One of Omaha’s most culturally diverse neighborhoods is South Omaha, which has long been a hub for immigrants. Once known as “The Magic City,” South Omaha drew thousands of hardworking immigrants from Europe in the early 1900s to work in the stockyards. Today South Omaha retains its diverse cultural heritage as home to much of the city’s Latino community.

Beyond its many attractions, such as parks, restaurants, tourist locations, golf courses and one of the most well-regarded zoos in the United States, South Omaha is a lively neighborhood that hosts numerous cultural events, concerts and dances. Here’s a guide to help you discover more about South O.

El Museo Latino
El Museo Latino

South O! Art and Culture

El Museo Latino
4701 S. 25th St., Omaha, NE 68107
(402) 731-1137

Located on 25th Street in South O, El Museo Latino opened its doors on May 5, 1993. It’s one of about 20 Latino museums in the United States, and it offers many events and exhibits that aim to connect communities. On top of being a fascinating meeting place, it’s also an educational center that offers programs for kids, adolescents and adults.

El Museo Latino is open Thursday and Friday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. General admission is $5.

South Omaha Mural
Photo: South Omaha Mural Project Facebook Page

Del Futuro al Pasado Mural
25th and N. St.
Parking available at Plaza de la Raza

Exploring the concept of a Magic City, the murals project will delight visitors to South Omaha. Vibrant colors and representation of Latino and indigenous immigration, along with social justice themes, grace the parking lots and facades in the area.

Next to Kubat Pharmacy, you’ll find the Threads of Life mural, and a few feet from there you’ll see Del Futuro al Pasado, with Mexican culture on full display.

The Tree of Life in South Omaha
Located near 24th and L St., the Tree of Life was created by artist David Dahlquist. Photo by Karlha Rivas
  • The Tree of Life

The Tree of Life gives everyone a warm welcome to the historic area of South Omaha. It’s a symbol that represents the mixing and bonding of ethnic groups and cultures associated with the area, such as the Czech, Polish, Croatian and Mexican communities. Definitely take a picture there!

Cinco de Mayo
Yes — the 2021 Cinco de Mayo celebration has been postponed until June. Photo courtesy of Cinco de Mayo Omaha Facebook page

In honor of the extensive Mexican heritage in the area, the South Omaha community celebrates the Cinco de Mayo Festival, along with more events held during May that include live music, parades and dances to showcase cultural pride. Due to COVID-19, this year the celebration will take place June 11-13.

Guaca Maya Nightclub
Señor Musica, por favor? Promotional photo from Guaca Maya Facebook Page
  • Guaca Maya – Dancing

If you wish to enjoy some great live Mexican music to dance to, the Guaca Maya restaurant is the right place to be, not only for its ambiance but also for its delicious Mexican dishes. For more information, visit guaca-maya.com.

Soccer player kicking ball at South Omaha High School
South High Soccer offers action-packed fun! Photo by Ben Weber on Unsplash
  • South High Soccer

For soccer fans, spring brings the start of intercollegiate tournaments in which the best (male and female) teams of each school take to the field in the tournament organized by Omaha South High Magnet School. To check out the calendar, visit  southpackerspride.com/events.

South O! History

South Omaha branch Post Office

For people who love architecture, the post office building in South Omaha is one of the main attractions in the area. The building was constructed in 1899 and features a Classical Revival front with giant columns and Roman Corinthian capitals. Inside, the lead glass windows are beautifully maintained.

Plaza de la Raza
Plaza de la Raza is at the heart of the shops and restaurants of 24th Street. Photo by Karlha Rivas
  • Plaza de la Raza
  • 24th and N Streets, west side

Located in the middle of 24th Street in South Omaha, the Plaza de la Raza (“The Gathering Place of the Races”) is an emblematic location that is popular among Latinos. It also has a station where visitors can rent a bicycle.

City Hall building in South Omaha
Photo taken June 2010, The Hometown Tourist Blog
  • South Omaha City Hall
  • 5002 South 24th Street

The City Hall building is one of the most important architectural works in the area. It was constructed in 1906 and designed by renowned architect John Latenser Sr. It was used as a county government building until 1999 and is now a commercial office building that retains much of its original Classical Revival style construction.

