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Trip Report yk's Brief Trip Report to Omaha

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DH & I just returned from a 4-day trip to Omaha. We mainly went there for a wedding, so we didn't have time to do too much of sightseeing. I'll post the few things we did/ate.

Transportation
Omaha airport is small; and a breeze to use. It has 2 terminals connected via a main building. Major car rental companies are located in the parking garage across the street from the main building. I believe Budget & National are located off-site.

The airport is located just NE of the city. Driving to/from the city takes 15 minutes tops.

We rented a car from Hertz. Both pick-up and drop-off was very efficient. I found a discount code for our rental: our 3-day weekend rate for a compact (Mazda 6) was $65.

Driving in Omaha is relatively easy. N-S running streets were numbered. We never hit any traffic going anywhere.

Sights
Omaha zoo
We went one morning; arriving around 10:30am. Our weekend visit coincided with the College World Series which took place at the Rosenblatt Stadium right next door. The parking lot was crowded. We had to pay for our zoo admission as we parked our car. Even with that, there were people tailgating at the same parking lot. Perhaps they paid for the zoo admission just to park there.

The zoo is pretty nice; relatively compact and walkable (unlike the National Zoo in DC). Some sections are a bit old, such as the Cat Complex. Our favorite was the Desert Zone. My personal favorite animal was the cassowary.

We (DH & I, and my in-laws) went on a relatively hot/humid day. My in-laws were pretty tired after 3 hours, so we left at that point. We skipped quite a bit, so I figured one can easily spend another 2 hours there.

Old Market
This couple of blocks of shops & restaurants reminded me of Galveston. Nice restored brick buildings. We also walked along the Gene Lahey Mall just north of the Old Market.

Heartland of America Park
A beautiful park and lake, and an impressive fountain. There are boat rides available but we didn't take it. Again, it was very hot that day so we didn't walk around the entire lake. We did walk up a small hill towards the Missouri River and saw the river; as well as the new Missouri River Pedestrian Bridge which is still under construction.

Joslyn Art Museum
We went on Saturday morning which was free admission between 10-12. I love the pink marble which is a lovely color. The building is typical of art deco design.

Its western painting collection is very small (Early Renaissance through Impressionsim fit within 4 galleries). We enjoyed the galleries of the America West & Native America; something that we don't see much at all (we're from the E coast).

The contemporary art galleries showcase works by local artists.

A huge Chihuly glass installation can be seen along the glass window at the cafe.

Food
Spaghetti Works at Old Market
We wanted to eat somewhere else at Old Market but every place was crowded. Spaghetti Works has an outdoor patio so we picked it. The food was okay - really nothing memorable to write home about.

Mark's Bistro in Dundee
This place is a gem. We reserved a room, which is located in the old house behind the main dining room area. Our dining room is cozy, as if we were dining at someone's house. The menu offers gluten-free options which mattered to our group as one of our guest cannot tolerate gluten.

2 of us ordered the local grass-fed lamb which was really lovely. I had soup of the day which was a chilled cucumber soup with mint. That was wonderful as well.
http://www.marksindundee.com/

Cafe Durham at Joslyn Art Museum
Since we didn't have to pay admission, we ate there for lunch as our support for the museum. The food wasn't that good at all; compared to many other museum cafes I have eaten before. The cold sandwiches were all premade and wrapped in cling. My special of the day sandwich was grilled chicken, bacon, swiss cheese sandwich. It looked like something from a highschool cafeteria, served on a piece of wonder bread. The home fries were all precooked and soggy. Huge disappointment overall.

Overall Impression
The area around Old Market & the Riverfront seems lively and fun. Lots of new construction is going on near Qwest Center. But it still is a very small city, and I think I would get bored living there.

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