101 Things to Do in Lincoln, Nebraska

“What is there to do in Lincoln, Nebraska?!” was a question I got asked a lot when I announced that I would be moving there for graduate school. As a 20-something coming to Lincoln from a larger city, I felt a bit at a loss. So, naturally, I Googled it. Lots of reviews of fancy restaurants came up, but nothing to really guide my exploration. No friendly, neighborhood young professional had taken the time to make a list, as they had in places like Milwaukee and Chicago. I panicked. Was I really going to be wandering the cornfields for the next two years?

Little did I know at the time, Lincoln would turn out to be an incredible place filled with lots of local treasures, great restaurants, and fun nightlife. Now, with all the new places popping up in town, making an all-inclusive list would be impossible. However, I have done my best to compile a list of area attractions that should keep you fairly busy year-round. In the nature of leaving things better than you found them, I present to you “101 Things to Do in Lincoln, Nebraska”:

  1. Experience a Husker football game at Memorial Stadium, when the stadium becomes the third largest city in Nebraska. GO BIG RED! (http://www.huskers.com/football)
  2. Tailgate at a Husker football game.  (Yes, this is listed separate from #1 on purpose.)
  3. Soak in the incredible view from the 14th floor observation level of the Capital Building (and take the free tour, it’s totally worth it). (http://capitol.org/visit/building-hours)
  4. Yia Yia’s, home of Lincoln’s famous Around the World pizza and largest beer selection, is a MUST! (http://yiayiaspizza.com/)
  5. Bike, run, or walk the dog on 77 miles of awesome trails throughout the city. (http://lincoln.ne.gov/city/parks/parksfacilities/trails/distances.htm)
  6. Taste the Rainbow (Chicken) and an Empyrean brew at Lazlo’s, a Lincoln staple and Nebraska’s first brew-pub. (http://www.lazlosbreweryandgrill.com/)
  7. Check out a baseball game at Haymarket Park. (http://www.saltdogs.com/haymarketpark/) (http://www.huskers.com/baseball)
  8. Support local arts by attending a show at the Lincoln Community Playhouse , TADA, or Haymarket Theatre. (http://www.lincolnplayhouse.com/) (http://www.tadaproductions.info/ ) (http://haymarkettheatre.org/)
  9. Take a flight with the “brave new brew” at the Zipline Taproom. (http://www.ziplinebrewing.com/)
  10. Wander the University of Nebraska-Lincoln campus. While you’re there, try to find all of these campus landmarks! (http://bit.ly/1llvigP)
  11. Buy sandwiches at Bison Witches! They’re all DE-LISH! (http://www.bisonwitches.com/menu_lincoln.php)
  12. Sip a tasty Irish Mocha at The Coffee House (“CoHo”). (https://www.facebook.com/TheCoffeeHouseLincoln/info)
  13. Explore the many ethnic restaurants along 27th Street. For a taste of Vietnam, have a bowl of Pho at Pho Factory, then head next door to Bahnwich Café for a green waffle. (http://phofactorylincoln.com/) (http://www.banhwichcafe.com/)
  14. Stop by C. Berry’s for some of the cheapest and best BBQ around. (http://www.cberrys.com/)
  15. Take a sweet stop at Ivanna Cone for some incredible handmade ice cream. (http://www.ivannacone.com/)
  16. Satisfy your late night food cravings with a D’Leons burrito and potatoes locos.
  17. Grab a spot on the lawn for some great live music during Jazz in June. (http://www.jazzinjune.com/)
  18. Taste the best burgers in Lincoln at Honest Abe’s Burgers & Freedom. (http://grounduprestaurants.com/honestabes.html)
  19. Frisbee golf at Pioneer Park.
  20. Stop and smell the flowers at the Sunken Gardens. (http://1.usa.gov/T55DNN)
  21. Sip a ½ price margarita (or two) at La Mexicana every Wednesday. (“La Mex”)
  22. Experience a pep rally at Grandmother’s every Friday night before a home football game. (http://www.grandmothersrestaurants.com/Default.aspx)
  23. Shag carpeting and karaoke? Take a time warp on Tuesday nights at Tam O’Shanter.
  24. Ask for the “shaky shaky” with your gyro and steak fries at Ali Baba. (https://www.facebook.com/AliBabaGyros)
  25. Stop by Empyrean Brewery on the first Monday of every month for a free tour (and get there early)! (http://www.empyreanbrewingco.com/events.html)
  26. Enjoy live music, local food, and craft beers at Capital City Beerfest.
  27. Buy local at the Farmers’ Market on Saturday mornings from May-October. (http://lincolnhaymarket.org/events/farmers-market/)
  28. Check out a concert at Pinnacle Bank Arena or Pinewood Bowl. (http://www.pinnaclebankarena.com/) (http://pinewoodbowltheater.com/)
  29. Live band karaoke and a fishbowl make a great combo at Duffy’s Tavern. (http://duffyslincoln.com/)
