25+ Best Things to Do in Lincoln, Nebraska (2024)

Lincoln, Nebraska.

The perfect blend of old school American charm and innovative developments that lead the way into the future.

This is the proud home of the University of Nebraska (Go Cornhuskers!), the second most populous city in Nebraska, and the capital of this welcoming state.

It’s a place where you know your neighbors and your neighbors know you, where you’ll never meet a stranger even if you’ve just moved to the area, and where the gridded street system gives a sense of peace and order in a chaotic world.

The skies are open, the geography flat, and the history filled with rich stories of pioneers and prairie life.

Exterior shot of the Nebraska State Capitol
Image: Nebraska State Capitol, Lincoln, Nebraska. Nicolas Henderson [CC BY 2.0], via Flickr

Whether you’re coming to Lincoln on work, business, or visiting family and friends who live there, this guide to the best things to do in Lincoln, Nebraska will help you plan your itinerary and not miss out on the best things to do in this All-American city.

Getting Around Lincoln

Don’t forget that it’s much easier to see Lincoln by car so you can get around on your own.

Rental cars are perfect if you’re flying into the area.

We recommend using Discover Cars price comparison to find the cheapest deals!

What to Pack for Your Trip to Lincoln

Open suitcase packed full

When it comes to packing, it depends on the season you’re visiting Lincoln.

However, a basic guide is to ensure you have a sturdy travel backpack like this one to hold your belongings each day, a reusable water bottle to keep you hydrated in the summer heat, and of course some walking shoes like these that will keep the blisters away as you explore.

If you’re coming in the winter, temperatures can fall quite significantly, so don’t forget your cutest snow hat, balaclava, and a really warm coat to make sure you can still enjoy yourselves.

Looking for things to do with kids in Lincoln?

This travel game for the car is absolutely perfect for keeping them entertained, and I love these little Trunki suitcases for children’s travel. 

Where to Stay in Lincoln

There are a few considerations when it comes to booking somewhere to stay in Lincoln, including budget and what part of the city you want to be in.

Here are a few suggestions of where to stay in Lincoln with your family or significant other, broken down by budget.

Budget: Splashing Out ($150+ per night)

Interior of The Lincoln Marriott Cornhusker Hotel in Lincoln Nebraska, featuring a cozy and warmly decorated seating area in the lobby.
Photo credit: The Lincoln Marriott Cornhusker Hotel Facebook Page

The Lincoln Marriott Cornhusker Hotel

You can’t actually get much closer to Lincoln’s best attractions and the University of Lincoln than staying at this central hotel.

In fact, it’s a top contender for the nicest hotel in Lincoln, NE!

With some dog-friendly rooms in case you bring your pup with you, as well as a free glass of bubbles in reception and incredibly comfortable beds, this is a fantastic option for anyone who prioritizes location.

Still need convincing? There’s also a heated indoor pool and an on-site restaurant, and the price is not bad at all to get a nice hotel room!

Budget: Mid-Range ($100-$150 per night)

Lobby of the Graduate Lincoln hotel, with lively colors and 1960s decor.
Photo credit: Graduate Lincoln Facebook Page

Graduate Lincoln

Did you know you can stay at a themed hotel in Lincoln?

Oh, yes, here at All-American Atlas we love a themed hotel, and the retro and sporty theme at the Graduate Lincoln is seriously fun!

You’ll feel like you’ve stepped back into the 60s (without sacrificing modern amenities), and you can make use of the swimming pool, gym, and roof terrace during your stay.

This is one of the most unique hotels in Lincoln, with great service and a great price!

Budget: Uh…on one! ($100 or less per night)

Country Inn & Suites by Radisson, Lincoln AIrport

Looking for a budget-friendly hotel in Lincoln?

The Radisson near Lincoln Airport is a great option if you just need somewhere to sleep before your flight or are staying in Lincoln for a short time.

You’ll need to rent a car or get a taxi to the city center for attractions, but all of the amenities you’ll need including breakfast, a laundry room, and comfortable rooms is available for a low price point!

1. Sunken Gardens

These gorgeous gardens are rated as one of the top gardens in the whole of the USA – and it’s no surprise why when you step foot in them!

Not only does the garden feature permanent landscaping that gives you a quiet place to reflect, but they also keep on top of their seasonal blooms and regularly redesign the plants to fit a certain theme.

Sunken Gardens in Lincoln NE, with red, white, and yellow tulips in front of a gazebo.
Image: DSC_9320. wht_wolf9653 [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Flickr

Built in 1930, the Sunken Gardens are one of the best things to do in Lincoln – and are completely free to enter!

