Best Places To Live In Nebraska: Top 5 Communities Most Recommended By Experts

Known for its rich agricultural roots and historical landmarks, Nebraska boasts natural beauty with an array of hidden gems. With prairies that stretch as far as the eye can see to fertile landscapes that forge a deeper connection with nature, Nebraska nurtures tranquility and community among all who dwell there. As the Heartland of America, the best places to live in Nebraska showcase a rich tapestry of history coupled with warm hospitality, thriving venues, and bountiful charm. 

Featuring a more serene lifestyle, Nebraska tends to slow life down for those who move to the Cornhusker state. With the beauty of sprawling landscapes the state offers, a new study show this may help your mental health. In fact, living within half a mile of blue or green spaces can improve your brain function. Plus, it makes for some pretty post-worthy shots on your morning commute.

Aside from natural beauty, Nebraska boasts the rich tradition of supporting the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s football team, the Cornhuskers. College football is a significant part of the state’s culture, and the team’s games attract a passionate fan base. You can also live in or visit Nebraska’s largest city, Omaha, a vibrant cultural and economic center. It is known for its rich music scene, including jazz and indie rock. Omaha is also home to the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium, which is considered one of the best zoos in the United States.

Given these findings, knowing the best places to live in Nebraska can possibly boost your mood and reduce stress. Therefore, we’ve compiled the best places to live in Nebraska as voted by the cost of living, safety, education, inclusion, and quality of life. Don’t happen to see your favorite city? Leave a comment and let us know! 

The List: Best Places to Live in Nebraska, According to Experts

1. Omaha  

Within the heart of America lies Omaha, a bustling city that offers a captivating history and culinary landscape. “Home to 440,000 people, Omaha is a great city for families looking for good school districts with access to more than 150 public schools,” states Nebraska Realty. As the birthplace of renowned billionaire investor Warren Buffet, Omaha is an excellent destination to call home and offers “homes with a lot of good value for their price.”

Downtown Omaha, Nebraska
Downtown Omaha, Nebraska (Photo by John Matychuk on Unsplash)

NP Dodge calls “Omaha the best place to live in the world!” Home to some of the best local establishments like “best eateries, coffee shops, breweries, bars, and shops,” Omaha “has so much to love from its thriving food scene and live music to vast parks and gardens.” For prospective movers looking to take a step back in time, “Old Market is one of Omaha’s most historic and entertaining neighborhoods with cobblestone streets lined and historic properties.”

“If big cities are your thing, you’ll find it hard to beat Omaha,” claims Money Inc. As a welcoming community, Omaha offers a “low crime rate and low cost of living” and as a large city, it supports “attractions and amusement galore: whether you want to shop till you drop, dine out seven days a week, or improve your mind with some culture.”

2. Papillion

“Papillion has grown from a small railroad village founded in 1870 to one of the most important suburbs of Omaha,” writes L’Essenziale. With outstanding affordability, Papillon “regularly appears on Nebraska’s ‘Best Places’ lists because of its livability, education, and environment for raising a family.” As a mid-sized suburb, Papillon has “a charming downtown filled with restaurants, shops, small businesses, and plenty of green space to explore with your family.”

A lake sunset in Pavilion, NE
A lake sunset in Pavilion, NE (Photo by Jeffrey Hamilton on

“From a small railroad village founded in 1870 to one of the best suburbs of the metro Omaha area, Papillon regularly appears on the best places for Nebraska,” says NP Dodge. As a mid-sized suburb, Papillon has “just over 25,000” people and is “home to Werner Park, home of the Triple-A Storm Chasers, and Halleck Park, a massive 70-acre green landscape with trails, baseball fields, tennis and basketball courts, and more in the heart of the city.”

“Nebraska’s best top city is Papillion, a suburb of Omaha and the county seat of Sarpy County,” claims the Chamber of Commerce “Papillion residents enjoy a higher than average median household income, and many pristine public parks.” Named after a creek that runs through the heart of the city, Papillon is French for butterfly. 

3. La Vista

“La Vista is one of Nebraska’s most densely populated areas making it an excellent place for singles while residents are the 5th best-paid in the state,” reports Home Snacks. Having recently celebrated its 60th birthday, La Vista is full of character and is “an Omaha suburb of 16,786 with an average median household income of $70,310 per year.” Additionally, La Vista is well-known for its “low unemployment and poverty rates,” which are about half of the Nebraska average.

Sunset over La Vista's Central Park
Sunset over La Vista’s Central Park (Photo by Jeffrey Hamilton on

Ranked as one of the best places to live in Nebraska by The Crazy Tourist, La Vista is “a very popular area with the millennial generation” with the median home value being a very reasonable $140,000. “With 56 percent of residents living in owned homes, there is a long-standing community for newcomers while rent is very affordable, averaging only $882 per month.” 

“La Vista is a relatively young suburb of Omaha,” writes NP Dodge that “has seen significant growth in home construction, educational and recreational facilities, as well as commerce and industry” within the last two decades. Featuring locally owned diners, breweries, and cafes, La Vista is “within a 15-minute drive of Omaha attractions” and is the perfect place to call home for those who desire a small-town feel without losing access to the city. 

4. Lincoln

“As the state capital, let’s just say that it’s no wonder that Lincoln is on this list,” says Placeaholic. Home to over 269,700 people, Lincoln “has a slightly higher crime rate but is still a safe environment to raise a family.” With medium home values of $147,100, the cost of living and affordability of Lincoln is hard to beat for those seeking affordability within a big city.

Nebraska State Capitol in Lincoln
Nebraska State Capitol in Lincoln (Photo by Pieter van de Sande on Unsplash)

As reported by The Crazy Tourist, ”Lincoln is one of the most developed cities in the state and has developed substantial infrastructure and many job opportunities.” From the bigger-than-life architecture of the Nebraska State Capitol to the preserved cultural institutions and museums, Lincoln offers a diverse range of experiences for history lovers and culture enthusiasts alike. 

“If you want to be right at the very heart of the action, Lincoln should be top of your list,” says Money Inc. As a city with a friendly and welcoming atmosphere, Lincoln has “a flourishing job market, an active, diverse community, a low crime rate, and one of the state’s best public school systems.” Additionally, the “downtown’s charming mix of the old world and the new is guaranteed to appeal, while the year-round festivities are sure to keep everyone’s family happy.”

5. Gretna

“Residents of Gretna are happy as can be,” notes The Crazy Tourist. Located nearly equidistant from Lincoln and Omaha, this place supports plenty of job opportunities and is “quite a sporty town with one of the most affluent neighborhoods.” Offering a small-town lifestyle with easy access to larger cities with more amenities, Gretna provides a peaceful retreat from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

Holy Family Shrine in Gretna, NE
Holy Family Shrine in Gretna, NE (Photo by @invadingkingdom on

Gretna provides a strong sense of community and is a small town that “features a population of only about 5,000,” says Placeaholic. Despite steadily growing over the “past couple of decades, this small town has maintained its small-town charm and offers amazing amenities including Vala’s Pumpkin Patch and Apple Orchard which is always popular with locals.”

“As suburbs go, you’ll find few better than Gretna,” explains Money Inc. Offering a wide range of affordable housing options, Gretna has a median income of $76,548 and has “a crime rate that’s too low to even warrant a mention.” Additionally, Gretna’s educational system “scores 84 percent higher than the US average for test scores and 11 percent higher for graduation rates,” making it one of the best places to raise children in the U.S. 

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Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations.