Believe it or not, I've lived in Lincoln for a big chunk of my life and have never taken the time to explore Omaha. If I ever do visit I go to the zoo, the airport, and Cheesecake Factory. That's it. Since I had spring break and didn't plan on traveling anywhere, I decided to finally reserve a day just for Omaha.
Accompanied by my boyfriend, Jeremy, we first went to Durham Museum. I had been here years before for a banquet but figured it'd be a decent first spot to ride out the cold morning. Durham was originally a train station, and they've kept much of the original architecture and details on the top floor. They also have a vintage snack bar where they're known for their chocolate malts and popcorn! If you go downstairs there are loads of fun exhibits, including trains you can climb on, old vehicles, and some interactive games.
Up next we needed to find a place to eat and we found a casual spot called Block 16. Proclaimed as "farm to table street food," the interior is much like a friendly local pub. We were in the midst of rush hour so it was crowded but we managed to find a nice little spot. I ordered their specialty grilled cheese: sourdough bread, 3 different kinds of cheese, and jam. Sounds odd, but it was delicious and I am definitely going to make it at home! If you need a relaxed place to eat some comfort food, Block 16 is the spot.
After a near heart attack of a lunch (so worth it), we decided to go for a walk. Right in the center of Omaha's Old Market, there is a huge park with a lagoon, sculptures, and bridges. Jay and I both felt like rolly pollies after our lunch, so getting to take a stroll in the sunshine was an impromptu plus to our visit. The water looked like the fake blue you see at mini-golf courses, but nevertheless, the walk was a welcome one.
The main reason we wanted to visit Omaha was for this art exhibit at a museum called KANEKO. The show is called light, an interactive and hypnotizing art experience where science, art, and spirituality are combined. The exhibit was two floors and completely free. We could take photos on our phones, but no professional photography was allowed. My favorite room was with these reflective geometrical shapes that would change color with some zen-like music in the background. I could have zoned in the colors for hours if I wanted to. The show made me feel relaxed and comforted, but also stimulated the senses. We were lucky to catch the exhibit on one of its last days, but if you enjoyed their work follow the program's Instagram.
To end the day and avoid rush hour traffic, we decided to grab a drink nearby. A place that stood out to us right away was a French spot called La Buvette. Since Jay himself is French, he was instantly thrilled to see some of his favorite wine being sold for a ridiculously fair price. We shared a bottle and caught some rays until the sun came down. Jay was really craving beef tartar and unfortunately, this cafe wasn't making any that day. Lucky for him there was another French restaurant right around the corner who was: Le Bouillon. We stopped there for dinner and were instantly impressed with the environment. The walls were covered with colorful art, the ceilings had dim lighting with hanging greenery, and there was a quirky cloth sculpture sitting near the back. Our waiter was incredibly nice despite the stress of a busy night and brought out all the stops. We indulged in a delectable cheese plate that had more than just sharp cheddar (thank you), the chef was kind enough to make me my own vegetarian dish which was one of the best meals I've had, and we ended with some crème brûlée.
It had been a long while since Jay and I got to explore a new place and be spontaneous with our day. With the end of our spring break looming, it was the perfect antidote to the inevitable holiday blues. If you're feeling stuck, consider taking a day and going somewhere you've never been that you'd like to get to know and see how rejuvenated you feel when you return.