Named after Abraham Lincoln and the capital city of the state of Nebraska, Lincoln is a beautiful and historic town with an array of things to see and do for the whole family, great restaurants, wedding venues, and more. Standing sentry over the city is the white stone art deco spire and domed tower of the 400-foot-high Nebraska State Capitol, from which breathtaking panoramic views can be taken in from the observation tower. The Sunken Gardens date back to the 1930s and feature beautifully manicured themed gardens, sculptures, and lily ponds, and the Governor's Mansion boasts an architecturally significant Georgian colonial exterior.
1.Nebraska State Capitol
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The Nebraska State Capitol is located in downtown Lincoln and is the seat of the government for the U.S. State of Nebraska. Designed by New York architect Bertram Goodhue and constructed between 1922 and 1932, the capitol features a three-story, 437-foot tower in which the primary executive and judicial offices of Nebraska are housed and can be seen from as far away as 20 miles. Also referred to as the “Tower of the Plains,” the Nebraska State Capitol was the first state capitol to incorporate a functional tower into its design. The base of the tower houses offices most frequently visited by the public, and tours of the building are available every hour throughout the year.
1445 K Street, Lincoln, Nebraska
2.University of Nebraska State Museum
© University of Nebraska State Museum
The University of Nebraska State Museum, also known as Elephant Hall, is a natural history museum dedicated to the biodiversity, paleontology, and cultural diversity of Nebraska. Founded in 1871, the University of Nebraska State Museum features the world's most impressive collection of fossil elephants, along with other displays of ancient weapons, minerals and meteorites, bizarre beasts, monsters of the ancient seas, dinosaurs, and African and Native American cultures. The museum also features interactive wildlife dioramas, the hands-on Marx Science Discovery Center, a rock shop, and a gift shop selling a variety of museum-related items.
Morrill Hall, 645 North 14th Street, Lincoln, NE 68588, Phone: 402-472-2642
3.Great Plains Art Museum
© Great Plains Art Museum
The Great Plains Art Museum is a fine arts museum dedicated to the arts of the Great Plains in the United States. Established in 1981 on the campus of the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, the museum was founded with the Christlieb Collection of paintings, drawings, prints, and sculptures and has since grown to become one of the city’s top art museums. Today, the museum's collections include works by renowned artists such as Charles M. Russell, Albert Bierstadt, Robert Fletcher Gilder, Frederic Remington, and Willian Henry Jackson as well as new acquisitions by Ray Ellis, Chuck Guildner, and Michael Forsberg. Exhibits are rotated several times per year and include artwork from the permanent collection, traveling exhibits, and guest-curated exhibitions. The Great Plains Art Museum is free and open to the public.
Hewit Place, 1155 Q St, Lincoln, NE 68508, Phone: 402-472-6220
4.Group Therapy Bike Tours
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Explore Lincoln in a unique and fun way with the Group Therapy Bike Tour. Tours are conducted on multi-pedal trolley bikes, which can seat up to 15 people in total including the guide. All tours start from Lazlo's in the Haymarket and are led by professional, knowledgeable, and friendly guides who share their passion for the city with interesting snippets of information along the way. Standard tours last about 2 hours, stopping at local pubs and restaurants and other famous landmarks, however, they can be tailormade to guests’ needs and bikes can be booked for private tours or special celebrations.
Lazlo's in the Haymarket, 210 N 7th St, Lincoln, NE 68508, Phone: 402-968-2305
5.Honest Abe's Burgers & Freedom
© Honest Abe's Burgers & Freedom
Honest Abe's Burgers & Freedom is a casual chain with three locations around the city that serves reinvented all-American such as burgers and fries with gourmet toppings in a relaxed and laidback environment. With locations in Meadowland, Downtown, and North 27, Honest Abe's Burgers & Freedom offers a menu of classic and gourmet burgers, fresh salads and sides, rotating weekly specials, over 21 kinds of handcrafted milkshakes, and a variety of sodas. Honest Abe's Burgers & Freedom is open Monday through Sunday for brunch, lunch, and dinner.
