20 Best Things to Do in Lincoln, NE

Lincoln, NE skyline
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Lincoln, the charming capital of Nebraska, is a lovely place to visit with the whole family.

It's home to a lot of fascinating museums and the University of Nebraska–Lincoln.

The city also provides visitors with opportunities to experience breathtaking nature.

And of course, what's a vacation without eating and shopping?

The Historic Haymarket District is where you'll find countless local stores, restaurants, and the top places to witness Lincoln's exciting nightlife.

Thinking about taking a trip to this city?

These are the best things to do in Lincoln, Nebraska:

Stroll around the Historic Haymarket District

Shops at Historic Haymarket District
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The Historic Haymarket District is one of the liveliest places in all of Lincoln.

Among its most fascinating features are its buildings, some of which date as far back as the 19th century.

All of them have been restored to their former glory, making visitors feel as though they've stepped back in time.

Street view of Historic Haymarket District
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The district is lined with shops and restaurants and is the perfect place to experience the city's local culture.

The University of Nebraska is quite close to this place, so there isn't any time that the Historic Haymarket District isn't crowded.

McFarland pub in Historic Haymarket District
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See the Nebraska State Capitol

Exterior view of Nebraska State Capitol
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Did you know that there is an amusing history behind this State Capitol of Nebraska?

Nebraska had previously built State Capitols not once but twice—but none of them lasted.

They built the newest one over 10 years, starting in 1922.

Interior of Nebraska State Capitol
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The exterior has been done quite beautifully, and you will find that limestone has been used for the entire outlook.

The floors are made of mosaic, and there are three floors in total.

There are many tours that will guide you through the Capitol Building—one suggestion would be to book a guided tour to get to know more about the attraction's intricate details.

Beautiful interior design in a chamber at Nebraska State Capitol
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Check Out the Great Plains Art Museum

The Great Plains Art Museum is filled with fine arts and is bound to tug at your heartstrings.

Many of the good spots in Lincoln are inside the campus grounds of the University of Nebraska, and the Great Plains Art Museum falls among the museums inside the campus.

The museum opened its doors to the public in 1981.

Now, there are very few museums in Nebraska with a collection as good as this one has.

You can find works of a lot by famous international artists inside.

Explore the University of Nebraska State Museum

Interior of the University of Nebraska State Museum
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Are you a big fan of paleontology?

The University of Nebraska State Museum might be a slice of heaven for you.

Among the many Lincoln museums that are bound to steal your heart, this one will certainly be one of your favorites.

Entrance of the University of Nebraska State Museum
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The museum is affiliated with the Smithsonian and is home to the world's largest articulated mammoth.

There are plenty of interesting fossils that will keep you busy for hours.

The museum is located inside the campus of the University of Nebraska.

Fall in Love with the Beautiful Sunken Gardens

Colorful flowers and artificial pond at Sunken Garden
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The Sunken Gardens, which has been around since 1930, is one of the most impressive gardens in the United States.

It was named among the top 300 greatest gardens of America.

The beautifully manicured garden is located in the heart of Lincoln.

Picturesque view of the gazebo surrounded with colorful flowers and green plant at Sunken Gardens
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Some of the flowers are flown in from international gardens.

There are a lot of themed gardens inside the Sunken Gardens.

The Healing Garden is one of the best-loved themes.

Signboard of Sunken Gardens at Lincoln
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Admire Vintage Cars at the Museum of American Speed

Display of sports car, pictures and other car gadgets at the Museum of American Speed
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Are you interested in cars?

Or, are you on the lookout for attractions that showcase vintage automobiles?

The Museum of American Speed is one of the best places in Lincoln for any car enthusiast to check out.

It is built on a vast space of almost 135,000 square feet.

Display of an yellow vehicle at Museum of American Speed
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The main priority of this museum is preserving the golden age of vintage cars and automobiles and showing people how pretty retro things can be.

"Speedy" Bill Smith came up with the idea of establishing such a lovely themed museum in 1992.

The collections are quite charming, and you will be able to see a whole lot of vintage cars.

Some of them date back to the 1920s.

Visit the Sheldon Museum of Art

Exterior view of Sheldon Museum of Art
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Formerly known as the University of Nebraska Art Galleries, the Sheldon Museum of Art is located on the University of Nebraska-Lincoln campus grounds.

Its art collection, which focuses mainly on pieces from the 19th and 20th centuries, is truly on another level.

Interior of Sheldon Museum of Art
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There are more than 12,000 displays in their permanent collection.

Such a collection can even turn the heads of true artists.

Go Hiking at Pioneers Park Nature Center

Water body at Pioneers Park Nature Center
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Are you looking for a piece of nature amid all the city attractions?

You don’t even have to travel outside the city, as Pioneers Park Nature Center is found in the middle of the city center.

There are a lot of hiking and biking trails for you to choose from.

Bison grazing on the fields at Pioneers Park Nature Center
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There are ponds inside, so you are bound to have a good view while hiking.

The nature center also has its very own herb garden.

Spend a cool afternoon here in the middle of nature.

Smoke signal statue at Pioneers Park Nature Center
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Grab a Bite at Honest Abe's Burgers & Freedom

After a full day of sightseeing, you're likely to crave for a good bite to eat.

Fortunately, Lincoln has some of the best fast-food chains that you'll want to try out.

Honest Abe's Burgers & Freedom is a local restaurant chain that has gained immense popularity ever since it opened its first branch.

It serves some of the best burgers and fries—and who wouldn't love to treat their taste buds to a good burger after a long day of roaming around?

