Lincoln, Nebraska

10 Largest Cities In Nebraska

Covering an area of more than 200,000 sq. km, Nebraska is a triply-landlocked US State situated in the American Midwest. The Cornhusker State shares its boundaries with the neighboring states of South Dakota, Kansas, Colorado, Wyoming, Iowa, and Missouri. Nebraska is one of the US states that make up the Great Plains, a vast expanse of generally level ground that runs across the center of the country. Having a population density of 9.63 people per sq. km, Nebraska ranks as the 37th most populous state in the country, with a total population of 1,961,504. From Omaha to Columbus, this article lists everything one needs to know about the largest cities in Nebraska!

1. Omaha - 501,469

Omaha, Nebraska
Skyline of Omaha, Nebraska, as viewed from the Heartland of America Park.

Placed along the Missouri River in Douglas County, not far from the Iowa border, is Omaha, the largest city in Nebraska. Omaha's population has grown by 3.17% since the last census and is currently expanding at an annual rate of 1.56%. The city is appealing to individuals of all ages due to its various attractions, including the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium, Omaha Community Playhouse, Joslyn Art Museum, Durham Museum, The Old Market, and many more. In addition, the city has several historical landmarks such as Joslyn Castle, Bank of Florence, Holy Family Church, etc. Omaha also houses the head offices of five Fortune 1000 and four Fortune 500 companies. 

2. Lincoln - 297,622

Lincoln, Nebraska
Aerial view of Lincoln, Nebraska.

Nebraska's second-most populous city Lincoln serves as the state capital and the seat of Lancaster County. Lincoln's population has grown by 2.25% since the most recent census and is currently expanding at a rate of 1.11% each year. Lincoln is the state's administrative, commercial, educational, cultural, and healthcare center. Named after the US President Abraham Lincoln, the city houses several fascinating and historic landmarks, including the Nebraska State Capitol, the University of Nebraska, and others. Lincoln is also home to many attractions, such as the Memorial Stadium, Sunken Gardens, Lincoln Children's Zoo, Pioneers Park Nature Center, and many more. 

3. Bellevue - 66,984

Bellevue, Nebraska
Aerial View of the Omaha suburb of Bellevue, Nebraska.

The state's third-most populous city Bellevue is situated in Sarpy County, just south of Omaha and west of the Missouri River. Bellevue, which means "beautiful view" in French, was founded in 1822 as a fur-trading center for the Missouri Fur Company. Referred to as the "Birthplace of Nebraska," it is the oldest continuously inhabited French-Canadian settlement in the state. The city witnessed its greatest growth when the Offutt Air Force Base housing the US Strategic Command was established to the south of the city.

4. Grand Island - 54,053

Grand Island, Nebraska
Aerial View of the Nebraska State Fair in Grand Island, Nebraska.

The state's fourth-largest city and the seat of Hall County, Grand Island is situated in south-central Nebraska. Grand Island's population has grown by 1.74% since the most recent census, and is currently expanding at a rate of 0.86% yearly. The city is well-known for housing the Southern Power District and the Nebraska Law Enforcement Training Center. In addition to these, Grand Island has many attractions including the Stuhr Museum of the Prairie Pioneer, Grand Island Little Theatre, and the Nebraska State Fair. The Crane Trust Nature And Visitor Center, located southwest of the Grand Island, includes trails, a butterfly garden, and blinds for viewing sandhill crane migration along the Platte River.

5. Kearney - 34,390

Kearney, Nebraska
Aerial view of a velley of the Platte River near Kearney, Nebraska, in summer.

The seat of Buffalo County, Kearney, situated in south-central Nebraska, is the state's fifth most populous city. Kearney's population has grown by 1.78% more than the previous census and is expanding at a rate of 0.88% each year. The city has been named after Fort Kearny, which was built in 1848 and provided safety to thousands of settlers, Pony Express riders, and prospectors heading west along the Oregon Trail. The city has a vibrant atmosphere thanks to its status as a college town. Kearney also houses several attractions, including the Great Platte River Road Archway Monument, Fort Kearny State Historical Park, the Museum of Nebraska Art, and many others. 

