Lincoln Trip Guide | Midwest Living

Lincoln Trip Guide

Home to the University of Nebraska, this college town scores with beautiful blooms in the Sunken Gardens of Lincoln, a lively entertainment district and the Art Deco-style Capitol.
High Society Cheesecake
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Haymarket District Dozens of restaurants mingle with boutiques, bookstores and coffeehouses, making this a hopping place to hang out downtown, especially on Husker football game days.

Homestead National Monument of America Learn how the Homestead Act of 1862 inspired settlers to pursue the American Dream. In Beatrice, 40 miles south. Free.

International Quilt Study Center and Museum Explore a rainbow of historical and contemporary quilts on the East Campus.

Licorice International Free samples help customers find a favorite among 160 types of licorice from 13 countries.

Lincoln Children’s Zoo Families come to the 51-year-old zoo in the heart of Lincoln to see more than 400 creatures, including lemurs, river otters and snow leopards. The new Tortoise Trek houses three Galapagos tortoises.

Memorial Stadium Tickets to University of Nebraska football games are tough to get (it’s been sold out since 1962), but self-guided tours (on nongame days only) show where the magic happens.

Mueller Planetarium See a supervolcano erupt in a 360-degree virtual environment in the Fulldome Experience at the planetarium, part of the University of Nebraska State Museum at Morrill Hall.

Pinnacle Bank Arena The three-year-old, $179 million arena seats 15,000 for Cornhusker basketball games and concerts.

Sheldon Museum of Art Inspired by ancient Greek temples, this midcentury modern building designed by Philip Johnson holds 12,000 pieces spanning Mary Cassatt to Andy Warhol.

State Capitol Tours of the 1932 building highlight ornate mosaics and murals celebrating Nebraska’s pioneer and Native American history. The domed 14th-floor Memorial Chamber, dedicated to heroism of public servants, opens to panoramic views of Lincoln.

Sunken Gardens of Lincoln More than 30,000 annuals bloom in the themed display; past designs have included peacocks and Van Gogh’s The Starry Night.


Blue Orchid Thai Restaurant Try crowd-pleasers like spring rolls, pad Thai and yellow curry in a former courthouse and post office. Blue Orchid Thai Restaurant on Facebook

Bread and Cup Find dishes like cinnamon rolls topped with homemade granola and a caramel drizzle, slow-roasted pulled pork sandwiches with savory garlic sauce, curried apple tuna salad with spring greens, or bread-pudding temptations like dark chocolate or banana rum.

Buzzard Billy’s Fried alligator? Absolutely. Or try other Creole and Southern eats like red beans and rice. Warm evenings call for patio seats.

Cultiva Coffee Excellent coffee roasted in-house complements crepes, sandwiches and johnnycakes (cornmeal pancakes).

High Society Cheesecake Fire-roasted corn chowder, meaty sandwiches and more than 30 kinds of cheesecake should put this lunch-only shop high on your list.

Lazlo’s Brewery and Grill Beer-cheese soup pairs with house-crafted beer at this anchor in the Haymarket district.

Le Quartier Buttery croissants, macaroons and cranberry-lemon scones star at the French-style bakery and cafe.

The Oven A bowl of mulligatawny soup (piquantly spiced lentil soup) sets the stage for Indian cuisine like tender tandoori chicken.

Parthenon Greek Grill and Taverna You can’t miss the columns lining the sidewalk in front of the Parthenon, where two sons of Greek immigrants cook braised lamb shank and Mediterranean-style shrimp.

The Single Barrel Equal parts whiskey bar and locally owned restaurant (plus a mechanical bull) combine for a memorable meal. Specialties include meats smoked on-site.


Chains The downtown Courtyard (, Hilton Garden Inn ( and Embassy Suites ( all deliver the solid quality you’d expect of business-class hotels, each with easy access to the Haymarket and Railyard entertainment districts. 

For information: Lincoln Convention and Visitors Bureau (800) 423-8212;

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