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Omaha, Nebraska

The 1854 founders of this city named it after the Omaha Native American tribe - Omaha means "those who go against the current." The town became a mid-19th century central stopping point for Greek, Irish, Italian, German, Scot, Mexican, Polish, African-American, Czech, and Scandinavian pioneers heading west--and they all left their enduring mark.

Kick back at the annual Omaha Blues, Jazz, and Gospel Festival. Or, check out the Indie rock scene at The Waiting Room Lounge. Get some cold beer and live jazz at Mr. Toad's Pub. Perhaps you'd enjoy the Scottish legacy Strathdon Caledonia Pipe Band. Have a broiled steak at Johnny's Cafe, Omaha's original steakhouse - it started in 1922 as a 10-seat saloon. Or, try trout almondine, fresh Parisian bread, and Burgundy wine at La Buvette brick-walled bistro and European grocery in the historic Old Market District.

Stroll cobblestone streets and browse art galleries in the artfully renovated produce warehouses of Old Market. You may pass street musicians and horse-drawn carriages. Make your way to the Hot Shops Art Center, a warehouse turned studio where 80 artists apply heat to ordinary objects and turn them into artwork. Discover the world's largest indoor desert and vast indoor rain forest at the Henry Doorly Zoo. Or, just take a walk in the Lauritzen Botanical Gardens, overlooking the Missouri River Valley.