There are visiting hours to adhere to, but parking nearby is free and this breathtaking attraction makes a great day out for the whole family.

For an even more enriching experience, consider joining one of the guided garden tours.

These immersive tours offer insights into the remarkable flora and fauna found within the gardens.

Alternatively, you can become an integral part of this close-knit community by volunteering to help maintain the gardens throughout the year.

Allow yourself to be enchanted by the Sunken Gardens—a hidden gem that invites you to revel in nature’s wonders while fostering a sense of belonging.

2. Nebraska State Capitol

You may have spotted the Nebraska State Capitol before you knew what it was!

Known as “The Tower on the Plains,” it stands at about 400 feet tall and can be seen from almost 20 miles away.

This is the head of the Nebraska government and is one of the most important attractions in downtown Lincoln.

Exterior view of the Nebraska State Capitol in Lincoln NE
Image: Lincoln Nebraska ~ Nebraska State Capitol ~ Exterior ~ Historical. Onasill [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Flickr

It was designed by a New York architect and completed by 1932.

Today, it is a National Historic Landmark.

Visitors can take tours on the hour of the building, and it’s open most days of the year (excluding Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day).

If you’re looking for beautiful places to get married in Lincoln, Nebraska, they also do weddings!

“The Tower on the Plains” is one of the best places in Lincoln for a wedding ceremony, due to the gorgeous interior and the grand feeling that special things happen here!

3. Museum of American Speed

Got a need for speed?

The Speedway Motors Museum of American Speed is one of the best things to do in Lincoln, Nebraska with kids as you can tour around the stunning collection of cars, engines, toys and other racing memorabilia.

In addition to walking among the gorgeous galleries featuring everything from Ford to streamliners, you can also attend a monthly Cars and Coffee meet-up that brings people with specialty cars together to talk about their passions and enjoy some donuts and drinks.

An orange, antique racing vehicle on display at the Museum of American Speed in Lincoln, NE.
Image: Museum of American Speed. John Lloyd [CC BY 2.0], via Flickr

This is one of those can’t-miss museums, and a true gem of Lincoln for anyone interested in racing history!

4. Lincoln Children’s Zoo

With over 400 animals, Lincoln Children’s Zoo is one of the best outdoors things to do in Lincoln, Nebraska for families.

A trip to this all-ages zoo will help teach kids about animal conservation, as well as provide animal encounters and exciting shows!

See the Red Pandas play together, watch the bobcats dart throughout their exhibit, and listen for the sound of the macaws.

Close-up of a green snake

You can spend an entire day here by giving the kids time to play in the natural playground, having lunch at the cafe, or spending time walking around the butterfly habitat.

You can also purchase one of the most unique ideas for artwork in your home: animal art!

This art, made by various animals with non-toxic paint, is a great souvenir to take home – and definitely a conversation piece!

5. Pioneer Park Nature Center

Visit the Pioneer Park Nature Center to find hundreds of acres of space to roam, play, and get some fresh air in the summer sun.

You’ll find all kinds of ecosystems, from prairies to wetlands, and there are 8 miles of hiking and walking trails that will help you get some exercise while enjoying the nature around you.

Columns at Pioneer Park Nature Center in Lincoln Nebraska
Image: Columns. Sarah Beth [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Flickr

Pack a picnic and spread out a blanket in the open grass, or simply sit and listen to the birds in the bird garden.

Admission is free, and don’t forget the little ones!

There are natural playgrounds, special exhibits to teach the kids about wildlife, and regular workshops and classes throughout the year.

6. International Quilt Museum

Quilting is a hugely important part of Americana culture, not to mention a fascinating form of art!

One of the best things to do in Lincoln, Nebraska for quilt lovers and quilting clubs is to visit the International Quilt Museum.

This is a beautiful museum featuring hanging tapestries that showcase different quilt artists and quilting themes.

Close-up of a colorful quilt with a floral theme
Image: serve me up a shot of color 2. Sarah Beth [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Flickr

There are free public tours during the day, or you can have a private tour for more information or to entertain a larger group or club.

The International Quilt Museum also features quite a few talks and events that you can attend in addition to a museum visit.

7. Memorial Stadium

Ready to cheer on the Cornhuskers?

Built in 1923, Memorial Stadium is a college football stadium on the campus of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

It’s also nicknamed “The Sea of Red”, due to the dominant color of the Cornhuskers – and how the whole stadium seems awash with red during games!

Exterior of Memorial Stadium in Lincoln NE
Image: Memorial Stadium – Lincoln, Nebraska – Cornhuskers. Tony Webster [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Flickr

Memorial Stadium has undergone quite a few expansions in its history to accommodate all of the football fans who want to make their mark there.

