Two-Day Getaway to Lincoln | Midwest Living

Two-Day Getaway to Lincoln

Husker football, college museums and a booming Haymarket district entertain visitors in the state capital.
Nebraska State Capitol
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Sunken Gardens of Lincoln
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Pinnacle Bank Arena
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Memorial Stadium, home of Husker football
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Lincoln Children's Zoo. Photo courtesy of Nebraska Tourism
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Day 1

The butter croissant, cream puff and cranberry lemon zest scone star at Le Quartier.

Most of the classes on beading, wire wrapping and pencil drawing at Lux Center for the Arts have a family focus.

In downtown’s Haymarket District, dozens of restaurants scatter among boutiques, bookstores and coffeehouses.

At Bread and Cup, one of the city’s leading chefs creates dishes such as a curried apple tuna salad, which is best followed by chocolate-banana bread pudding and coffee from a French press.

Guided tours of the state capitol highlight its distinctive tower design and murals celebrating Nebraska heroes.

Parthenon Greek Grill and Taverna urges guests to take the time to appreciate the braised lamb shank or Mediterranean shrimp pasta; if you can’t decide what to order, try a combination platter.

For modern amenities near the arena and Haymarket, you won’t go wrong staying at either the Courtyard by Marriott (from $129) or the Hilton Garden Inn (from $149).

Day 2

Crepes and coffee roasted in-house start the day at Cultiva Coffee near the capitol.

Annuals bloom in the themed display at the Sunken Gardens of Lincoln; past designs have included peacocks, solar flares and Van Gogh’s The Starry Night.

An anchor in the Haymarket District, Lazlo’s Brewery and Grill serves excellent beer-cheese soup as well as year-round and seasonal craft beers from its own Empyrean Brewing Co.

Just down the block, free samples of licorice somewhat ease the difficult decision of which flavor to buy at Licorice International, where candy is serious business.

Each year, the Sheldon Museum of Art (on the University of Nebraska campus) holds about 20 exhibitions focusing on American art.

Visitors fly through black holes and swim with whales in a 360-degree virtual environment in the Fulldome Experience at the university’s Mueller Planetarium.

If you’re hungry for an exotic meal, try curried specialities at Lincoln landmark The Oven or Thai creations at The Blue Orchid.

More information: (800) 423-8212;

One big party

Pinnacle Bank Arena opened last year, transforming the skyline and providing a new home for Cornhusker basketball. Throughout the year, the arena hosts big-hitters like Bon Jovi, Elton John and the Eagles. Just outside, a new entertainment district has sprung to life. (402) 904-4444;


Husker football Tickets to football games at Memorial Stadium are tough to get (sold out since 1962). But visitors can see where the magic happens during a self-guided tour (on nongame days) that includes a display of the Huskers’ three Heisman trophies and an enormous weight room. (402) 472-3333;

Inside scoop

Lincoln Secret Suppers A new dining concept reflects Lincoln’s increasingly adventurous culinary options. Guests buy tickets to these suppers without knowing where, with whom or what they’ll eat. But they can be sure it’ll be a high-end meal from a local chef and mixologist team. Part of the fun is meeting new people around the 48-foot-long table. (402) 937-1116;

By the numbers

Eight lemurs, four river otters and many more creatures draw visitors to the Lincoln Children’s Zoo. After seeing the animals, walk through the botanical gardens and take a ride aboard the iconic Iron Horse, the original train used in building the zoo 50 years ago. (402) 475-6741;

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