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Top Things to Do in Council Bluffs and Omaha

The Council Bluffs and Omaha metro area is a top Midwest destination for outdoor adventures, museums, the best zoo in the country, live music and entertainment, delicious dining, and more! We’ve curated a list of the top things to do in Council Bluffs and Omaha, and much to your surprise, they’re all just a short drive from each other, making it an affordable and convenient getaway!

Check out the World-Famous Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium

Kids looking through the glass at sharks and fish in the aquarium
Photo courtesy of Visit Omaha

The award-winning Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium is a must-visit in the metro! Visitors can explore and experience 160 acres of unique habitats, animals, plants, and exhibits that will surpass your wildest dreams! Families can even book backstage experiences, which allow you to go behind the scenes to explore the aquarium and meet giraffes and elephants!

Visit Iowa’s Only Celebrity Restaurant

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Are you ready to take a trip to Flavortown?! You’ve got to check out Guy Fieri’s Kitchen + Bar at Harrah’s Casino in Council Bluffs! The celebrity chef brings you his big, bold flavors and tasty twists on comfort food.

Spend time on the Riverfront in Council Bluffs and Omaha

A couple have a picnic with the Omaha skyline in the background

Both Council Bluffs and Omaha are located on the banks of the Mighty Missouri River, and there are many activities on both sides. The Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge connects the two lively cities, giving you access to 150 miles of trails and exceptional experiences. Enjoy wide-open green space in Council Bluffs at Tom Hanafan River’s Edge Park, Belles’ Play Garden, and dine at Mercy Thai or The Terrace!

In Omaha, you can meet OMAR the Troll underneath the pedestrian bridge, visit the brand-new Kiewit Luminarium, and check out the Lewis & Clark Landing.

Explore Railroad History in Both States!

Man taking a photo of two kids on the back of a Union Pacific train car
Union Pacific Railroad Museum

Council Bluffs and Omaha have deep connections to the railroad, which has helped shape both cities over the decades. In fact, Council Bluffs was designated as mile zero of the Transcontinental Railroad in 1864. Uncover the history by visiting the Union Pacific Railroad Museum in Council Bluffs and the Durham Museum in Omaha! Both museums offer fascinating exhibits, hands-on activities, and history accessible to train enthusiasts of all ages.

Experience Delicious Dining & Shopping

Street musician playing guitar in the Old Market
Photo courtesy of Visit Omaha

The Old Market in downtown Omaha is the place for unique dining, shopping, gallery hopping, and a night out on the town! This historic area with cobblestone streets is lively year-round with street musicians and artists and is a favorite destination for locals and visitors.

Another great nightlife destination in the metro is the Historic 100 Block of West Broadway in Council Bluffs! Here you’ll find a variety of restaurants, bars, and shops. The block stays busy throughout the year with concerts and annual events like Bike Night and Pride on the 100 Block.

Escape the Metro and Enjoy the Great Outdoors

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Get away from the hustle and bustle by driving 20 minutes north of Council Bluffs to Hitchcock Nature Center. This outdoor oasis is in the heart of the Loess Hills and offers epic hiking, birdwatching, and camping opportunities. After a visit,  you’ll never think of Iowa as a flat state again!

Live Entertainment Galore!

Packed crowd at a concert at Stir Concert Cove
Stir Concert Cove

The metro area brings in some of the top names in show business for rocking concerts, magical musicals, spectacular symphonies, and brilliant ballets. Catch the next show at Stir Concert Cove, the Orpheum Theater, Steelhouse Omaha, or the massive CHI Health Center arena! See our locals put on impressive performances at the Hoff Family Arts & Culture Center and the Omaha Community Playhouse.

But Wait! There’s More!

As we said earlier, the metro is jam-packed with activities and adventures to experience! There’s no way we could fit all the fun into one blog. For more things to do in Council Bluffs, explore

Both Council Bluffs and Omaha have visitor centers where you can get travel tips and ideas from passionate locals and browse for brochures and visitor guides. We can’t wait to see you!

Council Bluffs CVB Office + Welcome Center

  • Address: 509 23rd Avenue Council Bluffs, IA 51501
  • Phone number: (712) 256-2577
  • Hours: Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Omaha Visitors Center

  • Address: 306 S 10th Street Omaha, NE 68102
  • Phone number: (402) 444-7762
  • Hours: Tuesday – Saturday 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Sunday 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
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509 23rd Ave.
Council Bluffs, IA 51501
844-271-6909 | 712-256-2577
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