15 Best & Fun Things to Do in Scottsbluff (NE)

Scottsbluff is situated in the Great Plains region of the United States. It is the 13th most extensive city in Nebraska and the largest in the Nebraska Panhandle. 

Scottsbluff offers a lot of activities to visitors, including plenty of lodging, dining, and shopping experience. 

The area is often called the “Sugar Valley” because it is famous for growing and processing sugar beets. 

Scottsbluff is a safe, friendly community with a colorful downtown, a wide variety of housing opportunities, and an extensive selection of shopping options, from small boutiques to popular brand-name stores. 

Also, the city offers numerous ethnic and traditional restaurants that will satisfy your pallet. 

Are you wondering what to do in Scottsbluff? Here are some of the best and fun things to do in Scottsbluff, NE.

Things to Do in Scottsbluff, NE

1. Lake Minatare Lighthouse

Lake Minatare Lighthouse
Credits: Sergua / Shutterstock

Are you aware that Nebraska is more landlocked than any other state in America? So it may seem strange that it has a lighthouse you can visit and explore. The Lighthouse is a unique one, but its story is more captivating. 

Lake Minatare was the first Federal irrigation reservoir constructed in 1915. It reformed farming in the panhandle and brought a new era of contemporary irrigation. 

Today, many people recognize the Lake as a premium place for outdoor recreation. Swimming, fishing, water skiing, and boating are incredibly popular among the numerous visitors who visit this area every summer. 

However, the 55-foot-tall Lighthouse is the most prominent feature of the Lake Minatare State Recreation Area. 

This intriguing stone structure isn’t truly a lighthouse because it has never had a signal light. 

Instead, it is a “replica lighthouse” that gives a unique touch to the area, especially when you add that a group of jobless veterans constructed it during the Great Depression. 

The veteran Conservation Corps built the Lighthouse between 1937 and 1939. 

The building was created as a shelter house and a lookout tower allowing guests to look over to the gorgeous lake and surrounding escape. 

Between April and the end of September, you can climb the stairs and gaze out of the enormous windows. The Lighthouse is closed for the year the remaining months. 

After you have admired the sights of this stunning structure, head over to the Lake for some fun. Visiting this Lighthouse is one of the best things to do in Scottsbluff, NE.

Address: Lake Minatare Rd, Scottsbluff, NE 69361, United States

2. Riverside Park 

Riverside Park 
Credits: otsphoto / Shutterstock

Riverside Park has all the amenities you would expect to see in a small city park, like a disc golf course, hiking trails, ponds for fishing, and a dog park. 

However, the most peculiar thing about this park is that it houses a zoo known as Riverside Discovery Center. 

The park and the zoo are trendy party spots. Different animals are housed here, receiving lots of loving care from the keepers and other staff. You can observe a few behind-the-scene actions when you come here. 

Events and classes are constantly taking place to help enrich all the visitors. 

There are several things to do in the Discovery Center and the park, so you will undoubtedly leave this place with a smile. 

The foreign animals are always captivating to see up close, and the information placards littered all over the zoo will help you learn more about all the species of animals they have. 

The petting zoo is another famous spot for visitors. You can get close to the animals and maybe give them zoo-approved snacks.

There are other kids’ activities, such as the Discovery Center’s Pop-up children’s museum, which features a different theme every month. 

Kids will also love the Dino Dit, a shaded excavation site where they can dig to discover bones and learn about the animals that owned them. 

Riverside Park is undoubtedly one of the best places to visit in Scottsbluff, NE. After a long day of experiencing new stuff and exploring, cool off in the splash pad. Grownups can also partake in this fun. 

Address: Scottsbluff, NE 69361, United States

3. The Bard’s Den Books & Beyond 

Bard's Den Books & Beyond 
Credits: connel / Shutterstock

The Bard’s Den Books & Beyond is the only used bookshop in Scottsbluff, NE.

Although the bookshop is open on limited hours and almost impossible to locate, the small shop is worth visiting. 

