11 Interesting and Beautiful Places to Visit in Lincoln, Nebraska

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For many, the first place that comes to mind when thinking of where to vacation is not usually Nebraska.

In fact, when thinking of Nebraska, often people tend to think of… well, corn.

However, after spending a month in Lincoln this summer, it was enlightening to find that it’s not difficult to find plenty of charm as well.

More famous as a college town (go ‘huskers), visiting in summer when school is out lets you see a different side when not everything is centered around football and tailgates. Although, it must be a blast to go during that time as well.

Our month in Lincoln was filled with big beautiful skies, gorgeous flowing plains, country music, and some hearty eating. So, if you find yourself in The Good Life state, here are 11 interesting and beautiful places to visit in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Haymarket District

A stroll through the Haymarket District is a lovely introduction to Lincoln, NE.

Beautiful cobblestoned streets are lined with old restored buildings packed with shops, restaurants, and bars. You’ll notice a youthful vibration, as students from the University of Nebraska gallivant around town.

It can be a particularly electric scene during the fall, as the legendary Memorial Stadium is right there in town.

One particularly beautiful building is Lincoln Station Great Hall, which has a visitor center and dining.

Wandering the Haymarket District you might find a speakeasy, a classic dive bar, a cocktail bar in the back of a theater, barbecue, fine dining, and even a cigar lounge. Basically, something for everyone’s taste.

During the summer, the streets may be closed off for festivals and events as well, but truly, the Haymarket District is one of the most interesting places to visit in Lincoln year-round.

Photo by Daniel Hayes (IG: indecisive_travels)

Sunken Gardens

After stuffing your face in the Haymarket District, you might want to find somewhere a little more peaceful.

For a good place to walk around and digest, I would recommend the Sunken Gardens. Shockingly, this park was once a neighborhood dump site. However, today you’ll find a serene public park with lilypad laden ponds running down the middle of it, along with beautiful floral decorations and a variety of interesting sculptures and installations.

The numerous featured gardens include the Healing Garden, which was inspired by the White Garden at Sissinghurst Castle in Kent, England.

You’ll also find the Perennial Garden and Annual Garden which reveal a different theme each spring.

Feel free to jog, walk, or ride your bike through the wafting aromas of the thousands of plants along the walkway. As one of the most applauded public parks in the country, the Sunken Gardens should be a must visit for anyone visiting Lincoln, NE.

Sunken Garden

Photo by Daniel Hayes (IG: indecisive_travels)

State Capitol Building

Standing tall above the rest, the State Capitol Building watches over Lincoln.

With a 400-foot tower capped off by a 19-foot bronze statue called The Sower, this building is incredibly impressive. Construction began in 1922 and it’s the third capitol building to be erected in this location… third time’s a charm, I guess? 

Taking a tour of the interior marble, mosaic floors, and murals is well worth it during a visit to Lincoln.

The artwork displayed around the building represents the natural, social, and political development of the state of Nebraska.

But, be sure to truly examine the exterior as well, as you’ll find 3,000 years of democracy carved into the limestone. Checking out the State Capitol Building is a must-have on your list of things to do in Lincoln, NE, so don’t miss it!

state capitol

Photo by Daniel Hayes (IG: indecisive_travels)

Pinewood Bowl Amphitheater

Is there anything better than sitting on a lawn on a summer’s evening, watching a musical performance while you sip wine and feel the vibrations of an audience letting loose? It’s one of my favorite things to do in summer, and Lincoln, NE has one of my favorite outdoor venues – the Pinewood Bowl Amphitheater.

Surrounded by beautiful evergreens planted in the lovely Pioneer’s Park, you’ll feel like you’re in a wooded fairy tale as the sounds of instruments bounce off the trees around you.

This open-air theater features world-class acts from Jack White to Sheryl Crow and non-musical acts like the top comedians in the country.

We enjoyed a perfectly mellow performance by Bon Iver during our stay in Lincoln in June. It was one of the best things we did while we were there.

Getting to the event, through security, and getting our hands on some food was all seamless. I highly recommend checking out the event calendar if you’re in town. I’d even say if you don’t see anyone you know, just go for it because I’m that certain you’ll still have a great night.

Pinewood Bowl

Photo by Daniel Hayes (IG: indecisive_travels)

Pioneers Park Nature Center

If you’ve read my previous section on the Pinewood Bowl Amphitheater, you’d have heard me mention Pioneers Park. Yes, it’s home to Pinewood Bowl, but it’s also much more than that. It’s a park that warrants visiting in and of itself.

Sitting on 668 acres of land, the park features its very own nature center. The land is packed with prairie fields, woodlands, wetlands, and a delightful stream running through it.

Eight miles of hiking through habitats, raptor exhibits, and even a small bison herd make this a perfect place to spend the day with family.

You’ll find various buildings like the Chet Ager Building and the Prairie Building there to display exhibits and provide information on the surrounding landscape and its history. So, if you’re looking for a beautiful place in Lincoln, NE to spend the day outdoors, be sure to put this one on your list.


