Nebraska March 01, 2018
7 Undeniable Differences Between The Eastern And Western Parts Of Nebraska
If you’ve ever traveled between eastern and western Nebraska, you may have noticed that there are a whole lot of differences between the two. In fact, some people even say that the two halves may as well be different states. Do you wonder just how different they are? These are some of the most overt differences between the two sides of our lovely state.
1. The terrain.
This may be the most obvious difference of all. In eastern Nebraska, flat plains and gently rolling hills are the norm. In the western part of the state, large sandhills give way to huge rock formations.
2. The wildlife.
You can see animals like wild turkeys and deer all across the state (although different species are more prevalent in different areas), but some animals are concentrated in certain spots. The sandhill crane can sometimes be spotted in western Nebraska, but they're mostly associated with their migration stopover spots in eastern Nebraska. Bighorn sheep, however, can be found in their natural habitat only in the far western part of the state.
3. The cities.
The definition of "city" changes pretty dramatically between the eastern and western parts of the state. Nebraska's largest cities are all concentrated in the eastern side, while smaller towns and cities occupy the west.
4. The culture.
It's difficult to pin down in words, but you'll notice a definite change in the common culture as you move between the two halves of the state. We like to think we still have more commonalities than differences, though.
5. The recreation.
Folks in eastern Nebraska have access to some of the largest entertainment outlets, like the Omaha and Lincoln zoos and multiple arenas for sports and concerts. Western Nebraskans can enjoy more nature- and agriculture-related attractions like rodeos...although, to be perfectly fair, there are 4H clubs and rodeos all over this mostly rural state.
6. Farms vs. ranches.
Growing conditions are vastly different between the two halves of the state. The eastern side allows for a variety of crops to flourish, while the western side is more suited to ranching.
7. The time.
It's obvious to those of us who live here, but some out-of-staters are taken by surprise when they pass into a different time zone on a trip across Nebraska. The far western portion of the state is in Mountain time, while the rest of the state sits in the Central time zone.
None of these differences are hard-and-fast rules, of course – they’re more like observations that lifelong Nebraskans have made. What others can you think of? We know you’ve got some additions to this list, so share them in the comments!
Did this list inspire you to explore new parts of Nebraska? Make sure to visit
these 17 must-see places along the way.