They offer signature milkshakes, too.

Honest Abe's Burgers & Freedom is one of the best places to hit up for a good meal in Lincoln.

Interact with the Giraffes at the Lincoln Children's Zoo

Lincoln Children's Zoo
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The Lincoln Children’s Zoo is one of the best zoos in America.

It's is an interactive zoo, providing opportunities for you to feed the animals, including the giraffes.

People enjoyinh the Toy train ride at Lincoln Children's Zoo
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Kids love this place.

The Lincoln Children’s Zoo is one of the best options to visit in the city if you are looking for something to do with your family and little ones.

Penquins swimming at Lincoln Children's Zoo
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Spot Gorgeous Patterns at the International Quilt Museum

Exhibits in International Quilt Study Center and Museum
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The famous International Quilt Museum is located inside the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

It features one of the best quilt collections in the world.

In addition to that, the collection also happens to be the largest.

People examining the art work installed at International Quilt Museum
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This museum boasts pieces from all over the globe.

If you count, you find that there are quilts from about 24 countries.

Mind boggling display of intricate quilt designs at International Quilt Museum
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Watch an Amazing Show at Mueller Planetarium

Entryway of Mueller Planetarium
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The University of Nebraska State Museum contains another gem other than its own collection, and that happens to be a lovely planetarium.

There is nostalgia behind the creation of Mueller Planetarium.

When it first opened in 1958, it was the first-ever planetarium in the state.

The structure is so large that it amazes a lot of people.

With enough room to comfortably seat almost 60 people, the planetarium has some good features to show you.

There are a lot of shows that go on based on different scientific issues and astronomy.

There is a customized fisheye lens projector which makes these shows look more real.

Get Curious at the Lester F. Larsen Tractor Test and Power Museum

Lincoln is home to a lot of unconventional museums.

The city's museums defy norms and portray things that genuinely interest the tourists.

For this reason, you will find a lot of crowds here every day.

The Lester F. Larsen Tractor Test and Power Museum is the only one of its kind in the entire world.

Situated within the University of Nebraska campus, the museum has a delightful collection of tractors.

Some of them have been around for 100 years and beyond.

Enjoy the National Museum of Roller Skating

The National Museum of Roller Skating is another one of Lincoln's unique museums that you must check out.

A museum wholly dedicated to the world of roller skating, this place will allow you to learn a lot about the sport.

You can find a lot of roller skate collections here.

There are a lot of photographs, memorabilia, and documents related to roller skating.

Step Back in Time at the Nebraska History Museum

The Nebraska History Museum will appeal to a lot of history buffs.

It's been gathering and storing the entire history of the state of Nebraska for a very long time.

In fact, if you explore well enough, you might find that some items date back almost 12,000 years.

The displays are very interesting, as the museum does an excellent job of portraying the culture of Lincoln and Nebraska.

The museum's permanent collection has more than 125,000 items.

Get Crafty at the LUX Center for the Arts

Taking your children on a trip?

Or perhaps you want to try your hand at crafting fun artwork?

Art and cultural groups are brought together with the help of this arts center through exhibits, courses, and events.

There's no better place in the city to discover and enjoy art than the LUX Center for the Arts.

There are several galleries and studios in the area where you may see and participate in artists' work from all over the country and the world.

Visit their events page for a list of upcoming performances and exhibitions.

Tour the Nebraska Governor's Mansion

Exterior view of Nebraska Governor's Mansion
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The Nebraska Governor's Mansion occupies an entire city block only a few blocks from the state capitol.

It is the official residence of the incumbent governor and his family in the state of Nebraska.

A 31-room classic Georgian Colonial residence, the property is landscaped with expansive gardens, lawns, a fountain, and walking trails.

To get the most out of your visit, arrange guided tours with the residence's resident docents in advance.

You can see both the Capitol and the house in one trip because the Capitol is only across the street.

Have a Date Night at Deer Springs Winery

Lincoln's award-winning winery, Deer Springs Winery, opened in 2007 and is within a 15-minute drive from the city center.

Patrick O'Haloran, the ancestor of Deer Springs Winery's proprietors, owned the winery's land.

It has been lauded for the quality of its wines, beers, and food since it first opened as a winery.

Is this a trip to celebrate your anniversary?

Why not plan a romantic night?

While in Lincoln, couples may spend a romantic evening at Deer Springs Winery.

Sip fine wines and nibble on locally sourced bread and cheeses.

Take Pictures with Roses at Hamann Rose Garden

Check out this rose garden if you haven't had enough flowers and foliage.

This lush garden lies right across the street from the Sunken Gardens.

It is a must-see for anybody visiting Lincoln, featuring a variety of rose varieties, fountains, and sculptures.

Visit with your family or friends, walk along the stone pavement, and snap plenty of pictures.

Have a Fun Family Day at Antelope Park

While both the Sunken and Hamman Gardens belong to Antelope Park, this 92-acre facility also features several other attractions.

Antelope Park includes beautiful gardens, but it also has an 18-hole golf course and other sports grounds, picnic spaces, and pathways for walkers and cyclists.

There is also public art, shelters for hire, and a theater for performances.

Antelope Park is a great place to spend a whole day.

Take a stroll through the trails and gardens, let the kids play outside, and watch a free performance if you're lucky.

Final Thoughts

Located in the heart of Nebraska, Lincoln is packed with exciting sites and activities, from beautiful gardens and vineyards to many museums and endless natural parks.

Lincoln has several options for visitors, from history buffs to nature lovers to aficionados.