Insider’s Family Guide is a guest blogger series that runs occasionally on Oh My! Omaha. See previous Insider Family Guides to St. Louis, Cedar Rapids and Council Bluffs. Today’s post on Lincoln, Nebraska, is written by Gretchen, the blogger behind Odyssey Through Nebraska. I think you’ll be surprised at all the Lincoln has to offer, especially if you haven’t visited in a while. Enjoy!
I like to keep my options open. Because of this, I am a big fan of buffets. Not that I eat enough to make the price worth it, but because I get excited about all of the choices. My husband is the opposite. He prefers cut-and-dried, ordering off the menu. In fact, I often order for him for that very reason. (No, Waitress, I am really not that bossy!)
When I was asked to write a “Local’s Guide to Lincoln” post for Oh My! Omaha, I was honored. Struggling to narrow down my favorites was a bit hard, but maybe for a girl who does like possibilities, this makes sense. Therefore, I made a decision. By including links to a bunch of places, these varied options are for those of you who like to write your own adventures. For those of you who like to be guided along, I will include lengthier information about my “favorite” places to go around Nebraska’s Capital City.
What To Do
If I were bringing the children along, stops at the Lincoln Children’s Museum and at the Lincoln Zoo would be high on my list. If just my girl were along, I would stop by the Nebraska Governor’s Residence, so that she could see all of the inaugural ball gowns and the First Lady dolls. My three sons always enjoy a visit to the UNL Tractor Test & Power Museum.
Catching a Saltdogs baseball game, a Lincoln Stars hockey match or any Huskers sporting event is always fun for our family. We particularly love taking a scheduled tour of Memorial Stadium. Our football facilities are amazing to see!
For those art aficionados, I would recommend The Sheldon Museum of Art and also Kiechel Fine Art Gallery because seeing an original Andy Warhol in person is just cool. Another one of our favorite creative places to visit is the International Quilt Study Center & Museum.
To pick only ONE place to take guests in Lincoln, the choice is an obvious one for me. Viewable across the city, the Nebraska Capitol is my favorite Lincoln location to visit. Featuring exquisite architecture, detailed mosaics, storied tapestries and so many spaces to explore, the Capitol is a feast for the eyes.
By taking a tour, you will learn the significance of all of the components that were brought together to tell Nebraska’s story. Wandering through the Hall of Fame gives you a glimpse into the lives of some of the men and women that have made our state what it is today.
While you can walk around on your own, you will miss the insider perspective and will also not get to see quite as much as the judicial chambers are typically locked up and the legislative chamber can only been seen through the glass panels.
What do my four children love the most about the Capitol? Riding the elevator to the very top and looking out across Lincoln. On days where the weather cooperates, the exterior balcony doors are propped open for you to go out and take a peak. Picking out buildings and locations across the Lincoln skyline is a fun challenge.
Where To Eat
For being a smaller city, Lincoln has many, many delicious and unique locations to dine. Being known for Nebraska beef, Misty’s Steakhouse and Brewery and Lazlo’s Brewery and Grill provide great options. We also have several original renowned ethnic eateries: The Oven (Indian cuisine), The Blue Orchid (Thai cuisine), and The Normandy (casual French cuisine). These are all places that I would go on date nights.
Getting pizza from Valentinos or from Isles Pizza and Pub in Havelock are also great food options. If I were to eat out with my family across Lincoln for one day, these are the locations that I would pick. Maybe we will have to have a stay-cation soon!
Wanting to start your day with a sugar rush of deliciousness? Look no further than The Doughnut Hole (350 Canopy Street) in Lincoln’s new Railyard District. Their selections change daily and even seasonally, with a few standard options such as vanilla-bean glaze and their popular maple-bacon are always available. Featuring Stumptown Coffee, starting your day here provides a great beginning.
Having been to many a bridal shower here, we often picked brunch as our time. My favorite is definitely the French toast!
Lunch: The Burger Wars
Enjoying a great burger for lunch always sounds like a winning option to me. We have two favorite places to grab a burger, and they happen to be on opposite sides of Lincoln. We tend to frequent the northeast one more often since it is closer to home, but when we are eating out in southwest Lincoln, we do enjoy the other place as well.
Honest Abe’s Burgers & Freedom is located at 854 N. 70th St. (and now at 128 N. 14th St. and 2662 Cornhusker Highway). The actual restaurant space is rather small, so if you want to dine in, I suggest not arriving at 6 p.m. Thankfully, you can get burgers to go any time. While they do have a few standards that always remain on the menu, they are also known for having a rotating menu.
I really like the 1809 featuring a 6 oz. patty, smoked gouda, applewood bacon, pickled apples and smoky honey mayo. While I could order that any visit and be perfectly happy, often their featured “temporary” burgers sound so intriguing that I go that direction as well since they are around for a limited time. Paying the extra $1 for the Parmesan Truffle fries is a great idea!
Getting their menu updates are possible if you sign up for their Honest Abe’s Facebook page. One important detail to note: they are CLOSED on Sundays.
HF Crave can found at 2801 Pine Lake Road in the SouthPointe shopping complex area. This is a farm-to-table restaurant in the purest sense. JR & Marcy Hollenbeck and family raise the beef that is served in their restaurant. They have “Build It How You Crave It” where you pick the type of bun, type of meat and your desired toppings.
A whole line of signature burgers is also available where they pick the toppings for you. I really like the PB & B featuring peanut butter and bacon especially with their sweet potato fries! Yum!
Dinner: A Nebraska Original
Located at 64th and O, near Gateway Mall, Parker’s Smokehouse now has expanded to have locations in both Ashland and Nebraska City. This is often our family’s pick for birthday celebrations. As far as menu options, their tagline, “Barbecue with Soul” says it all. Featuring their slowly-smoked meats such as Georgia pulled-pork, Texas beef brisket and St. Louis-style BBQ spare ribs, the barbecue options are amazing.
Deciding from the options may be challenging as they are all delicious and determining which of their four sauces to top your chosen meat with may also cause you some thought. On the weekends, they make the choices even harder when they add smoked prime rib to the menu. Not into barbecue? Having signature salads and sandwiches are also always options. Whatever you choose, you will leave satisfied.
Did I give you enough options to provide you with a great day in Lincoln? I hope so. The people here are friendly, and often Lincoln has been called a “small town” city. We hope you come to visit us soon! If you want to learn about additional Lincoln adventures, I often feature my hometown, as well as other Nebraska places on my blog, Odyssey Through Nebraska.
– Gretchen Garrison has been married to her best friend for 14+ years. Together they are raising their four children, and she is attempting to homeschool them. (All four will be in school officially this year!) By blogging at www.odysseythroughnebraska.com, she is inspired to take her kids places rather than just planning to go there “someday.”