Nestled in the Burr Oak forests of the Missouri River, Nebraska City
has held onto its heritage with tree-lined brick streets, architecturally interesting historic buildings and Victorian homes. But this town of 7,300 is not stuck in the past. Quite to the contrary, Nebraska City is alive with thriving businesses, dozens of attractions, and several festivals held throughout the year. It’s a place where after the first visit, the hardware store clerk will likely call you by name and locals may invite you over for tea. Midwestern friendliness abounds in Nebraska City—neighbors say hello on the streets and shoppers often stop to chat in the grocery store.
Nebraska City opens a whole world of small town experiences. From stretching the legs on shady streets, to visiting the orchards, attending a nearby concert, hitting the wellness center in town or gathering for lunch at one of the cafes, this small town on the Missouri has plenty to offer. There is no hustle and bustle here. It’s walk-able, artist-friendly, and easy to navigate via one of two bicycles provided by the center for resident use.
In the days before western settlement, the Otoe tribe often traveled through the region. On their Corps of Discovery journey in 1802, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark described the table land between two small streams as the “ideal site for a future city.”
The community continues to deliver on its early promise. Nebraska City is known to conservationists around the world as the birthplace of Arbor Day, a national holiday to plant, celebrate and nurture trees. The day is celebrated in all 50 states and in 31 countries and territories from Australia to Yemen. Arbor Day Farm is part of the original estate of J. Sterling Morton, recognized as the founder of Arbor Day. His elegant 19th century mansion is now a National Historic Landmark.
An hour’s drive takes you to Omaha
, Nebraska’s largest city, with a major airport, restaurants and art galleries. Omaha is home to the Henry Doorly Zoo, the University of Nebraska at Omaha, The Old Market shopping and restaurant district, College World Series, Creighton University and numerous arts events and venues. The Nebraska Shakespeare Festival offers activities throughout the year, the beautifully restored Orpheum Theatre, Joslyn Art Museum, Holland Performing Arts Center, Film Stream non-profit cinema and the Bemis Center for Contemporary Art all host regular programs.
To the west is Nebraska’s capital city, Lincoln
. Home to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, many museums and restaurants, an airport, the Great Plains Art Collection , the Haymarket historic downtown district, the Sheldon Museum of Art and the Mary Riepma Ross Media Arts Center for independent and classic films, Lincoln offers its own brand of easy charm and well as exciting Big Ten football on fall Saturdays.