32 Things to do in Kearney NE

Buffalo County, Nebraska, in the United States, has its county seat in Kearney. The 2010 census found 30,787 people living there. The University of Nebraska at Kearney is located there. The city was revitalized as a result of the railroad’s westward expansion after the Civil War.

Nebraska, a state with kind, compassionate people, does not receive the recognition it merits. Tourists frequently pass this location by. Kearney is a hidden jewel in the state, a city awash in natural beauty and charm.

Kearney is home to some lovely tourist top attractions, including historical monuments, fascinating museums, and gorgeous hiking routes.

The city is a great place to spend a relaxing vacation, whether you’re interested in strolling down the brick streets of downtown Kearney or sitting by the river and watching migratory birds fly by.

List of things to do in Kearney NE

Here is the list of Things to do in Kearney NE.

1. The Cottonmill Park

The Cottonmill Park Kearney NE

Although there are many parks in Kearney, Cottonmill Park is one of the greatest.

The 43-acre lake located in the middle of the park offers a variety of water-based activities you may take part in, including boating, fishing, and simply having a picnic and taking in the scenery around.

The lake is a fantastic location for leisure activities, and in the summer, the park rents out boats. They have an 18-hole golf course, a hiking track for athletes, a nature barn, an amphitheater, sand volleyball courts, play structures, and more.

A wonderful place to spend the weekend, holidays, and vacations is this park. Cottonmill Park should be on your list of things to do in Kearney.

2. The World Theatre

The World Theatre Kearney NE

The World Theatre, one of Kearney’s best tourist attractions, is one of the largest movie theaters you’ll find. This ancient building has been standing since 1927 and continues to exude a stylish 1920s ambiance.

The World Theater has eight screens, so there is a good probability that your favorite movie will be presented there.

One of the loveliest venues in Kearney for a fantastic date night, the location has a vintage vibe. Fresh, buttery popcorn is another specialty of the theater, making it the ideal food to enjoy while watching a movie. The Buffalo County Fairgrounds World Theatre Drive-In, which opened in the summer, has been presenting classic movies like Back to the Future and Footloose.

3. Nielsen Kids U-Pick Pumpkin Patch

Nielsen Kids U-Pick Pumpkin Patch Kearney NE

When it’s cool outside, especially in the fall, visiting the Nielsen Kids Pumpkin Patch is the ideal activity. The Pumpkin Patch is a wonderful place for a pleasant family day.

They offer themed games, a sizable corn maze, and food like popcorn. You may let your hair down and be yourself here. It is a short drive from Kearney and is situated southwest of Minden.

You may choose your pumpkins from a 13-acre patch there. You can look through several types to choose your favorite. Another enjoyable destination on the list is this one.

4. Classic Car Collection Museum

Classic Car Collection Museum Kearney NE

The best car collections may be seen at the Classic Car Collection Museum. Because there are so many cars there, you won’t know where to begin.

Everything is assembled in the museum, especially for enthusiasts like you, including historical vehicles like the DeLorean as well as magnificent antique vehicles and cutting-edge vehicles that are rarely seen on the road.

A couple who preferred to maintain their 200-car collection over selling it gave the cars to the museum. This museum discusses the background information and history of several automobiles. Some cars are even restored and displayed for show. There may even be automobiles you have never heard of.

5. Rowe Sanctuary

Rowe Sanctuary Kearney NE

As previously stated, Kearney is the best location in all of Nebraska to observe the annual Sandhill Crane migration, and many visitors travel there in the spring to see a big number of Sandhill Crane on the Platte River. The Rowe Sanctuary is a facility whose mission is to protect migratory birds’ habitats near the Platte River, including those of Whooping Cranes and Sandhill Cranes.

The Rowe Sanctuary is a great site to study and take in the beauty of the Platte River and wildlife. It is open all year long and not just in the spring.

6. Big Apple Fun Center

Big Apple Fun Center Kearney NE

You may have fun at Big Apple Fun Center with your friends or family, you can easily spend a quiet Saturday afternoon here because Big Apple Fun Center has everything you’ll need for a fun-filled day, from laser tag to mini golf.

