Don't insult Nebraska...
Don't insult Nebraska Football. These people are obsessed. Yes, Omaha is famous for steak, but as a vegetarian, I can't make any recommendations, and there is much more here than steak. Omaha also have a large latin/mexican population, especially in the southern parts of the city, so if you speak spanish, you will definitely have an opportunity to use it.
People in Nebraska have a hideous distaste for Iowa, especially Council Bluffs, and will call it names like 'Counciltucky' (they also have something against Kentucky). To an Omaha, IOWA is an acronym for 'Idiots Out Wandering Around', or 'In Omaha Without Approval'. Aside from the agricultural odor (which is NOT present in Council Bluffs), I, personally, can find nothing wrong with Iowa, so I do not understand this bias.
Nebraska is somewhat conservative, but Omaha is much more liberal, and in some regards progressive. You will meet a wide array of people, so it is best to come without biases and prejudices.
THE SMOOTHEST LATTES IN TOWN
AFTER HEARING ABOUT SCOOTERS FOR SOME TIME, We finally decided to pass up Starbucks and give them a try. And we will be back! Scooters has been named "Best in Omaha" for four years in a row. They have about 18 locations in Omaha, others in LaVista, Bellevue, Papillion, Lincoln, and Council Bluffs Iowa.
In March of 2006, a 12 oz. latte was $2.50 (extra flavor .35), a 16 oz was $3.05 (extra flavor .45), and a 20 oz was $3.30 (extra flavor .50) THEY HAVE THE BEST, MOST FLAVORFUL, SMOOTHEST Hazelnut Lattes we have ever tasted.
It's a three way tie: Ahmad's,...
It's a three way tie: Ahmad's, Sam and Louie's, Thai Spice (though the Female Unit would suggest Nettie's of Katie's Taverna)
Omaha has an amazing array of resturants, ranging from Jamaican, to Korean, to Cajun, to American... Most are incredible. Don't rip yourself off by eating at some bland corporate chain. Ahmad's - Anything is amazing - the weirder the better
Sam and Louie's - The veggie Stromboli
Thai Spice - Southern Chicken (substitute tofu for the meat)
Nettie's - The Female Unit likes something called the 'Super Toad'
Katie's Taverna - The Spanikopita and Tirokopita are amazing.
First, you may ask what a naval museum is doing HERE, thousands of miles from the sea. Well, it's not equal to some of the displays of big warships (like battleships and aircraft carriers) in other cities. But it's a pleasant outing, just a few miles north of downtown.
On display are the USS Hazard (a minesweeper), a small training submarine, a few naval aircraft, some missiles, and a few guns. Good for a couple hours at most.
Warren Buffett lives here, so it can't be all bad
"What does it say about Omaha that they claim a ..."
... metropolitan population of 800,000 but there are only four VT members living here?
When I lived here I was in a job which required travel more than 50% of the time. I have always tried to become a part of any community where I have lived but must admit that Omaha was tougher than most. Even now, as I pass through on my Lewis & Clark bicentennial tour and stop to attend the world famous Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting, I have not been able to shake that "What in the world am I doing here?" feeling.
As I walked by the registration desk of my hotel yesterday, I was at least someone reassured that it is not just me when I heard another gentleman complaining about his arrival adventure. He said that when he arrived at the airport, "There were no rental cars and the taxis are unbelievably expensive." For a day or so, I had thought that it might have been just me and that my impression might have been influenced by the great experiences whicfh I had a few days ago in Oregon and eastern Washington. As smooth and seemless as the various transportation modes are in Portland, they are disjunctive in Omaha. When I arrived in Omaha, it cost $40 to get from the airport to my hotel, a distance of about 15 miles. There is apparently no bus nor train service connecting the airport to the city. Once you get into the city, the bus service is very sparse. Thursday, I walked 3.5 miles (~6 km) along one of the primary east-west streets (Pacific) and never saw a bus. I then walked about a mile north and headed back along the primary east-west street in the town (Dodge). Just as I got to Dodge Street, I saw a bus pulling away from the next corner west. Assuming that there would be another bus along anon, I went to that corner and sat down to wait for it. 30 minutes later, I gave up and started walking westward. After another 30 minutes, a bus approached and I was able to flag it down although I was between stops.
(The tragedy of this whole adventure is that a large proportion of the people of Omaha are very cordial. They simply do not seem to consciously do very much to facilitate visiting their city.)
There is no direct north-south train service to or from Omaha.
There are two buses per day which pass through Omaha from north to south and vice versa.
There is no air service from Omaha to Kansas City.
And, this did not really surprise me because no-one in the interior of North America uses water as a transportation medium but since the Missouri River passes directly through Omaha and Kansas City, I did check and there is no boat transport between the two.
Finally, I tried to rent a car for the next leg of my expedition and discovered that of the seven car rental companies in Omaha, four do not even offer one-way rentals and of the three which do, the least expensive rate is over $100 per day compared to $32 per day for my rental earlier this week from Pasco, WA to Spokane.
I think that the bottom line on all of this is that you must have all of your transportation and housing arrangements very tightly nailed down before coming to Omaha. Do not expect to arrive and find anything convenient. When I finally did make car rental arrangements, I had to get back to the airport (which fortunately is relatively small) and with the rental counter in the center of the airport, my car was literally in the third slot from the far end of the parking area. And, it was dirty!!
The Berkshire Hathaway annual shareholders meeting was a good and an interesting adventure but the inconvenience of local travel arrangements and hotels may keep me from coming back. BTW, I had a suite in downtown Los Angeles but my room here cost $20 more per night.
I wonder if my trouble loving Omaha has anything to do with the weather. I was in the Air Force when I lived in Omaha and the day that I processed in to Offutt Air Force Base, there was a tornado which did considerable damage to the city and surrounding area. In fact, it did not touch the base but our processing took much longer than normal because we were under tornado warnings most of the day and did lose electrical power for a significant time.
Two years later, when I was on my last inspection trip before leaving Offutt for my next assignment, another tornado swept through, killing three and doing even more damage than the one two yeras earlier.
"The Lewis & Clark Connection"
Omaha is the last significant metropolitan area along the Lewis & Clark trail until Portland, Oregon. There is more visible Lewis & Clark stuff near Omaha than Portland but Portland is certainly easier to access.