📷 matt miller / omaha world-herald

Here in the Woodstock of Capitalism, we definitely don’t coast. Welcome to the home of the Oracle of Omaha—Warren Buffet.

The Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting and event-filled weekend is the draw, but there are so many awesome offerings in and around the region you won’t want to miss.

Omaha’s constantly evolving metro area is packed with miles of exciting things to see, savor and experience. In the spirit of Warren Buffet, we Omahans are entrepreneurial—constantly creating thriving, locally owned and operated businesses. Plan accordingly: drive in or rent a car in Omaha – and stay for at least a week. There’s so much to explore!

We’re thrilled to share the latest and greatest treasure trove of locally owned and operated discoveries.

Use #WeDontCoast to post comments and photos of yourselves exploring and enjoying these exciting off the beaten path treasures from A–Z:

Artemis Teas

Artemis Teas are crafted and packaged in the Old Market at Hardy Coffee Co. According to CEO & Chief Tea Artisan Andrea Lawse, tea-drinking as a way of life since she was five years old, and credits her great-grandmother with instilling in her the importance and power of a cup of tea. “I believe that we can change the world when we learn to consume mindfully, with purpose, gratitude and delight,” Andrea says.

 

Breweries—craft beers—with tasting tours

Brickway Brewery & Distillery

Owner, Master Brewer & Distiller, Zac Triemert, founded Brickway Brewery & Distillery in 2013 based on the principles of “Celebrate! Commiserate! Commemorate!” Located in Omaha’s Old Market, this treasured spot brims with character, charm, comfort and the chemistry required to create exceptional, award-winning craft beers. Enjoy a tasting tour then relax inside or on the sidewalk patio.

Nebraska Brewing Company

The largest craft brewery in Nebraska is proudly family-owned and operated by Paul and Kim Kavulak and their team. The La Vista location, home to the brewery and tasting tours, offers a cozy polished wood vibe with free vintage arcade games to play as you imbibe. Enjoy “world class in every glass,” award-winning craft beers. Bonus: Show your Berkshire credentials and get 10 percent off your tab. To schedule a large-group private tasting tour, contact Judy Farrell: judy@nebraskabrewingco.com.

The Cloisters on the Platte

“Let the silence transform you,” is the invitation. Opened in 2017, The Cloisters on the Platte brings a 500-year tradition of Ignatian spirituality to Nebraska. Visit the Stations of the Cross, walking a 2,500-foot trail replicating Jesus’ route through the Old City of Jerusalem on Good Friday, known as the Via Dolorosa, lined with bronze, life-sized sculptures created by some of America’s finest sculptors.

Dundee Neighborhood

Founded in 1880, the heart of historic Dundee is Underwood Avenue and 50th Street. Explore wonderful, locally owned and operated businesses: Pitch Pizzeria, where the “Creamy Tuscan White Beans” starter will change your life. Get your ice cream on at eCreamery (featured on Shark Tank and in Vogue.com). Dine deliciously, then get your steps in with some retail therapy shopping. Hello Holiday is a chic boutique with cute pink koozies as business cards. Scout specializes in hip vintage and modern clothing and accessories for men and women.

Elmwood Park and Elmwood Golf Course

Elmwood Park, founded in 1889, comprises more than 216 acres of lush, wooded areas, walking trails, a babbling brook, a grotto, a pavilion, picnic tables, a swimming pool and sports fields. The Elmwood Golf Course dates to 1916 and is open seven days a week.

Florence

The first city built in the Nebraska Territory in 1854, Florence is the original territorial capital of Nebraska. The Bank of Florence, now a museum, built in 1856, is the oldest bank in Nebraska. Bonus: The Bank of Florence Museum and The Florence Mill will open a week early for the Berkshire shareholders to enjoy. Friday, May 2, both are open 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. May 2–4 is also the Florence Community Theater‘s opening weekend.

Glacier Creek Preserve

This 424-acre preserve is situated northwest of Omaha. According to the University of Nebraska-Omaha, the preserve strives to “maintain an ecologically sustainable, landscape-level wildlife preserve focusing on tallgrass prairie and related ecosystems that will serve present and future generations both as a site for environmental education and as an important community resource for the preservation of our historic prairie environment.” This off the beaten path treasure is free and open to the public.

