Alright, let’s talk Nebraska. No, it’s not just cornfields and flat land.
It’s a place where the wild west meets midwestern charm, where city lights blend with starry nights, and where history isn’t just remembered, it’s lived.
It’s the underdog of the travel world, often overlooked for flashier destinations, but here’s the truth: Nebraska has a hell of a lot to offer.
From the urban hustle of Omaha to the tranquil beauty of the Sandhills, Nebraska is a state of contrasts, each corner revealing a new surprise.
So, let’s ditch the stereotypes and dive into the real Nebraska, the one that’s been waiting to wow you all along. Here are 17 must-do things in Nebraska that will make you wonder why you didn’t visit sooner.
Buckle up, it’s going to be a wild ride!
In this article...
1. Discover Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium
Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium is a world-class facility, boasting the world’s largest indoor jungle and desert, a stingray touch tank, and even camel rides.
It’s an immersive experience that brings you face-to-face with creatures from around the globe.
Traveler’s Tip: Don’t miss the Skyfari, an aerial tram that offers a bird’s eye view of the zoo.
2. Explore the Old Market in Omaha
The Old Market is a historic neighborhood in downtown Omaha known for its cobblestone streets, unique shops, and delicious dining options.
It’s the perfect place to spend an afternoon exploring and soaking up the local culture.
Traveler’s Tip: Check out the local art galleries that open their doors for the First Friday Art Walk each month.
3. Visit the Strategic Air Command & Aerospace Museum
Located in Ashland, this museum is dedicated to preserving the history of the Strategic Air Command, the aerospace industry, and the role they have played in shaping our world.
The museum features a variety of aircraft, spacecraft, and interactive exhibits.
Traveler’s Tip: Look out for special events like the Indoor Air Show and Helicopter Day.
4. Experience History at the Durham Museum
Housed in Omaha’s beautiful Union Station, the Durham Museum offers a fascinating look at the history of the region and the people who shaped it.
The museum’s exhibits cover a wide range of topics, from the area’s Native American heritage to the development of the transcontinental railroad.
Traveler’s Tip: Don’t miss the authentic train cars on display in the museum’s main hall.
5. Take a Scenic Drive Through the Sandhills
The Nebraska Sandhills is one of the most unique landscapes in the country, with rolling hills of sand covered in grass.
A drive through this region is a visual treat, especially at sunset when the hills take on a golden hue.
Traveler’s Tip: Keep an eye out for the region’s abundant wildlife, including pronghorn antelope and sandhill cranes.
6. Visit Chimney Rock National Historic Site
Chimney Rock is one of Nebraska’s most iconic landmarks.
This natural formation, which served as a landmark for pioneers heading west on the Oregon Trail, towers above the surrounding landscape. The visitor center offers exhibits on the area’s geology and history.
Traveler’s Tip: Visit in the early morning or late afternoon for the best lighting for photographs.
7. Explore the Nebraska State Capitol in Lincoln
The Nebraska State Capitol is a masterpiece of architectural design and a symbol of the state’s history and government.
Take a guided tour to learn about the building’s unique architectural features and the history of Nebraska.
Traveler’s Tip: Don’t miss the chance to take the elevator to the 14th floor observation deck for a panoramic view of Lincoln.
8. Enjoy Outdoor Activities at the Niobrara National Scenic River
The Niobrara National Scenic River offers a wealth of outdoor activities, from canoeing and tubing to hiking and wildlife viewing.
The river is known for its beautiful waterfalls, including the stunning Smith Falls, Nebraska’s tallest waterfall.
Traveler’s Tip: Remember to bring sunscreen and plenty of water for your river adventure.
9. Visit the Museum of American Speed in Lincoln
For car enthusiasts, the Museum of American Speed is a must-visit.
The museum is dedicated to preserving and displaying artifacts of American motorsports and automobile history.
Traveler’s Tip: Check out the collection of vintage race cars and hot rods.
10. Explore the Scotts Bluff National Monument
Scotts Bluff National Monument is a prominent landmark on the Oregon Trail.
Hike the trails, explore the Oregon Trail Museum, and take in the panoramic views from the top of the bluff.
Traveler’s Tip: Take the free shuttle to the top of the bluff if you prefer not to hike.
11. Visit the Stuhr Museum of the Prairie Pioneer
Located in Grand Island, the Stuhr Museum of the Prairie Pioneer offers a glimpse into the lives of the pioneers who settled the Great Plains.
The museum features a living history village, art and antique galleries, and a variety of special events throughout the year.
Traveler’s Tip: Visit during one of the museum’s living history days to see costumed interpreters demonstrating pioneer crafts and skills.
12. Take a Walk Across the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge
The Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge in Omaha is a 3,000-foot long bridge that spans the Missouri River.
Walking across the bridge, you can stand in two states at once, as the bridge connects Nebraska and Iowa.
Traveler’s Tip: Visit at night to see the bridge beautifully lit up.
13. Visit the Harold Warp Pioneer Village
The Harold Warp Pioneer Village in Minden is a unique museum that showcases the evolution of technology over the past 150 years.
With over 50,000 artifacts spread across 26 buildings, it’s a fascinating journey through American history.
Traveler’s Tip: Don’t miss the antique car collection, which includes a 1908 Stanley Steamer.
14. Explore the Carhenge Art Reserve
Carhenge is a quirky roadside attraction in Alliance, Nebraska.
It’s a replica of England’s Stonehenge, but instead of stones, it’s made out of vintage cars painted gray.
Traveler’s Tip: Bring your camera. This is one sight you’ll want to share with friends back home.
15. Visit the Fort Robinson State Park
Fort Robinson State Park offers a mix of history and outdoor recreation.
Explore the old fort buildings, hike the trails, and enjoy activities like horseback riding and stagecoach rides.
Traveler’s Tip: Stay overnight in the park’s historic lodging for a unique experience.
16. Explore the Agate Fossil Beds National Monument
Agate Fossil Beds National Monument is a treasure trove of well-preserved Miocene fossils.
The visitor center displays many of the fossils found here, including ancient horses, camels, and rhinoceroses.
Traveler’s Tip: Take a walk on the Daemonelix Trail to see the mysterious fossilized burrows known as Devil’s Corkscrews.
17. Visit the Joslyn Art Museum in Omaha
The Joslyn Art Museum is Nebraska’s largest art museum, featuring works from around the world.
The museum’s collection includes pieces from ancient times to the present, with a particular emphasis on 19th- and 20th-century European and American art.
Traveler’s Tip: Admission to the museum is free, but some special exhibitions may have an entrance fee.
Nebraska is more than just a flyover state. It’s a land rich in history, natural beauty, and unique attractions.
Whether you’re a history buff, an outdoor enthusiast, or just someone looking for a new adventure, you’ll find plenty todo in Nebraska.
So why wait? Start planning your Nebraska adventure today!
For more travel inspiration and expert advice, don’t forget to explore our other guides on visitusaguide.com. Whether you’re dreaming of the sun-soaked beaches of Florida or California , we’re here to help you plan your perfect trip. Happy travels!