Updated: Sep 5
In 2022, Nebraska welcomed over 11 million overnight visitors, half a million more than last year. They travel here to enjoy fresh air, clean water, abundant pristine spaces, and great steaks.
If you enjoy outdoor activities, unique sites, and incredible starlit skies, Nebraska is the ideal destination for you, and a move to the city of Lincoln places you at the heart of it all.
Keep reading to explore all the best things to do in Lincoln, Nebraska.
Outdoor Activities in Lincoln, Nebraska
Many of the best Lincoln, Nebraska, activities center on the state parks and lakes in the area. You can head to one of the following locations close to town for hiking, relaxing, picnics, or biking:
Indian Caves State Park
Mahoney State Park
Pawnee State Recreation Center
Platte River State Park
Schramm Park State Recreation Area
Pioneers Park and Spring Creek Prairie Audubon Center are also excellent destinations for walking among the waving prairie grasses of Nebraska.
Those who love to relax on the lakeside or enjoy swimming, and boating, should plan a visit to Branched Oak Lake or Stage Coach State Park.
Keen anglers enjoy spending time at Oak Lake Park, the Memphis State Recreation Area, and Holmes Park.
If you're short on time and craving a little fresh air and natural beauty, you'll find the Sunken Gardens and Hamann Rose Garden in the center of town.
Interestingly, Sunken Gardens was once a dumpsite until local conservationists converted it into a gorgeous green space during the 1930s.
Things to Do in Lincoln, Nebraska With Kids
Not only does Lincoln have a highly-rated public school system, but it also boasts numerous things to keep your children busy in their free time. These are the top three children's activities in town:
Lincoln Children’s Museum
The Lincoln Children's Museum is a wonderland of discovery and learning for children of all ages. Interactive activities span the three floors of creative and inspirational spaces.
Some play spaces on offer here include:
Grow Zone for toddlers
Mini banks, supermarkets, and shops
Rockets and airplanes
There's so much to learn and do at the Lincoln Children's Museum, and it's also a great destination for birthday parties and school field trips.
Lincoln Children’s Zoo
This well-maintained and safe city zoo is home to 400 animals, including examples of 40 endangered species. Children love exploring these paths in search of these beasts and even interacting with some of the tame ones.
Activities on offer include pony rides, train rides, and feeding the giraffes, as well as wildlife demonstrations like the Cheetah Chase. You can enjoy a meal at the onsite safari café, and there is a kids' playground on the premises, too.
Pioneers Park Nature Center
Pioneers Park showcases 668 acres of tallgrass, wetlands, and woodlands filled with animals and birds. Here, your children can discover and learn about conservation and get to see some of the resident creatures at the onsite animal exhibits.
Eight miles of hiking trails reveal animal habitat, the herb garden offers tranquility, the interpretative center is a wonderful place to learn about their surroundings, and the natural play area is great for blowing off steam.
Museums and Galleries in Lincoln, Nebraska
The Museum of American Speed documents the automotive history of the United States with a huge collection of cars dating back to the 1920s.
The University of Nebraska State Museum goes back even further with a collection of fossils, ancient weapons, artifacts, and gems that highlight the anthropology, biodiversity, and natural history of Nebraska.
A tour of the impressive 1922 Nebraska State Capitol Building, reveals stunning architecture, an ornate promenade, and panoramic views over Lincoln from the observation deck.
Just across the road, you can take a guided tour of the Nebraska Governor's House, a historic 31-room Georgian Colonial mansion.
The Sheldon Museum of Art houses 12,000 works representing the most popular genres of the 1800s and 1900s. These include:
One of Lincoln's quirkiest museums has got to be the National Museum of Roller Skating, which contains the world's largest collection of roller skating paraphernalia.
Sports in Lincoln, Nebraska
Sports enthusiasts will find no shortage of opportunities to flex their muscles in Lincoln, Nebraska. The city is awash with multi-purpose arenas and dedicated sports fields catering to every major sport, and then some.
If spectating is more your thing, there's something sporty to watch every weekend of the year. Lincoln is a hotspot for hockey, football, basketball, ice skating, volleyball, wrestling, and track and field events.
The Lancaster Event Center is a top equestrian venue, hosting numerous rodeos and other horse sports.
Golfers have over 20 challenging courses to choose from including some exclusive private courses, like Firethorn Golf Club.
Lincoln, Nebraska Shopping and Dining
The Historic Haymarket District is one of the best Lincoln, Nebraska, neighborhoods for those in search of fun, food, and finery.
It opened in 1867 as an open-air farmer's market selling produce and livestock, but it's been reimagined as a place to enjoy galleries, shops, bars, and restaurants.
Whether you're in search of retail therapy or nighttime entertainment, you're bound to find what you want in the Haymarket District.
If you'd like to try something a little more secluded, head to Deer Springs Winery, about 15 minutes outside downtown Lincoln. Among locals, this is one of the most popular Lincoln, Nebraska, restaurants for date nights and anniversary celebrations thanks to its restful ambiance, fine wines, and delicious food.
Other top restaurants in Lincoln, NE, include:
The Green Gateau
Lazlo's Brewery & Grill
Embrace the Best That Lincoln has to Offer
Are you considering moving to Nebraska for work or a change of scenery? You'll find there are enough things to do in Lincoln, Nebraska to keep you entertained all year.
Browse our blog for more ideas on how to make yourself at home, and get in touch for assistance with building your dream home.