• Edyineth Melgarejo

Exploring Omaha with Visit Nebraska

Last fall my friend Claudia and I were invited by Visit Nebraska to experience the majestic state of Nebraska and all it has to offer. During our trip we were lucky to be able to visit three different Nebraskan cities. The first stop on our tour was the city of Omaha.

Omaha was originally a pioneer town founded in 1854, and today is the largest city in Nebraska. Famous for its pioneer history, museums, and cultural centers, Omaha has kept it's roots while continuing to develop and grow as a thriving metropolitan city. Located just above the Missouri River and west of the Iowa border, Omaha is centrally located in the most populated region of Nebraska. The city is rich with history, delicious food, and Midwest hospitality.

The Omaha Marriott Downtown Capitol District hotel was our lovely host in Omaha. The sleek and openly designed lobby offers a 270-degree view of the city skyline. Surrounded by glass walls and perfectly geometric decor, the modern feel of the lobby is met with metal and wood materials for a design that feels both current and rustic.

The open layout lobby consists of a lounge, dining, and bar area. The hotel also features plenty of meeting space, a large fitness center, and a rooftop pool/bar area with a view of the city skyline. Like much of our stops in Omaha, the aesthetic beauty of the hotel came second only to the staff's warm friendliness. Always kind and helpful, the Omaha Marriott Downtown hotel staff offered us our first dose of the Midwest's famous hospitality, but it certainly wasn't our last.

The Fontenelle Forest was our first stop in Omaha. Fontenelle Forest was founded in 1913 making it one of the oldest conservation organizations in Nebraska.

The area which includes forest, prairie, and wetlands serves as a home to almost 250 species of birds and many other animals. Focused on education and access to the public, Fontenelle Forest also includes two nature centers and plenty of open trails. The experience allowed us to appreciate the tremendous beauty of the forest, while reminding us of our great responsibility to preserve these lands.

Exploring the Forest throughout the afternoon built up our appetites. Our first stop for food in Omaha was dinner at Dante Pizzeria. Specializing in wood-fired Neapolitan pizza and rustic Italian cuisine, Dante uses fresh seasonal produce from local farms. Lucky for us, Corn, which Nebraska is famously known for, was in season during our visit. The tasting menu for the evening included four courses and desert to finish.

Tasting Menu:

Watermelon and Cantaloupe Salad: Parisian scooped melons, in a pool of almond milk, with turmeric and cilantro.

Scallops and Corn Soup: Oven seared scallops in a sweet corn soup, with corn hush puppies.

Mezzaluna: Half-moon eggplant stuffed ravioli, with sweet corn and peppers.

Braised Bison Short Rib: Served with potato Gnocchi.

Butterscotch Budino: Butterscotch pudding and Caramel sauce, sprinkled with sea salt and topped with whip cream.

We started the second day in Omaha with a splash of color and coffee, at Dripped and Draped. The perfect place to refuel with healthy and tasty drinks, while enjoying the vibrant and funky decor. The coffee at Dripped and Draped doesn't just taste delicious, it also looks fabulous! With adorable backdrops, there are plenty of opportunities for the perfect picture, and the brightly colored concoctions are the perfect accessory.

Matcha latte and Beetroot latte with edible flowers.

After our drinks, we headed to Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium. Known for their efforts in animal conservation and research, the Zoo and Aquarium are home to over 950 animal species. The Zoos exhibits will transport you to places like the African Grasslands, the Highlands of Asia, or the Jungles of the Rainforest. Along with the largest cat complex and largest nocturnal exhibits in North America, the Zoo and Aquarium offer many unique experiences with species from all over the world. Elephants have been my favorite animal since I was a child, and it was wonderful to see the family of Elephants at the zoo. Only up close and in person could I really appreciate how massive and majestic they are. The Kingdom of the Seas Aquarium, was definitely my favorite area of the zoo. There's something so peaceful and magical about the waving water and bright colored curious fish.

While visiting the Old Market District we stopped by Twisted Fork for a late lunch. As it's commonly referred to by the regulars, the "Fork" is an eclectic grill and saloon, serving "American comfort food with a Cowboy Twist."

Steak and Sticks Salad

Tender steak tips, house cut crispy fried potato sticks, mixed greens, mushrooms, caramelized onions, tomatoes, blue cheese and horseradish ranch dressing.

Orange Saffron Salmon

Grilled salmon filet over apple and pepper risotto with sautéed zucchini and orange saffron cream.

Omaha was a fabulous first impression for the lovely state of Nebraska. Stay tuned for my other Nebraska posts coming soon for Lincoln and Nebraska City. If you want to discover Omaha for yourself check out to find out more.

Happy Traveling!

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