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What to Do in Omaha for Buffettchella, The Annual Berkshire Shareholders Meeting

May 4, 2012 at 10:00 AM | by | ()

Omaha might be "somewhere in middle America" according to the Counting Crows but all eyes will be on the Midwestern city this weekend as big-time investors in Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc. attend the company's annual shareholders meeting at the Century Link Omaha Convention Center.

This meeting is so powerful folks will pay just over a $120,000 for one share in Berkshire Hathaway (the most expensive stock on the NYSE) solely so they can attend this meeting and rub shoulders with Buffett and board members like Bill Gates, Charlie Munger and Walter Scott, Jr. etc.*

Fortunately for Fox Business's Liz Claman (@LizClaman), no such hefty investment fee is required. This is Liz's fourth year broadcasting live from the conference and her 13th trip total to Omaha.

Saying that "Omaha has more to offer than meets the eye", Liz has detailed some of her must-see and must-dos for the traveler with a little downtime in Omaha.

(Oh and it doesn't hurt that for her first time in town, she was given a grand tour by Warren Buffett himself.)

When was your first trip to Omaha?
I first went in 2006 and I have been 12 times since. I never mind going back to Omaha. I love it.

What brought you to Omaha? Business or pleasure?
Business. I wanted an interview with Warren Buffett, and after many failed attempts at getting one, I knew I was going to have to get on a plane to Nebraska.

What were you expecting the city to be like?
I read every Willa Cather book so I didnít think it was the middle of nowhere. I was so excited to go because I had read about it.

What were your first impressions?
Well Warren was so excited to show me his city and he was an amazing host! He takes a lot of pride in the city and it meant a lot that I came out there and enjoyed the trip. My first trip I interviewed him at Kiewit Plaza, where Berkshire Hathaway's offices are. Then we got in his car, and went to the Nebraska Furniture Mart. He took me to lunch at his country club, Happy Hollow, (he encouraged me to order the meatloaf and a burger because I couldnít choose. ) Then we went to one of his jewelry stores- Borsheims of course.

What is the city like in reality?
After my tour of the city with Warren, l scouted out some out-of-the-way neighborhoods on my own that had a very peaceful feel to them. The people are very friendly, kind, and hip. My favorite area is the Old Market part of town. Think Coachella meets Greenwich Village; cobblestone streets, shops, restaurants, and amazing architecture. You can almost see what it was like back in the 1800's as a real railroad town.

Where do you stay?
We stay and broadcast from the Hilton, Omaha. It is right across from the convention center where the meetings are taking place and centrally located downtown near all of my favorite restaurants. It is actually my favorite hotel of any place I have ever stayed. Who would have known? Once a year shareholders, business leaders, and the media descend upon this tiny city once and they handle it incredibly well.

Where do you go for a java jolt?
Luckily, there is a coffee shop in the hotel lobby that brews Starbucks. I know itís not very unique, but since I am either tethered to the anchor chair or chasing Warren around, it suits me just fine.
(Ed. Note: Readers, Liz Claman clearly needs a Starbucks Alternative in Omaha. Send us your coffee shop recs!)

What are your favorite restaurants?
I love Passport and Omaha Prime, both owned by Mo Tajvar. Every year they are so nice to our crew. Itís tough to get a reservation during this crazy weekend, but they always make room for our big, hungry bunch. Gorats is Warrenís favorite steakhouse, and our crew always eats dinner before the shareholder meeting.

What do you like to do in your downtime?
I feel like the luckiest girl if I can squeeze in a quick run on the river. I love looking out at the Kerrey Bridge and all businesses and historic buildings downtown. The city planners were very smart; they left history intact. They city has a lofty railroad pass through feel to it. Many other cities feel like strip mall USA; in Omaha it feels like you are living in history.

Have you ever forgotten something essential on one of these trips and where did you go to get what you forgot?
I always forget something. One time I needed an extra on-camera outfit and someone directed me to Nouvelle Eve. At first I was wishing we had a chic Manhattan boutique, but this store was fashionable and high end with a twist. You can get everything you need in Omaha.

*A reader let us know that buying a Class B share of Berkshire Hathaway is only $80 and can also get you full access to the annual shareholders meeting. Phew!

Catch Liz Claman's live broadcast from the conference on Monday, May 7 at 9:30am EST on Fox Business, where she will interview Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett, Berkshire Hathaway Vice Chairman Charles Munger and Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates. You can also follow her blog from the conference here.

[Photos: Bunnicula/Flickr; Bunnicula; Passport Restaurant/Facebook; Nouvelle Eve]

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