5 Top Rated Tourist Attractions in Nebraska

Jul 22, 2021

Nebraska is a state with a fascinating history, fascinating folklore, and a vast landscape. It's the perfect place to find incredible sights and adventure just beyond the tourist sites. The climate is mild, the buildings are easy on the eye, and the prairies are beautiful. In particular, the Nebraska Sandhills offers some of the country's most impressive sunsets.

Its towns are scattered from the bustling streets of Omaha to the byways of the Midwest, and there are many cozy homesteads, vast expanses of great farmland, and national parks that are perfect places to lay back and unwind.

Top places to visit in Nebraska include the unique folklore museum in Papillion, the restored Bonfante townhouse in Antelope, the skyscrapers and unique neon lights of the "Second City," and the award-winning Chippewa Art Museum in the shadow of the wild buffalo herds in the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.

We have put together a list of the best places to visit in Nebraska. Enjoy the great outdoors, and don't miss our guide to the top attractions in Nebraska.

Nebraska State Capitol

Photo of Nebraska State Capitol
Nebraska State Capitol: en.wikipedia.org

The Nebraska State Capitol is the center of state government for the great state of Nebraska. The building was constructed in 1908 and replaced the old capitol building of 1872. Built in the Classical Revival style and with a 70-foot-tall dome, the Capitol is a beautiful building that is often seen in movies. The highlights of a tour of the Capitol are the legislative chambers, where you can watch the legislators debating in the House of Representatives or the Senate, and meet the lobbyists or the media there. You can also visit the legislative offices, visit the state archives and a printing facility for the state news, and walk the grounds. A great resource for information on Nebraska attractions is the website of the Nebraska Tourism Department. The site is loaded with general and special information about the state and its attractions. It even provides a calendar of state events and live online tours of Nebraska attractions, such as the Lincoln and Dodge Neb., which can be done from the traveler's home.

Grand Island

Photo of Grand Island, Nebraska
Grand Island, Nebraska: en.wikipedia.org

Grand Island, the largest island in the Great Platte River, is in the middle of the Platte River in Nebraska, a state most famous for cattle ranching, whose long history goes back as far as Native Americans used to graze their herds along the Platte. The island boasts a world-class fishing lake, named by some as the "greatest trout fishing hole on earth," while surrounded by giant cypress trees and a variety of birds. The island also offers one of the country's largest and most successful kite festivals, held in late summer or early fall. Fishing, kite flying and walking are the main activities, with some resorts, restaurants, bars, and shops. While Grand Island is an attractive escape from the hustle of the state capital, Lincoln, visitors can easily visit other Nebraska towns and even get to visit nearby South Dakota and Wyoming.

Old Market Square

Photo of Old Market (Omaha, Nebraska)
Old Market (Omaha, Nebraska): en.wikipedia.org

Old Market Square was established in 1882 as a public park, the first of its kind in Nebraska. Today it is one of the few surviving American Civil War battlefields in the United States. It was the site of a major cavalry battle in November 1862 when Union General James G. Blunt led a raid to capture Fort Kearney, near the site. Union forces were defeated in the Battle of Pea Ridge, although they occupied Fort Kearney a few weeks later. Today, Old Market Square is a popular gathering place for those who live in the nearby towns of Ashland, La Vista and Fremont. The city park has a number of monuments and memorials to the soldiers of both the Union and the Confederacy who died in the battle.

Fort Robinson State Park

Photo of Fort Robinson
Fort Robinson: en.wikipedia.org

Not to be confused with Fort Robinson State Park, Nebraska's bluff-top gateway to the South Dakota prairie, the park's namesake, Col. William F. Robinson, first located the main settlement in Fort Kearny. After a battle with a Native American tribe, in which he lost both a son and grandson, he proclaimed a new town at the site and named it after himself. Today the fort is located in an alligator-filled backwater that bears his name and its museum contains objects, both human and animal, collected during its time as the region's first official preserve, known as the Fort Robinson Archeological Site. But this is mainly a destination for sportsmen, who like to hike, fish, and ride the area's roads and trails.

Lincoln Children's Museum

Photo of Lincoln, Nebraska
Lincoln, Nebraska: en.wikipedia.org

There is plenty to see and do in Lincoln Children's Museum, with exhibits focused on Science and Technology and its outdoor Science Park with a water and wind tunnel, scale models of a hydroelectric dam and hot air balloon, living children's habitats, a carousel, and hands-on learning programs. Also worth seeing are the permanent exhibitions at the museum, which explains the early life and contributions of Abraham Lincoln. Kids and adults can learn about the Civil War and Emancipation in the Immigrant Exhibit. The museum's off-site programs include the Great Plains Outdoor Learning Center with ropes course, climbing wall, and zip line, and the Kids Center at the State Museum of Natural History, which provides hands-on interactive exhibitions for children.