As the capital of Nebraska, Lincoln is home to a wealth of museums and cultural attractions, but it is also a university city with an active and vibrant atmosphere. If you decide to pull off the highway and spend a bit of time here, you’ll find no shortage of things to do.
Seasonal as it is best enjoyed between the middle of May and end of October – The Sunken Gardens located on the Southwest corner of 27th and Capital Parkway in Lincoln Nebraska is a great place to stroll through the garden, enjoy the fish ponds and take photos with a beautiful backdrop. While there you may encounter a wedding, wedding parties getting photographed or other professional photography happening as it is such a great environment that lends itself to perfect pictures. There is a great path on the upper level of the sunken garden to stroll and it provides you with a great vantage point as it overlooks the whole sunken garden. When you visit you may also want to bring a book, a folding chair or blanket as there are some grassy areas to sit and read a book while taking in the view.
The Sunken Gardens is a Lincoln Nebraska treasure that is open to the public and is free of charge. However, there are donation kettles located in the park and all donations are appreciated in helping the garden to continue to grow. The garden is open daily from 6 am to 11pm parking is available at 26th and D and along 26th street.
Nebraska State Capitol
A year-round indoor activity (the observation deck may be closed in inclement weather)- The Nebraska State Capitol is in the heart of Lincoln Nebraska between 14th Street and 16th Street on K Street. The Nebraska State Capitol is the tallest state capitol in the United States and was designed by Bertram Goodhue an Architect from New York. When you visit the Nebraska State Capitol you will be in awe of the architectural design and details. The mosaic tiled floors all with themed designs telling a story of Nebraska. The breathtaking murals adorning the walls also have symbolism and stories associated with them. One of the murals depicts the blizzard of 1888 and shows a school teacher and her students roped together as they walk in the blizzard.
Depending on when you visit you may also get the opportunity to visit Nebraska’s state legislature in action. Nebraska is unique in that we have a Unicameral system of legislature and as a result one of the things you will see is the legislative floor that is no longer utilized. The entrance to that area is special in that it has a carved set of doors that are unique.
The Nebraska state capitol is open to the public Monday – Friday 8am to 5pm Saturdays 10am-5pm and Sundays 1pm-5pm. Tours of the capitol are given on the hour and are very informative.
The Lincoln Children’s Zoo
The Lincoln Children’s Zoo is located on the northeast corner of 27th and A Street in Lincoln Nebraska. Currently, the Zoo is expanding with a completion date of 2019 and will offer many new exhibits including; Giraffes, Tigers, Spider Monkeys and more. Should you visit now, there are many exhibits and activities for the whole family to enjoy including a train that circles the perimeter of the zoo providing a great view of many of the animals.
The zoo is open daily 10am-5pm through October 16th and admission is $9.95 for adults and $8.95 for children.
Visit their website at http://www.lincolnzoo.org/ for more information
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The Historic Haymarket is a charming section of the Lincoln downtown that offers shopping and restaurants in a revitalized area historically known for commercial and industrial factories. Many of the businesses located in the Haymarket are located in historic buildings that have many original features. Also, there are newer buildings like the Railyard and of course the Pinnacle Bank Arena.
You have many options for dining including; Lazlos, McKinney’s Irish Pub, Old Chicago, Screamers, The Oven, Rodizio Grill, El Potrero, Buzzard Billy’s, Buffalo Wings and Rings and Vincenzo’s to name a few. Should you wish to have dessert, Ivanna Cone is a local favorite and located inside the Creamery building.
There are many options for bars and lounges within the Haymarket as well; Brodsky’s, Starlight Lounge, N Zone Sports Bar & Grill, JJ Hooligans and Gate 25 as just a few options.
Shopping options in the Haymarket are plentiful as well and includes; Indigo Bookstore, Burlington Antiques, 3 Daughters Boutique, From Nebraska Gift Shop, Licorice International, KD Design Jewelry and more.
Coffee shops can be found in the Haymarket as well… The Mill, Crescent Moon, Java Depot and Scooters all available to get your coffee fix.
For more information and specific locations of the businesses mentioned https://lincolnhaymarket.org/
Pinnacle Bank Arena
The Pinnacle Bank Arena stands proudly as you enter Lincoln Nebraska from the north and is located in the Haymarket. The arena serves as an anchor to the Haymarket drawing approximately 740,000 visitors a year. The arena hosts University of Nebraska Basketball games, concerts and numerous other special events throughout the year. While visiting Lincoln Nebraska you can check the schedule of events including concert dates, times and ticket prices at the website link below. There are many options for parking either on one of the adjacent streets or in one of the parking garages nearby. Visitors to the Pinnacle Bank Arena can also enjoy food or beverages nearby at one of the restaurants or bars within the Haymarket area.
Lincoln Children’s Museum
The Lincoln Children’s Museum is located at 1420 P Street in downtown Lincoln Nebraska. The museum is a great place to take children of all ages to explore and learn with many hands-on exhibits and activities. There is 23,000 square feet of exhibit space that provides room to roam and learn new and exciting things. In addition to all the many exhibits, there are many scheduled special events that take place at different times of the year. Should a visit to the Lincoln Children’s Museum find its way in to your schedule, please note that there is a charge for entry. Additionally, the museum is open Monday through Saturday 9:30am to 5:00 pm and Sunday 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm. Parking is available on the street metered or in one of the nearby parking garages. Please visit the Lincoln Children’s Museum website for more information including the special event schedule and more!
The Lincoln Community Playhouse
The Lincoln Community Playhouse is located at 2500 South 56th Street Lincoln Nebraska and is a live performance theater that hosts many great theatrical productions. The mission of the Lincoln Community Playhouse is “mission is to positively transform the lives of individuals and profoundly change our community by providing the finest quality theatre experience”. There are many shows scheduled throughout the year so visit the website below to see the schedule and contact the box office to purchase tickets.
Lincoln Nebraska’s original shopping mall offers visitors may options in stores, merchants and dining. Located on the north side of east O between Cotner and 66th in Lincoln Nebraska. Currently in 2018, there are many changes happening including a new activity center that is rumored to include a bowling alley and many other family friendly activities. The mall includes a children’s play area and a vendor that sells rides on motorized animals. There is a new Dick’s Sporting Goods Store, a new Granite City restaurant and a newer H&M Store. There are many food and restaurant options within the mall and food court. Examples include; Panda Express, Charley’s Philly Steaks, Dickies BBQ, Applebees, Five Guys Burgers and Qdoba to name a few.
There is plenty of parking with both uncovered and covered parking available, the mall is open Monday -Saturday 10am-9pm and Sundays 11am-6pm. For more information visit https://www.shoppinggatewaymall.com/