6. Fremont - 27,289

Fremont, Nebraska
Aerial view of Fremont, Nebraska.

The state's sixth most populous city and the seat of Dodge County, Fremont is situated along the Platte River in eastern Nebraska. The city's population has grown by 0.55% since the last census and is presently expanding at an annual rate of 0.27%. Agribusiness, food processing, fabricated metal processing, and electronics manufacturing are some of the primary industries in Fremont. The city is also a great place for commuters to experience the quality of life unique to rural Nebraska because of its large employer base, recreational options, and community amenities. The Fremont Lakes State Recreation Area, Fremont Splash Station, and summer cultural events at the Louis E. May museum draw a lot of tourists to the area. In addition, there are 21 city-owned parks and a trail network available to Fremont locals who want to enjoy a close-by excursion.

7. Papillion - 25,211

Aerial View of the Omaha Suburb of Papillion, Nebraska
Aerial View of the Omaha Suburb of Papillion, Nebraska.

The seat of Sarpy County, Papillion, is the seventh-largest city in Nebraska. Papillion's population has grown by 4.35% from the latest census and is now rising at an annual pace of 2.13%. Named after the Papillion creek, which flows through the city's center, Papillion is popular for its outstanding parks and leisure system. The area is notably well-known for offering a wide range of wonderful outdoor activities like camping, fishing, hiking, bicycling, picnicking, and many more.

8. Hastings - 25,200

Hastings, Nebraska
Hastings, Nebraska. Ammodramus, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Named after Colonel D.T. Hastings, Hastings is Nebraska's eighth largest city, situated at the meeting point of the Burlington and Missouri River Railroad and St. Joseph and Denver City Railroad. The city's population has grown by 0.19% since the most recent census and is presently expanding at a rate of 0.10% annually. The Kool-Aid Days festival is held in Hastings every August to commemorate the town where Edwin Perkins created Kool-Aid in 1927. The city also houses Fisher Fountain, the country's most extensive naval ammunition depot during World War II.

9. Norfolk - 25,103

Norfolk, Nebraska
Aerial View of Downtown Norfolk, Nebraska in autumn.

Northeast Nebraska's Madison County is where Norfolk, the state's ninth-largest city, is situated. The city's population has grown by 0.59% since the latest census and is at present rising at a pace of 0.30% annually. Norfolk serves as northeastern Nebraska's principal retail center. The city takes pride in its dedication to art and culture, frequently hosting activities for both inhabitants and visitors. Moreover, one can also travel to one of Norfolk's many municipal parks to take in the lovely surroundings or play a game of golf in the afternoon at one of the city's golf courses.

10. Columbus - 24,412

Columbus Nebraska
A long street scene with businesses in early 20th century buildings on 13th St. in downtown Columbus, Nebraska.

The state's tenth most-populous city and the seat of Platte County, Columbus is situated in east-central Nebraska. The city's population has grown by 1.60% since the latest census and, at present, is rising at an annual rate of 0.79%. Despite being a small city, Columbus houses a variety of tourist attractions, including historical landmarks like the Glur's Tavern, Pawnee Plunge Water Park, Powerhouse Park, and a few state parks.

30 Biggest Cities In Nebraska

Rank City Population
1 Omaha 501,469
2 Lincoln 297,622
3 Bellevue 66,984
4 Grand Island 54,053
5 Kearney 34,390
6 Fremont 27,289
7 Papillion 25,211
8 Hastings 25,200
9 Norfolk 25,103
10 Columbus 24,412
11 North Platte 23,122
12 La Vista 16,944
13 Scottsbluff 14,316
14 South Sioux City 14,181
15 Beatrice 12,221
16 Chalco 11,078
17 Lexington 10,372
18 Gering 8,576
19 York 8,126
20 Alliance 8,083
21 Seward 7,779
22 Blair 7,750
23 McCook 7,396
24 Nebraska City 7,208
25 Crete 7,127
26 Schuyler 6,615
27 Ralston 6,604
28 Plattsmouth 6,552
29 Sidney 6,340
30 Wayne 6,035
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