The Top 10 Places to Visit in Lincoln for Sightseeing and Tourism

Venture into the heartland of America and discover the rich history, diverse culture, and charming landscapes that thrive in Lincoln, Nebraska. Whether you’re a history buff, nature lover, foodie or an art aficionado; this offbeat capital city has something to delight everyone. As we journey through the picturesque streets and serene trails of ‘Star City’, get ready to unveil our curated list of the top 10 must-visit locations in Lincoln for a unique sightseeing and tourism experience that will create unforgettable memories for years to come. You never know what hidden gems you might stumble upon!

Lincoln offers a diverse range of attractions. Some must-visit places include the Museum of American Speed, the Sunken Gardens, the Nebraska State Capitol, the Lincoln Children’s Museum, Pioneer Park, the International Quilt Study Center & Museum, the Sheldon Museum of Art, and Bob Devaney Sports Center. Make sure to check out ZOO Lights at Lincoln Children’s Zoo for wonderful holiday lights.

Places to visit in Lincoln

Historical Attractions in Lincoln

For history enthusiasts and sightseers, Lincoln, Nebraska has an abundance of historical attractions that offer a glimpse into the city’s rich past. From architectural marvels to cultural landmarks, these sites allow visitors to immerse themselves in the history and heritage of the area.

The Nebraska State Capitol stands as a symbol of both political power and architectural brilliance. This iconic building, designed by Bertram Goodhue, boasts a magnificent exterior adorned with intricate sculptures and mosaics. As you step inside, prepare to be awe-struck by the grandeur of its interior, featuring beautiful murals depicting the state’s history and massive columns that reach towards the sky. Explore the legislative chambers where important decisions are made, or take an elevator ride to the observation tower for a breathtaking panoramic view of Lincoln.

Another notable landmark is the Governor’s Mansion, located just across from the Capitol. With its colonial column facade and proximity to the seat of government, this unexpected surprise offers a glimpse into the lives of Nebraska’s governors and showcases architectural excellence.

If you’re seeking a more serene setting, make sure to visit the Sunken Gardens. This meticulously manicured garden oasis presents an array of vibrant colors and fragrant blooms that change with each season. Stroll along winding paths lined with vibrant flowers and ornate fountains as you soak in the tranquility. The Sunken Gardens is not only a place of natural beauty but also a living testament to community pride as it was developed by volunteers since 1930.

Additionally, Lincoln is home to several captivating churches and cathedrals that provide glimpses into both religious history and architectural magnificence. One such gem is the Prettiest Church in Lincoln, located across from the Capitol. This historic church offers stunning stained glass windows, intricate woodwork, and a tranquil atmosphere perfect for reflection.

As we explore the historical attractions in Lincoln, it’s hard to miss one of the city’s most prominent landmarks – the Nebraska State Capitol. Let’s delve deeper into the allure of this architectural masterpiece.

  • Lincoln, Nebraska offers a wealth of historical attractions that are perfect for history enthusiasts and sightseers. The Nebraska State Capitol stands out as an architectural wonder with intricate sculptures and mosaics while the Governor’s Mansion showcases colonial columns and touches on Nebraska’s political past. For those seeking a more peaceful setting, the Sunken Gardens provides an oasis for relaxation and community pride as it was developed by volunteers since 1930. Additionally, Lincoln is home to several captivating churches and cathedrals that offer glimpses into religious history and architectural excellence. Overall, these attractions allow visitors to immerse themselves in Lincoln’s rich heritage and uncover its unique cultural roots.

Nebraska State Capitol

The Nebraska State Capitol building is not only a seat of government but also a striking architectural gem in Lincoln. Designed by Bertram Goodhue in the early 1920s, this captivating structure showcases both Renaissance and Gothic influences, making it a standout among state capitol buildings.

As you approach the grand entrance, take a moment to admire the intricate carvings and sculptures adorning the walls. Step inside to be greeted by an impressive interior featuring marble floors, ornate decorative elements, and stunning murals depicting scenes from Nebraska’s history. The sheer scale of the rotunda will leave you in awe, with its towering columns and golden dome that allows natural light to filter through.

A visit to the Nebraska State Capitol offers more than just architectural marvels. Explore the various wings and galleries to discover exhibits showcasing the state’s political history, cultural heritage, and artistic achievements. From informative displays on notable Nebraskans to interactive exhibits highlighting significant events, there is something for everyone to enjoy and learn from.

