Lincoln is one of those Nebraska cities that makes a great day trip visit no matter the season. If you have a little extra time, though, you can make a weekend of it going to fantastic restaurants, world-class shows, and enjoying the great outdoors.
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Rarely does the public get to enjoy such beautiful botanical gardens for free, but Sunken Gardens are just that. While it’s not a huge place to explore, it’s worth a stop to stroll and admire all the work volunteers put into it. Sunken Gardens are part of a much larger park called Antelope Park.
For more than a century, Robber's Cave has been used as a hideout, brewery storage, concert venue, daycare, and the ulitmate college party spot. Now, you can reserve a tour and learn about its fascinating history.
Three stories of fun, that’s what Lincoln Children’s Museum is. Play in the treehouse, splash at the water table, and explore the imaginative kid-size world. My kids loved the nutty cuckoo clock area when they were little.
Doesn’t matter your age, you will be tired after spending a few hours jumping, climbing and playing indoors at Lost in Fun! or Urban Air Adventure. But if you see more thrills, check out the city’s putt-putt golf centers, laser tag facilities, and paintball park.
Brick roads and revitalized warehouses filled with local shops and restaurants are quintessential Haymarket. You’ll find some pretty unique places to hang out, either to watch a Husker game on TV or enjoy a drink before a show.
The University of Nebraska-Lincoln has several great Division I teams, but none can compare to the women's volleyball team. Home games are played at the Devaney Center. The Devaney Center is home to games and matches for Husker wrestling, men's and women's gymnastics, women's swimming and diving, and track and field, as well.
Football, many will argue, is also a must-see. Be a part of the Sea of Red on game day at Memorial Stadium.
The University of Nebraska State Museum – most commonly referred to as Morrill Hall – is the state’s best natural history museum filled with fossils and interactive exhibits. The Hall of Mammoths is something to be behold. This is also where you’ll find Ralph Mueller Planetarium.
It’s a rite of passage for most Nebraska fourth graders, but you can tour the Nebraska State Capitol no matter what age you are. Tours point out the mosaics and sculptures throughout the building, as well as details the uniqueness of being the nation’s first truly vernacular state capitol.
Being a college town, major touring acts plan tour stops in Lincoln. My favorite venues are the Rococo Theatre and Pinewood Bowl, but if you want an arena experience, get tickets to a show at Pinnacle Arena.
Lincoln’s theater scene is a mix of excellent community theater productions, professional regional theatre, as well as Broadway tours. For marquee titles, keep an eye on the upcoming season at Lied Center for Performing Arts.
I’m a sucker for locally-owned shops, so I love dropping by Indigo Bridge for a new book or browsing one of the boutiques in the Haymarket when I get the chance. Here are a few shops I recommend you check out.
A few places have been mentioned already, like Pioneers Park Nature Center and Sunken Gardens. A few other great, free places to visit include Gallery Alley in the Haymarket (especially lit up at night) and Centennial Mall in downtotwn.
The city has its own herd of bison and elk and you can find them at Pioneers Park. It’s also a great space for hiking through prairie and wetlands. There are about 8 miles of hiking trails. Don’t skip the nature center.
It’s not just for university students! Outdoor Adventures featuring rock climbing walls, a challenge course, and workshops. You can also rent equipment for paddling, cross country skiing, hiking, camping and more.
Even with Lincoln being a short drive from Omaha, I’ve stayed overnight in the city several times. Usually, I prefer staying in the Haymarket area since restaurants, attractions and stores are all within walking distance. The downside to Haymarket, though, as well as many downtown Lincoln hotels, is that parking is extra, typically.
Here are a few of the hotels I recommend for families: