Nebraska – the Beef State in the Midwest

Nebraska - the Beef State in the Midwest

Nebraska is the central state in the northeastern United States. In the north are the Great Plains between Missouri and the Rocky Mountains , to the west the land rises up to 1,500 m. While hilly sandy areas determine the landscape in the west, fertile loess soil characterizes the east. In the far north-west are the Badlands, an area with little vegetation and an almost desert-like character.

The name of the state goes back to the Platte River (pronounced: plätt), which was called nebrathka (= flat water) in the language of the Oto Indians. All of the rivers in Nebraska flow into the Missouri River. 94% of the population are white, there are around 12,000 Indians left. The main Indian tribes of Nebraska are the Sioux, the Cheyenne and the Pawnees. Nebraska is the only US state with a single chamber of 49 senators. According to localbusinessexplorer, the largest city is Omaha with over 400,000 residents. This is followed by the capital Lincoln with around 200,000 residents.

Climate and Weather

Nebraska has a distinct continental climate with hot summers and cold winters. There are only minor temperature differences between the individual regions. In summer there are more frequent thunderstorms, caused by warm, humid air masses from the Gulf of Mexico, and occasionally hail and cyclones. Individual blizzards are possible from December to March (sudden ingress of cold air).

Main sights

Scotts Bluff National Monument
The striking hill of white-gray sedimentary rock rises 250 m high in the middle of the prairie. It was a prominent signpost for settlers who followed the California, Oregon or Mormon Trail and was referred to as the Plains Lighthouse. At the Mitchell Pass you can still see the deeply drawn car tracks of the passing treks. A 2.5 km long driveway leads up to the summit, which offers a good view. The visitor center at the beginning of the driveway offers further information.
At the Oregon Trail Museum, the history of the trail is shown in a slide show alongside paintings by pioneer painter William Henry Jackson.

Chimney Rock National Historic Site
3.5 miles southwest of Bayard, US 26, Hwy 92

The 150 m high, pointed sandstone needle rises unmistakably from the flat landscape. It was also a prominent signpost for the former settlers of the Oregon Trail Trek, after which the particularly rough part of the trek began. Chimney Rock is the landscape formation mentioned in most of the settlers’ diaries and thus became a symbol of western settlement. A footpath leads to the rock needle.

Joslyn Art Museum, Omaha (website)
2200 Dodge St.
The museum in a decorative building from the 1930s houses paintings by Thomas Hart Benton, Claude Monet, El Greco, Renoir and Jackson Pollack as well as watercolors by the Swiss Karl Bodmer.

is on the state’s eastern border. The State Capitol has huge sculptures, a mosaic dome, and a room with a walnut ceiling and bronze and gold foliage decorations. The building rises from the flat prairie like a bolt of lightning. (210 North 7th St.).
The University of Nebraska State Museum has interesting fossils and an interactive dinosaur exhibit.

Fort Kearny State Historical Park
is located on the south bank of the Kearny River. The picket fence and the forge were reconstructed. Here was once a station of the Pony Express and a stop for the overland carriages (overland stages). The workers who built the Union Pacific railroad also found rest here.

Buffalo Bill Ranch State Historical Park
North Platte (Buffalo Bill Ave.) is home to William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody, showman, scout, bison hunter and rider for the Pony Express. His Victorian house with 18 rooms can be visited, there are rides and the opportunity to eat “buffalo stew”.

Stuhr Museum of the Prairie Pioneer (website)

Grand Island: Museum located on a lake island with exhibitions on pioneering history, a replica “Railroad Town” from the 1870s with 60 buildings and Indian artifacts.

Museum of the Fur Trade
Chadron, US 20

International, unique collection on the subject of fur trade from 1500 to 1900 with fur, Indian pearl necklaces and silver work, firearms and a restored Bordeaux Trading Post from 1833. Trappers and fur traders were the first whites to visit the country and to deal with the Familiarize yourself with the Indian way of life.

Willa Cather Memorial Prairie
near Red Cloud
The novellas by Willa Cather tell of life in the plains. The prairie named after her and her birthplace in Red Cloud are a reminder of the writer.

Strategic Air & Space Museum (website)
Aircraft and missiles exhibition near Omaha

Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo (website)
3701 S 10th Street, Omaha, NE 68107

Main places for leisure activities

Water Sports
There are over 23,000 miles of waterways and approximately 250 public lakes throughout the country, the largest of which are reservoirs such as Lewis and Clark Lakes, Conaughy Lake, and Harlan County Lake.

Canoe trips
on the Cedar, North Loop, Platte and Republican Rivers.

Boating , swimming, water skiing at Bluestern Lake near Martell, Johnson Lake near Lexington, Oliver Reservoir west of Sidney, Summit Reservoir near Tekamah, Harlan County Lake south of Alma

Surfing, diving, sailing
on Lake McConaughy

Hiking, horse riding, biking

  • Fort Robinson SP, Platte River SP, Ponca SP
  • Cowboy Recreation Nature Trail (321 miles from Norfolk via O’Neill to the western state line; not yet completed)
  • Steamboat Trace Trail (access from Brownsville SRA, the northern end of 5th Street in Peru, US 75 south of Nebraska City)

Mountain Biking
Chadron SP, Fort Robinson SP

Sand Hills, Box Butte Reservoir south of Chadron

in the prairies

Winter sports
Chadron SP, Indian Cave SP, Schramm SP. Eugene T. Mahoney SP

Traffic regulations

The minimum age for driving is 16 years (15 years learner’s permit). Seat belts are compulsory on the front seats, and child seats are compulsory for children under 4 years of age or under 40 pounds. Helmets are compulsory for motorcyclists.


A sales tax of 5% is levied nationwide, local surcharges of up to 1.5% are permitted. A 1% tax is levied nationwide on overnight stays, and the county can charge a further 2%.

Public Holidays

  • January 1st
  • 3rd Monday in January (Martin Luther King Jr.’s Birthday)
  • 3rd Monday in February (Presidents Day)
  • Last Friday in April (Arbor Day)
  • Last Monday in May (Memorial Day)
  • July 4th
  • First Monday in September (Labor Day)
  • Second Monday in October (Columbus Day)
  • Election Day
  • November 11 (Veterans Day)
  • Thanksgiving and the Friday after
  • 25 December

State Information Centers

State Capitol
210 North 7th St.

1212 Bob Gibson Blvd.

along Interstate 80 approximately every 50 miles between Omaha and Kimball

The information centers and toilets are open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. from March to October.

Nebraska - the Beef State in the Midwest