Are you looking to explore a new city and experience something unique? Well, look no further than Lincoln, Nebraska! This charming place is full of fun experiences waiting for you. From delicious restaurants to historical sights and museums there’s plenty to do in this vibrant Midwest town. We have the perfect list of 23+ cool things to do in Lincoln, Nebraska, with a variety of places to see and eat at.
Get ready to discover all that Lincoln has to offer!
1. Drink Great Beer at Kinkaider Brewing
Thirsty for some lip-smacking local brews in Lincoln? Look no further than Kinkaider Brewing, a place that converted even me into a beer enthusiast! Treat your taste buds with Nebraska-made craft beers such as Nut Crusher, Hiram’s Bones, or Date Mike Cherry Stem Sour. Or, live on the edge with a flight to indulge in Kinkaider’s top-selling and seasonal delights.
2. Play at the Lincoln Children’s Museum
The Lincoln Children’s Museum is a great place for kids to learn and have fun at the same time. The museum features interactive exhibits on science, art, and history. Kids can also enjoy hands-on activities, such as arts and crafts, in the museum’s activity center.
3. Sip Vino at Lincoln Wine Bar
Lincoln Wine Bar is a wine bar that offers a wide selection of wines from all over the world, as well as small plates such as cheese and charcuterie boards.
4. Visit the Nebraska State Capitol
The Nebraska State Capitol is one of the most iconic buildings in the state, and a visit to Lincoln would not be complete without seeing it. The beautiful building with a picturesque 400-ft gold-tiled domed tower is open to the public for tours. Its finial on top, The Sower, represents agriculture, something the state is well-known for.
There is also an observation deck located on the top floor that offers stunning views of the city.
Fun Fact: This is the only unicameral (one chamber or house) state legislature in the country.
5. Wander Pioneers Park
Pioneers Park is a large park that features hiking trails, a disc golf course, and a nature center. The nature center has exciting educational programs about local wildlife and plants. Families can also enjoy fishing in one of the park’s three ponds or go for a swim in the outdoor pool.
6. Grab a Burger at Honest Abe’s
Honest Abe’s Burgers & Beer is a burger joint that offers burgers made with locally sourced beef as well as a variety of craft beers on tap. Don’t skip ordering the finger-licking good fries (my vote is for the truffle fries with herbs and parmesan) that come in an adorable old newspaper cone.
My favorite burger? Hammer of Thor, with chipotle cream cheese, griddled Brussels sprouts, bacon, and pepper jack cheese. Nom, nom!
7. Indulge in Yummy Food & Treasures in Haymarket District
If you are a fan of Indian food, The Oven offers a really good Chicken Tikka Masala and garlic naan. Blue Sushi Sake Grill satisfies sushi and sashimi cravings, while HopCat Lincoln has the best happy hour with discounted prices on food and drinks.
The Haymarket District is named for the original market of 1867 where travelers came to buy camping gear, wagons, and, of course, hay. Be sure to check out the 3-D mural, “Iron Horse Legacy,” depicting Number 710, the first train to arrive in Lincoln, Nebraska.
The restored steam engine (great for photo ops) represents that train.
8. Shop at Haymarket Farmers’ Market
The Haymarket Farmers’ Market is held every Saturday morning from May through October in downtown Lincoln. The market features a variety of local vendors selling fresh produce, meats, cheeses, baked goods, and more.
9. Adore the Animals at Lincoln Children’s Zoo
A darling place to take the whole family is the Lincoln Children’s Zoo. Be sure to purchase a ticket for the train and carousel, which will be big hits with the little ones. Animals you can expect to find here are tigers, giraffe, elephants, and meerkats, plus others. There are several interactive exhibits and up close and personal adventures to have.
10. Hike Through Mahoney State Park
Mahoney State Park is located just a short drive from Lincoln and offers a variety of hiking trails for all skill levels. The park also features a lake where you can go fishing, swimming, or boating. Watch this video for more of this beloved address.
11. Stroll Beautiful Sunken Gardens
The Sunken Gardens are a series of gardens that were created in 1930 and are now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The exquisite gardens feature a variety of plant life, all well labeled, as well as sculptures, a gazebo, and fountains. I think it is one of the best gardens in the Midwest, and definitely the best free one.
Sunken Gardens are open to the public year-round and are a popular spot for weddings and other events. It made National Geographic’s “300 Best Gardens to Visit in the United States and Canada” publication.
12. Have a High Brow Meal at Grey Plume
The Grey Plume is a Michelin-starred restaurant that offers seasonally-inspired, farm-to-table cuisine. The restaurant sources its ingredients from local farms, and it also has an extensive wine list with wines from all over the world.
13. Catch a Game or Show at Haymarket Park
Haymarket Park is a great place to catch a baseball game or concert during the summer months. The park also has a playground, picnic areas, and walking trails. During the winter months, Haymarket Park is transformed into a magical outdoor ice skating rink.
14. Drink Excellent Coffee at The Mill
The Mill Coffee and Tea is an excellent place to enjoy your favorite fresh-roasted coffee drink, espresso, iced tea, or Italian soda. The Mill also serves a great breakfast (quiche included), pastries, and a limited item lunch. They offer outdoor seating on a covered patio.
15. Learn About Nebraska’s History
The Nebraska State Historical Society is dedicated to preserving and sharing the state’s rich history. The society operates several museums across Nebraska, as well as a research library that contains over 1 million documents related to Nebraska history.
Admission to all museums is free, and donations are gratefully accepted.
16. Stroll Through Antelope Park
Antelope Park is a beautiful green space located in the heart of Lincoln. The park is home to a variety of wildlife, including bison, elk, and deer, and there are also several miles of hiking and biking trails that wind through the park.
17. Be in Awe at the International Quilt Museum
When you first see the International Quilt Museum in Lincoln, you immediately know it is going to hold lots of treasures, and indeed it does! Quilts from around the world, with embellishments and intricate handwork that will shock you, adorn the walls of this state-of-the-art facility.
You don’t have to be a quilter to appreciate and revel in the craftsmanship and talent of the artists who have created them.
18. See the Art Collections at Sheldon Museum of Art
The Sheldon Museum of Art is one of the finest art museums in Nebraska. The museum houses a collection of over 12,000 works of art, ranging from paintings and sculptures to photographs and prints.
Sheldon Museum of Art is open to the public Tuesday through Sunday; admission is free.
19. Feast on Beef at The Drover
The Drover is a Lincoln, Nebraska steakhouse that is known for its locally-sourced beef. The beef is grass-fed and hormone-free, and the steakhouse also offers a variety of vegetarian options. The Drover also has an extensive wine list with wines from all over the world. It is a real treat to have a meal there.
20. Hang at Haymarket District
Located in the heart of Lincoln, Nebraska, is the ultra hip historic Haymarket District. This is the place to go, be seen, and have a grand time on your visit to Lincoln. From colorful art alleys to outdoor patio dining, you’ll find an arsenal of coolness in this area.
Haymarket is steps away from UNL (University Nebraska-Lincoln) and its Cornhuskers.
21. Browse a Historic District
The Antelope Valley Historic District is located in north Lincoln and is home to a variety of historic buildings and sites. The district is also home to several restaurants, shops, and galleries.
22. See a Show at the Lied
The Lied Center for Performing Arts is one of Lincoln’s premier cultural venues. The center hosts a variety of performances throughout the year, ranging from Broadway shows to concerts and dance recitals. Tickets can be purchased online or at the box office.
23. Get Your Drink On
You’ll find great drink options around Lincoln, from stellar cold-brew and lattes to fine wines, abundant in many of the high-end restaurants and namely Carmelo’s Bistro & Wine Bar. Or, skip straight to the drink menus, including Duffy’s Tavern well-known fishbowls, The Single Barrel’s impressive bourbon and whiskey collection, or Barrymore’s signature martinis or Moscow Mules.
Where to Stay in Lincoln
Get ready to dazzle your senses and ignite your nostalgia at the Graduate Hotel in Lincoln, Nebraska, just a stone’s throw away from the vibrant Haymarket District! The Graduate chain caters to your inner student spirit, drawing inspiration from local college culture and traditions.
As you step into the Graduate Lincoln, prepare to be charmed by retro ’80s arcade games and school keepsakes adorning the lobby. Feel like a star when you spot Johnny Carson’s dazzling smile on a grand TV guide, set against the iconic Tonight Show curtain backdrop by the reception.
And no worries if you’ve brought your furry friend along, they’re more than welcome at this pet-friendly sanctuary!
Though the indoor pool was closed during my visit (thanks, COVID!), you can still flex your muscles at the 24-hour fitness center. Go ahead, indulge in that unforgettable experience and let your inner college fan soar high at the Graduate Lincoln hotel – right in the heart of America!
During my stay, I experienced the cozy Stadium View Queen-Queen room, perfect for 2-4 guests. This charming space featured a convenient lounge bench and work desk on one side, while the other treated us to ultra-comfortable beds with triple-sheeting, plus a cool retro TV stand.
My personal favorite? The roller skate lamp – a fun tribute to Lincoln’s National Roller Skating Museum. Don’t miss out on the quirky corn-patterned drapes and wallpaper, luxe Malin + Goetz toiletries, nifty beverage chiller, and complimentary Wifi.
Pin This Post For Later!
Read more of our fun things to do in the Midwest posts: