Nebraska is home to quaint little downtowns and big-city shopping malls offering unique finds, antiques, designer labels, and local artisans. There are some true shopping gems and one-of-a-kind shops where you can find everything you weren’t looking for.
In Omaha, you’ll find the twelve-square block Old Market, a revitalized portion of the warehouse district complete with brick streets, faded advertising murals, and covered sidewalks. The Old Market is home to numerous small shops, boutiques, galleries, and restaurants. Hop on one of the horse-drawn carriages to get a feel for the neighborhood first, then head out and explore the shops, stopping for a meal at a sidewalk cafe.
Over in Lincoln is the Historic Haymarket District, revitalized in 1985 thanks to the National Trust for Historic Preservation and local businesses. Adjacent to the Railyard, Lincoln’s entertainment district, Haymarket is filled with antique stores, galleries and boutiques. You can take a walking tour to get your bearings or just dive right in and wander around. If you happen to be here on a Saturday (May to October), you’ll get to enjoy the tasty local treats at the Farmer’s Market.
Historic Downtown Hastings is vibrant with people bouncing from shop to shop and gallery to restaurant. The community’s 2nd Street is the heart of the district and is easily traversed on foot. North Platte’s downtown also has some unique shops, restaurants and art galleries, including the Art & Gift Gallery, the largest original art gallery between Omaha and Denver.
If you are in need of a new pair of boots, you’ll have to head to Cody and bootmaker Kyle Rosfeld and the Sandhills Boot Company. Known for handcrafting boots for such luminaries as Willie Nelson and Neil Young, you’ll find pairs made from Nebraska bison and elk, as well as more traditional leathers. Even better, you might get to see him in action as he hammers out a new pair!
Also legendary is the Beatrice Bakery. This fruitcake factory, located downtown, was re-opened by the community who bought all the assets to keep the traditional alive in their town. Head into get a loaf or two of their delicious fruitcake…it’s not just for Christmas anymore.
One the unique end of the spectrum is the Fort Cody Trading Post which looks like a frontier log stockade with authentically dressed mannequins with toy rifles standing guard. Inside it’s a combination gift shop and museum, with authentic Buffalo Bill and Wild West memorabilia, plus a miniature mechanized Wild West Show made of 20,000 parts. A taxidermy two-headed calf and frontier cannons are among the other curiosities to be seen. If you’re an antique hunter then Grain Bin Antique Town is your place. Putting Nebraska agricultural ingenuity to work, high-quality collectibles and antiques for displayed in re-purposed grain bins. A boardwalk connects 20 Depression-era grain bins chock-full of vintage signs, glassware, wooden furniture, trinkets and more.
Nebraska also pays homage to its Swedish Heritage at The Economy Hometown Market in Stromsburg. Meat cutter Mike Branting’s store is well known for its lutefisk, pickled herring, lingonberries, ham loaf mix and Swedish meatballs, with the most popular Swedish item being potato bologna.