If you are making your annual vacation tour plan, probably Omaha is not going to make it. The same is true for most of the tourists, and that’s why you should give a serious consideration to visit the biggest city of Nebraska.
You might have heard that visiting the Henry Doorly Zoo, or the traditional jazz clubs will cost a few bucks. But did you know that there are 12 awesome free things to in Omaha that are equally enjoyable? I bet you didn’t! These 12 activities will not only make your Omaha trip memorable, but also will save you some money for your next vacation!
If you love art and culture, then you won’t find too many better places than Omaha. Let’s dive in!
1. Amazing Yoga Session at Joslyn Art Museum
The Joslyn Art Museum is not just a regular art gallery or museum, it’s more of a cultural hub. Apart from being filled with local, national and international art, it holds interesting events almost every weekend.
One of the most attractive events is the Gaden Yoga. The museum premises are surrounded by exquisite natural beauty that you surely don’t want to miss out. If you are lucky enough to visit this place during August or September, then you will be able to join the morning yoga session as well. And yes, without spending a single dollar.
During the museum hours, free tours are offered by the authority. You can spend your leisure time in an exotic way and even learn something new about art from the trained docents.
2. Explore the World’s Largest Ball of Stamps at Boys Town
The village of Boys Town is not like every other suburban area near a big city. It has some amazing history attached to it. Since 1985, it has been declared as a National Historic Monument. As a matter of fact, there is no other National Historic Monument in Nebraska.
It might seem too good to be true that you get to see the Visitors Center, the Father Flanagan House, and the Hall of History for free. But it is true! These places are among major tourist attractions to visitors who come to Nebraska from outside the state, or even the country.
There’s a cherry on top as well, as the world’s biggest Ball of Stamps is also situated at Boys Town. If you are enthusiastic about stamps, then you should visit Boys Town at least once in your life.
3. Broaden Your View on Art with KANEKO
KANEKO is a non-profit organization situated at the heart of the town that aims to display the cultural and creative heritage of the Omaha community. Here you can explore the innovative process of art in a good number of galleries. It displays painting, design, and even storytelling.
The public can visit this place for free during Tuesday-Saturday every week. In addition, KANEKO holds workshops and classes on poetry and art on a regular basis. If you are in luck, you might even be able to join a free class or two and enhance your creative palate. If you are planning on registering for either a free or paid event, you should definitely have a look at the KANEKO website.
4. Socialize with the Exotic Community at Old Market
You might get a little surprised to see a ‘market’ in this entry, and understandably so. If you are roaming through a market, you are supposed to spend money. And yes, if you want, you can spend some money in the Old Market of Omaha as well. But if your pocket is not so deep, still the Old Market has a lot to offer.
The streets of the Old Market are full of artists, magicians, musicians, and other sorts of entertainers who would make your time worthwhile without anything in return. Where you want to tip them or not, is totally up to you. Local vendors and makers come to this place every Saturday with their handcrafted products. Consider spending a few bucks if you like something.
5. Mesmerize Your Soul at Zorinsky Lake
Zorinsky Lake has a very wonderful park surround its 255-acre area. This park features football and soccer fields, baseball diamonds, multiple playgrounds, and a number of biking and hiking trails. Regardless of the time of the year you visit this place, you’ll absolutely love it.
This free park is perfect for a chill morning outing or an overnight trip. As the town is not so far from this lake situated at the West Omaha region, you won’t fall short on amenities for sure. Especially people who loves adventure, would enjoy the Zorinsky Lake Park very much.
6. Meet Artists at the Bemis Center
The Bemis Center is one of the most famous artist in residence programs of the country. It provides talented artists with on-site housing and scholarships so that they can nurture their talent to create timeless pieces of art. It is a hub for artists from all over the globe.
This art hub is a great example of celebration of diversity. Artists from different races, colors, religions, and backgrounds come together and share their perspectives and experiences.
The Bemis Center also wants to introduce the public with its resident artists and their brilliant work. The place is open for the public for free during Wednesday-Saturday. Guests can also peruse works from the artists as well. It can be a great artistic and educational experience to talk directly to the artists about their work and their worldview.
7. Get Lost in the World of Art in Hot Shops Art Center
Probably you’ve already understood how rich the Omaha community is when it comes to art, and the Hot Shops Art Center is the core of it. Situated north of the Old Market, it includes four art galleries, three anchor hot shops, and 50 art studios, along with countless exhibition spaces. You’ll find every kind of art here, starting from paintings to crystal forge, pottery, and even burning sculpture. The place looks like it has been brought straight out of the era of the renaissance in Europe.
The Hot Shops Art Center provides space to aspiring artists so that they can craft and display their art. The local community supports the artists and the center itself to carry on the legacy of their rich culture. A day in the Hot Shops Art Center will enable you to visit a world of art that you haven’t seen before. The galleries and workspaces won’t charge you any money either. What else do you want for free?
8. See the Panoramic View of The River Missouri at Mt Vernon Gardens
The beauty of the Missouri River is enjoyable from almost anywhere. But you are not going to get the panoramic view of this great river from anywhere. The Mt Vernon Gardens will give you this unique look of the river that is remarkable. Does the name ring any bells? Yes, you got it right. The appearance of this park is similar to the George Washington’s Mount Vernon view of Potomac. Though this park is not as big as the main one.
The gardens have very gorgeous sculptures and landscaping that will make your afternoon delightful. The river breeze will create a cool and calm atmosphere which is very enjoyable with your family and friends.
9. Go Biking on Paved Trails
Omaha is like a heaven for people who love outdoor activities like skating, bicycling, and skiing. Nomad bikers love to take advantage of the 85-mile-long paved trails in Omaha. Depending on your choice, you can take short bike rides in the city parks and sightsee the vibrant town, or even go out on a biking adventure in the road along with the Little Papillion Creek. It will take you a few hours as the road to Cornhusker Highway is 27-mile long.
If you have your own bike, then this adventure won’t cost you anything. On the other hand, if you don’t have a bike, you can rent one for very cheap from any of the local vendors.
10. Play Frisbee Gold with Your Friends and Family
If you are looking forward to spending a cool afternoon with your friends and family, then disc golf is a great option. Well, Omaha has a lot to offer on that regard. It doesn’t matter where you are staying in the city, you’ll always find a disc golf course in city parks. Especially the Links at Cunningham Lake, Seymour Smith Park, and Hummel Park are the most popular locations for the sport.
The wide variety of Frisbee golf courses offers different styles and levels of difficulty. Both pros and beginners can have a great time playing. And after all, Frisbee golf is a very fun to play sport indeed!
11. Watch an Outdoor Movie at Flix at the Chef
During the entirety of the summer season, a monthly outdoor movie event takes place in Dairy Chef in Elkhorn. This event is known as the Flix at the Chef. If your visit to Omaha collides with the monthly date of this event, then don’t forget to enjoy a movie!
The environment of the outdoor theater is very cozy. You will be offered free parking and popcorn. Want something more other than the free stuff? They’ve got you covered! Additional food, ice cream, and drink can be bought as well.
The screen is not huge, so don’t expect a full theater like experience from Flix at the Chef. But you’ll have a wonderful time, at least that’s not bad for free!
12. Sight Pioneer Courage Park
The Pioneer Courage Park, along with the Spirit of Nebraska’s Wilderness, contains more than 120 sculptures made of bronze. Having a walk at these six city blocks will give you a tour in Nebraska’s history and wildlife. The sculptures are built by legendary artists are more of them are being added from time to time. And who’s going to charge you any money for having a walk in city blocks?
The variety of sculptures these city blocks has, can’t even be found in some museums and galleries. It’s quite amusing that the Omaha community have decided to decorate their city blocks with these wonderful creations.
Other Free Things to Do in Omaha
If you still want more free activities, Omaha is not going to disappoint you at all! The Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bride traverses the Missouri River to connect Omaha with Iowa. You can take a photo on this bridge standing on both of the states at the same time!
If you like light shows and water fountains, then visit the Heartland of America Park in evening to get both at the same place. During the day time, you can see some memorial sculptures at the same place. Turner Park is another place where free events happen all over the year in Omaha. Starting from car shows to concerts, Bocce Ball leagues, and so many other free events are hosted by Midtown Crossing.
The best part about Omaha is its peaceful nature. We currently live in a time where most of the tourist attractions are way too crowded and busy. While some tourists do like the hustle and bustle, others want their tours to be peaceful and charming. Omaha is not only peaceful, it’s full of life as well. It has something to offer to every single tourist. On top of that, the local people will greet you with a warm welcome.
You don’t need to go to Europe to have a tour full of activities if you choose Omaha. And most importantly, Omaha has tons of free things to do and enjoy. Even if you only take advantage of the free activities without spending on anything other than food and residence, your Omaha trip will be unforgettable.