Omaha, Nebraska, the largest city in the state and the seat of Douglas County. It lies on the west bank of the Missouri River, opposite Council Bluffs, Iowa. The city rises from about 970 feet (296 m) above sea level along the river to more than 1,200 feet (366 m) in the central business district.
Omaha is the commercial, industrial, and transportation center for a rich agricultural region that includes parts of Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri, and Kansas. The city has one of the nation's largest livestock markets, handling cattle and hogs, and is also a major grain market.
The food industry—including meat packing and the making of flour, breakfast cereals, livestock feeds, and beverages—accounts for much of the city's industrial production. Also important are smelting and the manufacturing of fertilizers, chemicals, farm equipment, and heavy machinery. Several large insurance companies have their home offices in Omaha. The Union Pacific Railroad also has its headquarters here. Just south of the city is Offutt Air Force Base, headquarters of the Strategic Air Command.
Because of the numerous railways that radiate from Omaha, it has been called the “Crossroads of the Nation.” Several airlines, two Interstate highways, and river barge lines supplement rail transport.
Cultural institutions in Omaha include the Joslyn Art Museum, which has a noted collection of Western American art; the Western Heritage Museum; and the Union Pacific Historical Museum. Omaha has theater, opera, and ballet companies and a symphony orchestra.
Ak-Sar-Ben (Nebraska spelled backwards) Field and Coliseum is the site of an annual livestock show and rodeo. The college baseball world series is held each June at Rosenblatt Stadium.
Among the educational institutions in the city are the University of Nebraska at Omaha, Creighton University, and the University of Nebraska Medical Center. Boys Town, a community for homeless or underprivileged children, is just west of Omaha. ( The Gerald Ford Birthsite, with a replica of the house in which President Ford was born, is in Omaha.