It is far superior to any amusement park. Even go-karts are available. In this location, people of all ages can find something to do.

7. Yanney Heritage Park

Yanney Heritage Park Kearney NE

Another park in Kearney is Yanney Heritage Park. This park offers a variety of attractions, including a fishing lake, swan-shaped boats, splash pads, an amazing labyrinth, and a tower with a clear view of the charming city and its splendor.

At specific seasons of the year, they also hold other entertainment, such as plays and concerts. There is a hiking trail in the park so you can get some exercise. You will undoubtedly have great experiences at this park.

8. Kearney’s Famous Craft Beer

Kearney's Famous Craft Beer

One of Nebraska’s best craft beer scenes may be found in Kearney. Kearney can be the ideal place for you if you enjoy drinking locally-produced wine and beer.

You can find craft beer and beer on tap in several great places. You will have a vast selection to choose from thanks to the enormous collection. As a result, take a seat, unwind, and enjoy yourself while drinking at one of the nicest bars you’ll ever go to.

9. Apples Acres Orchard

Apples Acres Orchard Kearney NE

A small family-run business called Apples Acres Orchard is situated west of Kearney. It’s a terrific spot to buy fresh apples and has lovely vistas that are suitable for photo sessions or regular Instagram images.

There is a store on the property where you can buy apples, fresh cider, honey, and a wide variety of other delectable fruits and luscious food. Every day of the week, however at various hours, so be sure to verify the time before you go.

Except on Sundays, when they are open from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., they are open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. You ought to think about going to Apples Acres Orchard.

10. Savor the Best of the Local Culinary Scene

Savor the Best of the Local Culinary Scene Kearney NE

You may find some of the top restaurants, food trucks, kiosks, and businesses in Kearney. There are countless alternatives. One of this city’s most delectable foods is burgers. Furthermore, Nebraska is well renowned for its waffle fries, gravy, bacon, and steaks.

11. Fort Kearny State Historical Park

Fort Kearny State Historical Park Kearney NE

Kearney was named after Fort Kearny, as was previously said. Another historical location with a variety of intriguing elements is Fort Kearny. To safeguard and provide a safe resting spot for travelers, it was constructed along the Oregon and California trails.

To serve as a learning and entertainment resource, the site has been renovated. The ideal location to both learn about the city’s past and have fun is Fort Kearny.

The State Recreation Area, which has just been affixed to Fort Kearny, is currently its most fascinating feature. The Platte River and swimming pool make it the ideal location for camping, swimming, and fishing.

12. Downtown Kearney

Downtown Kearney Kearney NE

One of the loveliest areas of the city must be downtown, Kearney. Its streets are lined with cafes, food carts, and businesses, and its roadways are paved like those in Europe.

You can wander about the downtown area all day long and never grow tired of it. Shop for a deal, or drink coffee while strolling hand in hand with your partner.

Kearney’s downtown is bustling with people walking about, shopping, and dining. On the street corners, live music is also being played.

13. The Archway

The Archway Kearney NE

The Archway is the top tourist destination in Kearney, as was previously stated. The Archway was built to honor the pioneers’ westward trek.

The Pioneers and the three primary pioneer trails that cross through Nebraska, California, Oregon, and the Mormon Trails are topics covered at the Archway.

Visitors to The Archway can learn more about some of the difficulties faced by the pioneers as they moved from the East to the West through interactive exhibits. Lightning strikes are simulated in the museum. In the past, there was no defense against storms and thunder in the area.

The Museum’s displays also depict the interaction between early settlers and Native Americans. It’s worth going to The Archway since it’s so entertaining and interesting.

14. The University of Nebraska at Kearney Campus

The University of Nebraska at Kearney Campus Kearney NE

It’s fun to hang out around the University of Nebraska at Kearney campus. What can visitors even do on a college campus, you might be wondering. But there are many exciting and interesting locations to discover on this university’s campus.

There, too, you can run into some of the most amazing people. You will witness college students playing sports on the large fields. Additionally, the campus is quite tastefully designed.

