However, if planning a trip to America’s heartland, Omaha is a must. There is fine food, beautiful homes and mansions worth driving past, and museums that will delight even the most discerning museum-goer. It is not New York City by far. It is not even Kansas City. It is very home-spun, with a great mix of people and a lovely Old Market area that will surprise anyone from either coast because yes, they have parking. It is a large city in America’s heartland and truly worth the visit.
Omaha is best known for three things: being the insurance capitol of the world; having some of the best corn-fed beef on the country; and being the home of billionaire Warren Buffet. However, the things that Omaha is not so well known for are the very reason to visit.
The Old Market area is is a delightful, Main Street-type of stetting, which is filled with flowers atop the buildings in the summer months. There are restaurants for every taste and budget, as well as shops and easy parking. Not far from the Old Market area is Union Station and the Durham Museum.
The Union Station building is an historic building. Not far from it is the main train station that is currently in use. The historic Union Station has sculptures inside that evoke images of World War Two and soldiers waiting to depart by train. There is also a museum worth visiting with vintage trains, as well as historic artifacts from Omaha’s Indian past and the history of Nebraska as a plains state. The museum is a delight for children and adults, as is the old-fashioned soda fountain on the main level.
Yet billionaires roam free in Omaha much to everyone’s delight. Warren Buffett is a well-known fixture there, but a Beatle? Sir Paul McCartney had a highly publicized dinner with the investment magnate, and after dinner at Avoli in the Dundee part of Omaha, enjoyed an ice cream desert down the street at eCreamery. People relish going there now to enjoy some Beatles-sanctioned ice cream (he had two scoops of vanilla bean), and to sit on the benches where they were photographed.
For those who want to dig deeper into the Omaha art scene, there is always Joslyn Art Museum, which has an extensive collection of over 11,000 works of fine art spanning from the ancient Greeks to the twenty-first century. Artists include Titian, El Greco, Veronese, Jacob Van Ruisdael, and Claude Lorrain (Renaissance and Baroque); Jules Breton, William Adolphe Bouguereau, Jean-Léon Gérôme, Camille Pissarro, Auguste Renoir, and Claude Monet (nineteenth-century French Impressionist and non-Impressionist); James Peale, Mary Cassatt, Thomas Eakins, Severin Roesen, Eastman Johnson,William M. Harnett, Thomas Cole, Thomas Worthington Whittredge, Albert Bierstadt, and Thomas Moran (eighteenth- and nineteenth-century American art). The twentieth and twenty-first centuries are represented as well by many fine artists.
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