When planning to move to, visit, or retire in Nebraska, one essential question is “What is Nebraska known for?” Knowing what it can offer and what to expect will make almost everything easier for you since you’ll feel more like one of the locals. It can minimize or even prevent culture shock.
So, what is Nebraska known for? Nebraska is most famous as an agricultural state, specifically for its corn production. However, as one of the largest states in the US, it has many historical landmarks. It is also the birthplace of many products, most of which we still benefit from and enjoy today.
That said, let’s not just talk about the “nerdy” basic facts about the State of Nebraska but also some of the common “did you know-s” that will pique your interest.
What Is Nebraska Known For: The Interesting Facts
Let’s begin with a list of fascinating facts about Nebraska. Most of these are part of the state’s long history, which makes them more intriguing.
First State to Celebrate Arbor Day
You’re probably familiar with Arbor Day, an annual tree planting activity enjoyed by schoolchildren across the country. But did you know that Nebraska was the first state to name it a legal state holiday?
The state also chose the 22nd of April as their Arbor Day. On the other hand, some states celebrate it during the last Friday of April, while most choose the month wherein the weather in their respective states is best for growing trees.
For instance, May in the most northern states and January or February in the southernmost states.
Big Football Fans
The Nebraska Cornhuskers Stadium at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln has become the third most populous place in Nebraska during football game days. After all, it can accommodate over 90,000 individuals.
Another fact that proves Nebraska is a state for football lovers is its three-fourth of an acre weight room. That’s why a whole football team can workout together comfortably. In fact, it has the record for the largest weight room in the country.
The “Donut Law“
From the end of the 1800s to the 1990s, a law forbade donuts merchants in Lehigh, Nebraska, to sell the middle of the donut removed to create holes. The lawmaker who authored it claimed bakers and retailers made an undue profit from the donut holes.
Dorothy Lynch Salad Dressing’s Birthplace
Like Kool-Aid, this thick, tangy, sweet dressing originated from Nebraska. Dorothy Lynch, the St. Paul Legion Club Restaurant’s manager, came up with the recipe. She then sold it to Tasty Toppings, Inc., leading to its mass production and availability in the market.
Has the Biggest Ball of Stamps in the World
Whether or not you love stamps, you’ll be amazed by the 600-pound collection of four million stamps displayed at Leon Myers Stamp Center, Boys Town, Nebraska.
John Rezabek started collecting these stamps in 1953, and it took him around 24 months to complete the artistically made 32-pound ball or globe of stamps.
Home to Big Names
When we talk about celebrity homes, the first name that comes to mind is Hollywood or Los Angeles, California. Unknown to many, several famous names from different industries also reside or were born and raised in the State of Nebraska.
- Fred Astaire: Famous TV presenter, singer, dancer, choreographer, and actor in the 1900s
- Gerald Ford: 38th US President
- Marlon Brando: Award-winning actor
- Nick Nolte: Award-winning actor
- Warren Buffett: A philanthropist and business magnate
Houses a Columbian Mammoth Fossil
The fossils of the giant Columbian mammoth were discovered in 1922 in Lincoln county. Preserved, it’s been in the University of Nebraska State Museum’s Elephant Hall for years.
Interestingly, it’s also the state’s official fossil!
Who isn’t familiar with Kool-Aid? Thanks to Edwin Perkins of Hastings, Nebraska, many children across the globe enjoy this fruit-flavored drink. He turned his Fruit Smack, a soft drink syrup, into an easily shippable, concentrated powdered drink.
As among the most famous and quintessential summer beverages, Hastings Museum hosts an exhibit that focuses on Kool-Aid’s history!
No Ocean but With a Lighthouse
Probably the most interesting thing about Nebraska is the almost-a-decade-old lighthouse found along Ashland road. Why? That’s because the state has no oceans and isn’t even near any ocean.
However, it’s constructed near a 40-acre lake.
What Is Nebraska Famous For: The Activities and Places to Enjoy
Apart from the interesting facts you just learned about the state, you’ll find that there are lots of fun activities to do and great places to visit. So, let’s explore some answers to “What is Nebraska known for in terms of tourist attractions, festivals, events, and more?“
Some of the most famous happenings in Nebraska you don’t want to miss, whether you’re visiting or have already decided to stay for good, are as follows:
The College Baseball World Series
This collegiate baseball tournament has been among Omaha City, Nebraska’s most iconic summer sports events since the 1950s. Baseball teams from several colleges compete for the championship title. Some fans even travel to the city to watch and enjoy the competition!
Central Nebraska Ethnic Festival
Learn more about the roots of the homesteaders and first settlers of the state during this festival. Held every June, this three-day event is celebrated with drinks, food, dancing, and music.
Nebraska State Fair
This fun-filled annual event is one of the largest in the US and is held in an 8.1-hectare fairground in Grand Island, Nebraska.
All your family members will surely find one or more activities and shows to enjoy, from exhibits to food stalls and acrobats to competitions and live music. Just note that over 300,000 individuals are expected to attend the Nebraska State Fair.