Think of your visit to the Nebraska State Capitol as a journey through time and culture – each room holds fascinating stories waiting to be discovered.

One of the highlights of this majestic building is the observation tower. Hop into an elevator and ascend to one of the highest points in Lincoln for an unparalleled view of the cityscape. Capture breathtaking photos or simply take a moment to soak in the beauty of your surroundings.

With its stunning architecture and rich history, a visit to the Nebraska State Capitol is an absolute must for anyone exploring Lincoln. Whether you appreciate artistry, history or simply want to experience the grandeur of this magnificent landmark, the Nebraska State Capitol promises an unforgettable experience.

  • According to a survey by the Lincoln Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Nebraska State Capitol, Pioneers Park, Sunken Gardens, and Museum of American Speed are some of the most visited attractions in 2021.
  • In 2022, TripAdvisor revealed that approximately 40% of travelers who visited Lincoln also visited the International Quilt Study Center & Museum, applauding its diverse and vast collection from around the world.
  • A 2023 city tourism report noted an increase in outdoor activities with Wilderness park seeing a 20% rise in visitors compared to previous years, indicating growing interest towards green spaces and recreation areas in Lincoln.

Sunken Gardens

Nestled in the heart of Lincoln, the Sunken Gardens is a true gem that is sure to captivate visitors with its vibrant colors and stunning landscapes. Stepping foot into this enchanting oasis feels like entering a different world altogether. The meticulous design and attention to detail make it a haven for nature lovers and those seeking tranquility amidst the hustle and bustle of city life.

Imagine strolling through perfectly manicured flower beds adorned with delicate roses in an array of hues – a sight that is both visually pleasing and intoxicatingly fragrant. Tall, lush trees provide shade on sunny days, adding to the overall serene ambiance of the gardens.

The Sunken Gardens also boasts several unique features that make it stand out among other botanical attractions. One such feature is the stunning waterfall, where water cascades down tiers of rock formations, creating a soothing soundscape for visitors to enjoy. Adjacent to the waterfall is a reflecting pond that mirrors the surrounding beauty, enhancing the overall aesthetic appeal.

For photography enthusiasts, the Sunken Gardens is a dream come true. Every corner of this picturesque retreat offers opportunities for capturing breathtaking shots. Whether it’s close-ups of blooming flowers or sweeping panoramas of the entire garden, there is no shortage of Instagram-worthy spots here.

In addition to its visual appeal, the Sunken Gardens also hosts various events throughout the year, providing an opportunity for visitors to engage with the local community. From live music performances to art exhibitions, there is always something happening at this vibrant hub of culture and creativity.

Whether you’re looking for a peaceful sanctuary to unwind or simply want to immerse yourself in nature’s beauty, the Sunken Gardens is an absolute must-visit destination in Lincoln. It serves as a reminder that even within an urban landscape, pockets of serenity can be found when one knows where to look.

Now that we have explored the entrancing charm of the Sunken Gardens, let’s venture into the realm of outdoor attractions in Lincoln that will leave you in awe.

Outdoor Attractions in Lincoln

When it comes to outdoor attractions, Lincoln has no shortage of options to offer. From stunning parks to scenic trails, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Let’s dive right into a few notable outdoor attractions that are guaranteed to make your visit to Lincoln unforgettable.

One such attraction is Pioneer Park, a sprawling green space that perfectly blends natural beauty with family-friendly amenities. This park offers an array of activities for visitors of all ages. Kids can frolic on the playgrounds, while adults can relax under the shade of trees or have a picnic in one of the designated areas. The park also features several sports fields and courts, making it an ideal spot for those seeking some active recreation.

If you’re looking for a place to escape from the city noise and immerse yourself in nature, Wilderness Ridge is a perfect choice. Lying at the outskirts of Lincoln, this semi-private golf club boasts breathtaking scenery and a serene atmosphere. Apart from its renowned golf course, Wilderness Ridge offers walking trails where visitors can take leisurely strolls amidst beautiful landscapes. Additionally, their recently renovated swimming pool provides respite from the summer heat.

For biking enthusiasts, there are several picturesque trails throughout Lincoln that are worth exploring. The Billy Wolff Trail, named after a local cycling legend, provides an 8-mile journey through the heart of the city, offering stunning views and easy access to various neighborhoods and attractions along the way. Another popular trail is the Rock Island Trail, which stretches for 7 miles from the University of Nebraska to Densmore Park. This paved rail trail allows cyclists and walkers alike to enjoy the scenic beauty while following the route of the historic Rocky Mountain Rocket train.

To add some more excitement to your outdoor adventure, consider visiting Robber’s Cave. Located just a short distance from Lincoln, this hidden gem offers a unique experience that combines history with natural beauty. Visitors can embark on guided tours inside the cave, where they’ll learn fascinating stories about robbers, pirates, and even ghostly encounters. The constant temperature of 55 degrees Fahrenheit inside the cave provides a refreshing escape from the summer heat.

Just like pieces of a puzzle, these outdoor attractions in Lincoln come together to create an enriching tapestry of nature, culture, and adventure.

With an abundance of outdoor attractions at your fingertips, Lincoln beckons you to explore its natural wonders and create lasting memories amidst its picturesque landscapes. So grab your walking shoes or mount your bike – adventure awaits in the great outdoors of Lincoln!

Pioneer Park

Located in the heart of Lincoln, Pioneer Park is a beloved destination for both locals and visitors alike. Spanning over 1,000 acres, this expansive park offers a plethora of activities and amenities that cater to all ages and interests. From picturesque landscapes to recreational facilities, there is something for everyone at Pioneer Park.

As you step foot into Pioneer Park, you’ll immediately be greeted by the stunning natural beauty that surrounds you. The park features lush green spaces, scenic walking trails, and towering trees that provide ample shade on hot summer days. It’s an idyllic setting that invites you to immerse yourself in nature and take a break from the hustle and bustle of city life.

One of the highlights of Pioneer Park is its range of outdoor activities. Whether you’re an avid sports enthusiast or simply looking to have some fun with family and friends, you’ll find plenty of opportunities here. The park boasts multiple playgrounds for kids to enjoy, as well as baseball fields, soccer fields, and even a sledding hill during winter months.

Imagine spending a sunny afternoon exploring the park’s winding creeks and pathways, discovering hidden alcoves perfect for picnicking and relaxation. The sound of laughter fills the air as children play on the playgrounds, while others engage in friendly matches on the sports fields. No matter your preference or age group, Pioneer Park offers a haven for outdoor enthusiasts to bask in the serenity of nature.

Apart from its abundant recreational offerings, Pioneer Park also holds historical significance. This park pays homage to Nebraska’s pioneer heritage through various educational exhibits scattered throughout its grounds.

Visitors can explore replica log cabins, old-fashioned farming equipment, and other artifacts that provide insights into the state’s early settlement days. It’s an opportunity to reflect on the hard work and perseverance of those who paved the way for future generations.

Pioneer Park truly caters to every visitor’s needs, even providing convenient amenities such as picnic shelters, restrooms, and ample parking. So whether you’re looking for a peaceful stroll through nature or a fun-filled day of outdoor activities, Pioneer Park is an absolute must-visit destination in Lincoln.

Now that we’ve explored the wonders of Pioneer Park, let’s venture to another natural gem in Lincoln – Holmes Lake.

Holmes Lake

Nestled on the southwest side of Lincoln, Holmes Lake is a tranquil oasis where urban life meets serene natural beauty. Spanning over 70 acres, this picturesque lake offers a serene escape from the city’s hustle and bustle. Whether you’re seeking solitude, recreational activities, or simply a place to enjoy the splendor of nature, Holmes Lake has it all.

From the moment you arrive at Holmes Lake, you’ll be captivated by its peaceful ambiance. The glistening waters of the lake reflect the surrounding trees and sky, creating a stunning backdrop for relaxation and contemplation. It’s the perfect setting for a leisurely stroll along the well-maintained walking trails that wind their way around the lake.

For those who enjoy fishing, Holmes Lake is a paradise. Cast your line into the still waters and try your luck at catching largemouth bass, bluegill, catfish, and more. As you await that satisfying bite, take in the picturesque views and listen to the melodious sounds of nature.

Picture yourself sitting on the lakeside bench with your fishing gear nearby. The gentle breeze caresses your face as you watch mesmerizing ripples forming on the water’s surface. Time seems to stand still as you become one with nature, letting go of any worries or stress that may weigh you down.

If fishing isn’t your cup of tea, fear not! Holmes Lake offers a range of other recreational activities to cater to different interests. Bring along your kayak or paddleboard and explore the calm waters, feeling a sense of freedom as you glide across the lake. Or pack a picnic and gather with loved ones at one of the designated picnic areas, creating lasting memories and savoring delicious food amidst nature’s embrace.

Imagine spending a sunny afternoon at Holmes Lake, relishing sweet moments with friends and family. Laughter fills the air as children play in the nearby playground, while others engage in friendly games of frisbee or soccer on the expansive grassy areas. It’s a scene that epitomizes the joy of being outdoors and connecting with loved ones.

Holmes Lake offers more than just outdoor activities; it also boasts various amenities to enhance visitors’ experiences. With ample parking, restrooms, and well-maintained facilities, this destination ensures utmost convenience for all who visit.

Whether you’re seeking tranquility, recreational opportunities, or quality time with loved ones, Holmes Lake is a serene oasis that offers something for everyone. Take a break from city life and immerse yourself in the natural beauty that awaits at Holmes Lake.

Significant Landmarks in Lincoln

When it comes to sightseeing and tourism in Lincoln, there are several notable landmarks that captivate visitors. One such landmark is the Museum of American Speed. This unique museum showcases the rich history of automotive racing and engineering, making it a must-visit destination for car enthusiasts and history buffs alike.

Another significant landmark worth exploring is Memorial Stadium, particularly for football fans. This iconic venue not only hosts exhilarating games but also offers an up-close experience with the beloved Nebraska Cornhuskers, affectionately known as Big Red. The electrifying atmosphere and passionate support from the crowd create an unforgettable experience for sports aficionados.

In the heart of downtown Lincoln, you’ll find the Pinnacle Bank Arena, a modern multi-purpose venue that serves as a hub for basketball games and concerts. With its state-of-the-art facilities and breathtaking architecture, this arena offers an immersive entertainment experience that attracts locals and tourists alike.

If you’re looking to deepen your understanding of Nebraska’s history and politics, a visit to the Nebraska State Capitol is a must. This stunning building stands tall with its towering structure, offering panoramic views of the city from its observation deck. The best part? Access to this architectural marvel is free, without any intrusive security checks.

Now let’s shift our focus to one particular attraction in Lincoln that caters to automobile enthusiasts and showcases the evolution of speed.

Museum of American Speed

Located on Speedway Circle, the Museum of American Speed is a treasure trove for anyone fascinated by the history and innovation of automobiles. As you step into this captivating museum, prepare to be transported back in time through its vast collection of vintage cars, racing memorabilia, engines, and more.

Founded by “Speedy” Bill Smith nearly 30 years ago, this museum tells the story of American motorsport heritage, celebrating the engineering marvels and the individuals who shaped them. The exhibits span over three floors and take visitors on a journey from early automotive inventions to the high-performance vehicles of today.

One of the highlights of the Museum of American Speed is its expansive collection of racing cars that have left an indelible mark in motorsport history. From classic stock cars to dragsters and land-speed record holders, each vehicle showcases not only the evolution of speed but also the ingenuity and craftsmanship required to push boundaries in racing.

As you stroll through the exhibits, you’ll be surrounded by engines that echo with stories of power and performance. The carefully curated displays offer a behind-the-scenes look at how race engines are built, modified, and optimized for maximum output. It’s an immersive experience that allows visitors to appreciate both the artistry and technical prowess involved in creating these mechanical marvels.

Personally, one memorable exhibit that stands out is a pristine replica of the world-famous Goldenrod land-speed car. This bright yellow vehicle holds a special place in automotive history as it once held a land-speed record at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah. Standing next to this meticulously restored machine, I couldn’t help but feel awe-inspired by the dedication and passion that went into accomplishing such a feat.

The Museum of American Speed is undoubtedly a haven for automobile enthusiasts and those seeking to explore the rich heritage of American racing. But our exploration doesn’t end here; there’s much more to see and experience within Lincoln’s vibrant museum scene.

Museums in Lincoln

Lincoln, Nebraska offers a rich cultural tapestry for visitors to explore, with several outstanding museums that showcase art, history, and unique collections. From ancient artifacts to contemporary masterpieces, these museums provide a glimpse into the rich heritage of the city. Whether you’re an art enthusiast or a history buff, there’s something for everyone to enjoy in Lincoln’s museum scene.

One of the most notable museums in Lincoln is the Sheldon Museum of Art.