  30. Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month each September with traditional food, song, and dance at Fiesta on the Green.
  31. Catch local bands and live blues at the legendary Zoo Bar. (http://www.zoobar.com/)
  32. Play skeeball during happy hour at The NZone (http://on.fb.me/1nzjAgi)
  33. Journey to Ashland for some rocky mountain oysters at the Annual Testicle Festival (aptly named).
  34. Stop by the Watering Hole for wings n’ pints (and $2 long islands after 9pm…) (https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Watering-Hole/149620888405674)
  35. Catch a major soccer game with a rowdy crowd at Captain’s Jacks (and get there early!)
  36. Get a scoop at the UNL Dairy Store, a dairy tradition since 1917. (http://dairystore.unl.edu/)
  37. Witness a rodeo and the true spirit of small town Nebraska.
  38. Stop by the UNL Homecoming Concert on East Campus, a Husker Homecoming tradition!
  39. Attend a cultural night at the Nebraska Union (i.e. China Night and Malaysia Night are both in early to mid-February).
  40. See a Broadway show at The Lied. (http://www.liedcenter.org/)
  41. See an indie flick at The Ross. (http://theross.org/)
  42. Marvel at all that is hypnotist Dr. Jim Wand.  (Back-to-back shows on the Friday after MLK, 7pm show is family appropriate) (involved.unl.edu/upc)
  43. Witness the Bathtub Dogs in all their A Cappella glory. (https://www.facebook.com/bathtubdogs)
  44. Dance the two-step at Single Barrel (http://www.thesinglebarrel.com/)
  45. Grab a seat at The Oven for some delectable mulligatawny soup and chicken tikka korma. (http://www.theoven-lincoln.com/)
  46. Revel in a $5 wine tasting at James Arthur Vineyard. (https://www.jamesarthurvineyards.com/)
  47. Experience justice served cold on tap at Blue Blood Brewery. (http://bluebloodbrewing.com/)
  48. Peruse SouthPointe Pavilions for some great outdoor shopping. (http://www.southpointeshopping.com/)
  49. Combine running, friends, and crazy costumes for an unforgettable day at the Market to Market Relay Race. (http://www.markettomarketrelay.com/)
  50. Test your strength at the Outdoor Adventure Center Climbing Wall. (http://crec.unl.edu/outdoor/climbing.shtml)
  51. Join the Nacho Ride, a Tuesday night bike ride like none other (May-October). (http://nachoride.com/)
  52. Fish or take a stroll at Holmes Lake. (http://www.lincoln.ne.gov/maps/parks/holmes.htm)
  53. Skate a few laps at the Railyard Ice Rink. (http://skatetheyard.blogspot.com/2013/11/skate-railyard-ice-rink.html)
  54. Get your pottery painting on at Paint Yourself Silly! (http://www.paintyourselfsilly.net/)
  55. Try the Original Runza® Sandwich for the cost of the wintertime temp on Temperature Tuesdays! (https://www.runza.com/)
  56. Go back to simpler, swingin’ times with 50s and 60s Trivia Night at Starlite Lounge. (http://www.buzzardbillys.com/lincoln/the-starlite-lounge/specials/)
  57. Catch the midnight Amtrak to any destination (or 12:30 or 1 or when it actually shows up…) (http://www.amtrak.com/)
  58. Pay homage to Nebraska Legends Tom Osborne and Bob Devaney. (http://bit.ly/1nZQFnm)
  59. Experience the beauty of the all-you-can-eat buffet at Valentino’s Pizza. (http://www.valentinos.com/)
  60. Taste the legendary Elk Creek Water at Sandy’s. (https://www.facebook.com/SandysLincoln)
  61. Get your shootin’ on at Lincoln Trap and Skeet. (http://lincolntrapandskeet.com/)
  62. Try one of the many stogies and local brews at Jake’s Cigar Bar. (http://jakescigars.com/)
  63. Stroll through the art collection and Sculpture Garden at the Sheldon Museum of Art. (http://www.sheldonartmuseum.org/)
  64. Grab your kiddo (or borrow someone else’s) and spend an afternoon at the Lincoln Children’s Museum or Lincoln Children’s Zoo! (http://www.lincolnchildrensmuseum.org/) (http://www.lincolnzoo.org/)
  65. Hike, bike or horseback ride in Wilderness Park. (http://www.lincoln.ne.gov/maps/parks/wildrns.htm)
  66. Visit the state museum at Morrill Hall and star gaze at Mueller Planetarium. (http://museum.unl.edu/)
  67. See the world’s largest publicly held collection of quilts at the International Quilt Study Center and Museum. (http://www.quiltstudy.org/)
  68. Cheer on the all-girl roller derby, the No Coast Derby Girls. (http://nocoastderbygirls.com/)
  69. Support hockey’s future stars at a Stars game. (http://www.lincolnstars.com/)
  70. Get a delicious homemade cinnamon roll with your breakfast at Tina’s Café (bring cash!) (http://on.fb.me/1v1yq22)
  71. Brunch it up at The Green Gateau. (https://www.greengateau.com/)
  72. Sing along and request a song at Blazin’ Pianos. (http://www.brewskys.com/events-specials/rmse.php?id=74)