House of Conundrum 

Located on an appropriately mysterious second story of a red brick building on Leavenworth Street, House of Conundrum offers an exciting, fun-for-all experience with nine uniquely themed escape rooms. The newest addition, “Final Frontier,” is a Star Trek-themed room sure to thrill all you Trekkies out there.

Individually owned art gallery

Gallery 72 was founded in 1972 by Roberta and Bob Rogers to exhibit and represent established and emerging artists and offer a wide range of contemporary art and fine art prints. Their son, John Rogers, the current owner and director, recently renamed the gallery the Roberta and Bob Rogers Gallery to celebrate his parents’ legacy and the gallery’s 47-year history in Omaha. During Warren’s Weekend, the gallery will feature “Reflections,” an exhibition of nationally acclaimed artist Jeanette Pasin Sloan’s fine art lithographic prints.

Jewish Community Center

Omaha’s Jewish Community Center is a vibrant, inclusive place to celebrate and explore. Enjoy free and open to the public art exhibitions in the JCC Art Gallery. The gallery offers visitors “an excellent opportunity to immerse themselves in culturally enriching exhibitions.” The JCC also offers lectures and events to experience while you’re in Omaha.

Kids’ activities and family fun

The Makery is “an exciting place for you to get creative, learn a new craft or make something truly one-of-a-kind,” says Lindsey Devries, the inspiring, DIY-enthusiast owner of this unique studio space. Drop by for Open Crafting and make your own unique treasure. Tons of cool crafts for kids of all ages—and great home decor crafts for their parents, too!

Collaboratory-The Knowledge Playground, was created by educator and mad genius scientist owner, Anna Eckhoff, as a safe space to take risks and learn. Her dream was “a collaboration space and learning lab for curious kids and adults to ignite their creativity and imagination” to discover and explore new adventures in STEAM—Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math. Play with super cool interactive robots or make your own oobleck. Join the Open Tinker Lab and Makers’ Space on Friday, May 3, 8 − 11 a.m. and 12 − 3 p.m.

📷 courtesy of aksarben village

Live music — FREE

Saturdays @ Stinson Concert Series at Aksarben Village is hosting an outdoor concert featuring the group Taxi Driver on Saturday, May 4, 7 − 10 p.m. FREE live music, food vendors and fun for the whole family!

Markets

Experience authentic outdoor Farmers Markets all weekend long at the Old Market (Saturday), Village Pointe (Saturday), and Aksarben Village (Sunday). Browse, taste and shop the abundance of locally grown produce, herbs, flowers, foods and handmade crafts while local musicians soothe your musical soul.

“Normandy Toast”

Homemade French bread, stuffed with cream cheese and pecans, dipped in a secret concoction, flash fried and served with either cinnamon or maple syrups. This decadent delicacy, created by owner Liz Liakos, awaits you at The Market Basket, locally owned and operated for over 30 years.

OPPD Arboretum

An oasis in the city, the Arboretum is a fascinating outdoor classroom. Learn the names and history of the trees, shrubs, native grasses and wildflowers as you stroll along the walkways surrounded by natural beauty. And soak up the sunshine and the tranquil serenity of the waterfall pond.

Passageway Gallery

This co-op gallery in the heart of Omaha’s Old Market is home to a talented, eclectic group of local artists. You’ll discover outstanding original artwork in oil, acrylic, pastel, watercolor, photography, sculpture, wood carving, jewelry and more—at incredible prices—to buy and treasure.

Quaint Elkhorn

Founded in 1865, Olde Towne Elkhorn is a charmingly quaint neighborhood in West Omaha that offers something for everyone. Meander down Main Street and explore unique art galleries, chic boutiques, fascinating specialty shops and raved-about restaurants, all locally owned and operated.

The Robot Zoo at the SAC Museum

From the Sac Museum website, “The Robot Zoo exhibition features robotic animals and seven hands-on activities that illustrate fascinating real-life characteristics, such as how a chameleon changes colors and how a fly walks on the ceiling.” Explore this interactive traveling exhibition through May 10. Bonus: May 4 is National Space Day and SAC will celebrate with a special event from 10 a.m. − 2 p.m. presented by Dr. Jennifer Levasseur from the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum.

