Fitness should be fun, so don’t sweat it if you struggle to get up and get active. It’s okay that it takes inspiration sometimes!

If you need a boost or want to switch up your routine, here are ten different ways to use Omaha as a personal guide for fitness fun in 2023.

Bird up! Found on the Heron Haven website

Take nature hikes and birding adventures

Hikers and bird enthusiasts have some breathtaking and well-maintained trails, plus an abundance of wildlife to see here in town. It is no wonder natural Nebraskan landscapes color their state’s national image and the walls of our state social studies classes!

First up, Heron Haven is free of charge and fun for a solo or group hike/birding adventure. It is a slice of greenery meets aviary tucked away in the city and perfect for an afternoon stroll.

And second, Fontenelle Forest charges between $50-$70 for membership, but you can request a free family day pass through your library. Experience events like the Invasive Species Hike and a popular yet solitary 10.2-mile trail for hiking and bird watching called Hawthorne to Marsh to Missouri Loop.

Swimming Pool
You feeling an indoor or outdoor swim? Found on Unsplash

Swim laps around the summer

Omaha swimmers can exercise and relax during the summer season in these indoor and outdoor pools.

The Spring Lake Pool season runs from June 5 to August 6. The outdoor water spot sits squarely in Spring Lake Park, once called Syndicate Park. Individual admission costs between $1-$3.

The outdoor Cryer Pool is also open between June 5 and August 6, with tickets priced at $2-$3.

For indoor pools, Mockingbird has lap swims seven days a week at various times, holding open swims on Saturday and Sunday between 1 and 4 p.m. Admission is $4-$5.

Montclair hosts lap swims from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. during the week and 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Tickets are $4-$5.

No matter how talented you are, wear your helmet. Found on Unsplash

Cycle scenic uninterrupted trails

After loading up on excellent food during patio season, cycling is a great way to let off some steam and explore branching paths of natural roads.

The Keystone Trail connects Omaha, Bellevue, and Papio and features minimal hills. It adds up to 20 miles of continuous cycling scenes, averaging six hours. 

Next, the Walnut Creek Trail (Papillion) is another all-encompassing and year-round trail stretching over three miles. It’s wheelchair accessible and great for biking, birding, fishing, and camping. Keep dogs on leashes.

For mountain biking, check out Jewell Park Outer Loop. It has golden Bellevue hills to climb and fast descents for a trail stretching just over a mile. It’s perfect for those who like a little challenge. 

Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge
The bridge opened to the public in September of 2008, named after Nebraska senator Bob Kerrey. Found on Unsplash

Stroll the bridge or lake park

A bridge connects two places or cultures.

When downtown, the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge unites Omaha with Council Bluffs over the river. In total, it has one mile and a half trail with a low-key vibe, though sometimes it gets busy. Stroll and talk with a view of the river and birds. Then, at night, the bridge lights up like something out of “Blade Runner.”

When out West, the Ed Zorinsky Lake Park Full Loop trail is an eight-mile secluded path. The lake park’s West trail is wheelchair accessible, but a few steep sections are marked with waypoints that warn you may need assistance or to turn around. A few other pluses: dogs can join but must stay on leashes, and there are nine sporting fields and several spots for fishing.

SAC plane
The SAC museum opened in 1959. Photo from Facebook page

Journey through epic museums

Museums are underrated ways to stay active, especially when the premises are sprawling, because we have to go to the information. While you may have visited before, don’t worry, there’s no way to take everything in at once.

First, the Strategic Air Command and Space Museum in Ashland is not too far from Omaha. Tickets cost $7-$14, and the museum is massive. Military planes rest idly everywhere. If you are a history buff, SAC and Space Museum captures advancements in air and space technology, in which Nebraska played a vital role.

But if downtown is your destination, Durham is more than an old railroad station turned into a beautiful museum. It is a highly reviewed showcase of 20th-century history, art, and culture with a unique vibe.

From transient light shows to electric drag races, The Max has something to offer everyone. Found on Facebook page

Dance to a live DJ

First off, The Max is a fabulous place often considered Omaha’s best dance club. Go between 4-8:30 p.m. for a low-key experience, but to party, stick around. Admission prices Friday and Saturday are $5 before midnight and $10 afterward. On Sunday, it costs between $3-$5.

Next, Bar 415, located downtown, is a solid club for underground and mainstream electronic dance music with a stark visual atmosphere. It’s been around for 20 years, and you can count on it to be loud. 

Additionally, the Nebraska Salsa Scene has a dance scheduled for June 10 at Firewater Grille from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. Lovers of the diverse umbrella known as Latin music will have a blast, and newcomers have a chance to attend the class at 8 p.m. before the dance starts at 9. Tickets cost $10.

The Hitchcock Nature Center is a nice picnic destination sitting just outside of Omaha. Found on Facebook page

Picnic with outdoor activities

Face it – playing games keeps you young. But bring plenty of water before you go giving it your all in a friendly outdoor pickup game.

Though it’s a little out West, Chalco Hills Recreation Area features a vast open layout perfect for picnics and outdoor games. Trails, fishing, tables, and sporting fields give this rec area a day’s worth of activities. It is open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.

Next up, Neale Woods is 600 acres of natural unpaved paths surrounded by oak trees and trails ranging widely in difficulty. You will find it peaceful with a beautiful view overlooking the city.

Finally, Hitchcock Nature Center is a 30-minute drive from Omaha and has picnic tables and several awe-inspiring trails.

Joining a gym is more fun when you know what you’re getting. Found on Unsplash

Invest in yourself by joining a gym

Join Life Time Fitness for one day for $30 or a monthly cost between $30-$99. It has a ton of weights and other amenities.

Test Omaha Barbell for $10. A monthly membership is $45-$50, and this facility is for lifters and weight lovers.

The YMCA remains one of the best fitness centers, featuring pools and saunas. Just make sure the facility you’re going to has what you want. It’s $17-$94 to join.

Blue Moon has weekly memberships, including the basic package with some amenities for $7.50 plus $.33 to join.

Planet Fitness has $10 ($39 initiation) or $24 ($1 startup) monthly options, a $39 annual cost, and no commitment to renew.

Anytime we can include our pets into our workout routine automatically elevates it. Found on Facebook page

Take your dog to the park

Hanging out with your dogs at the park is a surefire way to combine exercise with canine mingling.

First, Beardmore Freedom Dog Park in Bellevue has two designated dog areas, plus the park is spread out and stays open late. There are waste bag dispensers set up in different spots for easy access. 

Next, Hanscom Park is a popular getaway for many reasons, including its pool and playground, but it also features a fenced-off dedicated area for four-legged friends. Play disc golf while you’re at it!

Finally, Dewey Park presents an opportunity for the pooch to escape the leash and try their paws at a dedicated obstacle course and splash pad during the hot months.

With the energy of live music flowing in a comfy or upscale venue and bar, it’s hard to NOT move. Found on Facebook page

Get moving at the music venue

Ready? These are some of the best bars with live music.

There’s fun to be had every night at the Down Under, including karaoke, weekly open mics, live concerts, and a monthly open jam. 

Second, Waiting Room has almost every day filled on its event calendar, usually live music. 

A third option, Culxr House, features showcases from up-and-coming creatives, including art battles. 

The Slowdown has shows almost nightly, from local album releases to touring acts.

Finally, the Brokedown Palace and Shakedown Street are two sister Grateful Dead-themed bars and music venues that regularly host open mics, jams, and concerts for the local hippie in all of us.

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