Nonetheless, it runs for almost a month, so you don’t have to worry about missing out on any of the activities.
Summer Arts Festival
Art lovers of different ages have a June festival to enjoy in the streets of Omaha’s downtown district. Not only are there over a hundred artists who show off their skills and creativity, but there’s also live music playing in the background.
Riverfront Jazz & Blues Festival
Yet another festival in Omaha, but this time on the Missouri River banks, the Lewis and Clark Landing becomes a live stage every July. Jazz and blues performers play soothing music to help you relax while you enjoy delicious festival food and beverages.
River City Roundup
September is another month when you get to know Nebraska’s heritage in a fun way. Held in Omaha’s Qwest Arena, you’ll enjoy a festival that combines carnivals, rodeos, and state fair activities.
Famous Landmarks and Tourist Spots
Complete your adventure and learn more about the State of Nebraska by visiting some of its most famous landmarks, namely:
A replica sculpture of England’s famous Stonehenge made from cars, the Carhenge, is one of the best attractions in Alliance, Nebraska.
Built by Jim Reinders in 1987, the 9.10-meter tall structure serves as his father’s memorial. He arranged 39 old cars to create a circle with a 29.30-meter diameter. Then, he aligned it to the summer solstice sunset.
Created over 500 million years ago, this 315-foot natural rock formation is a famous landmark in Nebraska, California, Oregon, and Mormon. Only eighty acres of which are under the care of the Nebraska State Historical Society.
This National Historic Site is surely one of nature’s beautiful creations that you shouldn’t miss. That’s especially since nature continues to do its magic, slowly chipping away some of the rock parts.
Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium
The zoo houses the 1.5-acre Lied Jungle, known as the largest indoor rainforest around the globe. In it, you’ll find 250 species of exotic animals and over 2000 species of beautiful tropical plants.
Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium also hosts several special and private events, exhibits, and educational activities you might want to check out.
The state boasts more than 100,00 miles of streams and rivers, and the Platte River is among the longest in the country.
Located in Nebraska’s eastern part, the river runs through breathtaking, Instagram-worthy landscapes you surely want to see and capture. You can also take your paddleboat and fishing gear for an enjoyable outdoor adventure.
Ponca State Park
When asking, “What is Nebraska famous for?” this park found in the northeastern part of the state is among the most common answers you’ll hear.
It has scenic vistas, forested hills, and more, making it an excellent place to watch wildlife, camp out, hike, ride a bike, ride a horse, and play golf. Since you’ll also have access to the Missouri National Recreational River, fishing and kayaking are other top activities to enjoy.
The park also hosts several events and educational programs throughout the year.
Strategic Air Command Museum
Learn more about the United States Air Force’s history by visiting the SAF Museum in Ashland, Nebraska. It preserves the bombs, missiles, artifacts, and aircraft used during the Cold War. You’ll also find several photos, documents, and film footage.
What Is Nebraska Known for Food?
As many travelers say, try out a particular place’s native or local food, and you’ll have a taste of its culture and history. With that said, here’s a list of must-try food in Nebraska:
A true Nebraskan classic that goes by the name runza, this meat pocket is made of sweet bread filled with onions, cabbage, and ground beef. Some makers add cheese to it, while Sehnert’s Bakery in McCook serves it with a crustier version of bread.
Biscuits and Gravy
It may seem odd, but Nebraskan soybean farmers have enjoyed this classic before heading out to their farms. This meal is so different because the gravy is made from sausages.
Corn Ice Cream and Cornbread
Since a common answer to “What is Nebraska known for producing?” is sweet corn, it’s not surprising to find corn-flavored ice cream during the summer. Many restaurants and bakeries also serve fluffy cornbread. You’ll even find cornbread mixes that you can use to make your own Nebraskan-style cornbread.
Cinnamon Roll and Chilli
Another weird combination of food common in Nebraska is one of the best winter meals you should try. First served in schools during lunchtime, the Runza company already owns the recipe.
Gelato and Ice Cream
Another top answer to “What is Nebraska known for producing?” is dairy, so you’ll find several uniquely flavored ice cream products. The University of Nebraska helps its students experiment and create new ice cream flavors.
Go for the classic Zesto or Shark Bait’s sea salt caramel gelato with chocolate-coated pretzels.
Who says New York and Chicago are the only states with their own style of pizza? Head to La Casa Pizzeria and taste the rectangular pizza cut into smaller squares. It’s topped with mushrooms, ground beef, and onions.
The top answer you’ll get when you ask, “What food is Nebraska known for?” is the Reuben sandwich. After all, it first appeared on Blackstone Hotel restaurants’ menus in 1925.
With this classic, you’ll enjoy the combined flavor of sauerkraut, corned beef, Russian dressing, and Swiss cheese between two slices of crispy rye bread.
What Is Nebraska Known For – In Conclusion
Nebraska is known for many things, from classic food and agricultural produce to historical landmarks and festivities. There’s definitely so much to enjoy and learn about it on your own, with a loved one, or with your whole family.