Bellevue, NE Area Guide
Make yourself at home in Bellevue, Nebraska’s biggest small town! Whether you’ve come for a vacation or for a lifetime, we welcome you with open arms into our Bellevue-Offutt Family! Our picturesque urban hamlet is located just a scant eight miles from the greater metropolitan city of Omaha, just minutes from Eppley Airport. Our ideal location puts residents squarely at the center of everything the city offers, but our community takes the quality of life provided to its residents seriously—leave the hustle of the city behind, escape to your “home sweet home” in Bellevue and discover the best-kept secret of our local commuters! Bellevue believes in upholding a slower pace and a higher quality of life, preserving the harmony and peace of small-town values but keeping big-city opportunities and a forward-thinking mindset firmly in its sights. Bellevue is proud to be home to a large population of military families and personnel, working or stationed at our city’s Ouffutt Air Force Base, home of “The Flyin’ 55th”! Our residents cherish the Bellevue lifestyle, marked by a healthy economic climate, the lowest crime rate in the state, a productive work force, top-quality public schools, an inclusive atmosphere of cultural diversity and a “Heartland” community spirit. Bellevue’s rapidly growing economy provides a solid platform for area businesses, drawing entrepreneurs, professionals and businesses to our city so that they may grow and prosper. As one of Nebraska’s leading suburban economies, our private and business sectors grow leaps and bounds each day, propelling Bellevue into its future as a center of growth and development. Bellevue residents are eager to greet new neighbors, and embrace people from all walks of life to join the Bellevue-Offutt Family. Perfect for families, students, professionals, military families and retirees alike, Bellevue is waiting to welcome you home—what are you waiting for?
Historically, the Omaha area was a crossroad on the pioneer trails, a prosperous outpost for settlers on the road to their fortunes, giving the area the nickname, “The Gateway to the West”. Today, the Omaha area, including the suburbs of Bellevue and nearby Papillion, is the destination, not part of the journey—our cities provide residents with opportunity, excitement, natural beauty and a host of attractions to enjoy. Bellevue, at just eight miles distance from metropolitan Omaha, is close to everything and away from it all. The city and its fast pace is convenient for Bellevue residents to enjoy, but it’s also far enough away that they can retreat from the stress and hustle of the city’s urban lifestyle, and return to a slower pace of life and a semi-rural lifestyle in Bellevue. Our city embraces the idea of civic unity and patriotism, as a significant percentage of our population lives or works at Ouffutt Air Force Base. The base offers tours that are open to the public to educate and promote the unique sense of pride and responsibility our military families and friends have devoted their lives to upholding. For culture, art, and adventure, Bellevue residents don’t have to travel into the city unless they want to—Bellevue offers art, culture, excitement and natural beauty, events, festivals and performances that rival the big-city offerings of greater metro Omaha! From art galleries and unique restaurants, locally owned shops and businesses to farmer’s markets and community festivals, Bellevue’s the biggest small town you’ll ever visit, as exciting as the city but as peaceful and pristine as the country. For gourmands, explore Bellevue’s more than 100 restaurants. For cultural performances and special events, we feature a renowned theatre. Sports fans, take note—Bellevue has 26 parks and sports fields, 7 golf courses and a marina, so by land or by water, there’s plenty to do. Bargain hunters and serious shoppers will get lost in Bellevue’s hundreds of stores and specialty shops, offering everything from nationally known retailers to one-of-a-kind antiques and handmade crafts from local artisans. Everything you could possibly want to see, do, taste or experience is right at your fingertips in Bellevue. For your convenience, we’ve provided a list of some of Bellevue’s favorite attractions. Remember, in Bellevue—it’s here, or it’s near!
In the latter part of the 19th century, Bellevue was a town struggling to maintain its existence. Bellevue College (now Bellevue University) and the establishment of Fort Crook revived the town, bringing it back to life and revitalizing Bellevue from the ground up. Over time, Fort Crook was renamed Offutt Air Force Base, and the famed Martin Bomber Plant opened its doors, bringing new jobs and residents to Bellevue in droves. Between 1940 and 1960, Bellevue’s population swelled to more than 20,000, securing its survival and making its residents proud supporters of the military base which has rescued the city. Today, Offutt Air Force Base offers a tour program to the public, allowing guests to get an up-close look at their U.S. Air Force. Offutt AFB believes that the more the public knows about the courageous men and women who work at the base and their important mission, the more tour goers will be able to go back into their civilian lives and support their military friends. By enhancing the communication between the military personnel and the public and allowing for recognition of success in our units and individuals, we believe that visitors will leave the tours with a fuller understanding of the Air Force story and a renewed appreciation for their neighbors in uniform.
