Berkshire Hathaway shareholders in Omaha for this weekend’s annual meeting can check out these off-the-beaten-path things to do in the city.
1. Rent a B-cycle at the base of the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge and cycle across the Missouri River into Iowa. Head south (right). You’ll pass casinos, the Western Historic Trails Center and Lake Manawa State Park. Key stops along the trail have bathrooms, drinking water and stations for the bikes. Ride as far as the Wabash Trace trailhead, where you can check in your bike, walk south across the parking lot and grab a sandwich and ice cream cone at the Log Cabin BBQ joint.
2. Experience the green space in downtown Omaha. Start at Gene Leahy Mall, which is across the street from The World-Herald. As you walk along the mall, enjoy the quiet that the sunken park provides and appreciate its design — symbolic of the Missouri River. Bring a sheet of wax paper or a slick jacket and whoosh down the slides at the mall. Walk east to the Heartland of America Park, where you can ride a gondola. Turn north and walk along the Lewis and Clark Landing and marvel at the power inherent in the Monument to Labor. Stand next to the statute with a hammer and look up. During the flood of 2011, all but the hammer was under water. There is a public restroom at the National Park Service’s Midwest Regional Office building. Walk across the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge, and when you get to the center, plant a foot in Iowa and one in Nebraska. This is particularly pretty at dusk as the Omaha darkens and city lights come on.
3. Head to South Omaha for authentic Mexican restaurants and shopping. You can’t go wrong with the food in South Omaha. Want some suggestions? Enjoy the hearty burritos (try a beef tongue one) at the very modest Taqueria Tijuana at 24th and Q Streets, or the great food at La Choza, 5133 S. 25th St. and El Dorado, 5134 S. 24th St. For dessert, grab some pastries at the International Bakery at 5106 S. 24th St. or ice cream at Helados Santa Fe, 4807 S. 24th St. Visiting the World of Mexican Pottery, 5026 S. 24th St., is a must.
4. Omaha has excellent premium ice cream shops. In the Old Market, there’s the city’s original hometown shop, Ted & Wally’s, 1120 Jackson St. In midtown, the city’s newest shop is Coneflower Creamery, 3921 Farnam St. A little farther west is eCreamery Ice Cream & Gelato, 5001 Underwood Ave., where Warren Buffett and Sir Paul McCartney have sampled the creations. And, of course, as every die-hard BRK’r knows, you can’t go wrong with Dairy Queen.
5. Sample the good life of north Omaha. Among the eateries, there’s Jim’s Rib Haven, 3801 Ames Ave., with its juicy, slow-cooked ribs. Visit the birthplace of Malcom X at 3448 Pinkney St., and Love’s Jazz & Art Center, 2510 N. 24th St. Special exhibits at the Great Plains Black History Museum focus on the Tuskegee Airmen and Husker great Johnny “The Jet” Rodgers.