Home to the University of Nebraska, the state’s second-largest city scores with beautiful blooms in the Sunken Gardens, lively entertainment and the Art Deco-style Capitol.

By The editors of MidwestLiving.com
June 14, 2012

Due to possible coronavirus-related travel restrictions, please check destinations' websites for the current status of attractions, events, restaurants and lodgings.


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. lincolnhaymarket.org

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. nps.gov/home

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

Licorice International Free samples help customers find a favorite among hundreds of licorice from 16 countries. licoriceinternational.com

Lincoln Children's Zoo Cheetahs will have space to sprint up to 70 mph this year in their new habitat at the 55-year-old zoo, home to more than 400 creatures. lincolnzoo.org

Memorial Stadium Find a football game ticket online to see the Huskers. (Games have been officially sold out since 1962.) Or take a tour on nongame days to see where the magic happens. huskers.com

Memorial Stadium

Mueller Planetarium Astronomy and science shows fill the 360-degree screen of Fulldome Experience at the planetarium, part of the University of Nebraska State Museum at Morrill Hall. museum.unl.edu

Pinnacle Bank Arena The $179 million arena seats more than 15,000 for Cornhuskers basketball games and concerts. pinnaclebankarena.com

Pinnacle Bank Arena

Sheldon Museum of Art Inspired by ancient Greek temples, this midcentury modern building designed by Philip Johnson showcases American artwork. sheldonartmuseum.org

State Capitol Tours of the 1932 building highlight ornate floor and ceiling mosaics and wall murals celebrating Nebraska’s rich pioneer and Native American history. capitol.nebraska.gov

State Capitol

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 Nightlincoln.ne.gov

Sunken Gardens of Lincoln


Boiler Brewing Company Ginger, chipotle, peanut butter—you never know what will flavor the rotating brews. The space was originally the boiler room of the 1904 Grand Manse, constructed as a courthouse and post office. boilerbrewingcompany.com

Bourbon Street Build your own seafood boil for a hands-on feast, and pair it with fruity hurricane drinks for a taste of New Orleans in the Haymarket. thesinglebarrel.com

Blue Orchid Thai Restaurant Try crowd-pleasers such as pad Thai and yellow curry in a former post office and courthouse. Blue Orchid Thai Restaurant on Facebook

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

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

High Society Cheesecake Gourmet cheesecakes with flavors like white chocolate raspberry and peanut butter cup should put this shop high on your list. highsocietycheesecake.com

High Society Cheesecake

Honest Abe's Burgers and Freedom The burger menu changes frequently, but you can always count on creative toppings plus a side of Parmesan truffle fries. grounduprestaurants.com

Hub Cafe Locally sourced ingredients such as sausage, cheese and fruit flavor breakfast and brunch specials. Patio seats overlook urban trails and a creek. hubcafelincoln.com

JTK Cuisine Low lighting, attentive staff and sumptuous dishes like beet linguini with grilled chicken create a date-night destination in Haymarket’s former train depot. jtkrestaurant.com

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

Le Quartier Buttery croissants, artisan breads, macarons and scones star at this French-style bakery and cafe, which serves breakfast and lunch. lequartierbakingco.com

The Oven A bowl of mulligatawny soup (piquantly spiced lentil soup) sets the stage for Indian cuisine, such as tender tandoori chicken. theoven-lincoln.com

Parthenon Greek Grill and Taverna Columns line the sidewalk in front of the Parthenon, where two sons of Greek immigrants cook braised lamb shank and Chicken Souvlaki. theparthenon.net

Screamers Dining and Cabaret A staff of up-and-coming local talent serves classic cuisine and a vocal performance at this restaurant and musician incubator mash-up. screamersdining.com

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. thesinglebarrel.com



The downtown Courtyard, Hilton Garden Inn and Embassy Suites all deliver a solid business-class experience, close to the Haymarket and Railyard entertainment districts.

Graduate Lincoln Corn-print curtains, emerald green sofas and cowboy-theme pillows reflect the playful Nebraska touches you’ll discover at this 231-room Haymarket district hotel. graduatehotels.com

Graduate Lincoln. Photo courtesy of hotel.

The Kindler Hotel Two elegant, century-old buildings have been restored to create the city’s first boutique hotel, with 49 rooms and a lounge named for champion ice skater and Food Network star Brian Boitano. thekindlerhotel.com

For information visit lincoln.org