You can see artwork or graffiti written or painted on walls. Students’ music is being played loudly over speakers.

15. Museum of Nebraska Art

Museum of Nebraska Art

The Museum of Nebraska Art is located inside a post office and hosts numerous shows by its brilliant resident artists. The Museum of Nebraska art is a three-story structure with some truly lovely displays, including sculptures and oil paintings.

Some of the paintings, like those of the lovely Sandhill Cranes, are lifelike and depict landscapes from throughout the city.

The Hillegass Sculpture Garden, which bears Cliff Hillegass, the creator of CliffsNotes, as its name, is in front of the Museum. He is portrayed in a sculpture at the sculpture garden, sitting on a bench holding some notes. The area is filled with several amazing sculptures.

MONA presents the skills of regional artists from Nebraska and their works that are specifically devoted to that state.

16. Get Energized with Some Coffee

Get Energized with Some Coffee Kearney NE

The best cafes may be found in Kearney, just like in another college town. After all, caffeine is a must for college students. Residents in the city of Kearney own a large number of the cafes you’ll find there.

You will have the chance to sample some rare flavors that you might not have even known existed. Sit down at one of the cafés and enjoy a cup of coffee while taking in the scenery around you.

17. G.W. Frank Museum of History and Culture

G.W. Frank Museum of History and Culture Kearney NE

From 1886 until 1900, the G.W. Frank family lived at this museum. The mansion had ten fireplaces and was one of the first houses in the neighborhood to obtain electricity.

Currently, this museum is situated on the campus of the University of Nebraska. The mansion’s original wood-carved staircases, furniture, and décor from the time the G.W. Frank Family occupied it are still present.

18. Angus Burgers and Shakes

Angus Burgers and Shakes Kearney NE

The first restaurant on this list of things to do in Kearney NE is The Angus Burgers and Shakes. As the name suggests, they serve amazing burgers prepared from meat that the restaurant owners raise.

They provide a variety of delectable selections, such as the Relleno burger, which is made with Monterey Jack Cheese, avocado spread, poblano peppers, salsa Verde, cilantro, and mayonnaise, among other delectable components.

The Knockoff, a standard burger with toppings, is another option. You won’t want to eat anything else after dining here, and you’ll want to finish your meal with one of their delectable, handcrafted shakes.

The shakes also come in unusual varieties, such as the Banana pudding shakes, which include vanilla ice cream, vanilla wafers, a banana, and a chocolate garnish. 

19. Local Brews at Thunderhead Brewing

Local Brews at Thunderhead Brewing Kearney NE

The brewery operated out of Kearney for several years until outgrowing the space provided and moving to Axtell in 2008.

Whatever its name Golden Frau, Thunder pie—the bar is always the best place to get the full Thunderhead experience.

A large variety of craft beers created by a group of beer enthusiasts are available at Thunderhead. Our extensive menu also has several specialty stone oven pizzas.

20. Nebraska’s Firefighters Museum and Education Centre

Nebraska’s Firefighters Museum and Education Centre Kearney NE

Another museum in Kearney NE is the Nebraska Firefighter Museum and Education Center. The need for a permanent location for the Firefighters Museum and Education Center was brought up to the Nebraska Firefighters Association in 2008.

West of the Archway Monument, they discovered the ideal location, which improved the Archway Campus and was highly noticeable to I-80 drivers. The building’s construction was finished in 2009, and a lovely gallery display was added to the amenities.

The Nebraska Firefighters Memorial was erected on campus in 2010 as a memorial to the sacrifices that firefighters have made and are still making. To recognize people who had a significant influence on them, they established the Firefighters Hall of Fame. The first ceremony was held in the fire department in 2011.

21. Hilltop Mall

Hilltop Mall Kearney NE

Nebraska’s Hilltop Mall is situated on Highway 10 in Kearney. It has been around for more than 30 years and is one of the primary shopping areas in the neighborhood.

The mall is home to over 15 locally owned companies, including Sports Village, Kasan’s Kiosk, and Sequel Bookshop. One of the greatest things to do in Kearney, Nebraska is Hilltop Mall. The mall has been able to introduce more than 20 nationally recognized stores, including The Buckle, JCPenney, and many others, thanks to the support of the local community.

A children’s arcade, dining tables, free Wi-Fi, public toilets, and many more entertaining amenities are available at the mall to make your time there more enjoyable.

22. Archway Monument

Archway Monument Kearney NE

The history of Kearney, the Archway Monument is crucial. If not, then this is a great place to learn about this difficult period in history.

The California, Mormon, and Oregon trails truly passed through Kearney, giving the city its historical significance. From here, the ground transit began.

23. Kearney Area Children’s Museum

Kearney Area Children’s Museum

There are many museums in Kearney, and the Kearney Area Children’s Museum is among the best. More than 20 fascinating and engaging exhibits, including a science center, an art studio, a grocery store, a train depot, an agricultural area, and a fire station, are available at the museum.

The exhibits are available for visitors to interact with through touch, feeling, and play. Children can learn more effectively at this interactive museum.

This museum is exceptional, and as a result of their hard work, they have received numerous awards, including the Best of Kearney award in 2015, 2017, 2019, 2020, and 2021.

They received the Breastfeeding Friendly Business Award from the Kearney Community Breastfeeding program in 2018, the Taking Flight Award from the Crane River Theatre in 2017, and the Doing Business Award from the Kearney Chamber Colonels.

This museum is a member of the Association of Children’s Museums and the Kearney NE Area Chamber of Commerce. The Association of Children’s Museums was established to advance the goals of Children’s museums and numerous other well-known organizations nationwide.

24. Christine’s Horseback Riding Stable

Christine’s Horseback Riding Stable Kearney NE

Christine’s Mount is a riding school with a minimum age requirement of three years old that focuses mostly on beginning and intermediate training.

They provide jumping, English, and western lessons. They use tried-and-true methods to assist riders in facing and overcoming their concerns. Christine’s riding stable can accommodate riders of all skill levels.

They provide training horses, pony birthday parties, day camps, riding lessons, photo ops horses, and many other horse activities. Their horses are well-trained and excellent for riding.

Christine Wilson, the business’s owner and one of the teachers, began horseback riding when she was eight years old in Germany.

25. Fine Interiors of the Frank House

Fine Interiors of the Frank House Kearney NE

One of Kearney’s undiscovered gems is the George G.W. Frank Museum of History and Culture, also referred to as the Frank House.

It is situated on the campus of the University of Nebraska at Kearney. The structure, which has been standing since 1886, is extremely significant historically.

The Frank House, which is included on the National Register of Historic Places, is quite popular with visitors. Some of Nebraska’s finest works of art are on display at the museum.

Also included are some exquisite European touches. The collection is revered by both residents and visitors alike and is thought to be priceless.

26. Stagecoach

Stagecoach

The Kearney, Nebraska, gift shop Stagecoach was founded in 1973 by Jim and Joyce ( the founders). At the time, they were one of the few businesses in the neighborhood. There is a store, a few hotels, and a petrol station to the north of I-80.

Kearney is now a modern city with a variety of enterprises. One of the nicest presents and keepsakes in the southwest is a stagecoach. The Stagecoach is also Kearney’s biggest rock shop, stocking exquisite gems including citrine and amethyst.

During the Halloween season, The Stagecoach also offers Halloween costumes—a practice that dates back to the 1970s. In Kearney, a stagecoach is a sight to see.

27. Paint Paradise Paint

Paint Paradise Paint Kearney NE

One of the best spots in Kearney NE to express your creativity and artistic side is Paint Paradise Paint Your Pottery Studio.

The studio is a warm and inviting location to hang out and is situated downtown. Utilize your inner artist to produce the kind of pottery that appeals to you.

Visitors to Paint Paradise Paint Your Pottery Studio are given creative freedom, however, staff members are on hand to aid if necessary.

