TravelingMoms and their Guest Author colleagues explore hometowns and home states as well as travel the globe. Take a look at Omaha, Nebraska, through the eyes of a local mom who knows free stuff to do with the kids.
Free fun Things to Do in Omaha
Omaha has more to offer than a world-class zoo to attract travelers – and a lot of it is free. From theater and concerts to a world-class art museum with an area just for kids, there are plenty of fun things to do that don’t cost a thing. Here are a few of my family’s favorite free things to do in Omaha:
Visit Joslyn Art Museum
This free world-class museum features works by Degas, Monet, Warhol and a large collection of American West art. Don’t skip the Art Works room where kids can create their own works of art. And that fountain in front? You can play in it!
Explore Old Market
The city’s cultural center is called the Old Market and there are a lot of fun things to do with kids there. Kids love local shops like Old Market Candy Shop, Hollywood Candy and exploring the halls of The Passageway (which has the area’s only toy store, Le Wonderment). Galleries don’t shoo away families, and since they’re free, check out one or two of the biggest – KANEKO, Bemis Center for Contemporary Art or the Artist Cooperative Gallery are three I’ve taken my kids to several times. If you need to grab a bite to eat and you’re feeling a little adventurous, Luxe Travelingmoms Dana and Sherry shared their favorite restaurants in the Old Market.
Do the Slides
The city’s downtown park, Gene Leahy Mall, has the biggest slides ever (if you ask any kid). If you’re looking for fun things to do in Omaha with kids, look no further.
Head to the riverfront and cross “The Bob,” the pedestrian bridge over the Missouri River. Be sure to get that iconic photo standing in both Iowa and Nebraska! If it’s hot, plan on making a dash through the sprayground at the base of the bridge.
Party at a Festival
Downtown Omaha seems to have a festival a weekend. My family’s favorites involve looking at art, hearing live music and eating: Omaha Summer Arts Festival (do not miss the children’s fair!) and Taste of Omaha. The festivals and live entertainment are free, but rides will be extra.
Dance the Night Away
Omaha has so many free concerts in the summer! Some of the series to check out are Jazz on the Green at Midtown Crossing and the Saturday concerts at Stinson Park at Aksarben Village, with a kid-approved playground. Big names play free summer concerts, too, so don’t overlook the Bank of the West concert held near the Fourth of July and Loessfest at River’s Edge Park with a stunning view of the Omaha skyline.
Immerse Yourself in The Bard
Shakespeare on the Green is an annual summer tradition in Elmwood Park. Pack a picnic and make a night of it. Arrive early to enjoy the pre-show activities that will entertain your kids. My little ones love the dress up tent.
Stroll a Farmers Market
Sample everything from shortbread cookies and apples to root beer and wine at one of Omaha’s Farmers Market. My favorite is Saturdays in the Old Market every summer, where you’ll always find live street music, food trucks and a charming atmosphere.
Hit a Home Run at Fan Fest
Every June for more than six decades, Omaha gets baseball fever when the NCAA College World Series takes over downtown. You can get into the spirit for free by visiting the Fan Fest for the interactive games and atmosphere. Opening ceremony events – including fireworks and autograph sessions – are also free.
Explore Boys Town History
Boys Town has several free places to visit on its Omaha campus, including the Hall of History and the Leon Myers Stamp Center with the world’s largest ball of stamps. Stop by the visitor’s center to pick up information on a self-guided (or guided) tour.
For more free things to do with your kids, head to the capital city, Lincoln. Here’s a great post on free things to do in Lincoln, Nebraska.
What are your favorite free things to do in Omaha? Share with us in the comment section below.
Kim Reiner is a mom of two youngsters living the good life in Omaha, Nebraska. By day, she works at Omaha’s Children’s Museum and by night she writes about her hometown and nearby adventures at Oh My! Omaha.