If you are flying in to Omaha, Eppley Airfield actually has rather efficient baggage handling, so almost anything should be OK. If you are visiting during the winter months (i.e. November to March), be prepared for the worst. It is not unusual to have heavy snows, strong winds and sub-zero temperatures. During the summer, it will be hot...very hot. Keep in mind that usually, in Nebraska, if the sky is clear, it's horribly cold. Summer is an exception, if the sun is out, chances are that every outdoor plant is now dead. Rain seems to be an anomalie during the summer, and by the end of July, the idea of water falling from the sky seems novel, and somewhat unrealistic. Mid to late spring will, on the other hand, usually produce heavy rains, and if you're lucky a tornado or two. People in Omaha seem to be enthralled with weather, it's quite a sight to watch people flock outdoors and stare at the sky when the civil defense sirens start wailing due to a tornado warning... Omaha has excellent hospitals, numerous 24 hour medical clinics and emergency service, 911 service, and all amenities you would expect in a major American city, so no special preparations should be required. Skip the 100 speed film unless you know it's going to be sunny, or you are taking pictures of inanimate objects. 400 speed is a much better choice on a typical grey Omaha day. Omaha has a massive network of multi-use trails that can provide a LIFETIME of enjoyment for cycling, jogging, rollerblading, etc. They are also useful for actual transportation as well. I would recommend visiting the Nebraska DNR (Department of Natural Resources) site to find an outdoor activity to your liking, as there is a suprisingly large number of things to do outdoors near omaha. You may need to purchase park permits if visiting certain recreation areas outside of the Omaha metro area. Visit the coffeehouses, and some bars that have Surftables. These are internet access kiosks built into tables with dual keyboards and flatscreen monitors. Many businesses will allow access for free with a purchase. Purchasing a decent map is also helpful, as downtown Omaha has a fair number of one-way streets and other oddities.
Omaha Steaks.......simply the best
Beloved by Omahans for romantic or special occasion dining, Brother Sebastian's dark, cozy dining rooms with "monastic winery" ambiance are perfect for enjoying steak, prime rib, seafood and fowl. The service and food are excellent, and the wine list is extensive. This restaurant is on every "short list" of locales for prom dates, anniversaries or any other special occasion. Steak that melts in your mouth.
The Old Market in downtown...
The Old Market in downtown Omaha. You absolutely must go there if you're into antiques, romantic walkabouts, and pretty much everything else you'd expect from a bustling city such as this. Omaha itself is not too big yet not too small. If you think everything in NE is corn and Husker football, then you really don't know what you're missing. It's been quite some time since I left my Bellevue home but I frequently visit and there's so much more to do in this city that I myself haven't done every one of them. Look it up and you might find some interesting things. Two examples, the Rosenblatt Stadium is home to the College World Series. Henry Doorly zoo right next door is a nationally if not world recognized zoo.
I can't say it all but Omaha has a lot to offer. It's not a bad place considering the geographical location. A lot of history yet a lot of things to do. Now mountain climbing and that sort of stuff is understandable but if you're into art, then you must see.
SEE THE UNION PACIFIC GIANT LOCOMOTIVES
VISIT THE HUGE LOCOMOTIVES ON THE HILL. They are right next to the Laretzin Botanic Gardens. You can see them from the road if you enter Omaha on I-80 westbound. How they got them up on that hill I do not know.
The Union Pacific has made very interesting displays to accompany the engines.
The Kindness of Americans.. an Omaha example
"Sleep Inn, near the Airport, Omaha Eppley Field"
Because of my interest in the Tribes living in Nebraska, I have to fly into Omaha fairly often. Over the period of months, I have been staying at Sleep Inn, just five minutes from the airport. and on my repeated visits I had become friendly with the staff. (this is a small hotel)
I arrived yesterday late from Portland Oregon and had to rush to the Indian reservation this morning and returned this evening. On entering the hotel I realized that my dirty laundry which I was supposed to have dropped off at a Mexican owned laundry in South Sioux City (to be picked up on my next visit) was still in the back seat of my rented car.
As I entered to check in, TaShayla was at the desk and I explained the situation. She without hesitation said: that is no problem, I am not that busy tonight and we have a nice machine, I will put it in for you.
How kind are people in the United States?
In my years of visiting this country, I have come across kindness over and over again. there may be other countries where people are more polite, but in USA, they are friendly, not because they want something from you ( me a foreigner from Australia, with deep connections to Cuba, their supposed enemy) BUT because what they can do for you. Compare this with the grumpy chinese singaporeans, half hearted service you receive in so many other parts of Middle East and Asia..
Since I have to do a fair bit of travel within the USA, I have always been met with warm smiles, great service and help when true help is needed.
"I ask for a Downgrade for Avis Rent A Car"
I am always astounded by the friendliness of the people at Continental airliens counter, Avis Rent A Car counter and also at the front desk of the Sleep Inn near the airport.
On My december visit,I had booked a car, but they had upgraded me to a large more comfortable car. I went to them and said I would like a less luxurious car! they laughed and gave me a more luxurious car!
Same thing happened when I went at 8 pm for coffee and a croissant at Delyce Cafe, the ladies couldnt be kind enough.
My theory is that americans that I come in contact with, in this context, usually for a few minutes at a time, know that I am a foreigner and immediately accord a great welcome to me. It never fails regardless of the place in the USA I go to.. after a while I have come to expect it, to be treated like a visiting Royalty!
"Where shall I eat?"
This is a great vexing questions when one comes to the midwestern part of tlhis country.
My long term association with the UmonHon and HoCank Tribes of Nebraska brings me back to their territory on a regular basis. I fly into Omaha, usually on Continental Airlines. If it is after an international flight, last year I used to fly Tokyo to Houston and then connect to Omaha or this year, it has been Paris to New York and then Connect, I spend the night at sleep Inn near the airport.
On this visit, I decided to stock up on some good food, before i journeyed to visit the Dakota in South Dakota. Went to visit WILD OATS food market and it was a pleasure to shop there, found so many good food items and was happy to chat with the filipino who makes the sushi and also to the various helpers. Loaded up with vegetables, some wine for friends and also some organic stuff for my friens in South Dakota.. a nice experience for someone who is not in the habit of shopping for food ( in Asnieres sur seine, we buy food as necessary locally and usually fresh )
Certain Rituals: coffee and croissant at Delyce Cafe and occasional lunch at Le Bouvet and always a visit to the Jackson Street Bookstore.
The pretentious vietnamese who run the Mongolian BarBQ where the workers are mexicans, I go there because of the Mexicans and not the vietnamese..I wish I could have some good vietnamese food here, eventhough I am old there is one in the suburbs called Saigon, perhaps the one which used to be in midtown.
ALORS, WILD OATS IS NO MORE, THANK GOD THE VIETNAMESE OWNER HAS LEFT, AND SAIGON SERVES GOOD FOOD IN THE SUBURBS. WHOLE FOOD IS IN THE SUBURB DIFFICULT TO FIND AND EXTREMELY HIGH PRICES TO BOOT.