When it’s full, it can hold more people than any Nebraska city besides Omaha and Lincoln.

Even if you’re not seeing a game here, you can check out the stadium in all of its glory and get some pictures from the outside.

Go Huskers!

8. University of Nebraska State Museum

Natural history lovers should flock to the University of Nebraska State Museum, which features four floors of fossils, biology exhibits and, most importantly, permanent exhibits featuring the biodiversity of Nebraska.

Journey back through time as you see the plants and animals that made Nebraska what it was and what it has grown to be.

Exterior of the University of Nebraska State Museum, with a mammoth sculpture in front of it.
Lloyd G. Tanner Plaza & Morrill Hall, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, Nebraska, USA” by Hanyou23 [CC BY-SA 4.0]

There are also exhibits celebrating the First People of the Plains, as well as information on the minerals found in and around Nebraska.

This is a great thing to do in Lincoln with kids, as the museum is interactive and puts on lots of events to keep the kids engaged.

The museum was established back in 1871, so it has been delivering education to the local community ever since.

If you need another reason to visit, don’t miss “Archie” – the world’s largest mounted and composite Colombian mammoth fossil!

9. Pinnacle Bank Arena

If you’re planning on seeing a concert or watching a college basketball game while in town, you’ll find yourself at Pinnacle Bank Arena.

Built in 2013, this indoor arena is Lincoln’s main hub for University of Nebraska basketball games, as well as a wide variety of concerts and events throughout the years.

Exterior of Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln NE
Pinnacle Bank Arena” by CrunchySkies [CC BY-SA 3.0]

It’s hosted everyone from Elton John to the Eagles, and with over 15,000 seats, the atmosphere inside is truly electric.

Nicknamed “the Vault,” Pinnacle Bank Arena can be found in the West Haymarket district of Lincoln.

10. Holmes Lake Park

A luxurious picnic assortment spread out on a white blanket in the park

To take part in the classic American pastime of taking a picnic to the park or going boating in the lake, check out Holmes Lake Park!

This is a well-loved green space in Lincoln, where it’s safe to enjoy the tranquil walking trails, let the kids burn tons of energy on the playground, or spend some time fishing in the lake.

With over 200 acres to explore, you’ll be able to spread out without feeling like you’re too close to other visitors.

Feeling sporty? Gather for a game of baseball or volleyball!

This park (and lake!) are free to visit, so why not plan some time to chill out and relax?

11. Pinewood Bowl Amphitheater

A fully packed concert at Pinewood Bowl Theater in Lincoln NE
Photo credit: Pinewood Bowl Theater Facebook Page

Live entertainment in the park is the name of the game at Pinewood Bowl Theater!

Located in Pioneers Park, this cultural community hub is a staple for the community and a breathtaking place to experience live music in a park setting.

The history behind the Pinewood Bowl is also interesting, as it goes back to WWII, when servicemen were stationed at the Lincoln Air Base.

Over time, they began “singfests”, which were Sunday evening services for them and their families.

The war ended, but the feeling was that these services should continue, and so the first incarnation of the Pinewood Bowl Amphitheater was born!

From family-friendly plays to riveting summer concerts (featuring some big names!), this outdoor theater is a wonderful way to spend some time in Lincoln!

12. Antelope Park

One of the most beautifully landscaped parks in Lincoln, Antelope Park is a true Lincoln gem and a great place to take the kids.

Enjoy the walking trails together, or let them play on the large playground while you sit and catch up with your friends.

Close up on a red flower in Antelope Park in Lincoln Nebraska.
Image: red. Sarah Beth [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Flickr

There is also a lot of history here, with a War Memorial right next to the playground and lots of gardens that celebrate the plants and history of prairie life.

There are shelters to protect you from the rain if it comes, as well as restrooms within the park so you don’t have to leave to go to the bathroom.

It’s rated as one of the top parks and green spaces in Lincoln, so add it to your list!

13. Nebraska History Museum

A historical collection at the Nebraska History Museum located in Lincoln, NE
Photo credit: Nebraska History Museum Facebook Page

Completely free to the public, the Nebraska History Museum is a must-visit for anyone visiting (or living in) the state!

The Nebraska History Museum takes you back through 12,000 years of history, which may seem overwhelming, but the museum is laid out perfectly to help you navigate from collection to collection and really understand the cultural and historical implications of each one.

Learn about how Nebraska became a state, the early life of the settlers here, and important moments in Nebraska history that have shaped the way the state is run today.

And if you have kids with you, never fear!

Kids are totally welcome and there are regular educational opportunities for them to get more engaged in Nebraska History.

