Nebraska December 28, 2016
The 21 Places You Should Go In Nebraska In 2017
From beginning to end, 2016 has been a pretty memorable year. Here at Only In Nebraska we’ve taken you to some of the state’s most well-known destinations and the most underrated places. We’ve shown you tiny restaurants, unforgettable wineries, beautiful natural areas, and some lovely human-made places as well. We’ve all shared our state pride and a laugh or two about this amazing, surprising, sometimes wacky place we love.
In preparation for 2017, we’re taking a look back at some of our favorite places that we’ve talked about this year. If you didn’t get around to visiting them in 2016, make 2017 your year. We’ve purposely left off most of the “big” things that you’ve probably already done or are planning to do – visiting the Omaha Zoo, seeing Carhenge, swimming in Lake McConaughy – and focused more on those underrated Nebraska experiences. Unfortunately we had to limit the length of this list…because it could have been hundreds of items long.
Towns and Cities 1. Ord
Hugging the eastern edge of the Sandhills in Valley County, Ord is the kind of town you think of when you think of Nebraska.
Read all about its charm here.
The Czech Capital of the USA is right here in Nebraska! This adorable town features Bohemian influences everywhere, from store names to street benches to Czech music playing on Main Street. It's pretty hard not to fall in love with it.
Learn more here.
There's still a little bit of Old West left in Ogallala, a town that used to be one of the rowdiest in the west. Today you can bring your family without worrying about any saloon shootouts - except for the planned, staged ones, of course.
Read all about Ogallala here.
Nebraska's capital city probably doesn't actually meet that "underrated" qualification mentioned earlier. But there are still so many people who haven't toured our incredible capitol building...and even more who have
toured the capitol building without experiencing the rest that this vibrant city has to offer. It was recently named one of the top US cities to visit in 2017 -
find out why here
5. Nebraska City
This jewel in southeast Nebraska's crown is beautiful literally any time of year. But given that it is the birthplace of Arbor Day, it's especially lovely to visit in the fall when the trees explode into bright colors.
See how to make the most of you Nebraska City day here
Restaurants 6. Farmer Brown's Steakhouse, Waterloo
Named the best steakhouse in Nebraska by Thrillist, Farmer Brown's is definitely an experience that everyone should have at least once. Giant steaks and melt-in-your-mouth prime rib are all the rage at Farmer Brown's.
Read more about the restaurant here
7. Coney Island Lunch Room, Grand Island
This place is tiny, retro, and full of charm. Expect prompt service, fresh-cut fries, incredible malts, and - of course - the best coney you'll find in Nebraska.
Read more about it here
8. Loma Tavern, Loma
Have you ever eaten a meal in the middle of nowhere? The Loma Tavern is just about as remote a restaurant as you'll find in the Cornhusker State. It happens to be the only business in the town.
Read more about this unique place here
9. The Soda Fountain at Arapahoe Pharmacy, Arapahoe
This is one of the last remaining original soda fountains in Nebraska. Walking through these doors is absolutely like taking a step back in time. Get a delicious soda that's unlike anything you could ever hope to buy in a bottle at the gas station. Learn more about
this relic in beautiful Arapahoe here
10. Taste of India/Jay Bros Truck Stop, Overton
Yep, I'm sending you into a truck stop for Indian food. Nope, I'm not trying to kill you. It turns out that the food here is authentic and absolutely wonderful. This place is proof that you should definitely not judge a book by its cover.
Find out more here
Nature 11. Little Grand Canyon, Wauneta
12. Walgren Lake State Recreation Area, near Hay Springs
The utterly peaceful Walgren Lake is one of Nebraska's most relaxing places to spend time out in nature. It's miles away from just about everything, so you can truly feel like you're escaping for however long you're there. Just be on the lookout for Nebraska's fabled lake monster!
Read more about this lovely place right here
13. Olson Nature Preserve, near Albion (Boone County)
If ever there was a place in Nebraska that can make you feel transported to Middle Earth, this is that place. It's not so green now in the winter months, but come spring and summer it will burst into all shades of green.
Read more about this magical place here
14. Sandy Channel State Recreation Area, near Elm Creek (Phelps County)
Unless you live pretty close, chances are that you aren't very familiar with this splendid spot. The recreation area is 180 acres, with 47 of those acres being a series of scattered lakes. The water here is so clean and clear that Sandy Channel is a very popular destination for scuba divers. Intrigued?
Read more about it here
15. Wildcat Hills State Recreation Area and Nature Center, Gering
Rightly said to be one of the most breathtaking places in Nebraska, Wildcat Hills is the place you go when you want to be one with nature. The rugged buttes and picturesque wooded canyons are just about as far as you can get from the traditional conception of "flat, treeless" Nebraska.
Read all about this lovely spot right here
Attractions 16. Bison Trail, Sioux County
This three-mile (one way) hike takes you between two of the coolest attractions in the Panhandle: Hudson Meng Bison Bonebed and Toadstool Geologic Park. So really, you're getting three attractions in one. Bonus! There's plenty of
information about the trail here
17. Raised cemetery walkway, Nelson
This 1200-foot long walkway spans a 50-foot deep chasm that once separated the town of Nelson from its cemetery. This is one of those odd little Nebraska quirks that you usually just happen to stumble on. Luckily, you can
read all about it here
18. Scott Fire Tower, Bessey Ranger District, Halsey
Nebraska's only functioning fire tower is an absolutely lovely place to visit. You've got to climb lots of stairs to get to the top, but when you do, all of that exertion proves to be totally worth it. Read about this
unique part of Nebraska here
19. Warbonnet Historic Site, near Harrison
This historic battleground is one of the few that even some Nebraska history buffs don't know about. It was the site of a short battle with only one casualty, but today it's thought to be haunted by the ghosts of many Native Americans.
Read up on it right here
20. George Shannon Trail, northeast Nebraska
This fun trail traces the steps of the young George Shannon, a member of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Hapless Shannon got separated from his party and spent 12 days lost in what was then untamed wilderness. This 240-mile driving trail through 18 towns and communities is filled with historical markers and carvings of Shannon.
Read more here
21. Slattery Vintage Estates, near Nehawka
You may have visited Slattery Vintage Estates for their delicious wines, but have you ever thought of staying the night? The vineyard offers a "glampground" with modern luxury tents that are somewhere between camping and a luxurious hotel.
Find out more here
Whew – that is a lot of places to get to in the coming year. Are you up to the challenge? Or maybe you have different trips planned for the new year. Let us know in the comments which Nebraska sites you want to visit in 2017.