Nebraska is a state in the Great Plains region of the United States of America.
Nebraska can be roughly characterized as having 4 regions:
|Nebraska Panhandle -|
|North Central Nebraska -|
|South Central Nebraska -|
|Eastern Nebraska -|
Nebraska has a reputation of being a flat, monotonous region of farm and ranchland, but this stereotype has come from the many people who drive across Nebraska on the Interstate 80 corridor (the Platte River valley). Those who venture off this heavily travelled road discover that Nebraska does have a subtle, wide-open beauty that is all its own.
The vast majority of Nebraskans speak American English with a neutral "Standard Midwestern" accent. In some rural areas of the state, people speak with a slight accent best described as "country twang"; this accent is also easy to understand. Nebraska is largely devoid of unusual terms for everyday items, with a few exceptions:
Nebraska has a fast-growing Hispanic population, largely concentrated in its medium-sized cities and Omaha. In these areas, governments, businesses, and community organizations often provide services in Spanish.
By car: Nebraska's major national highway corridor is Interstate 80, which runs east-west across the state. Other major highways that enter Nebraska include Interstate 76 (from Colorado), US 81 (major north-south route), US 20 (northern east-west route), US 26 (from Wyoming), and US 385/Nebraska 71 (western north-south route).
By plane: The two major airports in Nebraska are located in Omaha and Lincoln. Omaha is served by all major airlines; Lincoln is served by Delta and United. There are no direct international flights to any Nebraska airport. Other airports with commercial service are in Alliance, Chadron, Grand Island, Kearney, McCook, North Platte and Scottsbluff. The Sioux City, Iowa airport serves the northeast corner of the state.
By train: Amtrak makes stops daily in Omaha, Lincoln, Hastings, Holdrege and McCook. The only train serving the state is the California Zephyr. It will bring you in from San Francisco (Emeryville), Salt Lake City, and Denver from the west and Chicago from the east. Amtrak's stops are generally in the middle of the night no matter what direction you come from.
By bus: Greyhound serves Omaha and Lincoln. Two other companies, Arrow Stage Lines and Burlington Trailways, make a number of stops in other Nebraska cities. Jefferson Lines also serves Omaha from Kansas City, Fargo, and Winnepeg, Manitoba.
Nebraska is a large, sparsely populated state; the vast majority of Nebraska can only be seen by car.
Mobile phone coverage in most of Nebraska is excellent. Some remote areas in the Sandhills still have no coverage and GSM coverage can be spotty in some areas, but CDMA coverage is good throughout the state. 3G service is available most everywhere and 4G is available in Omaha through Verizon.
Public pay phones are rapidly disappearing; many of the smaller towns now only have one. In rural areas, many businesses will let people make local calls.
Nebraska has, given its population and size, fairly extensive Internet connectivity; however, public Internet access in Nebraska can be hard to find. (Internet cafes are practically nonexistent.) In many places, the best option for public Internet access is a public library; in rural areas, libraries are often only open for a few hours each week.
Wi-Fi Internet access is now provided by many Nebraska businesses, particularly in larger towns, especially in Omaha and Lincoln. Many restaurants, book stores, and coffee shops now offer free Wi-Fi, and will advertise this service by placing stickers or signs on their front doors as well as on their website. Many hotels and motels statewide have added Internet connectivity as an additional amenity as well.
In the cities of Omaha and Lincoln crime rates have begun to rise due to the increase in population these two cities have experienced over the past several years. These crime rates do vary considerably among neighborhoods, however, it is important to take proper precautions and use the same degrees of common sense you would ordinarily implement while visiting a mid-size American city. If an area appears decrepit and/or seedy, then you probably do not want to remain there for any length of time.
These two cities have also experienced an increase in gang activity. This should is something to be aware of, but generally crime of this nature is inter-gang related and does not affect the ordinary citizen. Nevertheless, don't put yourself in a position that could lead you to becoming caught in the crossfire of rival gangs.
Nebraska is located within the country's "tornado alley". Throughout the spring and summer seasons, the state often experiences very violent thunderstorms which contain hail squalls and spawn tornadoes of various strengths. It is important to keep yourself informed of the current weather conditions while traveling through or visiting the state during these seasons as conditions can change very rapidly. Television and radio stations provide excellent severe weather coverage.
Refer to the Tornado safety page for more information about this matter.
During the winter months, blizzards and ice storms do occur, and dangerous wind chills are a possibility. High winds can take even a limited amount of snowfall and form very large drifts -- beautiful to look at, but dangerous if you are stuck far from help. It is important to find a local weather forecast whenever you plan to travel through the more sparsely populated areas of the state.