It is filled with all sorts of books, including an entire “End Times” shelf and a whole section of Amish Fiction. 

There are also many mainstream titles and handmade crafts and gifts. 

Address: 2400 Ave I SUITE. A Scottsbluff, NE 69361, United States

4. West Nebraska Art Center 

West Nebraska Art Center 
Credits: BearFotos / Shutterstock

West Nebraska Art Center is one of the best places to visit in Scottsbluff, NE, especially for art enthusiasts.

The West Nebraska Art Center gallery has local, national, and international artists and represents various visual art. 

The gallery exhibits are open and accessible to everybody, and most art is available for purchase. 

West Nebraska Art Center provides yearly opportunities for local artists with group and solo exhibits. 

Yearly group exhibit opportunities include the North Platte Valley Artist Guild Holiday show, the Visionaries Student Art Exhibits, the IMAGE Photography Exhibit, and many more. 

Visitors can also enjoy various unique items in the gift shop. 

Address: 106 E 18th St, Scottsbluff, NE 69361, United States

5. The Tangled Tumbleweed 

Tangled Tumbleweed 
Credits: The Tangled Tumbleweed / Facebook
Tangled Tumbleweed 

Ensure to sample the popular Tangled Tumbleweed Pretzels. The Tangled Tumbleweed has been serving Scottsbluff since 2016. 

They offer a tapas-style dining experience from Wednesday to Saturday evening. 

When you visit, Tangle Tumbleweed will complement your meal with its large selection of wines, craft beers, and popular Tangled Tumbleweed Pretzels. 

Tangled Tumbleweed is happy to provide you with an unforgettable dining experience, so visit and enjoy the environment, good food, and drinks with friends and family. 

Address: 1823 Ave A, Scottsbluff, NE 69361, United States

6. Scottsbluff National Monument

Scottsbluff National Monument
Credits: Dr. Juergen Bochynek / Shutterstock
Scottsbluff National Monument

The Scott Bluff National Monument is a collection of rocky cliffs outside of town. The Scott Bluff National Monument is in Gering, six minutes from Scottsbluff. 

The formation tower on top of the North Platte River is famous for being a landmark on the Pony Express and the North Platte River. 

You can hike a saddle rock to the summit at this tourist destination. The trail runs from the Visitor Center to the peak of the bluff, with a lovely view of unique rock formations up. 

This 1.6-mile asphalt trail is steep in some places, but they are not too challenging. 

The only challenge is that there isn’t a lot of shade, so if you visit in the summer, make sure you begin early in the morning. 

During summer, you can take the summit shuttle or drive to the peak instead. A ranger handles the shuttle ride, which takes only 10 minutes. 

The Scott Bluff National Monument’s Visitor Center features an art collection, ranger-led programs, and a short film. 

An exciting section of this visitor center explains how mass emigration impacted the local Native Americans and destroyed the land that they relied on. Exploring this attraction is one of the fun things to do in Scottsbluff, NE.

Address: 190276 Old Oregon Trail, Gering, NE 69341, United States

7. Papa’s Moon Vineyard 

Papa's Moon Vineyard 
Credits: Mangpor_nk / Shutterstock

Among the top things to do in Scottsbluff, NE, is to drink wines at Papa’s Moon Vineyard, especially if you love wines.

Papa’s Moon Vineyard is a family-owned winery specializing in cultivating excellent quality grapes and producing mouth-watering craft ciders, wines, and meads. 

Since 2013, the winery has been producing top-quality wines from grapes harvested with the aid of loved ones in its on-site vineyards. 

Papa’s Moon Vineyard is a true escape, with its tiny streams running through the property, small forests, ponds, grapes, and plenty of wildlife.

Everything in this vineyard and winery is done with patrons and the environment in mind. 

Papa’s Moon Vineyard’s ciders continue to win awards and honors from different parts of the country. Visit this winery and have a taste of its delicious ciders and meads. 

