During springtime, Omaha blossoms in the city’s crimson and clover way, where life just seems a bit more tantalizing no matter where you go. Traditionally, the goal is to spend as much time outdoors as possible and to let in as much of the outside when indoors. “Spring is in the air.” Yes, it is.

But this spring is bound to be different. Last spring, COVID-19 became a universal truth and urgent unrest swept across America. Today, quarantine remains pertinent and court trials continue to unfold in pursuit of justice.

But despite that incendiary year, there are several ways to seize the day this season. Have some much-needed relaxation, learn something new, or get involved – all of this, in a city waiting for you to make the most of it. These staples are timeless, though Omaha spring only comes once a year.

Follow common-sense, and in some cases specific, social distancing measures as they apply, dear reader.

Ceramic piece from the 2020 exhibit “PICASSO: MASTER IN CLAY Edition Ceramics, 1947 – 1971” Photo from El Museo Latino’s Facebook page

Visit Local Museums

El Museo Latino

4701 S 25th St, Omaha, NE 68107

The Midwest’s first Latino Museum and Cultural Center opened in Omaha in 1993 by Magdalena Garcia, who moved to Omaha from Mexico City at the age of nine. Today, Omaha remains the only other Midwestern city besides Chicago with a Latino museum, one of only 24 in the United States.

This spring, come out to El Museo Latino’s annual El Cinco De Mayo celebration. Stay for the Almuerzo, or brunch, and plenty of fun and learning!

Additionally, schedule a bilingual guided tour year-round, and stay tuned for the building’s exhibit schedule. Different age groups (k-12, college, and adult) can get involved with Latino studies and art and dance classes, as well as enjoy a wonderful array of exhibits.

Frankly, Omaha has a living gem within its walls; and all its folks – not just Latinos, Latinas, or Latinx folks – should cherish it. Do yourself, Omaha, and the world a favor by getting more involved with El Museo Latino this spring.

To schedule a tour, call 402-731-1137.

Chill on the lawn and enjoy music alfresco at The Holland Center. (Adobe Stock Image)

Enjoy Outdoor Music

Holland Center Outdoors

1200 Douglas Street, Omaha, NE 68102

The Holland Center is a beacon for live music in Omaha, and that’s partly because of the beloved HCO concert series. After closing down in March of last year, that series is coming back this spring, in May, to the Holland Center’s tremendous east lawn, and is planning to run until mid-fall.

This will be a grand showcasing of national and local live musical acts that will provide unforgettable outdoor concert experiences. So, get the blankets and lawn chairs ready!

Additionally, shows will go on, rain or shine, but will feature a limited capacity due to COVID-19. There will be a limit of two to four people per lawn square, and other COVID-19 regulations – including mandatory facemasks at all times – which you can read about on the Omaha Performing Arts website. 

Either way, for those who feel up to it, this is great news for live music in Omaha.

Tickets and rolling show announcements at Ticket Omaha, or call 402-345-0202

Appreciate Parks and Recreation

Lake Zorinsky Park

156th and F St, Omaha, NE 68135

Whether you’re looking for some exercise or just to get away from the din of city living, Lake Zorinsky – also known as Ed Zorinsky Recreational Area – is a nice place to thoughtfully escape to. Here, walkers, joggers, cyclists, and four-legged friends can enjoy 7.8 miles of a looped trail which encircles a beautiful lake.

The trail is intended for all skill levels where exercise is concerned; you don’t need to be an athlete to enjoy spending time outside, in a widespread lake/park area. Note that if you bring your dogs with you to Zorinsky, make sure to keep them on leashes.

Zorinsky boasts more than just an awesome trail – including fishing (at the designated dock) and makeshift baseball, soccer, and football games. Lastly, Bauermeister Prairie – one of the only tall grass prairies native to and still standing in eastern Nebraska – is here for all nature lovers to admire.

For more information, call 402-444-5900.  

Laurtizen Gardens offers a riot of color and fragrance all year long. Photo credit: Visitomaha.com


Smell the Flowers

Lauritzen Gardens

100 Bancroft Street, Omaha, 68108

Now open 9 am to 5 pm daily, Lauritzen Gardens has something to offer florid fans of Omaha in any season. But there’s no better season for stopping to smell the flowers than springtime, nature’s way of saying, “hello,” and a great source of aromatherapy.

But there’s nothing more important than enjoying what spring and the city of Omaha have to offer as safely as possible. That’s why the Botanical Garden has employed Timed Ticketing in addition to some non-hindering structural add-ons to ensure folks can visit the educational and visitor centers while social distancing.  

There are a few more guidelines that you should know about and can access from Lauritzen Gardens’ website, or by calling. Purchase and reserve your timed ticket online today to make the most out of your springtime!

For more information, call 402-346-4002.

Photo credit: Wikicommons

Admire Historic Architecture

St. Cecilia Cathedral

701 N 40th St, Omaha NE, 68131

It’s easy to forget that this city features some amazing architectural achievements. When St. Cecilia’s was created in 1959, it was in the top ten of America’s largest cathedrals.

Today, the Cathedral’s structural design remains impressively striking. Anyone of any religious background can appreciate placing the building’s outward design among the Spanish Renaissance – a style that isn’t so common in this region nowadays.

But once inside, visitors will yet again be overcome with the wonder of ornate design and vision. From the artfully plastered walls to the stained-glass windows, to the mosaic ceiling to the dual-temperament Pasi organ, there is no shortage of fascinating aspects to take in.

St. Cecilia’s is open from 6:30 am – 6:30 pm daily, and you can find their Mass schedule online. If you are feeling well, a visit to this divine site built by human hands may be just what the season called for.

For more information, call 402-551-2313

Marshall Taylor. Photo by Leo Louis II

Support Black-Owned Bookstores

Aframerican Book Store

3226 Lake St, Omaha, NE 68111

Marshall Taylor, who passed away last year at the age of 83, opened the doors to the Aframerican Book Store in 1990. For 30 years now, this independent, black-owned bookstore has been a vital source for learning more about cultural, historical, social, and political subjects related to black folks that are otherwise largely missing from Omaha and America at large.  

But Aframerican Book Store is more than a place where one can find some incredible reads. It was and still is a hub for uplifting Omaha in a broader sense by diving into the tough and beautiful subjects, increasingly relevant in the modern American climate.

What’s more, there’s nothing more timeless than reading a good book under a tree or on a porch in the spring weather. So, pick up a great book, in person or online, from their essential catalog to elevate your mind and city this spring. 

Order online or call 402-455-9200 for more information.

Photo from DoSpace Facebook page

Innovate with Technology

Do Space

7205 Dodge St, Omaha, NE 68114

If you are in search of free access to the latest technology and software, as well as some reliable and fast internet, Do Space is the local technology library for you. The non-profit is committed to promoting accessible and cutting-edge technology for everyone – no matter their age – from computers to 3D printers. And all this is ready for you to sharpen your skills and creativity this spring season.

Aside from the general, year-round benefits of a free, local technology library, Do Space also offers specific programs aimed to assist local entrepreneurs. Check out the Start Omaha Work Week from April 19-22 on Zoom for various programs dedicated to getting your startup, entrepreneurship, and/or small business off to a great start to the rest of the year. 

No matter what, it feels good to learn something new and to take fair advantage of available resources. If you’re looking to utilize this season for advancing your general skills or specific goals, Do Space has something for you.

For more information, call 402-819-4022.

Adventure on the Pedestrian Bridge

The Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge

705 Riverfront Dr, Omaha, NE 68102

This beautiful bridge, connecting Omaha and Council Bluffs, stretches 3,000 feet over the Missouri River. The Pedestrian Bridge, a Nebraskan/Iowan staple for twelve years now, is the perfect way to spend some time outdoors this spring season, and snap some great pictures of the sunset!

Whether you’re looking for a midday stroll, a friendly blue Troll or an evening under hundreds of multi-colored lights, traversing this public bridge is a great way to get some exercise while enjoying some leisure. What’s more, the bridge connects to 150 miles of nature trails, so you can continue your adventure on foot or bicycle long after you’ve stepped off the iconic Footbridge.

And, especially if you have business/pleasure to attend to in Omaha or Council Bluffs respectively, taking the Pedestrian Bridge is a great way to get there whilst not burning unnecessary, harmful gas. Yes, you can improve your health while improving the greater metropolitan area by skipping the car ride and appreciating a nice stroll on this great slice of Midwestern architecture. 

Omaha’s beloved entertainment and arts district, 11th and Howard St. Photo: Visitomaha.com

Have Fun at the Old Market

The Old Market

Downtown Omaha

By now, you’ve probably realized the Old Market is a great place downtown to find something going on any given day or night in Omaha. And this cultural/shopping hub & neighborhood is great for spending your time outdoors this spring.

No matter what you’re in the mood for, there’s something here for you. Chow down in some amazing selections of eateries, unwind at plenty of pubs ranging from homey to lively, hear some of the great buskers make sweet and righteous music on the corners, and shop until you drop at tons of quality apparel outlets. 

Moreover, if you’re looking to get more immersed in the arts, there’s plenty of some great live music venues and art galleries ready to be explored. Or get tickets to a riveting performance at the Orpheum Theater!

Undeniably, the Old Market is a vital source of Omaha’s daylife and nightlife. Mask up and seize the day! 

Heart Center Ministry Pantry, Summer 2020. Photo by Mark McGaugh

Fight Food Insecurity

Heart Ministry Center

2222 Binney Street, Omaha, NE 68110

Every person deserves access to food. Unfortunately, COVID-19 has worsened many social and structural inequalities that make food insecurity possible and prevalent in our great city.

That’s why you should spend your springtime helping others in need – after all, there’s no better gift than giving! And Heart Ministry’s Choice Food Pantry – an invaluable resource to Omaha’s population of food-insecure folks – could not function as successfully as it has, or at all, without the help of some thoughtful volunteers.

This is a great way to get involved with the community and have fun in the process! It’s incredibly simple and completely worth it to get signed upon Heart Ministry’s website. 

Additionally, if you are interested in attending the Choice Food Pantry this spring (once every 30 days), please do. However, note there are updated pantry hours due to COVID-19 you’ll want to be aware of.

Visit online or call at 402-451-2321.

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