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.
South O! Art and Culture
El Museo Latino
4701 S. 25th St., Omaha, NE 68107
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.
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.
Read our recent feature on Omaha murals: “Painting The Town: Multitude of recent murals transform Omaha’s infrastructure: by Janet Farber
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!
In honor of the extensive Mexican heritage in the area, the South Omaha community celebrates the annual Cinco de Mayo Festival, along with more events held during May that include live music, parades and dances to showcase cultural pride.
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.
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
4730 S. 24th St.
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
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.
South Omaha City Hall
5002 S. 24th St.
The South Omaha City Hall is one of the most important architectural works in the area. Constructed in 1906 and designed by renowned architect John Latenser Sr., it was a county government building until 1999. Today, it is a commercial office building that retains much of its original Classical Revival-style construction.
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, the Livestock Exchange Building was 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. The building has two magnificent dance halls on the 10th floor with 22-foot ceilings that offer amazing views. Don’t miss it.
5106 S. 24th St.
Daily 6:30 a.m. – 9 p.m.
South O! Tasty
Rico Pan Bakery
4030 S. 24th St
Sunday – Saturday 6 a.m. – 10 p.m.
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
There are many wonderful restaurants offering a wide range of delicious dishes in South Omaha. Here is a list of some of them.
- 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. – Latin American
South O offers a wide variety of food trucks, including Dos De Oros (“The Taco Truck” on 3310 S. 24th St.) and Taqueria El Ray, located on both 30th & Leavenworth streets and Saddle Creek Road & Cuming Street.
Ice Cream Shops
Nothing helps beat the hot weather like ice cream. La Michoacana is known for its ice cream variety, and there are two locations on 24th Street: 4924 S. 24th St. and 4002 S. 24th St. You can also visit Helados Santa Fe Ice Cream Shop (4807 S. 24th St.) 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, visit La Güera, Nenas Zamora Market, Super Carniceria El Pueblito and El Mexicano #6. They’re all on 24th Street.
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.
South O! Shops and Souvenir
Want to buy a souvenir that showcases Mexican or Latino culture? Check out El Vaquero (4910 S. 24th St.), which offers some of the best leather boots around, or La Esmeralda, which sells authentic Mexican clothing on Q Street.
Or, if you’re looking for more variety, head to Plaza Latina on 24th and O streets. There, you can find a travel agency in case you want to visit a Latino country. And don’t miss the market on Saturdays and Sundays, which is an excellent chance to get some souvenirs.
Be sure to take a look at South O’s myriad mosaics while you’re shopping.