Address: 230975 Co Rd J, Scottsbluff, NE 69361, United States

8. Sam & Louie 

Sam & Louie 
Credits: Sam & Louie’s (Scottsbluff, NE) / Facebook
Sam & Louie 

Among what to do in Scottsbluff, NE, is to try Sam & Louie’s delicious pizza. Sam & Louie began in 1994 as a small family-operated pizzeria in Omaha, NE. 

This casual Italian restaurant and New York-style place pizzeria is committed to providing a dining experience filled with good services and family fun. 

Every pizza made at this pizzeria is produced with a hand-tossed thin crust and stretched to create the well-known size, shape, and taste for which New York Pizzas are notable. There are more than 35 fresh and mouth-watering toppings to pick from. 

The pizza is made daily with their secret seasoning recipe that tastes like the New York Style Sauce. 

The pizzeria used 100 percent of California tomatoes, packed fresh when the growing season is at its peak. 

The dough is made from high-quality flour blended with the pizzeria’s blend of ingredients, aged for one day, and then hand-tossed to achieve a New York Style Crust. 

Their vegetables are always fresh, and their meat pizza toppings are excellently seasoned. 

Address: 1522 Broadway, Scottsbluff, NE 69361, United States

9. Midwest Theater 

Midwest Theater 
Credits: wavebreakmedia / Shutterstock

Midwest Theater has existed since 1946 in Downtown Scottsbluff in a historic building that has barely been renovated. 

Today this non-profit theater plays movies from Friday to Sunday, making it an ideal place to catch a movie. Seeing a movie here is one of the fun things to do in Scottsbluff, NE.

The Friends of the Midwest Theater manages the operation of the theater. 

Midwest Theater also serves as a multi-use cultural venue for the residents of Scottsbluff and the surrounding areas that host different activities, including performing arts and film. 

The famous building continues to showcase an incredibly high degree of exterior and interior integrity. 

Address: 1707 Broadway, Scottsbluff, NE 69361, United States

10. Fairfield Inn & Suites 

Fairfield Inn & Suites 
Credits: Jelena Stanojkovic / Shutterstock
Scottsbluff National Monument

Leisure and business travelers can enjoy a stress-free experience at Fairfield Inn and Suites. 

You can spend a day taking in the gorgeous view of Scott Bluff National Monument, minutes from the hotel. 

After a day well spent, retire to the suites and room with comfy pillowtop beds and stylish decorations. 

Fairfield Inn & Suites features complimentary high-speed WI-FI, well-lit workstations, and flat-panel TVs to help you balance play and work. 

When you wake up, you can begin your day with the hotel’s complimentary breakfast buffet, followed by a quick workout in the fitness center. 

You can also swim in the outdoor pool or relax on the patio with fire pits. 

Address: 902 Winter Creek Dr, Scottsbluff, NE 69361, United States

11. Scottsbluff Winter Farmers Market 

Scottsbluff Winter Farmers Market 
Credits: Arina P Habich / Shutterstock

If you are visiting Scottsbluff during winter, one of the top things to do is to shop at Scottsbluff Winter Farmers Market 

Local products do not end during winter in Nebraska. A few products like micro green can grow indoors all through the year and provide a continuous source of fresh ingredients even during the winter. 

Some products, such as jellies and jam, are harvested in the summer and kept to enjoy during summer. 

Locally raised meats are available all year round due to deep freezers and processing schedules. 

In Scottsbluff Winter Farmer’s Market, vendors sell beef, pork, baked goods, jams and jellies, micro greens, honey, soap, soup kits, woodwork, and other crafts. Warm homemade food is also available. 

The vendors offer products every first and third Saturday. Live music and other special events are held frequently throughout the season. 

Drop by Scottsbluff Winter Farmers Market on Saturdays and buy a particular seasonal item. 

Address: 1400 E 20th St, Scottsbluff, NE 69361-2710, United States

12. Ore Trail Park 

Ore Trail Park 
Credits: Sanit Fuangnakhon / Shutterstock

Oregon Trail Park is located in Gering, six minutes From Scottsbluff, NE. The 68-acre Park is a large and well-maintained area.