14. Nebraska State Holocaust Memorial

One of the most somber, but critically important things to see in Lincoln is the Nebraska State Holocaust Memorial.

Located in the Wyuka Cemetery, which is a large and scenic park-like cemetery, this memorial comprises a Star of Remembrance sculpture as well as a Wall of Remembrance.

The memorial is to all who lost their lives in the Holocaust, and those who fought to help those victims and end it.

You will also find a list of the names of the military units that included Nebraska-based servicemen who liberated some of the camps.

Wall of Remembrance at the Nebraska State Holocaust Memorial
Nebraska Holocaust Memorial 2” by Mdsimon [Public Domain]

There is also a peaceful Butterfly Garden to memorialize the children lost in the Holocaust, and while sobering, it is meant to act as a place of hope for the future.

15. Hamann Rose Garden

Who doesn’t love a gorgeous rose garden?

Hamann Rose Garden in Lincoln NE
Image: Overview of Rose Garden. wht_wolf9653 [CC by-SA 2.0], via Flickr

If you haven’t figured it out already, Lincoln Nebraska is a big fan of gardens – and the rose garden is no exception!

In fact, Hamann Rose Garden continues a legacy of roses in public gardens in Lincoln that stretches 75 years back.

Come and wander through over 100 different types of roses, as well as other trees and shrubs that help to complete the beautiful landscaping.

There are also award-winning roses displayed in the All-Americas Rose Selection official Rose Display Garden (see, Lincoln takes their roses seriously!)

You’ll find the Hamann Rose Garden near 27th and C Streets.

Don’t forget to spend some time looking at the architecture surrounding the roses, including sculptures, iron fences and gates, and a fountain.

16. Deer Springs Winery

A truly all-American and family owned business, Deer Springs Winery is one of the premier wineries in Lincoln, and a fantastic place to visit to enjoy a tasting with some friends!

The history of Deer Springs Winery begins with Jim Partington, who retired from the Navy and returned to Lincoln to build a house and start planting crops.

People toasting wine glasses with red wine

It started with wine grapes, and once the first crop was produced, the decision to open a winery was made!

Today, you can visit the Deer Springs Tasting Room, which is in the renovated farmhouse on the property that dates back to 1876.

A visit to Deer Springs is a great idea for couples wanting a romantic day out, or some time spent with friends appreciating the wonderful flavors of Deer Springs wine.

17. Pho Factory

If you’re on the hunt for something a bit different in Lincoln, head to the Pho Factory, where you’ll find authentic Vietnamese food that’s both healthy and affordable.

The food is cooked by trained chefs who have carefully studied recipes passed down between families for generations, and the most popular order, as the name might suggest, is Pho.

A bowl of Pho, a type of Vietnamese soup

This rice noodle soup is a staple in Vietnamese cuisine, and a must-try for any foodie!

The atmosphere inside Pho Factory is welcoming and modern, letting you relax and focus on the amazing flavors of the food and warmth of friendship and Lincoln community that brings it all together.

18. Sheldon Museum of Art

A modern abstract art gallery in the Sheldon Museum of Art in Lincoln NE
Photo credit: Sheldon Museum of Art Facebook Page

If an art museum is what you’re after in Lincoln, you’ll be enthralled with the Sheldon Museum of Art.

Focusing on 19th and 20th century art, this art museum is on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places and holds both the collection of the University of Nebraska as well as the Sheldon Art Association Collection.

You’ll wander through halls featuring everything from American Impressionism, Pop art, and Contemporary art.

The focus is very much on American art, and there are more than 12,000 works of art in these collections.

For an extra treat, explore the sculpture garden, which is open year-round and has more than 30 sculptures on display!

Note: The museum is currently closed for construction through August 17, 2023. Check their Facebook Page for updates!

19. Wilderness Park

A forest canopy in Wilderness Park Lincoln NE, one of the most beautiful places to visit in Lincoln Nebraska
Photo credit: Friends of Wilderness Park Facebook Page

The largest park in Lincoln, Wilderness Park has over 1,400 acres of walking and hiking trails through both woodland and prairie.

This is a great place to go for relaxing jogs near gently flowing streams and some family bike riding on the single-track biking trails.

With its serene ambiance and lush greenery, Wilderness Park provides a peaceful retreat from city life.

Whether you’re seeking solitude, outdoor recreation, or a family outing, Wilderness Park offers endless opportunities to connect with nature and create cherished memories.

20. Museum of Roller Skating

Teal and yellow colored roller skates

Roller skating, one of America’s greatest pastimes, is on full display at the Museum of Roller Skating in Lincoln, which houses the largest collection of historical roller skates in the world!

