Work and travel in Omaha, Nebraska: 4 weeks as a digital nomad in America’s Heartland

Work and travel in Omaha, Nebraska: 4 weeks as a digital nomad in America’s Heartland

Why work and travel in Omaha, Nebraska? I have three reasons for you: midwest nice (it’s a real thing), tasty food (except for something awful called a Runza) and sports (I have never seen volleyball fans like I saw in Nebraska). But wait…there’s more!

R and I spent four weeks in August and September working and traveling in Omaha, Nebraska. Omaha is just one stop on our digital nomad journey the past couple of years.

“Why Omaha?” We got asked this question a lot whenever we told people we were headed to Omaha for a month. The easy answer: “Why not?” The more complicated answer: “We like random or unconventional travel experiences. And also, when we were looking for places to work and travel for a month somewhere (anywhere) in the U.S. this fall, we had a hard time finding a place that met all of our filter requirements (e.g. wifi, two bedrooms, etc.). We finally found a couple of places that fit the bill. One was in Omaha and one was in Wichita. We basically flipped a coin and settled on Omaha.”

I am a firm believer that every destination has something unique and fun to offer. Nebraska is no exception and I look back on working and traveling in Omaha with fondness.

downtown view of work and travel in Omaha, Nebraska
Welcome to Omaha!

What to do when you are not working in Omaha, Nebraska

This is not a comprehensive list of things to do. But these are things that show up the most when you do a little research on what to do in Omaha. We tried almost all of them out and can concur that they are worth your time.

  • Head to the river. The Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge takes you from Nebraska to Iowa in just a few minutes. Make sure you take a picture with one foot in Nebraska and one foot in Iowa since that is what all of the cool kids do. And keep your eye out for the troll that lives beneath the bridge.
  • Take a walk and ride the slides. Close to the bridge are several nice parks and a path along the river. They make for a nice walk or bike ride. And if you are feeling a little adventurous, the downtown slides are a good time.
  • Explore the zoo. I am not the biggest zoo person. But every list we read and every person we talked to said we had to check out Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium. It was impressive and I especially enjoyed the desert dome. Oh, and the puffins. Anytime I get to see puffins I am happy.
  • Wander the Old Market area. This is definitely the trendy area of Omaha, but it’s cute. There are a lot of fun shops and restaurants to enjoy.
  • Get cultured at the Joslyn Art Museum. Sadly, it was closed for renovations while we were there. But even the outside was beautiful.
Two feet, red shoes on the state line of Nebraska and Iowa. A fun thing to do if you work and travel in Omaha.
Be in two places at once! You cannot go to Omaha without taking a picture like this.

Not-so-obvious things to do in Omaha

When we combine work and travel and stay more than a week in one location, we get the time and opportunity to see and experience more than the typical visitor. Lucky us! While living in Omaha, we enjoyed:

  • Touring the Joslyn Castle and Gardens. This castle was close to our house so it was easy enough to walk over and take a tour. The last place I ever expected to take a tour of a castle was Omaha. But why not?
  • Watching a volleyball game at Creighton University. Volleyball is BIG in Nebraska and it was a lot of fun to root for the home team.
  • Attending a concert at the Waiting Room Lounge in Benson. Lucky for us, American Aquarium was in town and we sang our little hearts out.
  • Visiting St. Cecilia Cathedral. This is an impressive cathedral both from the inside and the outside. It is worth a looksee if you have the time.
  • Visiting the Mormon Trail Center at Winter Quarters. This was a major stop and moment in history for the pioneers of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The visitor center is well done and the volunteers are both nice and well informed.
  • Find the Oregon Trail Memorial Rock. It’s a big rock in front of a house. A piece of history in the middle of an ordinary neighborhood.
Oregon Trail Memorial Rock
Oregon Trail Memorial Rock sitting nonchalantly in an Omaha neighborhood.

Accommodations for working and traveling in Omaha

We stayed in the Bemis Park area. This area is one of the oldest in Omaha and is known for its historic houses, many which have a sign out front stating the year the house was built. I enjoyed walking around the neighborhood and seeing all of the old houses. It is a bit of walk to any sort “scene” though. So if you like close restaurants and shops, you may want to look elsewhere.

Dundee, Benson and Blackstone are popular neighborhoods, for good reason. There are also some not-so-great areas. Make sure to do your research. I found this article about Omaha’s different neighborhoods, written by some real estate company, to be very helpful.

