Nebraska joined the union, two years after the end of the civil war, in March of 1867. Though Nebraska started as a sparsely populated territory in the 1800s, it began to grow with the California gold rush in 1848.
Originally Omaha was the capital of the Nebraska territory. However, after it gained statehood, the capital moved to Lancaster, which would eventually turn into Lincoln after the president’s assassination.
Today Nebraska is known for its fertile farmlands and some of the best ranchland found in the country. However, it isn’t just farms and ranches, Nebraska offers vibrant urban culture as well as easy suburban life.
There is an abundance of entertainment options, state parks, and world-class restaurants. If you enjoy hunting, hiking, or biking, you will never be too far from parks where you can enjoy your favorite activities. But if you prefer listening to live music, whether its jazz, country or the symphony, there are a variety of venues available.
In 2019, Nebraska was voted the #1 place to retire in the U.S, by Bankrate. Bankrate considered several factors such as healthcare, cost of living, wellness, and culture when ranking the best states in the nation. Based upon their research here is how Nebraska ranked against amongst the 50 states:
- Affordability: 14
- Crime: 19
- Culture: 21
- Weather: 30
- Wellness: 8
The most significant issue with Nebraska appears to be the weather, which is calculated by taking the average temperature over 33 years. Though the state did not score well on climate, it faired quite well in other categories, such as wellness and affordability.
Nebraska is also home to several highly ranked hospitals. And though Nebraska doesn’t offer the tax breaks like some other states, the cost of living will more than make up for that. The median house prices are as low as $80,000 less than the national average in some cities.
According to recent studies, 38% of retirees move at least once after retirement, and 34% do so to cut back on expenses. If you are exploring places to retire and maximize your savings yet, still afford a beautiful home, Nebraska is a state to put at the top of your list.
And for the urbanites that cringe at the idea of being surrounded by farms, check out Omaha and Lincoln. Both cities offer all of the perks of city life at a lower cost of living and with less crime.
Places to Retire in Nebraska
- Percent of Senior Population 12.5%
- Overall Population 468,262
Omaha, the state’s largest city and former capital, is sure to make any urbanite feel right at home. Downtown Omaha is full of historic buildings that have been transformed into both businesses and residences.
The cost of living in downtown Omaha is significantly less than in most metropolitan areas. The price for a loft that offers a variety of amenities is less than $100,000. Plus, when living downtown, you can take advantage of the many conveniences such as fabulous restaurants, coffee shops, and Old Market.
And it isn’t just the downtown area that is an economical place to live, the median cost of housing in all of Omaha is $70,000 less than the national average.
So, if you would prefer a bit more space, the suburbs of Omaha offers reasonably priced houses and some with spacious yards.
For those looking to use public transportation, all you need is a quarter to catch the bus to the grocery store. And, if you want to stay active, check out the Omaha Riverfront trail. The trail runs for 20 miles with several trailheads along the way. The path is asphalt making it ideal for a leisurely stroll, run, or bike ride.
Plus, Omaha offers all the same entertainment choices as any large city, such as:
- Joslyn Art Museum
- Holland Performing Arts Center
And to top it all off, Omaha has terrific health care options, including five major medical centers, of which two are teaching hospitals.
- Percent of Senior Population 12.4%
- Overall Population 287,401
Lincoln, the capital of Nebraska, was formerly known as Lancaster. The city changed its name to honor former president Abraham Lincoln after his assassination. Though not as large as New York City, it still offers an abundance of culture. The city of Lincoln has several vibrant districts that provide everything from art to the symphony.
The Haymarket district, formerly a warehouse area, offers a variety of fun shops and dining options. The classic warehouse architecture gives the Haymarket its unique character. Plus, in the summer, they have a free summer concert series.
The Railyard entertainment district, located on Canopy Street, is artfully designed, giving it an updated look. The Railyard district offers an array of live entertainment choices, restaurants, bars, and even an open market. Additionally, it features the Cube, a mega screen offering movies, live sports, and other events best enjoyed on the big screen.
