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Travels in the Heartland: Antiquing and more in Fremont, Nebraska

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Posted at 3:27 PM, Apr 21, 2022

FREMONT, Neb. (The Walking Tourists) — Antique enthusiasts love visiting Fremont. Known as the "East Nebraska Antique Capital," five antique stores beckon people to explore downtown for deals. Meanwhile, Fremont has a lot more to offer visitors: outdoor fun at the state lakes, air boating on the Platte River, vintage building tours and even a new brewery.

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Downtown Fremont, Nebraska

Whether it's a day trip or weekend excursion, you'll find interesting activities to fill your time antique shopping with five downtown antique shops, it's nearly impossible to leave without a bag or two of treasures. Whether it's books, magazines or vintage globes from Yankee Peddler West, furniture and accessories at Park Avenue Antiques or classic games, housewares or lunch boxes at Junktion Flea Market, each store brings its own individual approach to antiquing. R Antiques, on the south end of Main Street features a collection of old tools. Via + Belle combines a women's clothing and home decor boutique on the first floor with an antique collection in the basement.

Historic Downtown walking tour

Enjoy a self-guided walking tour of Historic Downtown Fremont by checking out some of the oldest buildings in the city, including the Opera House. Opened in 1888, the Opera House was the site of live theater for nearly 30 years. Today, the Opera House serves as an events center as well as hosting occasional music programs.

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Fremont, Nebraska

Home to Yankee Peddler West, the Weiland and Sons Building was constructed in 1880, one of the oldest in Fremont. As you walk along Main Street from Sixth to about Third Streets, look up to admire the architectural designs, colors and accents of each of the vintage buildings. The Empress Theater opened in 1915, showing silent movies. Revamped in the mid-1930s to offer “talkies,” the theater was a popular downtown attraction until 1977 when modern movie houses took over along 23rd Street. But, the Empress is reborn as a project continues to return the theater to its former self, showcasing classic and independent movies as well as serving as an events center.

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Empress Theater in Fremont, Nebraska

505 Brewing Company

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505 Brewing in Fremont, Nebraska

Recently opened 505 Brewing Company offers beers, each brewed in-house. With names such as Pathfinder, Lakeside and Flatwater, 505 Brewing seeks to honor the area’s history, becoming the first local brewery in more than a century. With stouts, IPAs, ales and Glacial Till’s cider, 505 Brewing has become a popular spot at 349 N. Main Street. Originally planned for the 505 Building on North Main, it changed locations because the 505 Building is being refurbished into loft apartments. While the brewery doesn’t serve food, customers can bring in their own or have meals delivered. 505 also has several TVs for sports viewing. The brewery plans to open a rooftop section within the next year.

Gallery 92 West

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West 92 Gallery in Fremont, Nebraska

Located near Sixth and Park Avenue, Gallery 92 West showcases the artwork of local and regional artists. The Fremont Area Art Association started in 1960 to develop and promote area art. The art gallery, with an open floor, shares several mediums including oil painting, photography, sculpture, pottery and jewelry.

Milady Coffeehouse

With an impressive décor that combines the history of the May Brothers Building with the eclectic feel of an urban coffeehouse, MiLady Coffeehouse is an excellent spot to grab a cup of your favorite coffee and maybe breakfast or lunch.

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Fremont, Nebraska

The coffeehouse quickly established itself as a favorite among locals and is a must when visiting Fremont. MiLady took its name from an 1800s coffee brand, whose aroma would waft through the May Brothers Building where the grocers worked. Check out the mural of the brothers near the entrance.

Louis May Museum

Built in 1874 in the Italianate Revival style, the mansion at 1643 N. Nye Avenue served as the home of Theron Nye, Fremont’s first mayor. In the early 1900s, the elder Nye gave the mansion to his son, who renovated the property, using a classical revival style that visitors see today.

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Louis E. May Museum

With white columns accentuating the façade, May Museum resembles a southern mansion. The home serves as a museum for the Dodge County Historical Society, showcasing life during the late 1800s when the Nyes lived there, as well as special exhibits. The mansion’s grounds are immaculate, often used for wedding and senior class photos. A gazebo is a perfect spot for enjoying the views. With flower gardens around the property, the May Museum is a colorful location to visit.

Fremont State Lakes Recreation Area

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Fremont State Lakes

Known as the Fremont Lakes, the state recreation area west of the city along Military Avenue offers fun in the water and sun, with swimming, boating and camping available at several of the 20 sandpit lakes. Lakes 10 and 15 are designated for powerboats and water skiing is allowed on them. Other lakes are set aside for non-motorized boats including kayaks and canoes. Fishing is allowed at most of the lakes, with catfish, bluegill and largemouth bass common. Muskies are located in Lake 20, while rainbow trout are stocked seasonally in Lake 2. Swimming is allowed in buoyed areas, with no lifeguards on duty. Camping is also allowed at the recreation area. A state parks permit or a day pass is required for entrance.

Fremont Veterans Park

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Air Force monument in Fremont, Nebraska

Located at Military Avenue and Lincoln Street, the Fremont Veterans Park recognizes the men and women who have served in the country’s five service branches: Army, Marines, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard and the Merchant Marine.

An eagle is mounted atop a memorial recognizing the wars and conflicts during which area veterans have served including the Civil War and the Gulf War. Each military branch has its own plaque, showcasing its military emblem and brief historical description.

On the north end of the monuments is “Remember our Fallen." It is a kneeling soldier paying tribute to a fallen comrade with a rifle and pair of boots in front of him. Veterans plan to add Liberty Island, which will stretch from the monuments to the eternal flame (established to honor President John F. Kennedy following his 1963 assassination) and will include replicas of the Statue of Liberty and Liberty Bell.

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Remembering our Fallen sculpture in Fremont, Nebraska

While in the area, check out the murals along Military Avenue, just east of Veterans Park, highlighting local residents in patriotic painting.

River Life Airboat Tours

Located in Cedar Bluffs, about 15 minutes southwest of Fremont, River Life Airboats offers airboat rides on the Platte River. You’ll reach speeds up to 50 mph as the boat skims across sandbars and whizzes past bluffs and trees, home to eagles, herons and other wildlife. River Life offers one- and three-hour tours during the summer through fall.

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Fremont, Nebraska

While Fremont’s reputation as a bedroom community may satisfy some people, others are actively seeking ways to improve Fremont and attract visitors and new residents including a new axe-throwing business at Sixth and Main in the former Buck’s Shoes store. That axe throwing space will have 16-foot deep lanes, a bar and an events area. A new pizzeria and pub are set for south Main Street.

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