From inline skating to roller derby, intriguing collections of the history of roller skating are laid out in galleries that take you through the culture and practical developments in roller skating.

It’s a truly fascinating visit for anyone involved in the sport or wanting to learn more about it, and the collections of photographs and other artifacts from costumes to trophies are incredible.

Admission is completely free, and a wonderful gift shop allows you to purchase some memorabilia for the roller skating fans in your life back home.

21. Pawnee Lake

Looking for some great outdoor activities in Lincoln, NE?

Escape to the serene beauty of Pawnee Lake!

Sunset over Pawnee Lake, one of the most romantic things to do in Lincoln NE
Image: Sunset Over Pawnee Lake. David Williss [CC BY 2.0], via Flickr

This picturesque lake offers a tranquil oasis for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts.

With its pristine waters and scenic surroundings, Pawnee Lake provides the perfect setting for boating, fishing, and water sports.

Pack a picnic and enjoy a leisurely afternoon by the shore, or explore the hiking trails that wind through the surrounding woodlands, offering breathtaking views and opportunities for wildlife spotting.

For a memorable camping experience, pitch a tent at one of the designated campsites and fall asleep under a star-filled sky.

This scenic lake is also one of the best things to do in Lincoln, NE for couples.

Whether you seek adventure or relaxation, Pawnee Lake is a nature lover’s paradise that promises unforgettable moments and cherished memories.

22. Gateway Mall

The Food Court entrance to Gateway Mall in Lincoln Nebraska
Photo credit: Gateway Mall Facebook Page

Indulge in a shopping extravaganza at Gateway Mall in Lincoln, Nebraska.

This premier retail destination boasts a wide selection of stores, featuring popular national brands and a variety of merchandise.

From fashion-forward clothing to home decor and electronics, you’ll find everything you need under one roof!

Explore well-known retailers offering the latest trends and high-quality products.

After a successful shopping spree, recharge at the mall’s diverse dining options, serving up delicious meals and quick bites.

Gateway Mall offers a convenient and enjoyable shopping experience, with a range of offerings that cater to every style and taste.

23. Historic Haymarket

A quaint street in Historic Haymarket District Lincoln NE
Photo credit: Lincoln’s Historic Haymarket District Facebook Page

More into eateries than shops?

Immerse yourself in the lively culinary scene of Historic Haymarket!

This vibrant district is a haven for food enthusiasts, offering a plethora of delectable eateries to satisfy every craving.

From cozy cafes to trendy restaurants, you’ll discover a diverse range of culinary delights.

As you explore the charming streets, you’ll find yourself surrounded by the tantalizing aromas and warm ambiance of these exceptional dining establishments.

Of course, you’ll also find some shops there, as well as several salons and other services.

But at its core, Historic Haymarket is a culinary paradise where you can embark on a flavorful journey and create unforgettable dining experiences.

Visiting between May and October? Stop by on a Saturday morning to browse the Farmers Market!

24. Urban Air Trampoline and Adventure Park

Photo credit: Urban Air Adventure Park (Lincoln) Facebook Page

Looking for fun things to do in Lincoln, Nebraska with kids?

Look no further than Urban Air Trampoline and Adventure Park!

This exciting destination is a haven for active youngsters and families seeking exhilarating experiences.

Watch as your little ones jump, flip, and bounce on the massive trampoline courts, providing a safe and entertaining environment for them to release energy and showcase their acrobatic moves.

Cheer them on as they conquer the Climbing Walls, take part in the thrilling Warrior Course, or brave the Ropes Course!

Urban Air Trampoline and Adventure Park offers a wide range of thrilling attractions and activities that will provide your family with endless entertainment and create unforgettable memories.

Get ready to experience a day filled with laughter, excitement, and boundless fun with your kids at Urban Air Trampoline and Adventure Park in Lincoln, Nebraska!

25. Robber’s Cave Tours

Inside the caves at Robber's Cave Tours, one of the most fun things to do in Lincoln Nebraska
Photo credit: Robber’s Cave Tours Facebook Page

Embark on an intriguing adventure at Robber’s Cave Tours in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Step back in time as you explore the fascinating history of this underground attraction, which is even older than Lincoln itself!

Discover the hidden passages, chambers, and tales of the infamous outlaws who once sought refuge within these mysterious caves.

To ensure your spot on this captivating journey, it is recommended to pre-book your tour at least a couple of days in advance.

Immerse yourself in the rich history and natural wonders of Robber’s Cave as knowledgeable guides lead you through its intriguing depths.

Don’t miss this unique opportunity to delve into the secrets of the past!

Book your tour today and prepare for an unforgettable experience at Robber’s Cave Tours in Lincoln, Nebraska.

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