  73. Try the Drunken Noodles at Blue Orchid. (https://www.facebook.com/blueorchidrestaurant)
  74. Experience a Tuesday night at Randy’s Grill & Chill. (https://www.facebook.com/RANDYSGNC)
  75. Enjoy hookah and a kamikaze at Cliff’s Lounge.
  76. Try the hot stripper at Hi-Way Diner. (http://hiwaydiner.com/menu/)
  77. Catch a Nebraska Women’s Volleyball game at the Devaney. (www.huskers.com/volleyball/)
  78. Head to the Cornhusker Marriot Bar after 10pm for $3 Das Boots.
  79. Have a Martini or a Mule at Barrymoore’s.
  80. Head to Cultiva for coffee and crepes on the weekend. (http://www.cultivacoffee.com/)
  81. Watch a game outside at The Railyard.
  82. Enjoy casual dining and great eats at 9 South CharGrill. (http://www.9southgrill.com/)
  83. See great art for free at First Friday Artwalks happening on the first Friday of every month downtown! (http://downtownlincoln.org/firstfriday)
  84. Chill out with a Sticky Wicket smoothie from Juice Stop (substitute blueberries for raspberries if you dare) (http://juicestoplincoln.com/)
  85. Relish in authentic and ON POINT Chinese cuisine at Mr. Hui’s! (http://www.mrhuislincoln.com/)
  86. Attend the Guys and Dolls Drag Show in celebration of LGBTQA History Month in October. Tipping is encouraged and goes to a great cause!  (http://involved.unl.edu/programs-and-services)
  87. C is for The Cookie Company! Take a break to devour a monster cookie (served Gluten free on Tuesdays!) (https://www.facebook.com/thecookieco1981)
  88. Enjoy a home cooked breakfast at Engine House Café, home of Havelock’s original Fire Station! (http://enginehousecafe.com/)
  89. Try some delicious fried chicken and sing along to the organ at Lee’s Chicken, a Lincoln tradition for more than 50 years! (http://leesfamousfriedchicken.com/)
  90. Check out NPR’s Friday Live broadcast Friday mornings at The Mill in the Haymarket. (http://www.millcoffee.com/)
  91. Experience the Lincoln Hustle, an off-the-wall themed bike ride, on the last Thursday of every month. (http://lincolnhustle.blogspot.com/)
  92. Get your snaps and fedoras ready for Poetry Night at Crescent Moon, Mondays at 7pm! (http://www.crescentmooncoffee.com/)
  93. Drink a cool one around a fire pit at Tavern on the Square.
  94. Bask in the awesome music and incredible cocktails at The Bourbon Theatre. (http://bourbontheatre.com/)
  95. Play a round of golf at Wilderness Ridge. (http://www.wildernessridgegolf.com/)
  96. Order up a “Full Leaded Jacket” at LeadBelly and experience a Nebraskan tradition: chili with a cinnamon roll! (http://getleaded.com/)
  97. Pack a picnic and enjoy some vino on the grounds of Deer Springs Winery. (http://www.deerspringswinery.com/)
  98. Take a hayrack ride into the oldest and largest pumpkin patch in Lancaster County at Roca Berry Farm! (http://www.rocaberryfarm.com/)
  99. Spot an elk or a bison at Lee G. Simmons Conservation Park and Wildlife Safari! (http://www.wildlifesafaripark.com/contact/)
  100. Stop into Marz Bar for a cocktail or a curried chicken quesadilla! (http://on.fb.me/1jcKsG1)
  101. Cozy up with a coffee and a book at Indigo Bridge Bookstore. (http://www.indigobridgebooks.com/)

 

 

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7 thoughts on “101 Things to Do in Lincoln, Nebraska

  1. Reblogged this on swftraveler and commented:
    In 2 weeks I will be taking a trip to Lincoln, Nebraska to visit my very best friend who just moved up for a job. Looking forward to trying some of the activities on this list. Will report back with details later 😉

  2. Pingback: 101 Things to Do in Lincoln, Nebraska - Realty Underground

  3. I am the photographer of the first photo in your gallery on this post. This photo is continually used without credit, permission, notification, or even a courtesy link. I would venture to guess the other photos on this post are being used without the same considerations.

    Please either remove my photo or contact me for information about where it should link to if you wish to continue to use it. Thanks.

    (I would have messaged you privately about this, but I couldn’t find any contact information / forms on your site.)

    • Thank you for your comment, Robert! I would love to continue to use your photo, if possible. I will remove it for the time being, but if you choose to share the link for permission, I will re-add it to the gallery. I will also make sure to add credit to the remaining photos. Thank you for bringing this to my attention! -SM

  4. As a 20-something who just accepted her first job here…many thanks for putting this list together. Feeling much more at ease that I’ll find things to do, being used to the hustle and bustle of D.C.

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