28. Viaero center

Viaero center Kearney NE

One of Kearney’s most well-liked event venues, the Viaero Centre has also gone by the names Kearney NE Event Centre, Firstier Event Center, and Tri-city Arena

The event center, then known as Tri-City Arena, first opened its doors in the year 2000. The facility is home to the Nebraska Cranes basketball club, the Tri-City Storm ice hockey team, and the Tri-City Diesel Football Arena.

The Event Centre is a five thousand-seat multifunctional arena. It can hold about 4,047 spectators for hockey, basketball, and football.

The arena features 20 luxury suites, and the event center holds concerts, seminars, trade exhibitions, and numerous other events.

29. Trails & Rails Museum

Trails & Rails Museum Kearney NE

Visitors are encouraged to explore the eight various historic buildings that contain the Trails & Rails Museum. A livery stable, a genealogical center, and a Union Pacific locomotive and caboose are also present.

Scholars from all over the world can consult the enormous archive department that houses the Buffalo County archives. On the original Mormons’ route is where the Trails & Rails Museum is located (current 11th St.).

The Museum is owned and run by the Buffalo County Historical Society, a 501C-3 nonprofit organization.

30. Kearney Cinema 8

Kearney Cinema 8

Another excellent movie theater in Kearney, Nebraska, is the Kearney Cinema 8. It was established in 2007 and is owned by Bobby Wilson.

The theater is renowned for its excellent service, delectable refreshments, and friendly employees. It is always clean and has a variety of intriguing films playing on its many screens. The cost of movies is reasonable as well.

The Cinema 8 features excellent sound quality and a comfortable seating layout, unlike other big theaters. Birthday parties, corporate events, and other events can be held at the theater.

31. Kearney Community Theatre

Kearney Community Theatre

Since 1990, the Kearney Community Theatre has presented a season of five plays, two musicals, and sometimes three plays.

The Academy of Children’s Theater (ACT), the theater’s youth theater division, also provides performing arts programs for kids between the ages of 6 and 18.

Each year, ACT presents at least two significant performances as well as several performing and technical courses.

32. Sleuth Escape Rooms

Sleuth Escape Rooms Kearney NE

Players in the Sleuth Escape Room are imprisoned in a room while they engage in a live, brain-stimulating game. To find the keys needed to exit the room, the players cooperate to solve puzzles and find hints.

For family holidays, birthday celebrations, family reunions, bridal showers, and many other festive occasions, this escape room game is ideal.

The Escape Room helps people learn how to think quickly and quickly solve puzzles while also enhancing and exercising their brains. Anyone over the age of 10 is welcome to participate in the escape room.

33. The Rustic Patch

The Rustic Patch Kearney NE

A store called The Rustic Patch is located in Kearney, Nebraska. Candles, items manufactured in Nebraska, signage, seasonal items, and other items to make your house a special place for both family and friends are the shop’s core products.

The Rustic Patch’s proprietor has always enjoyed designing, producing, and manufacturing personalized home décor goods. She is constantly on hand in the Rustic Patch’s back room, where she excels at producing one-of-a-kind goods.

She has almost 20 years of experience and is quite skilled. Before she and her husband decided to turn The Rustic Patch into a full-fledged business in 2015, it first began as a home-based business in 2013.

FAQ’S

Is it a smart idea to live in Kearney, Nebraska?

One of the nicest places to reside in Nebraska is Kearney, which is located in Buffalo County. Residents of Kearney enjoy a dense suburban feel, and the majority own their homes. There are numerous bars, coffee shops, and parks in Kearney.

How far is Kearney, Nebraska from Yellowstone?

Yes, it is 849 miles to get from Kearney to Yellowstone National Park by car. The driving time from Kearney to Yellowstone National Park is roughly 13 hours and 53 minutes.

Conclusion

Kearney, Nebraska, is a wonderful city full of enjoyable activities and friendly locals. Kearney is home to numerous renowned museums, magnificent scenery, and the ideal location in all of Nebraska to view the annual spring migration of Sandhill cranes.

Kearney is a terrific place to spend a healthy, enjoyable weekend because it is full of interesting local history, original art, and delicious dining alternatives.

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