Downtown: 840 N 70th St, Lincoln, NE 68505, Phone: 402-261-9860
6.International Quilt Study Center & Museum
© International Quilt Study Center & Museum
Located on the campus of the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, the International Quilt Study Center & Museum is the home of the most significant known public collection of quilts in the world. Founded in 1997 with a selection of nearly 950 quilts donated to the University of Nebraska–Lincoln by native Nebraskans Ardis and Robert James, the museum now houses the world’s largest quilt collection, which is exhibited in custom-crafted galleries and state-of-the-art research space in a new green building designed Robert A.M. Stern Architects. The collection features quilts from early examples of American and European quilts to contemporary studio and international quilts, with over 4,000 pieces from 24 countries.
1523 N 33rd St, Lincoln, NE 68503, Phone: 402-472-6549
7.Lester F. Larsen Tractor Museum
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The Lester F. Larsen Tractor Test and Power Museum is a historical facility situated on the East Campus of the University of Nebraska–Lincoln that is dedicated to preserving the history of Nebraska’s tractor test law. Established in 1980, the museum is the only tractor testing museum in the world with the only complete tractor test laboratory that tests tractors for safety. The Lester F. Larsen Power Museum features a collection of more than 40 antique and unique tractors, including a Heider C, a Ford 8-16, an Allis-Chalmers G, a Waterloo Boy N, a Moline Universal D, a Fordson 1920, a Ford-Ferguson 2N, and a John Deere 820. The Lester F. Larsen Tractor Test and Power Museum are open to the public from Tuesday through Friday, year round.
N 35th St & Fair St, Lincoln, NE 68583, Phone: 402-472-8389
8.Lincoln Children's Museum
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The Lincoln Children's Museum is an interactive, immersive, and educational space where children can create, discover, explore, and learn through the power of play. Boasting 23,300 square feet and three floors of hands-on exhibits and imaginative programs, the museum encourages visitors to build, climb, create, dance, sing, laugh, and play as a form of learning. Over 40 interactive exhibits and displays can be explored across all three floors of the museum as well as a gift shop and toy store and a casual café where snacks and drinks are served. The museum also provides a range of educational programs and workshops for children of all ages as well as field trips for groups.
1420 P St, Lincoln, NE 68508, Phone: 402-477-4000
9.Lincoln Children's Zoo
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The Lincoln Children’s Zoo offers a fun and friendly place for children to interact, experience, and learn more about the animal kingdom and the creatures that live within it. Designed specifically for children to enjoy up-close encounters with all of the zoo’s animals, the Lincoln Children’s Zoo features 10 acres of well-maintained habitats for more than 400 animals, of which over 40 are endangered, including the Amur leopard and Matschie’s tree-kangaroo. In addition to providing one-of-a-kind interactive experiences for children of all ages to enjoy, the Lincoln Children’s Zoo also offers a variety of educational programs, conservation-focused classes and workshops, and summer camps throughout the year.
1222 S 27th St, Lincoln, NE 68502, Phone: 402-475-6741
10.Lincoln Saltdogs Minor League Baseball
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The Lincoln Saltdogs is a professional baseball team based in Lincoln and the defending champions of the Central Division of the American Association of Independent Professional Baseball. Situated at Haymarket Park, which they share with the Nebraska Cornhuskers college baseball team, the Lincoln Saltdogs are loyally supported by their hometown, who flock to the stadium to enjoy the game. Haymarket Park, also known as The Ol’ Ballpark, is located just north of the Historic Haymarket area and creates a visually appealing gateway to the Star City with pedestrian walkways connecting the stadium complex to both the Haymarket and the University of Nebraska–Lincoln campuses. The park-within-a-park sports complex features a modern design, yet still embraces the time-honored traditions of baseball and the proud heritage of the Haymarket and Lincoln itself.
Haymarket Park: 403 Line Drive Circle, Ste. A Lincoln, NE 68508, Phone: 402-474-2255
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Located at the University of Nebraska State Museum at Morrill Hall, the Mueller Planetarium was first opened in 1958 and was Nebraska's first planetarium. A pioneer in unique audiovisual productions, the Mueller Planetarium features a 360-degree, 30-foot high, full-dome theater with a customized fisheye lens projector for immersive full-dome presentations. The planetarium seats 60 guests, who can experience a variety of astronomy and space science-based shows and exhibitions in full 3D effect, including fascinating night sky tours led by an expert in the field. Programs align with the natural science themes of the University of Nebraska State Museum and range from exploring the Earth's ancient past to diving into the heart of the Sun.
210 Morrill Hall, University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Lincoln, NE 68588-0375, Phone: 402-472-2641
12.Museum of American Speed
© Museum of American Speed
The Museum of American Speed is a museum dedicated to preserving and presenting American automotive history. Housed in a 135,000-square-foot facility in the heart of Lincoln, the museum was established by Speedway Motors founder "Speedy" Bill Smith and his wife Joyce Smith in 1992 and has since become a famous repository for all things auto collected over the past 60 years. Exhibits at the museum include a range of classic, vintage, and collectible cars dating back to the 1920s as well as go-karts, antique and rare toy cars, classic midget cars, automotive memorabilia, motorized toys, autographed guitars, and Buck Rogers memorabilia. The Museum of American Speed is open on Fridays, Saturdays, and Mondays at various times.
599 Oakcreek Drive, Lincoln, NE 68528, Phone: 402-323-3166
13.National Museum of Roller-Skating
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The only museum of its kind in the world, the National Museum of Roller-Skating is dedicated to increasing people's understanding and enjoyment of roller-skating and its history, present, and future. The museum is home to the world's largest collection of historical roller-skates, along with memorabilia, costumes, and other roller-skating items and objects. Exhibits include roller-skates,
skates, artworks, films, photographs, and other skating memorabilia dating back to 1819 through to the present. The displays also tell the story of the history and development of roller sports and technology, and a variety of items relating to all forms of skating, from inline skating and artistic skating to roller skating, roller hockey, and roller derby. The National Museum of Roller-Skating is open from Monday through Friday and is free to explore.
4730 South St, Lincoln, NE 68506, Phone: 402-483-7551
14.Nebraska History Museum
© Nebraska History Museum
The Nebraska History Museum is a long-standing museum that documents the history of the region and the state. Exhibiting over 12,000 years of history with numerous exhibits and displays of cultural artifacts and items, the museum also offers a variety of educational programs, workshops, and classes for children and adults. The museum boasts a collection of over 125,000 objects, including photographs, documents, papers, prints, drawings, manuscripts, and newspapers, and is open to the public Monday through Saturday year round.
131 Centennial Mall N, Lincoln, NE 68508, Phone: 402-471-4754
15.Pioneers Park Nature Center
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Established in 1963, the Pioneers Park Nature Center is a 668-acre nature preserve in the heart of Lincoln. Situated at the intersection of South Coddington and West Van Dorn Streets, the park is operated by the Lincoln Parks and Recreation Department and includes sections of the Haines Branch Creek, a network of 8 miles of trails for hiking and mountain biking, several tranquil ponds, and two visitors centers and interpretive buildings. The Chet Ager Building is home to a variety of exhibits, including live animals, an extensive herb garden, and a bee skep, and the Nature Center offers an array of regular activities throughout the year for visitors of all ages, including nature day camps, school programs, night hikes, and educational programs. It is open year round.
3201 S Coddington Ave, Lincoln, NE 68522, Phone: 402-441-7895
16.Sheldon Museum of Art
© Sheldon Museum of Art
Located on the campus of the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, the Sheldon Museum of Art is an art museum that focuses on 19th and 20th century art. Initially known as the University of Nebraska Art Galleries and then as the Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery, the Sheldon Museum of Art is named after British painter Benjamin Robert Haydon and houses both the Sheldon Art Association collection and the University of Nebraska collection. The museum’s collection features more than 12,000 works of art in all media, ranging from paintings and drawings to prints and sculptures, including prominent holdings of 19th century landscapes, contemporary art, American impressionism, color field painting, minimalism, geometric abstraction, and lyrical abstraction. The Sheldon Museum of Art also features a sculpture garden with more than 30 monumental sculptures.
