In the Midwest, you will find a state that is often overlooked: Nebraska. However, it’s time for this great and underrated state to get some attention! There are so many things to do in Nebraska this year- we’ve got 15 of them here. So, if you’re looking for an adventure or just need a vacation, then head out west on interstate 80 and see what America’s heartland has to offer.
Things You Must do In Nebraska This Year
Even if you’ve lived in Nebraska for years, there are still places to visit and things to see that are worth discovering. A good place to start is by learning more about Nebraska and some fun facts about the area. Next, find out the 15 best things to do in Nebraska, where the 5 best national parks are famous sights, and tourist attractions. Once you’ve looked over this helpful travel guide, you’ll want to narrow down your list of things you must do in Nebraska this year and start exploring! So let’s get started.
Nebraska is a state in the Midwestern United States of America (USA). It is bordered by South Dakota to the north, Iowa to the east and Missouri to the southeast, both across the Missouri River; Kansas to the south; Colorado to the southwest; and Wyoming to the west.
The state’s capital is Lincoln which has a population of approximately 294,693 as of 2021.
Nebraska is known for its farming, agricultural production, and natural attractions. These include plains, sand dunes, towering rock formations, and more. It was also the route for the Mormon community on its journey to Utah. The Mormon leader Brigham Young led the first migration of Mormons up the Platte River Valley in 1847, and along the way, they made several stops in Nebraska, including Fort Kearney. Their journey to Utah is referred to as the Mormon Trail.
Nebraska offers many things for its visitors. In its two major cities Omaha and Lincoln, you’ll
always find something to do or see.
Lincoln has a great children’s museum, beautiful gardens, the museum of American Speed, the
Lincoln Children’s Zoo and much more.
Omaha has a picturesque botanical garden- Lauritzen gardens, the Old Market area, which is a fun neighborhood that has many restaurants, art galleries, including the Joslyn Art Museum, and upscale shopping.
There are also fantastic outdoor recreation opportunities like hiking at Fontenelle Forest or biking throughout Omaha’s Kountze Park system, which has new trails that have been created for bikers who want to cruise through some beautiful scenery.
Fun Facts About Nebraska!
Nebraska is a state in the Midwestern United States that has more to offer than corn and cows.
Below are five fun facts about Nebraska you might be surprised to discover.
- Did you know that Nebraska is the birthplace of Arbor Day? J. Sterling Morton founded Arbor Day in 1872, and it is now celebrated in more than 100 countries around the world.
- Nebraska is also home to Carhenge, a replica of Stonehenge made entirely out of cars!
- The state is also home to the Strategic Air Command and Museum, which is the largest military aviation museum in the world.
- Former President Gerald Ford was born in Nebraska, and there is a museum in Grand Rapids dedicated to his life and presidency.
- In downtown Omaha, you can find the Durham Western Heritage Museum, which is the largest history museum in Nebraska and tells the story of the American West.
Extra fun fact! There is a city in Nebraska called Valentine, which seemingly celebrates Valentine’s Day every day of the year. This romantic small town is a great spot to take your sweetheart to and enjoy the outdoors with the nearby Niobrara River, and Cowboy Trail.
Best Things to Do in Nebraska
Some of these may be obvious, some might surprise you–but all of them are worth checking out if you’re ever in this great state. Of course, it’s hard to put together such an exhaustive list of Nebraska attractions (this isn’t even close to everything!), so we’ll just focus on the top 15 best ones for now.
- Visit Our National Parks and Campgrounds- Nebraska has so many national parks to explore, and you can’t visit any of them without checking out the most famous of them all, Antelope Island State Park. This park offers many different sights, such as the Buffalo Point overlook, Fisherman’s Trail, and the Great American Duck Race.
- View The Archway- The Archway located in Kearney celebrates the American spirit of adventure. This family-friendly historical exhibit will tell you the story of America’s adventurers. From pioneers on the Oregon Trail to today – this is a place where people come for inspiration and education!
- Take A Trip To North Platte– North Platte is home to the Cody Park Railroad Museum; this hands-on museum gets Buffalo Bill’s Buffalo of Approval for having the only Challenger 3900 series steam locomotive on public display in the world. You’ll also find old rail cars, including a mail car and a caboose, that are filled with old railroad memorabilia. This is the best place to visit if you are a train lover.
- Check Out The Aviation History Museum– If you are fascinated by aviation history, then the Strategic Air Command & Aerospace Museum is a place you should visit. This museum offers an interactive experience for all visitors with many different exhibits to take part in, including HIGH PRESSURE: The Korean War & Aviation, The Heartland Astronaut, and Women in Aerospace, to name a few.
- Find Your Way To The Arbor Day Farm– This is a must-visit attraction if you want to experience the rich history of Nebraska City. So many different trails will help guide your way, and there are also so many places for kids to have fun, including a tree adventure, treetop village, discovery ride, and more!
- Explore Nebraska’s Natural Wonders- There are many different natural wonders that you can find in the state of Nebraska, including sandhills, forests, badlands, that offer hiking trails, canoeing and more. One example is Scotts Bluff National Monument which was home to Native Americans for thousands of years!
- Go To The Good Life City– You can’t visit Nebraska without checking out its capital city of Lincoln. This is a great place to see museums, art galleries, wineries, eateries, water parks, and so many other fun things!
- See The Nebraska State Capitol– You can’t leave Nebraska without seeing its state capital, Lincoln. This building was built in 1922, and it has a great dome that you should check out, along with many different exhibits to see inside!
- Shop For Antiques– If you love finding treasures in your local antique shops, then Nebraska is the place to be! There are so many different antiques and collectibles you can easily find in the numerous antique shops all over the state. Check out this list of the 10 best antique stores in Nebraska to help you plan your next shopping trip.
- Explore The Joslyn Art Museum – The Joslyn Art Museum is the perfect place for anyone who loves art! Located in the beautiful marble Art Deco building in downtown Omaha, the Joslyn Art Museum is Nebraska’s main fine arts museum. It was completed in 1931 in honor of businessman George A. Joslyn. Its permanent collection of artwork focuses on nineteenth and twentieth centuries American and European artists such as Renoir and Bouguereau.
- Visit Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium– This zoo is one of the best zoos in North America with a large aquarium that is the largest in all of Nebraska, a desert dome home to many reptiles, including Gila monsters, and much more!
If you’re closer to the Lincoln area, make sure to visit the Lincoln Children’s Zoo, where you can see animal encounters, camels, tigers, giraffes, and more!
- Peer Into The Past At Arbor Lodge State Historical Park– Arbor Lodge State Historical Park is the original home of the Morton family. It was here in 1872 that the idea for the first Arbor Day began. Today you can visit this beautiful mason, explore the arboretum, Italian terraced garden, log cabin, carriage house, walking trails, see more than 200 varieties of lilacs.
- Visit The Stuhr Museum Of The Prairie Pioneer- The Stuhr Museum of the Prairie Pioneer is a museum in Grand Island, Nebraska that is dedicated to preserving the legacy and history of the settlers. You can explore galleries and exhibits filled with objects from Nebraska’s pioneer days, along with so many other things.
- Take A Trip To Monowi– This spot is known as the smallest incorporated town in America, but it also has a lot of history behind it. It gained national and international recognition after the 2010 United States census counted only one resident of the village, Elsie Eiler. She is the mayor, librarian, clerk, and more
- Get Ready To Explore Nebraska’s Golden Spike Tower National Historic Site– This place tells you all about the building of the transcontinental railroad, and it is a terrific spot for history buffs.
>> Want more ideas? Check out these best things to do in Lincoln!
Best National Parks in Nebraska
There are 5 main National Parks in Nebraska – Chimney Rock, Scotts Bluff, Agate Fossil Beds, Indian Cave, and Fort Robinson.
- Chimney Rock National Historic Site is located in the northwest part of the state and is known for its impressive rock formations.
- Scotts Bluff is located in the panhandle of Nebraska and is known for its rocky cliffs that tower over the Platte River. It is an important landmark because it marks where pioneers crossed the North Platte River, making this spot significant to both settlers heading west and those following the Oregon Trail. Furthermore, if you were to follow the Platte River to the central part, you’ll be able to see over 600,000 Sandhill Cranes migrate to the area every year from late February to early April.
- Agate Fossil Beds is located in western Nebraska and is known for its fossils that can be found throughout the park.
- Indian Cave is located near Lincoln and is known for its archaeological artifacts.
- Fort Robinson is located in the northwest corner of Nebraska and was once an Army Fort, now a state park that covers more than 16,000 acres of land.
Bonus Park to check out – Niobrara River, a national scenic river that offers a great recreation area, canoeing, hiking trails, and wildlife. Don’t forget to stop by the visitor center for maps and information.
Famous Sights to See in Nebraska
The 5 most famous sights to see in Nebraska are the Durham Museum, the Strategic Air and Space Museum, the Chimney Rock National Monument, the Toadstool Geologic Park, and the Indian Cave State Park. These sights are all located in different parts of Nebraska and are each famous for various reasons.
- The Durham Museum – The Durham Museum is a treasure trove of history and culture. It’s located in Omaha’s Union Station, home to some pretty amazing architectural features that date back decades ago! The museum offers you the opportunity not only to learn about how your town has evolved over time but also provide insight into what life was like during other eras through unique exhibits.
- The Strategic Air and Space Museum is the largest military aviation museum in the world and is located in Ashland, Nebraska.
- The Chimney Rock National Historic Site is a geological formation that is known for its unique shape and is located in Bayard, Nebraska.
- Toadstool Geologic Park– Toadstool Geologic Park is known for its unusual geological formations, some in the shape of toadstools, and scientifically valuable fossil deposits. There are also three hiking trails, a campsite, and a sod house replica.
- Indian Cave State Park – Named for the large sandstone cave within the park, Indian Cave State Park encompasses 3,052 rugged acres bordering the mighty Missouri River. The park is well known for its beautiful camping and picnicking spots, as well as for its 22 miles of scenic hiking and biking trails.
These sights are all located in Nebraska and make a visit to this state very worthwhile for tourists interested in seeing these famous places.
Ready to Move to NE?
If you’re scoping out a new place to live or to relocate to, Nebraska should definitely be at the top of your list. Nebraska is one of the more affordable states in the U.S. to buy a home due to lower-than-average property values, putting this Midwestern state on the radar for budget-conscious homebuying.
In addition, housing markets in the Cornhusker State are 25 percent more competitive than average, with over half of the properties on the market selling above list price and less than one month’s supply of housing inventory available on the market.
Because of the real estate market trends in NE, purchasing a home is a wise investment, but also selling during this time can provide good profit potential.
If you’re looking for someone to “buy my house” in Nebraska, look no further. There are several companies that buy houses in Lincoln or Omaha that can make the selling process less overwhelming. And one of those companies that comes highly recommended is Element Homebuyers. They are one of the cash home buyers in Omaha that can make you a cash offer for your home and provide a way for you to sell your house online quickly.