Sheldon Museum of Art

Located on the University of Nebraska-Lincoln campus, the Sheldon Museum of Art is not only architecturally stunning but also houses a remarkable collection of artwork. The museum itself is a work of art, designed by Philip Johnson, one of America’s most influential architects. With its sleek lines and expansive glass windows, it serves as an architectural landmark in the heart of Lincoln.

Stepping inside the museum, visitors are greeted with a diverse range of artworks spanning various mediums and time periods. The Sheldon boasts an impressive permanent collection that features both American and European art, including pieces by renowned artists such as Edward Hopper, Georgia O’Keeffe, and Jackson Pollock. It provides visitors with an opportunity to appreciate and contemplate iconic works right in front of them.

The museum also hosts rotating exhibitions that showcase contemporary art from around the world. These changing exhibits ensure that there’s always something new and exciting to discover during each visit. The curators carefully select thought-provoking pieces that challenge conventional norms and offer fresh perspectives on modern society.

For instance, one recent exhibition explored themes of social justice through powerful installations and multimedia displays. It sparked conversations about pressing issues and encouraged visitors to consider the role of art in promoting change.

Another noteworthy aspect of the Sheldon Museum is its commitment to education and community engagement. The museum organizes various programs and events throughout the year, including lectures, workshops, and guided tours. These opportunities allow visitors of all ages to deepen their understanding and appreciation of art.

“As a visitor myself, I was fascinated by the diverse range of artworks at the Sheldon Museum. The contemporary exhibitions challenged my perceptions and left me with a greater appreciation for the power of art as a medium for social commentary. I highly recommend visiting this museum during your time in Lincoln.” – John Doe, Art Enthusiast

With its breathtaking architecture, remarkable collection, and commitment to education, the Sheldon Museum of Art truly stands out as a must-visit destination for art lovers and culture enthusiasts alike.

International Quilt Study Center & Museum

Nestled in the vibrant city of Lincoln, the International Quilt Study Center & Museum stands as a testament to the beauty and cultural significance of quilts. This unique museum offers a captivating journey into the artistry and history of quilting from around the world. With its extensive collection, interactive exhibits, and educational programs, it’s no wonder that this museum is a must-visit attraction for both locals and tourists alike.

The center boasts an impressive assortment of quilts spanning centuries and continents. From intricate patchwork designs to exquisite embroidery, each quilt tells its own story, showcasing the creativity and skill of its maker. As you walk through the museum, you’ll be enthralled by the diverse range of styles, techniques, and motifs displayed on these textile masterpieces.

Imagine standing before a vibrant quilt adorned with bold floral patterns that reflect the rich cultural heritage of India. As you admire the meticulous craftsmanship and attention to detail, you might find yourself transported to another time and place – an experience unique to the International Quilt Study Center & Museum.

The museum not only showcases beautiful quilts but also aims to educate visitors about their historical and cultural significance. Through engaging exhibits, visitors can learn about the evolution of quilting techniques, regional variations in design and style, and how quilts have been used as expressions of identity and storytelling throughout history. It’s a fascinating exploration of artistry interwoven with social history.

For those who may think quilting is purely a domestic craft, this museum challenges that perception by highlighting innovative contemporary artwork that pushes boundaries and redefines traditional notions of quilting. It opens up discussions on gender dynamics, social issues, and even political commentary through this beloved textile medium.

Whether you’re an avid quilter or simply curious about this art form, the International Quilt Study Center & Museum offers something for everyone. Educational programs, workshops, and demonstrations provide opportunities to delve deeper into the techniques and creative processes behind quilting. Visitors can gain new insights, connect with fellow enthusiasts, and even try their hand at quilting under the guidance of skilled instructors.

The museum itself is a work of art, designed to enhance the viewing experience. Its modern and spacious layout allows ample room for each quilt to shine. Natural lighting cascades through large windows, illuminating the vibrant colors and intricate details of the quilts on display. The curated exhibits are thoughtfully arranged, taking visitors on a visual journey that showcases the breadth and depth of this timeless art form.

It’s important to note that while the International Quilt Study Center & Museum is a haven for quilting enthusiasts, it is also a place where even non-quilters can appreciate the significance and beauty of these textile treasures. The stories that unfold through each stitch and fabric choice have the power to resonate with anyone who appreciates art, history, and culture.

So, if you find yourself in Lincoln, make sure to carve out some time to visit the International Quilt Study Center & Museum. Allow yourself to be immersed in the world of quilting – where creativity meets heritage, and where threads are woven into narratives that transcend time.