12th and R Streets, Lincoln, NE 68508, Phone: 402-472-2461
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Listed as one of the top 300 most beautiful gardens in the United States, the Sunken Gardens are beautifully manicured gardens in the heart of Lincoln that feature over 30,000 individual annual plants in spectacular yearly floral displays that are redesigned with a new theme each year. Established in 1930, the Sunken Gardens feature a variety of gardens, including a Healing Garden or the White Garden, inspired by the famous White Garden at Sissinghurst Castle in Kent, England; a perennial garden with varieties of shade-loving plants like hostas, viburnum, and hydrangeas; and an annual garden with different themes every year.
S 27th St & Capitol Pkwy, Lincoln, NE 68502, Phone: 402-441-8258
18.The Rabbit Hole Bakery
© The Rabbit Hole Bakery
The Rabbit Hole Bakery is a friendly neighborhood bakery that produces mouthwatering baked goods, freshly baked bread, sweet and savory pastries, cakes, and confectionary. Located on Q Street below Yowie’s Lodge in the Haymarket area, the Rabbit Hole Bakery is focused on bringing the freshest and unique flavors to the Haymarket with a menu of delectable treats. Diners can tuck into freshly baked scones, muffins, and cinnamon rolls as well as cakes, assorted tarts, cookies, and delicate macaroons. The Rabbit Hole Bakery is open from Monday through Sunday for breakfast, brunch, lunch, and evening appetizers.
800 Q St, Lincoln, NE 68508, Phone: 402-975-2322
Toast is friendly neighborhood restaurant and local watering hole in northwest Lincoln. Inspired by the chic cafés of Europe, Toast offers all the comforts of a neighborhood gathering spot, including a creative menu of healthy dishes from fresh salads and gourmet sandwiches to juicy burgers, hearty entrees, fresh seafood plates, and homemade pasta. The café also serves a selection of fine wines from around the world, imported aged spirits, and premium ales, all of which can be enjoyed in a charming, inviting environment. Toast is open Monday through Sunday for brunch, lunch, and dinner.
570 Fallbrook Blvd #105, Lincoln, NE 68521, Phone: 402-261-8859
20 Best Things to Do in Lincoln, Nebraska
- Nebraska State Capitol, Photo: Courtesy of sframe - Fotolia.com
- University of Nebraska State Museum, Photo: University of Nebraska State Museum
- Great Plains Art Museum, Photo: Great Plains Art Museum
- Group Therapy Bike Tours, Photo: Courtesy of r_tee - Fotolia.com
- Honest Abe's Burgers & Freedom, Photo: Honest Abe's Burgers & Freedom
- International Quilt Study Center & Museum, Photo: International Quilt Study Center & Museum
- Lester F. Larsen Tractor Museum, Photo: Courtesy of roostler - Fotolia.com
- Lincoln Children's Museum, Photo: Courtesy of tigera - Fotolia.com
- Lincoln Children's Zoo, Photo: Courtesy of MNStudio - Fotolia.com
- Lincoln Saltdogs Minor League Baseball, Photo: Courtesy of yossarian6 - Fotolia.com
- Mueller Planetarium, Photo: Courtesy of procy_ab - Fotolia.com
- Museum of American Speed, Photo: Museum of American Speed
- National Museum of Roller-Skating, Photo: Courtesy of egokhan - Fotolia.com
- Nebraska History Museum, Photo: Nebraska History Museum
- Pioneers Park Nature Center, Photo: Courtesy of kirollos - Fotolia.com
- Sheldon Museum of Art, Photo: Sheldon Museum of Art
- Sunken Gardens, Photo: Courtesy of alan - Fotolia.com
- The Rabbit Hole Bakery, Photo: The Rabbit Hole Bakery
- Toast, Photo: Toast
- Cover Photo: Courtesy of Christopher Boswell - Fotolia.com