Spanning busy Interstate 80 in Kearney, Nebraska, the Archway Monument. Editorial credit: Mystic Stock Photography /

7 of the Most Walkable Towns in Nebraska

The Great Plains state of Nebraska is a popular travel destination, boasting an impressive 20 million tourist visits in 2023 alone. Of these, over seven million were day-trippers, many of them here to wander some of the Cornhusker State’s most attractive small towns.

Whether the appeal lies in their well-preserved historic districts and green spaces or in nearby scenic landmarks, these delightful destinations certainly are fun to explore on foot. Whether you are planning a day trip, a weekend retreat, or even a longer summer vacation, find seven of the most walkable towns in Nebraska that are guaranteed to inspire.


The Archway Monument viewed across the river with an old metal bridge in the foreground, Kearney, Nebraska.
Kearney, Nebraska. Editorial credit: Mystic Stock Photography /

Kearney is a gem of a small town and one that’s immensely fun for a stroll. Located in central Nebraska midway between Omaha and Denver, it’s home to the Great Platte River Road Archway Monument, a unique landmark that stretches over Interstate 80, offering a fascinating look at westward expansion. The town’s historic downtown district is another highlight and features many well-preserved 19th-century buildings housing everything from boutiques to restaurants and art galleries. Best of all, its brick-paved streets and wide sidewalks make it exceptionally walkable.

Kearney is also known for the Museum of Nebraska Art (MONA), which showcases regional artwork and is a must-visit in the downtown area. The University of Nebraska at Kearney adds a vibrant student presence and boasts plenty of pleasant paths for a stroll around campus, while nearby Fort Kearny State Historical Park offers walking trails and a glimpse into the area's pioneer past.


Aerial view of downtown Scottsbluff, Nebraska.
Aerial view of downtown Scottsbluff, Nebraska.

Just a short drive from the state border with Wyoming, Scottsbluff is best known for the amazing geological landmark after which it’s named Scotts Bluff National Monument. This towering geological formation once served as a waypoint for the early pioneers traveling the Oregon Trail and was an easily recognizable and always-welcoming navigation point. A little of that early pioneer spirit can be enjoyed by exploring the park’s excellent hiking trails with their scenic views of the surrounding plains.

Downtown Scottsbluff is compact and walkable and features a variety of local shops, eateries, and cultural attractions to experience, such as the West Nebraska Arts Center, a first-rate venue for creatives that showcases the work of local artists. The town is also located on the Monument Valley Pathway, a 13-mile scenic pedestrian route along the North Platte River… so take some good walking shoes.


West side of George Norris Avenue, looking south from E Street in downtown McCook, Nebraska

West side of George Norris Avenue in downtown McCook, Nebraska.

McCook is located in southwestern Nebraska and offers walkers a charming downtown area to explore. Look out for the iconic Keystone Hotel, a historic landmark built in 1922 that’s worth grabbing a photo of; and the Museum of the High Plains, which is easy to get to on foot and full of fascinating info on local history and heritage.

A great time to visit is during the Buffalo Commons Storytelling Festival in June. This fun event celebrates the art of storytelling with performances and workshops and provides a great opportunity to explore the community, as well as the popular walking paths in Kelley Park set along the Republican River.


West side of the 200 block of Main Street, Chadron, Nebraska

West side of the 200 block of Main Street, Chadron, Nebraska.

Up in Nebraska’s northwestern corner, Chadron is considered the gateway to the Pine Ridge region, an area well-known for recreational opportunities. Chadron State Park, Nebraska’s oldest state park, is just a short drive away and offers plenty of great hiking trails along with fishing and camping. The town itself is highly walkable, with a downtown area filled with historic buildings, shops, and restaurants.

The Mari Sandoz High Plains Heritage Center, located on the Chadron State College campus, makes for a great walking destination from the downtown area and celebrates the life and work of the famous Nebraska author after which it was named, as well as the history and culture of the region. If you are planning to visit during Chadron’s annual Fur Trade Days festival in July, pack those walking shoes. Celebrating the town’s historical significance as a fur trading hub in the 19th century, there are parades to follow, reenactments to watch, and craft shows to visit across the community.

Nebraska City

Northeast corner of Central Avenue and 7th Street in downtown Nebraska City, Nebraska.
Downtown Nebraska City, Nebraska. By Ammodramus, CC0, Wikimedia Commons

Downtown Nebraska City is undoubtedly one of the most walkable small towns in the state. Its historic downtown district features a variety of shopping and dining experiences worth exploring and is within walking distance of Arbor Lodge State Historical Park. The former home of Arbor Day founder J. Sterling Morton, whose tree-planting initiatives are promoted across the country, the park's walking trails and gardens make it an ideal destination to explore on foot.

Arbor Day Farm is another great attraction in Nebraska City for those who enjoy walking and features orchards, gardens, and tree-themed exhibits to explore. The annual AppleJack Festival in September is a great excuse to visit with its many apple-themed events and family activities.

Red Cloud

Northeast corner of 4th Avenue and Webster Street in Red Cloud, Nebraska.
Northeast corner of 4th Avenue and Webster Street in Red Cloud, Nebraska.

Red Cloud is a great little community to explore on foot. Named after the famed Oglala chief, historic attractions include the childhood home of author Willa Cather, a novelist who famously captured the essence of life in the Great Plains in her novels. Visitors can explore the Willa Cather Foundation and various historic sites associated with her life and works, most within easy walking distance of one another.

Along the way, sites like the beautifully preserved Red Cloud Opera House certainly grab attention. Constructed in 1885, this must-visit attraction continues to host performances and cultural events throughout the year. The Willa Cather Memorial Prairie, located nearby, is also immensely walkable and offers an extensive trail network through the same native grasslands the author wrote about.


Sunset aerial view of Fremont, Nebraska.
Sunset aerial view of Fremont, Nebraska. Editorial credit: Wirestock Creators /

Less than an hour from Omaha, Fremont is located along the Platte River and boasts a historic downtown district that’s perfect for a walkabout. Covering an area of eight acres and laid out in an easy-to-navigate grid fashion, it features numerous shops, cafés, and eateries, including the old Fremont Opera House. Built in 1888, this venue still offers a rich program of performances and events.

Nearby Barnard Park is a pleasant green space perfect for a picnic. Fremont is also known for its John C. Fremont Days, a three-day festival held on the second weekend of July, which includes parades, historical reenactments, a car show, and plenty of family fun.

Exploring Nebraska’s Walkable Towns

There’s no denying Nebraska’s small towns offer a unique blend of walkability, historical charm, and natural beauty, making them ideal destinations for tourists looking to explore on foot. Whether it’s seeing the historic districts of Kearney and Fremont or the natural landmarks of Scottsbluff and Chadron, each provides an authentic taste of the Cornhusker State. Whatever your interests, these seven of the most walkable towns in Nebraska won’t disappoint.

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