It features shaded trees, public restrooms, public swimming pool, two picnic shelters, 16 lighted ball fields, two lighted tennis courts, basketball courts, a greenhouse, and a soccer field. 

The Park also has a covered area for eating, children’s play area, swings, and slides. The park is home to the “Western Nebraska Pioneer” baseball team. 

College students from all across America gather during summer to watch a game of baseball. If you are in the area during this period, you can come here with your friends and family and have a fun evening. 

Address:1215 J. StreetGering, NE 69341, United States

13. Flyover Brewing Company 

Flyover Brewing Company 
Credits: Valentyn Volkov/ Shutterstock

Having resided in numerous cities with colorful and creative brewing scenes, the owners of Flyover Brewing Company wanted to carry the knowledge of brewing to the Nebraska panhandle. 

Since 2018, Flyover Brewing Company, which is the first brewery in Nebraska, has been taking pride in its food, beer, and location. It lies in a completely refurbished building in downtown Scottsbluff.

This brewing company uses equipment made in Lincoln, malt made in Nebraska, and locally grown adjuncts like sugar beets in their brewing. 

Flyover Brewing Company produces true-to-style lagers and ales and also creative locally-themed brews. 

Enjoy the environment, which is usually only in large cities, while sitting on the patio and observing small-town life pass by. 

Address: 1824 Broadway, Scottsbluff, NE 69361, United States

14. Rebecca Winter’s Gravesite 

Rebecca Winter's Gravesite 
Credits: Jimmy Emerson, DVM / Flickr
Rebecca Winter’s Gravesite 

Some of Nebraska’s most famous history took place along the historic pioneer trails. 

This tourist destination is the gravesite of Rebecca Winters, who was born in New York in 1799. After wedding Hiram Winters and converting to Mormonism, she embarked on a journey that would end up being her last. 

While on the journey with her new husband and some Mormon Pioneers, Rebecca got infected with Cholera and died on August 15, 1852. 

Although this is not a strange story because 6,000 travelers lost their life along the Mormon Trail, what makes it unique is the manner the grave was marked and preserved. 

Rebecca was laid to rest on the side of the trail. The story of her burial says that the people she was traveling with filled the bottom of the grave with wood obtained from the old wagon, but it was not enough to build a coffin. 

So she was wrapped in a quilt and placed in the grave in a quiet ceremony. An acquaintance traveling with the family inscribed her name and age on a metal weapon wheel. 

The grave was forgotten for a long time and left alone until the late 1800s. The Burlington Missouri Railroad rediscovered the grave while laying tracks in the area, so they rerouted the way to avoid disturbing the grave. 

Rebecca’s descendants mounted a monument on the site in 1902. In 1905, the grave was transferred to a safer area far from the tracks. 

A protective fence and historical markers have been included over the years to protect the grave and pass on her life story as well as the life story of other Mormon Pioneers 

Rebecca Winter’s grave serves as a place of contemplation and reverence where you can think about the contribution those courageous travelers made to America. 

Address: Nebraska, United States

15. Cappuccino and Company 

Cappuccino and Company 
Credits: Teerapong mahawan / Shutterstock

Cappuccino and Company is a welcoming and unique craft coffee shop that serves handcrafted coffee and much more. 

This little shop also offers amiable staff and a fantastic variety of coffees and frappes. 

Also, they have options for people with diet restrictions ranging from dairy-free to gluten-free and vegetarian. 

Cappuccino and Company have an enviable d├ęcor, laid-back atmosphere, and staff who enjoy their job. 

If you are looking for a hot cup of coffee, don’t hesitate to head over to Cappuccino and Company 

Address: 1703 Broadway, Scottsbluff, NE 69361, United States

Want more of Nebraska? do check out our list of things to do in Grand Island, things to do in Kearney, and things to do in Lincoln for a memorable vacation.

Plan Your Trip to Scottsbluff

Scottsbluff is a charming city in Nebraska with lots of exciting things to do. 

With proximity to many national historic sites and monuments, different accommodations, restaurants, and parks, the city is a perfect getaway destination.