Lincoln was founded in 1859 as the village of Lancaster. Renamed and made Nebraska's state capital in 1867, it's second-largest city in the state. As such, it's the state's center of government and higher education and is a regional transportation center. Even with a population of 240,000, it retains a friendly, "small town" feel.
There are several threads running through Lincoln's cultural composition. The university and state government have attracted many rural Nebraskans to the city over the years, reinforcing its small town feel. Its position as a college town also helps shape the city's political culture, which is somewhat more liberal than most of the rest of the state. Once a very ethnically homogeneous city, it has become more diverse over the past 30 years, welcoming immigrants and refugees from various parts of the globe.
There is a long-standing friendly rivalry with Omaha, 57 mi (92 km) to the northeast.
Indoor worksites are smoke-free in Lincoln, so you'll be able to enjoy smoke-free restaurants and bars.
Lincoln Municipal Airport (ICAO: KLNK), 4 mi (7 km) northwest of downtown, offers (United) flights to Denver and Chicago and (Northwest) flights Minneapolis, Detroit, and Memphis. The airport is located just off I-80 Exit 399.
It is often cheaper to fly into Eppley Airfield Airport (IATA: OMA) in Omaha, and hop onto a shuttle from there to Lincoln where it makes stops at some of the major hotels. Try  or .
Amtrak serves Lincoln on its daily California Zephyr route between Chicago and the West Coast. The westbound train stops around 12:30AM; eastbound train stops around 4AM. Located in the Haymarket district, 201 N 7th St. Downtown hotels are within walking distance.
Getting around Lincoln is a mixed-bag proposition. If you are planning on staying near the center of town, you probably won't need a rental. All major necessities except groceries are available in or near downtown.
By car Lincoln does not have any crosstown freeways or expressways. The city is laid out in a grid pattern; a handful of diagonal streets exist. Major through streets are generally located once per mile; there are generally 14 streets to the mile. Traffic can be heavy on major streets and in downtown during rush hour and on football Saturdays.
By Bus StarTran  service runs on weekdays and Saturdays (but only until 6:30PM). Individual fares are $1.75 (have exact change)/seniors $0.85/trips in the downtown zone or on the Star Shuttle are $0.25. Monthly passes are $45; various discounts are available. Passes can be purchased at many businesses around town (primarily grocery stores and banks).
By bicycle Lincoln's trail system extends throughout the city. A cyclist can travel across the city in an hour or less. Bike rentals at Monkeywrench Cycles, downtown (1225 P St, ) For a map of bike trails visit .
Nebraska State Capitol, 15th and K Sts, ☎ +1 402-471-0448, . The state legislature of Nebraska is unique and unusual in that it is the only one that is unicameral and nonpartisan. Open to the public year-round, the building was completed in 1932 and is an excellent example of Art Deco architecture, as well as a radical departure from the traditional design of government buildings. Extensive interior art provides a symbolic representation of the history of Nebraska, its government, and its people. The observation deck on the 14th floor provides views of the entire city. Guided tours last 30 min (summer) or 55 min (for school groups).Free. edit
Fairview, 4900 Sumner St. Home of U.S. Congressman and three-time presidential candidate, William Jennings Bryan, from 1902-1922.edit
Sheldon Museum of Art, 1200 R St, ☎ +1 402-472-2461, . Large permanent collection as well as traveling exhibits. Collection is primarily American modernist, but the Sheldon's exhibitions and acquisitions are of contemporary art. Rumored when it was built during 1961-1963 it was the most expensive building in the U.S. on a square-foot basis.Free, as well as lectures (Backpacks must stay in lobby). edit
Sunken Gardens, 27th and Capitol Pkwy, . Pride and joy of citizens since its completion in 1931. Feature a waterfall, several fish ponds and terraces of flora and fauna. Listed in the "300 Best Gardens to Visit in the U.S. and Canada" in the National Geographic Guide to Public Gardens.edit
Music, Art and Theater Lincoln Arts Council . Lied Center for Performing Arts , The Haymarket Theatre, or the UNL schools of Music, Theatre, and Film have performances year-round. Some of the best classical music performances can be heard at the Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery. During the summer, see the Flatwater Shakespeare Company  at Wyuka cemetery, musicals at the Pinewood Bowl,classical performances at the Meadowlark Music Festival, professional theater at Nebraska Repertory Theatre, or Jazz in June. Music groups that perform all year long include the Lincoln Symphony Orchestra and the Nebraska Jazz orchestra. For Art, the Sheldon is the largest gallery in town, but to get a look at the work of local artists, be sure to check out the downtown art galleries. By far the most fun time to do this is the evening of the first Friday of every month, when the galleries put up new work. New art is usually accompanied by food, drinks, and sometimes live music.
Haymarket Park. Hosts the University of Nebraska's baseball team and an independent minor league team known as the Saltdogs. Tickets are typically no problem to obtain. University games are family-friendly. UNL students get free admission to regular season university games.edit
Memorial Stadium, 600 Stadium Dr. (games on Sa during the fall, tours available). The town practically shuts down on game days, and the stadium (which seats over 80,000) becomes the 3rd largest "city" in the entire state.edit
Jazz in June, (outdoors behind Sheldon Art Gallery), . (Tu in Jun 7PM). ,Free. edit
Lazlo's Brewery Tour, (Haymarket district downtown), . Before 7PM (Monthly on first non-holiday Monday, arrive well before 7PM). Empyrean Brewing Company brewery tour.Free. edit
Parks. * Nexus Live Music Festival, 8th and 0 Sts (in front of Box Awesome downtown), . (annually late-Sep). Electronic music, art and dance event.editedit
Bread and Cup, 8th and S Sts (Haymarket). Motto is 'simple food' and food's made from scratch and very fresh.edit
Buzzard Billy's, (2 locations, 1 in Haymarket). Cajun style food. Thursday is "Crappy Beer Night" with $1.50 pints or $1.25 cans and discounted appetizers. Try the chicken quesadilla.edit
Cafe Italia, S St. Authentic Italian Pannini style sandwiches. No longer open on Friday nights for dinner. Great atmosphere.edit
Fireworks, 84th and Old Cheney. Wood-fired cooking. BBQ Brisket sandwich and they have an open WiFi AP.$10-$15. edit
Grateful Bread Freakbeat Vegetarian. Try the soup. They also have gourmet macaroni and cheese and sandwiches.$5-$7. edit
Lazlo's. Menu varies between burgers and steaks. Lavosh, a thin, cracker-crust, pizza-like appetizer proper for 3-4 people. A choice of toppings goes on top of melted cheese, chicken, bacon, green peppers, and mushrooms are excellent choices. Associated with the Empyrean Brewing Company so they always have excellent microbrews.$8. edit
M&N Sandwich Shop, 27th and Randolph Sts (Near South). A self-proclaimed "Beef Eater's Delight," M&N serves fantastic Chicago style roast beef sandwiches. Their Italian beef & pastrami was voted Lincoln's best sandwich by the Lincoln Journal Star ten consecutive years and running.edit
Maggie's. (lunch only). Vegetarian/vegan wrap restaurant. Try the vegan muffins.edit
Valentino's, Various locations, . Voted Lincoln Best pizza for over 20 years. A known Nebraska pizzeria and buffet for over 50 years.edit
The Watering Hole (The Hole). Famed to have the "best wings in town", serves up a variety of traditional bar food on top of their wings. Those willing to wait a little longer should order their wings grilled. Check the specials board as some days wings are $0.33.edit
Yia Yia's Pizza, 1423 O St. . Buy a pizza or order by the slice with some of the most original toppings you'll find in the state. Atmosphere, hip music, and a truly enormous bottled beer selection. 2 pool tables are also available in the back.edit
D'Leon's, 13th & South (City-wide). D'Leon's has grown from 1 Lincoln location to 6 (West 22nd & West O, 27th & Orchard, 48th & Y, 13th & South, 27th & F, 14th & Pine Lake) in the past 5 years entirely from word of mouth, which should give you an idea of how good their food is. Authentic Mexican, faily cheap, fairly fast. Try the beef tacos, Chile Relleno burrito (vegetarian), Green chile burrito, Carnitas burrito, and of course the Lincoln burrito (breakfast burrito).edit
El Potrero, (Haymarket). Casual. Big meals for good deals, and an endless supply of chips and dip.edit
El Rancho, 27th and O Sts. Authentic Mexican food. Make sure to have the refried black beans, tacos, pupusas, and horchata.edit
La Mexicana, 17th and P Sts (downtown). Authentic Mexican food served in the back of a Mexican grocery store.edit
La Paz, 56th and O Sts (near Westfield Gateway Mall). Consistently voted the best Mexican restaurant in town by listeners of KFOR radio. Typically quite busy on the weekends.edit
OSO Burrito, Centennial Mall and O St. M-Sa ?-10PM. Made in a way to allow you to taste all the ingredients together. Vegetarian options as well.They have mini burritos for a smaller appetite.$5. edit
Taqueria El Rey, 27th and O Sts. Variety of Mexican food. Try the "tacos al pastor" (seasoned pork).$1.50. edit
Blue Orchid, (downtown). Thai food with a few nontraditional creations. Atmosphere and cocktails.$10-$15. edit
Dish, 11th and O Sts (downton). lunch/dinner. Eclectic, creative food (South American, Pan-Asian, Med influences) and wine list. Chef/Owner run. There's some serious craftsmanship in the back of the house.(12,35)edit
Ivanna Cone, (S of Lazlos and E of old train station in the Haymarket). Made fresh daily, showing up early is a must to get the more popular flavors before the run out.edit
The Oven, (Haymarket). A downtown classic started in neighboring Omaha, serves Indian cuisine in a cozy, candle-lit atmosphere. Sunday nights has live music. The Oven has a second location in east Lincoln at the northeast corner of 70th and Pioneers.edit
Pho Nguyenn, N 27th. Try the Vietnamese Noodle Soup.edit
Taj Mahal, 56th and Old Cheney. Small space known for the food. Great place to take a date.edit
Thai House, N of 27th and Vine. More known for the food than anything else.edit
Largely due to the university, there is much night life to be found (bars now can close at 2AM). O Street is just a few blocks away from popular student housing and is also one of the longest main streets in the U.S. with a portion covered by local drinking establishments, most in the downtown areas between 12th and 16th Sts. The local music scene is also expansive with live bands playing at many bars in the downtown area.
The Bar, 17th and P Sts. A popular college bar. Known for a nice outdoor area and a late last call.edit
Barrymore's, alley between 13th and 14th Sts. A little bit off the beaten path, offers a more sophisticated place for a drink. Great atmosphere, directly behind the stage of the Rococo theatre, a bit of a speakeasy with the old theatrical fly system still abound. Serves a variety of martinis and has a nice decor with incredibly high ceilings.edit
Cliff's, (downtown, east of The Watering Hole). A 'chill-bar' legend. Sundays have fun kamikaze drinks discounted, strong-yet-delicious, and it's not a good idea to drink more than 3 unless you are truly of an iron-will.edit
Duffy's, 14th and O Sts (downtown). (live music W and Su). Regional beers on tap. Has a beer garden and a stage. Fish bowls are great to share with friends. Their stage has been graced by acts from Nirvana to 311. Popular on St. Patrick's Day. Free amateur comedy workshop on Monday nights.edit
Iguana's. College bar where on Monday nights one can pick an NFL team they think will win, and awarded free shots each time that team scores. Attached to the back is a small cocktail bar, Voda, which serves specialty martinis.edit
Jake's, SW corner 14th & O. Jake's features the best tap in Lincoln as well as the largest selection of fine whiskey/scotch/bourbon. Specializing in fine beers and liquors, Jake's has a handsome selection of 18 draught local/regional, micro, and import brews that you cannot find anywhere else in town on tap. Also a smoke shop and a cigar bar, you can buy tobacco, cigars, and offsale beer/liquor, and smoke cigars inside the bar.edit
Main Street. Big frat and Sorority crowd. Drink specials every night.edit
The Q. Gay bar with drag shows, amateur strip contests, and dancing.edit
The Zoo. Live blues almost every day, jazz on Wednesdays.edit
The Brass Rail. Voted one of the best college bars by Playboy a while back, this bar is usually full of football players and sorority girls. Great place to go if you are dressed up and want to go dancing.edit
The Bricktop (Now Closed). Doubles as a dance club. Sundays are most popular as it's "80's Night'. Hundreds of people show up in '80s garb. There is often a line. On the weekends they spin various electronic music.edit
The Downtown, O St. Place to go to dance to urban music.edit
Sur Tango, (P St near 13th St). Salsa and Latin music on Th, Sa and Hip Hop other days.edit
Pla Mor Ballroom, (6600 West O St). Popular among college students for country dancing on Sunday nights.edit
Embassy Suites Lincoln, 1040 P St, ☎ +1 402 474-1111, . Upscale accommodations to the MarketPlace district.edit
Suburban Extended Stay Downtown Hotel, 1040 P St, ☎ +1 402 475-3000, . In addition to standard amenities, all rooms come equipped with televisions, hair dryers, irons and ironing boards. Offers handicap accessible rooms.edit
There are computer areas in Love Library on the University of Nebraska city campus and in CYT Library on East Campus which have limited public computers. A variety of software -- including Microsoft productivity software -- is available on those labs.
Lincoln City Libraries--all locations have access with a guest pass. Show driver's license to get guest day pass.
Although there are no 'internet cafes' in Lincoln, you can often find free wired internet. Check on campus in the Union you can often find open computers for use (technically only for students).