What is Nebraska Known For? Facts, Foods & Landmarks

What is Nebraska Known For? Facts, Foods & Landmarks

A true representation of the Great Plains, Nebraska is home to rolling hills, dramatic rock formations, and cities giving you a glimpse into the Wild West past. Whether you’re a long-time Nebraskan or are considering relocating to the state, you may be wondering – what is Nebraska known for?

From hidden gems to iconic landmarks, and beloved foods, Nebraska is famous for so much. Read on to find out why Nebraska is such a great place to live, whether you’re buying a home in Omaha, renting an apartment in Lincoln, or considering moving to the state.

Welcome to Nebraska sign

Job opportunities and the economy

Nebraska’s economy is primarily driven by agriculture, with farming and livestock production playing a significant role in the state’s workforce. Additionally, manufacturing is a prominent industry, particularly in areas like food processing, machinery manufacturing, and transportation equipment production. Major corporations such as Union Pacific Railroad and ConAgra Brands, a global food conglomerate, are key players in Nebraska’s job market. Both headquartered in Omaha, they provide employment opportunities and contribute to the state’s economy.

Nebraska’s top five employers

  • Berkshire Hathaway
  • Medical Solutions
  • Union Pacific
  • Loup Logistics
  • Kiewit

omaha union station neon sign

One-of-a-kind tourist attractions

Nebraska is famous for countless attractions, whether they are museums, historic neighborhoods, art installations, or natural wonders.

  • Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium: With its world-class exhibits like the Desert Dome and the Lied Jungle, the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium in Omaha offers an immersive wildlife experience for visitors. Built in 1894, the zoo is recognized for its conservation efforts, often ranking in the world’s top five zoos.
  • Old Market District, Omaha: In the heart of downtown Omaha, the Old Market District charms visitors with its cobblestone streets, historic buildings, and diverse array of shops, restaurants, and art galleries. Dating back to the 19th century, this neighborhood was once the epicenter for Omaha’s residents with produce vendors, manufacturing centers, and hotels. 
  • Strategic Air Command & Aerospace Museum: Aviation enthusiasts flock to this museum near Ashland to explore its extensive collection of aircraft and exhibits highlighting the history of the Strategic Air Command.
  • Carhenge: Located near the city of Alliance, Carhenge is a replica of the iconic Stonehenge. Utilizing vintage automobiles instead of stones, this is a must-visit for anyone looking for a unique slice of Nebraska.
  • The Durham Museum: Celebrating Omaha’s Western heritage, the Durham Museum has plenty of unique exhibits, photo archives, and galleries. Housed in the former Omaha Union Station, this Art Deco building showcases Nebraska’s unique architecture.

Did you know? One of Omaha’s neighborhoods, Aksarben Village, is Nebraska spelled backwards. The name originated from the Knights of Ak-Sar-Ben, a philanthropic organization that owned a horse racing track in Omaha.  

Regional cuisine

With Nebraska’s rich agricultural industry, it’s no surprise that there are regional foods the state is known for. One of the most popular foods Nebraska is known for is runza. A beloved comfort food, the runza is a savory pastry filled with seasoned ground beef, cabbage, and onions. The Omaha steak showcases Nebraska’s beef-production, renowned for its quality and flavor.

Other popular dishes include the cornhusker salad which combines fresh corn, tomatoes, green peppers, and onions with a vinegar-based dressing. In addition, Dorothy Lynch dressing is made and bottled in Nebraska. It’s a sweet and tangy condiment made with tomato paste, vinegar, and spices, beloved by locals. This dressing is a versatile topping for salads, sandwiches, and even as a dip for pizza.

Year-round events

Nebraska hosts major events attracting residents from around the state and beyond. 

College World Series: Hosted annually in Omaha, the College World Series is a popular event in collegiate baseball. It draws fans from across the country to witness the top teams vie for the national championship at Charles Schwab Field Omaha.

Nebraska State Fair: Held in Grand Island, the Nebraska State Fair is a cherished tradition showcasing the state’s agricultural heritage, entertainment, and culinary delights. From livestock shows to concerts and carnival rides, the fair offers something for everyone to enjoy each summer.

Sandhill Crane Migration: Each spring, hundreds of thousands of sandhill cranes converge on Nebraska’s Platte River Valley during their migration north, creating one of the most spectacular wildlife phenomena in North America. Birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts flock to the area for a chance to witness this awe-inspiring spectacle.

Omaha River City Rodeo: Celebrating Omaha’s western heritage, the Omaha River City Rodeo draws participants and spectators. With parades, live music, and activities, this Omaha tradition gives you a chance to experience the excitement of the Wild West in the heart of the city. 

Nebraska Balloon & Wine Festival: Held in Omaha, this festival offers attendees the chance to enjoy breathtaking balloon launches, wine tastings from local vineyards, live music, and delicious food.

chimney rock land formation in nebraska

Picturesque natural land formations

Nebraska’s landscape is well-known for its vast expanses of prairie – think rolling plains, wide horizons, and sweeping grasslands. For example, the state has iconic landmarks such as the Platte River, Sandhills, and Missouri River bluffs. Known for its pristine beauty and recreational opportunities, the Niobrara River flows through lush forests and rugged canyons. This river is great for kayaking, canoeing, and wildlife viewing. You can also find plenty of gorgeous lakes in Nebraska to live on.

Two national landmarks in Nebraska

  • Scotts Bluff National Monument: A historic landmark along the Oregon Trail, rising abruptly from the plains with stunning views of the surrounding landscape.
  • Chimney Rock National Historic Site: Home to Chimney Rock, a natural rock formation that served as a prominent landmark for pioneers journeying westward on the Oregon Trail. 

College sports teams

Nebraska has a strong commitment to college sports, since they don’t have professional sports teams in the “Big Four” – NFL, MLB, NBA, and NHL.

  • University of Nebraska-Lincoln is known for their football team, the Cornhuskers.
  • Creighton University is widely known for the Bluejays basketball team. 
  • University of Nebraska Omaha Mavericks are known for several sports, including basketball, soccer, and hockey.

Popular Nebraska phrases

  • “Go Big Red” isn’t just a slogan but a rallying cry for the University of Nebraska Cornhuskers. This showcases the state’s passion for college football. 
  • “Nebraska Nice” refers to Nebraskans’ friendly and hospitable demeanor.
  • “Corn-fed” refers to the state’s agricultural heritage. 
  • “Nebraska wind” is a way to describe wind gusts that sweep across the plains.

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