But if you are looking for live music, the Lied center offers a wide range of options, including the Lincoln Symphony Orchestra, live Broadway productions, and concerts performed by famous artists.
In addition to the different districts, Lincoln also has everything the outdoor enthusiasts’ needs. There are almost 130 miles of hiking, biking, and commuter trails. Plus, 6,500 acres of parks and another 1,475 of wilderness.
And if that is not enough to get you to move to Lincoln, the median housing costs are $80,000 less than the national average.
- Percent of Senior Population 15%
- Overall Population 7,220
One of the best things about the small town of Seward is that it is 60% safer than the other US Cities. Though the citizens of Seward enjoy the quieter life, they do host an outstanding 4th of July Party.
The 4th of July celebration ranks in the top 10 in the US and is attended by more than 40,000 people. The festival includes a parade, car show, craft show, live music and, of course, closes with a dazzling fireworks display.
Seward also features several parks, a community swimming pool, sports complex, and biking and walking trails to help keep you active. If you enjoy golfing, Seward also offers a couple of local golf courses, including one associated with a country club.
For the wine lover, they are home to Junto Winery, and if you prefer the taste of beer, they also have the Bottle Rocket Brewing company. Both the winery and brewery are located within the city limits.
Plus, Seward is less than thirty minutes from Lincoln, where you can take advantage of the lively urban life. So when you are looking for a fun night out on the town, whether it is dining out, dancing, or going to the theatre, it’s all easily accessible from Seward.
Though Seward is a small town, they are home to a full-service hospital and specialty center.
- Percent of Senior Population 12.9%
- Overall Population 33,761
Though Kearney does not have a large retirement population, it does offer a wide range of retirement communities. The Kearney senior center provides several programs like yoga, photography, and dancing. The senior center is the ideal place to meet other retirees as well as take up a new hobby.
Kearney offers more than 100 restaurants, including steakhouses, BBQ, and global establishments, so you will never be bored when dining out. The city is also home to:
- The World Theatre – Features concerts and shows
- G.W. Frank Museum of History and Culture
- Nebraska Firefighters Museum
- Museum of Nebraska Art
- Classic Car Collection – Which displays more than $5 million worth of classic cars
And if you prefer the outdoors, there is an endless number of options for you too. There are multiple lakes within an hour’s drive for boating and fishing. For the anglers out there, check out Cottonmill Park, which features a 43-acre lake that has been stocked with a variety of fish.
Kearney has five different golf courses, made up of a combination of 9 and 18-hole courses.
Though Kearny is not close to a large city, it still allows for easy access to medical care. The town has multiple specialty centers as well as two trauma centers, one of which is the Good Samaritan Hospital.
- Percent of Senior Population 8,225
- Overall Population 19.9%
Gering may be a small town, but they have a lot to offer their residents. For the outdoorsy people there the Riverside Park, which has camping and fishing, plus is adjacent to the Riverside zoo.
And just southwest of Gering is the Cedar Canyon Wildlife Management Area, which has 2,225 acres to explore and is filled with an abundance of wildlife. There are several other parks nearby that offer amazing views while hiking the bluffs.
Gering also has multiple golf courses and one country club, so you can enjoy your day relaxing on the course.
Gering isn’t just for those looking to enjoy nature; it also has the West Nebraska Arts Center that displays work from world-renowned artists. And though the town isn’t full of fine dining, between both Gering and Scottsbluff, you will have several restaurant choices. Plus, there are few movie theaters in town for when you want to get out for the evening.
And if you have guests in town, there are hotels as well as cozy bed breakfasts for them to stay while visiting.
Though the small town doesn’t house a hospital, the neighboring city of Scottsbluff does, which is less than 15 minutes away. Scottsbluff has the Regional West Medical Center, which is a full-service hospital.