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

Cinco de Mayo Fest

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

South Omaha Branch Post Office
4730 S. 24th St.
(800) 275-8777

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 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 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, 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.

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.

International Bakery
5106 S. 24th St.
(402) 502-2710
Daily 6:30 a.m. – 9 p.m.

Want to savor the best bread and Mexican sweets? Visit the International Bakery, which boasts a wide range of bread to delight your palate and is one of Omaha’s most renowned Latino-owned bakeries.

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 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

Restaurants

There are many wonderful restaurants offering a wide range of delicious dishes in South Omaha. Here is a list of some of them.

Taco food truck
Photo from the Dos De Oros (“The Taco Truck”) Facebook page

Food Trucks

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.

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

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 GüeraNenas Zamora MarketSuper Carniceria El Pueblito and El Mexicano #6. 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

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.


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