Tasty (and not-so-tasty) bites in Omaha, Nebraska

If you work and travel in Omaha for a month like we did, you are going to need to eat. Here is our assessment of the food scene in Omaha:

  • Steak is popular in Omaha for obvious reasons. We got one at Gorat’s, a well-known establishment that our Uber driver recommended. We did not eat at every steakhouse, so I cannot say if it was the best. But it was a good steak and a good experience (even if the decor was a little dated).
  • A runza is kind of like a pizza pocket, but not as tasty. I don’t think either of us will ever try one again. But the locals are passionate about these and you should at least try it out.
  • Did you know the reuben sandwich hails from Omaha? That is the rumor anyway. Since I do not like any part of a reuben, it was a hard no for me. But R enjoyed one from Crescent Moon, a corner tavern in Midtown.
  • Ice cream is a definite thing in Nebraska. It probably has something to do with all of the cows. We enjoyed a treat from both Coneflower in Blackstone and eCreamery in Dundee. Both were delicious.
  • Lisa’s Radial Cafe is an old-school dinner serving up good food. The line can get a little long on the weekends. But since we were staying nearby, we got to walk over when the crowds were not so busy.
  • Right next to Lisa’s Radial Cafe is Sweet Magnolias Bake Shop. It is a great stop if you are looking for something sweet.
Floor view of Lisa's Radial Cafe, a great diner in Omaha, Nebraska.
A tasty place to get some food if you are in Omaha.

The shopping situation in Omaha

A work and travel in Omaha experience would not be ideal for R and me without a little shopping. Below are a few places we recommend:

  • Millwork Commons is located a little north of downtown. It is a collective of artists who work and sell their wares. Not every workshop and store was open when we visited, but plenty were. And it was neat to see so many artisans in one location.
  • Before traveling to Omaha, I heard about the great selection of antiques to be found there. Sadly, I did not do as much antique shopping as I would have liked. But you should!
  • Artifact is a great little store and workshop that is definitely worth a visit. I could not stop myself from picking up the cutest mustard yellow tote.
  • The farmer’s market downtown is like a lot of downtown farmer’s markets (i.e. a good time). I had a biscuit that blew my mind.
  • Another fun market in Omaha is the Gifford Park Neighborhood Market on Friday nights. It is small but lively.
  • One of my favorite finds in Omaha came from the grocery store. Nebraska Star Beef makes a line of spices and their SPG (salt, pepper and garlic) got me all sorts of excited. I have carried this with me from place to place since leaving Omaha. It is just about out and I figure it is time to order some more.
View of Artifact store in Omaha, Nebraska. This is a great stop if you work and travel in Omaha.
If you like high quality, locally-made products, you will want to stop by Artifact. It is a great little shop.

Getting around Omaha, Nebraska

Since Omaha is a ways from Idaho, we were without wheels during our time there. I found Omaha to be a walkable city, but it is a big city. And there are hills. Lots of hills. Most of Nebraska may be flat, but Omaha is not.

The public transportation system is decent and you can use an app to get around easy enough. The biggest downside is that not all of the routes run on Sundays. We found this out the hard way after getting stranded on a street corner west of town. Thank goodness for Uber.

Omaha, like most cities, has rental programs for electric scooters and bicycles. The scooters are fun and especially nice on the hills. R got a monthlong subscription for the local bike share and rode an ebike when heading into downtown. It’s important to look up docking stations if you are interested in this and make sure they are convenient to where you want to be in. In Omaha, it was sort of convenient. In Philly, totally convenient.

It was a little tough not having a car, particularly with grocery shopping. We made do with Uber rides and small loads, but it was not ideal. If you can drive or get your hands on a car to work and travel in Omaha, I recommend you do so.

We did rent a car one weekend to explore parts of Nebraska outside of Omaha. It was a nice change of pace to be able to go where we wanted when we wanted. And we made sure to pick up some groceries while we had the car.

What to see outside of Omaha

If you ever get the chance to work and travel in Omaha, you may want to rent a car for the day or a weekend. The following spots are not too far from Omaha and worth the trip:

  • Visit Lincoln, Nebraska, and tour the capitol building. This capital building is very unique looking and quite interesting. Tours are free. I particularly enjoyed the old-school elevator ride and view of Lincoln from the top of the tower.
  • Catch a Nebraska football game. We picked up Huskers shirts before the game so we fit into the sea of red. It was an experience catching the first home game of the season. These folks sure do love their team.
  • Hit up the Nebraska State Fair. Lucky for us, it was fair time while we were there and we spent an enjoyable day wandering the livestock barns, eating fair food and people watching.
Two girls in red shirts at a Nebraska Huskers football game.
Enjoying the first home game of the season in our brand-new Huskers shirts.

Lessons learned working and traveling in Omaha

As mentioned above, it is important to think about bike docking stations and bus stops if you don’t have a car when picking a place to stay. R gets a little stir crazy if she feels stranded and Omaha was borderline stranded-making.

Funny things about Omaha (and Nebraska)

They brag about their corn. In fact, we saw a shirt that said, “Iowa has bad corn.” I had no idea that was such a sick burn, but I do now. Also, I have never seen so much corn at a fair before (you know, the kind that gets judged).

Yellow corn cobbs at the Nebraska State Fair. The state fair is a great work and travel in Omaha experience.
Corn at the Nebraska State Fair.


Omaha, Nebraska, might not be an obvious spot to choose to work and travel in the U.S. But as you can see, it has a lot to offer. The people are nice, the food is tasty and there were more than enough activities and things to see to keep us entertained for a month. Do not discount Omaha, Nebraska, the next time you are looking for a random place to see and explore.

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