Livestock Exchange Building ballroom
The Livestock Exchange’s grand ballroom is great for large celebrations. Photo by Brandeis Catering
  • Livestock Exchange Building Ballrooms
  • 4920 S. 30th St.

Considered one of the most romantic locations in the city thanks to the many weddings that take place there, this building is located at 4920 S. 30th St. Constructed in 1926, it was once the center of the livestock industry in Omaha, catering to stockyard workers with apartments, restaurants and other services. In 1999 it was designated an Omaha Landmark and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It has two magnificent dance halls on the 10th floor with an astonishing 22 ft. roof that offers an amazing view. Don’t miss it!

International Bakery baked goods in South Omaha
Delicious donuts, cookies, pan dulce, cakes and Christmas Rosco de Reyes cakes are all available at the local International Bakery. Photo from Facebook.

If you want to savor the best bread and Mexican sweets, then visit the International Bakery. It offers a wide range of bread types to delight your palate. This location is one of the most renowned Latino-owned bakeries in the city. It’s located at 5106 S. 24th St.

South O! Tasty

Rico Pan Bakery baked goods on tray
Is your mouth watering too? Photo from Rico Pan Facebook page
  • Rico Pan Bakery
  • 4030 S. 24th St
  • 402.702.7426 (RICO)
  • Sunday – Saturday 6 am – 10 pm

Since we love bread and sweets, here’s another option for you, with a South American twist. Rico Pan Bakery is located on 4030 S. 24th St. and offers a nice variety of South American bread and sweets thanks to its Cochabamba, Bolivia roots. It also has a big Peruvian influence, which makes for an exquisite combination

Restaurants

There are so many wonderful restaurants offering a wide range of delicious dishes in South Omaha that it’s hard to fit them all on a single page. But let’s try to name a few of them! Some of these locations also offer alcoholic beverages.

El Alamo 4917 S 24th St – Mexican

El Jalapeño 2809 Q St – Mexican

La Choza 5133 S 25th St – Salvadorian

El Dorado 5134 S 24th St. – Mexican

Isla del Mar 5101 S 36th St – Mexican

Howard’s Charro Café 4443 S 13th St. – Mexican

Laos Thai 4520 S 24th St – Thai

El Ranchito 4318 S 24th St – Mexican

Birriería el Chalán 4516 S 24th St – Mexican

Chiltepes 4833 s 24th St – Mexican

Taco food truck
Photo from the Taco Truck Facebook page

Food Trucks

24th Street offers a wide variety of food trucks, including El Dos de Oro and El de Juan located on 24th and Castelar Street.

Paleteria y Neveria la Michoacana
Paleteria y Neveria la Michoacana, 4924 S 24th St

Ice Cream Shop

Nothing helps to beat the hot weather like some good ice cream. La Michoacana is known for its ice cream variety. There are two locations on 24th Street. You can also visit Santa Fe Ice Cream to taste some favorite local flavors.

For the Carne Asada

Latino convenience stores sell some of the best meat at great prices. For those who love a good Sunday carne asada, La Güera, Las Nenas, El Pueblito and Los Mexicanos 6 are some of the locations you should visit. They’re all on 24th Street.

Jacobos
Jacobo’s is a South Omaha institution to get ingredients for authentic Latin cuisine, located at 4621 S 24th St.

Salsa Take-Out (Jacobo’s)

And then, there’s Jacobo’s Supermarket. If you visit South Omaha, you should try their authentic salsa Mexicana and salsa casera, all made with natural ingredients and no preservatives. Plus, if you’re lucky, you can get some of the freshest tortillas in the area, but you better be quick because they run out fast! Be sure to bring cash to pay for your purchases.

Plaza Latina
Shop till you drop at Plaza Latina, 2402 O St, Omaha

South O! Shops and Souvenir

Mexican Wear

If you want to buy a souvenir of Mexican or Latino cultures, you can visit La Esmeralda, which sells authentic Mexican clothing on Q Street, as well as Los Vaqueros, which sells some of the best leather boots.

If you want even more variety, you can visit Plaza Latina on 24th and O streets where you can even find a travel agency in case you want to comfortably travel to a Latino country.

Don’t miss the market on Saturdays and Sundays, which is an excellent chance to get some souvenirs. There are mosaics all over the place in South Omaha, so don’t forget to check them out.


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