Before we’re in full “back to school” mode, squeeze more out of glorious summer with a road trip to a city full of fun opportunities. Here are ten ideas for making the most of August in Omaha.
1. Explore The RiverFront
Last summer, Omaha welcomed the reopening of Gene Leahy Mall, a park in the heart of downtown featuring a performance pavilion with a wide lawn space, a state-of-the-art playground, interactive water features, a sculpture garden, dog park and more. Visitors have thrilled at the attractions and eagerly anticipated the reopening of The RiverFront’s other components – Heartland of America Park and Lewis and Clark Landing. This month – on August 18 – the wait is over. Visit Heartland of America Park to see the new skate ribbon, bocce courts, lakeside amphitheater and architectural masterpiece Farnam Pier. Lewis and Clark Landing offers a sandy urban beach, a playground beyond imagination and prairie gardens.
2. Savor an Old-Fashioned Confection
Enjoy a refreshing treat at several area old-fashioned soda fountains. August 6 is National Root Beer Float Day, and Omaha’s The Durham Museum celebrates with special activities and a free root beer float with paid admission. Or slurp a handmade soda or phosphate at Graley’s Creamery & Confections, a Victorian ice cream parlor. For an adults-only experience, Fizzy’s Fountain & Liquors in Little Bohemia serves ice cream cocktails and floats and comfort food favorites like nachos and fried bologna sandwiches.
3. Have Fun with Fashion
The latest fashions light up the runway during Omaha’s semiannual Omaha Fashion Week, Aug. 24-27, 2023. This year’s event celebrates 15 years of runway showcases with the theme Aurora – which means dawn. Watch as new design stars rise. Make sure to attend the final day, when you can shop the runway fashions. August in Omaha is haute!
4. Toast to Hot Air Balloons
A treasured summer favorite, Nebraska Balloon & Wine Festival combines a delightful hot air balloon glow with tastings of the region’s best wines and spirits in an event the entire family will enjoy.
5. Take a Skyfari Ride at the Zoo
Experience one of the world’s best zoos from a unique vantage point. The Skyfari aerial tram transports guests with an unobstructed view of Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium, specifically the zoo’s African Grasslands exhibit where you’ll see wildlife like white rhinos, cheetahs, lions and elephants.
6. Search for Pollinators
Discover 16 lifelike installations in a sculpture exhibit that showcases the beauty and importance of butterflies, bees, hummingbirds and other pollinators at Lauritzen Gardens. Artist Alex Heveri’s “Glass in Flight 2” created iridescent exoskeletons and translucent wings of giant insects from steel frames and Dalle de Verre glass. Watch the interaction of sunlight and colored glass alongside the garden's plant collection.
7. Hit the River
For a leisurely water experience unique to the area, try tubing or tanking down the Elkhorn River west of Omaha. To choose which, determine how wet you’re willing to get. Tanking entails riding in an 8-ft. diameter stock tank complete with custom-made picnic tables, while tubing is more of an all-in experience involving sitting in commercial-grade inner tubes and floating in the river. That’s just the start of the water fun in Omaha; find more area water adventure options here.
8. Hang with a Troll
Omaha’s most beloved troll is taking it easy under the city’s most beloved bridge. Take a selfie with OMAR the Troll, interact with OMAR through videos scannable on the bridge, and even turn yourself into OMAR using a special Snapchat filter. Can’t get enough of the troll sculpture? Read about OMAR's adventures in his book “OMAR Finds a Home.” It’s a colorful keepsake and a terrific souvenir from your Omaha trip.
9. Watch Pro Golf
10. Explore one of Many Hidden Gems
In West Omaha, Heron Haven is a spring-fed wetland sanctuary tucked away in the city with trails, nooks for relaxing, and a butterfly garden. Free admission.
For even more ideas on what to do in Omaha in August and beyond, head to VisitOmaha.com.