St. Cecilia Cathedral

This Spanish Renaissance Revival masterpiece, designed by architect Thomas Rogers Kimball, begun in 1905, consecrated in 1959, and listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979, is home to a world-class Spanish Colonial Art collection. The Cathedral Cultural Center includes Sunderland Gallery; Cathedral Museum; O’Donnell Lecture Hall; Cathedral Gift Shop; Saint Cecilia Institute for Sacred Liturgy, Music and the Arts; Cathedral Arts Project; and Cathedral Music Ministry. Free and open to the public to experience.

📷 courtesy of nebraska tour company

Tours 

Nebraska Tour Company offers custom-crafted local history, culinary and art tours. Choose from self-guided, walking or chauffeured tours. Chief Experience Officer, Alan Rust, says the team loves to organize custom tours led by professional locals who are passionate about their communities. “No matter what your interests are, we have something for you.”

Urban Abbey

A nonprofit, fair trade coffee shop, bookstore and church all rolled into one unique, inviting space, Urban Abbey is located in the heart of Omaha’s Old Market. Founding Pastor, Reverend Debra McKnight, stressed the importance of having a space of inclusion and hospitality, of building relationships and community. Since opening its doors in 2011, Urban Abbey has been donating 10% of its coffee bar sales to nonprofit organizations throughout Omaha. Sunday Services: 9 a.m., 11 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. 

Vegan food 

Modern Love, home of “swanky vegan comfort food in Omaha” since New York-born Executive Chef, Isa Chandra, followed her love to Omaha and opened Modern Love nine years ago. Locals have been raving about the food—especially the Nachos Molo appetizer and the Chickpea Cutlet Parmesan. Check out the cool zen-vibe with black walls and fuchsia accents.

Wineries

Soaring Wings Vineyard & Brewery, owned and operated by Jim and Sharon Shaw, sits on 30 gloriously rolling acres of vineyards and woodlands. Savor wine or beer (since 2011) while sitting on the inviting wrap-around terrace overlooking the magnificent sculpture of Pegasus. Soaring Wings is the only Midwest winery growing and commercially producing Syrah grapes, so be sure to try their silver-medal-winning Syrah.  On Friday, May 3, 7−9:30 p.m. in the outdoor amphitheater, enjoy the rock, blues, reggae, country, classic and contemporary tunes of Jumpin’ Kate and The Naked Reserves.

Cellar 426 is a family affair. Owned and operated by Richard and Amy Hilske, the winery and vineyard sit high on a hill with 360-degree views of its 20 wooded acres and the Lincoln skyline in the distance. On Saturday, May 4, 6 − 8 p.m., come celebrate Cellar 426’s 7th Anniversary with featured musical guest Josh Hoyer, Team Blake on the 12th season of The Voice.

eXtraordinary people─besides Warren Buffet─born in Omaha  

President Gerald R. Ford was born in Omaha in 1913. Today the Gerald R. Ford Birth Site and Gardens is a beautifully tranquil place to visit and learn about the 38th President of the United States. With the push of a button, the interactive outdoor kiosk presents fascinating historical mementos and recordings of the President and First Lady speaking about their White House years. Other extraordinary people born in Omaha include Fred Astaire, Marlon Brando, Henry Fonda, Nick Nolte, Alexander Payne, Nicholas Sparks, Malcolm X and many more.

You gotta experience… 

The Cinco de Mayo celebration in South Omaha, May 3−5, is ranked one of the top Cinco de Mayo celebrations in the United States! Get in the spirit with exciting live music, food, fun and activities all weekend long.

Zen Coffee Company

“I wanted my Zen place,” says millennial fempreneur owner Abby Korth, who created a Certified Green Business where everything is organic, locally sourced, recycled and composted. Abby’s monthly donations to Omaha nonprofits and small businesses, and giving discounts for reusable mugs, align perfectly with her philosophy of building relationships and investing in the community. Join the fun at Spring Fling, Saturday, May 4, 10 a.m. − 3 p.m. featuring a free vendor fair, food trucks, live music, yoga and florals.

About The Author
Julia A. Kragh is an Omaha-based freelance writer, editor, photographer, educator and citizen of the world. She has lived, worked, and traveled in 43 countries—and counting.  Julia is a member of the International Travel Writers and Photographers Alliance (ITWPA). Currently, she is focusing her energy and talents on rediscovering her amazing hometown of Omaha, NE, and sharing her discoveries with the world.