Photo by Daniel Hayes (IG: indecisive_travels)

Platter River State Park

Another park! This one is a bit outside of Lincoln, closer to Omaha, but well worth the 30-40 minute drive. At Platter River State Park, you’ll find 453 acres of nature situated on the banks of the, you guessed it, mighty Platte River.

Forested and with a relatively steep climb compared to the surrounding landscapes, this was one of our favorite places to hike during our month in Lincoln, and a worthy addition to our list of places to visit in/around Lincoln.

We hiked with our pup along the creek all the way to the top, passing a neat little waterfall along the way with kids playing on and under.

At the top you’ll find a lodge serving food and refreshments, and a fire tower you must climb up. That last bit of climbing up the fire tower was the highlight, as the view was incredible. It seems as though you could see up and down the Platte River for miles.

Platte River

Photo by Daniel Hayes (IG: indecisive_travels)

Antelope Park

To me, Antelope Park is a true hidden gem, and one of my favorite Lincoln places we visited.

We stumbled upon this park on one of first days in the city and were very happy we did. For us, it’s one of the prettiest places to visit in Lincoln, NE!

This park features everything you need including grassy fields, playgrounds, and numerous well-maintained picnic areas.

However, the park is highlighted by the statues, fountains, and gardens such as the Hamann Rose Garden. Beautiful arrangements surround interesting and beautifully detailed sculptures all along the grounds walking paths.

The park also houses the impressive Cascade Fountain, which is dedicated to honoring the educators of our country and their commitment to providing excellence in education.

Hands down, this is the perfect place in Lincoln to have a picnic and people watch.

Antelope Park

Photo by Daniel Hayes (IG: indecisive_travels)

Rococo Theatre

While the Rococo Theatre has had a few different names and owners over the years, its bones originated in 1929.

The theatre has a classic feel to it, as if you might sit up on the balcony with little binoculars and a wig watching an opera unfold.

It wasn’t always that way though. In 1971, the theatre was given a false ceiling, covering the ornate original designs and chandeliers. The marble walls and floors were also carpeted and the stage was bricked off… all in an attempt to create a modern theater. Thankfully, all of that was undone in 2000, returning most of the theater’s original glory.

Today, the theater hosts awesome musical acts and other elite performers like Dave Chappelle, making it one of the top places to visit in Lincoln for lovers of live entertainment.

When not putting on live performances, the theater often shows classic movies and even live sporting events.

One of my personal favorite parts is the awesome cocktail bar behind the theater called Barrymore’s. Have a perfect cocktail here before a performance at the Rococo – you won’t regret it.

Photo by Daniel Hayes (IG: indecisive_travels)

Sheldon Museum of Art

Taking a break from nature and focusing on one of the many museums that Lincoln has to offer, let’s talk about the wonderful Sheldon Museum of Art.

Here, the art beings outside as you approach the building, with fascinating sculptures dotting the grounds of the museum. This includes a giant head on the steps of the museum.

Inside, the museum has on display about 12,000 works of art, ranging from paintings and drawings to sculptures. The museum sculpture garden itself features more than 30 sculptures to admire. And the kicker? It’s free!

Go ahead and walk on over, spend as much time as you like gazing at pieces from the likes of Georgia O’Keefe and Any Warhol.

For art and culture lovers, the Sheldon Museum of Art is certainly one of the most interesting places to visit in Lincoln. 

Museum of American Speed

Another interesting museum to visit in Lincoln is the Museum of American Speed.

This museum was founded in 1992 by a man with the most appropriate nickname, “Speedy” Bill Smith, and it is the place to be for those with a need for speed.

The museum houses an incredible collection of “automobilia”, from vintage Indy Cars, go-karts, motorized toys, antique and rare cars, and even some signed guitars, making it a great place to learn about the evolution of automobiles as we know them, and the evolution of the engines that power them.

A great Lincoln place to visit for people of all ages, it’s incredibly fun to get an up close look some of the rarest cars in history. As someone who knows absolutely nothing about cars, it was fascinating to see the development and progress cars have made throughout history.

You can even get a guided tour and become an automotive historian by days end.

Omaha Day Trip

While there’s always plenty to do in the city proper, I always love to take a little day trip when visiting somewhere. It’s fun to play some music, go for a drive and see what the outskirts of the city behold.

In the case of Lincoln, an even bigger city is only an hour drive away. A city like Omaha warrants its own list of interesting places to visit, but for now, let’s just give you a quick overview.

During our day trip, we started at Old Market.

Similar to Lincoln’s Haymarket district, Old Market features old restored buildings on old brick streets housing numerous great bars and restaurants.

Aside from food and beverage, you can take a ride over to the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge for a stroll. It’s a cool wavy bridge crossing over the Missouri River into Iowa considered an impressive feat of engineering.

There are many things to do here, and the fact that it’s an hour or less from Lincoln makes it a very easy day trip. 

Bob Kerrey Bridge

Photo by Daniel Hayes (IG: indecisive_travels)

Did we miss any of your favorite places in Lincoln, Nebraska?

Let us know in the comments if there are anymore places in Lincoln, Nebraska you’d like to see on our list!

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