The Omaha and Sarpy County region was explored by Lewis and Clark in 1805 and the area was later settled by a collection of pioneer farmers, fur traders, adventurers and entrepreneurs. Our bold forefathers provided a springboard for Nebraska’s settlement and expansion, and at the Sarpy County Historical Museum, we honor their courage and their achievements, each of which allowed Bellevue residents to enjoy the unparalleled quality of life they have today Admission is free, but a $2.00 donation is encouraged to help with museum maintenance and operation. We invite guests to the museum to trace Sarpy County’s history, from the indigenous Native American tribes who originally on the lands right up to our present-day residents. Some of the museum’s exhibits include the history of fur traders and missionaries who settled the area during the 19th century, themed period rooms, displays of Sarpy County’s early agricultural endeavors, and a scale model of Fort Crook (now Offutt Air Force Base). Visitors may also sign up for a historical tour, which visits several of the over 20 Historical Register Sites listed in Sarpy County, including the state’s first bank, oldest church and the Bellevue historical cemetery.
Bellevue Little Theatre, Sarpy County's only performing arts center, was founded in 1968 as a non-profit organization. With over 40 seasons of curtain calls behind it, today BLT entertains thousands of visitors annually, providing professional productions and performances at budget-friendly cost. Bellevue Little Theatre has a reputation for excellence and outstanding production and performance, evident in the amount of accolades they have achieved in recent years. The Theatre Arts Guild (TAG) has recognized Bellevue Little Theatre numerous times for outstanding production quality, creative direction and innovative design, as well as achievement in individual performance by its actors. Between September and June of each year, the theatre troupe assembles five productions, 2 musical theatre performances and 3 plays, each of which are carefully chosen and expertly executed. For theatre goers who have ever fantasized about raiding the theatre closet, Bellevue Little Theatre invites you to do just that, with a theatre thrift shop operated through the theatre’s main building. All thrift store proceeds are put towards theatre maintenance and future productions, so go ahead—take home part of the show!
The city of Bellevue was named for its remarkable beauty. Our unique name is derived from the language of the fur trappers who were some of our regions earliest settlers. In French, our city’s name, Belle Vue, means “beautiful view”. According to our local oral traditions, the French explorers and fur trappers who settled the land that eventually became our city named the settlement Bellevue because of the breathtaking vista from the bluffs, overlooking the crystal-clear river below. The beauty that our pioneer forefathers recognized in Bellevue remains untouched today, preserved and protected for future generations to enjoy at our parks and open spaces. Bellevue believes that the preserved natural areas of our city directly contribute to the high quality of life our residents enjoy, and as such, support and maintain over 600 acres of land, distributed over 34 city parks. Bellevue city parks provide guests with an impressive selection of amenities to take advantage of during their visits to area parks: 30 game fields, 8 basketball courts, 16 tennis courts, 6 pools, and 25 playgrounds encourage adults and children, families and friends, to enjoy the spirit of play together! Bellevue’s greenways and trail systems allow guests a wealth of ways to get into nature and enjoy the best of what our beautiful state has to offer. Nebraska’s moderate climate makes most outdoor activities enjoyable and available throughout the seasons: from hiking and biking to fishing, hunting, swimming, kayaking and canoeing, there’s an adventure awaiting you by land or by water. Equestrian activities, camping, nature watching and picnicking are available at most area parks; no matter what your preference, there’s a place to enjoy it in Bellevue. Below, we’ve provided just a few of Bellevue’s best outdoor destinations to get you started—but don’t forget, nearby Omaha provides Bellevue residents with even more to choose from, with state parks and national park preserves and nature refuges all within a convenient distance.
For a comprehensive guide to the parks, trails and greenways of Bellevue, please visit Bellevue City Parks Information. Listed below are just a few of the parks and their amenities, open and free to the public to enjoy!
Playground, Soccer Fields, Tennis Courts, Jogging Trail, Ballfields
Hastings Banner Park
Dog Park, Trails
Playground, Tennis Courts, Ballfields
Playground, Pool, Tennis Courts
The City of Bellevue’s signature natural destination is Haworth Park, with 155 acres to enjoy on your own terms. On its Eastern edge, along the glittering banks of the Missouri River, is Bellevue Marina at Haworth Park, a 200-slip marina customized with floating docks of varied length. Dry docking is also available at Bellevue Marina. The privately gated marina, with its own designated private parking area is comprised of eight piers, with most of its docks fully equipped with water, lighting and electrical outlets. Haworth Park Campground is available for naturalists to rent, but for a comfortable camping experience, the campgrounds offer both 30 amp and 50 amp hookups. Haworth Park’s Picnic Shelters are also available for rental, allowing a fun outdoor experience that’s ideal for birthday parties, family reunions, or community organization events. The Bellevue Loop of the famous Keystone Trail begins in Haworth Park, and the trail features 10 miles of scenic, open trail that works its way south on the levee of the Missouri River, towards the mouth of Papio Creek. The Bellevue Nature and History Trail at Haworth Park is a two-mile trek through the beauty of the woods along the Missouri River’s edge, with markers explaining the historic significance of certain points on the trail.
Fontenelle Nature Association is one of Nebraska's oldest conservation organizations, founded in 1913. It also has the distinction of being one of the nation’s largest private nature centers. Fontenelle Nature Association is a federally designated non-profit public charity that owns and manages two nature centers: Fontenelle Forest Nature Center in Bellevue and Neale Woods in Omaha. Additionally, Fontenelle Nature Association is a National Natural Landmark, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Sites. FNA’s properties span over 2,000 acres of forest, prairie and wetlands along the Missouri River in the pristine beauty of the Loess Hills. FNA hosts over 30,000 guests annually, providing public programs, environmental education, early childhood education and astronomy nights, as well as a number of specially scheduled events that support our mission of maintaining a central place for citizens to experience, learn about and enjoy the natural beauty and wildlife of our geographically significant area. Our goal is to inspire present and future generations to care for the precious natural world, encouraging preservation and education at an early age. We embrace modern innovations which help us in achieving this goal, and as such have implemented a new program where nature and cyberspace come together to coexist harmoniously. Fontenelle’s NatureSearch is our online guide, detailing all the living things in Fontenelle Forest and Neale Woods.
Held at Bellevue’s treasure, the beautiful and expansive Haworth Park, the annual Riverfest is one of the biggest parties in Nebraska, inviting over 40,000 people to join in the festivities on the banks of the Missouri River! Every July, join friends and neighbors for two days of live music, great food, entertainment, games, raffles and our official, Kansas City Barbecue Society-sponsored barbecue competition! Events and exhibits abound at RiverFest, with a vendor’s village and beer garden being two of the event’s main draws. Other special events include the Bellevue University RiverFest 5K, Green Zone, Beardmore Chevrolet Car Shine & Show and the Iron Chef Competition. RiverFest is family-friendly, too, with a KidZone there to entertain the little ones throughout the event’s duration. Be sure to stay until the end, though—the event’s finale is a magnificent fireworks display against the beauty of Bellevue’s night skies!
The Offutt Open House and Defenders of Freedom Air Show is Bellevue’s annual showcase, bringing over 200,000 guests to Offutt Air Force Base each year. The event offers free admission to the public and features static displays, exhibitors, aerial team performances and demos, vendors, food, and souvenirs. In recent years, performers and exhibitors have included the USN Blue Angels, USA Golden Knights, Air Force Thunderbirds and the Air Force Academy Wings of Blue parachute team. Don’t be afraid that the kids will get bored, either—there’s a designated Fun Zone set up to allow the whole family to take part in the event. Fun Zone activities are geared towards kids of all ages, as well as their parents, and include peddle planes, a Nu-Tek B52 simulator, and “Dream Big”, an A-& Corsair cockpit, where you can have a family photo taken to preserve the memories. For more information on other upcoming regional air shows, visit The Nebraska Air Fest website!
To Find Out What’s New in Bellevue, Visit The Bellevue Chamber of Commerce Events Page—Don’t Miss Out On The Fun in Bellevue!