Things to do in Lincoln

Lincoln, Nebraska, may have a small-town feel, but it’s also a state capital and home to several colleges and universities. There’s always something to do here. For a list of upcoming events, visit the community calendar at

Here are a few of our recommendations.

Top free activities

Illustration of the Nebraska state capitol

Nebraska State Capitol

1445 K St., Lincoln, NE 68508
Mon–Fri: 8:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
Sat: 10:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
Sun: 1:00–5:00 p.m.

The Nebraska State Capitol is one of four skyscraper capitols in the country. This jewel is home to the only non-partisan, one-house state legislature in the nation. Inside, elegant mosaics illustrate Nebraska’s pioneer spirit, culture and history.

Illustration of a building

Historic Haymarket

335 North 8th St. Suite B,
Lincoln, NE 68508

Take a walk and experience the history, food, shops and artwork that fill this vibrant area. The Haymarket reflects Lincoln’s early beginnings; in its heyday it was a wholesale and retail center. Today, it is a fine dining, shopping and entertainment district.

Illustration of flowers

Sunken Gardens

South 27th St. and Capital Pkwy,
Lincoln, NE 68502

This terraced garden features thousands of annuals, reflecting ponds and waterfalls. Donated and engraved concrete pavers, memorializing special people and events, fill the pathways. ADA accessible.

Illustration of roller skates

National Museum of Roller Skating

4730 South St., Lincoln, NE 68506
Mon–Fri: 9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.

Open weekdays only, this museum is devoted to wheeled fun, from recreational skating to roller derby and inline skating. Some features include displays of skates and costumes and videos of competitions.

Illustration of a painting

Sheldon Museum of Art

12th and R Streets, Lincoln, NE 68508
Tues: 10:00 a.m.–8:00 p.m.
Wed–Sat: 10:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
Sun: Noon–5:00 p.m.

This museum houses both the Sheldon Art Association collection founded in 1888 and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln collection, initiated in 1929. This collection includes prominent holdings of 19th-century landscape and still life, American Impressionism, early Modernism, and so much more.

Illustration of a flower

Pioneers Park

3201 South Coddington Ave.,
Lincoln, NE 68522

This 1,100-acre park includes public art, an outdoor amphitheater, picnic areas, hiking/biking trails, ponds, a sled run and a golf course.  You can check out the 668-acre Nature Center and eight miles of walking trails, where herds of bison, elk and deer, wild turkey, hawks and owls are exhibited in their natural habitat. Suggested donation for the Nature Center is $3-5.

Illustration of a tractor

Larsen Tractor Test and Power Museum

35th Fair St., Lincoln, NE 68583
Tues–Fri: 9:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m.
Sat: 10:00 a.m.–2:00 p.m.

Learn about the 90-year history of tractor testing while walking through the world’s first tractor testing laboratory built in 1919. This restored historic building honors former tractor testing engineer Lester Larsen. Suggested donation is $3.

Illustration of Nebraska

Nebraska History Museum

15th and P Streets, Lincoln, NE 68508
Mon–Fri: 9:00 a.m.–4:30 p.m.
Sat and Sun: 1:00–4:30 p.m.

Exhibits feature the lives of Native Americans of the Great Plains and pioneer settlers. Kids can participate in hands-on learning in the Investigation Station from 1-4 p.m. each day, where they investigate historic artifacts and pretend they are members of the Lewis and Clark expedition. Suggested donation is $2.

Illustration of a tree

Antelope Park

23rd and N to 33rd and Sheridan Blvd.

The extensive facilities include Rose Gardens, fountains, statues, the Lincoln Children’s Zoo, a recreation center, a play center, trails system, tennis courts and several playground areas. (Note: several venues, including the zoo, recreation center and play center are not free.)

Activities under $15

Illustration of a chimpanzee

Lincoln Children’s Zoo

1222 South 27th St.,
Lincoln, NE 68502
Daily: 10:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
Adults: $8.95 + tax
Children (ages 2–12): $7.95 + tax

It’s not just for kids! At the zoo, visitors can feed domesticated animals, watch butterflies at Laura’s Butterfly Pavilion, touch anthropoids from around the world, and hear zookeepers talk about a different animal every hour at the Critter Encounter Show. The 10-acre area features 300 animals from 90 species.

Illustration of a paint pallete

Paint Yourself Silly

4107 Pioneer Woods Dr. #103, Lincoln, NE
701 P St. Suite #103
Mon–Wed: 10:00 a.m.–6:00p.m.
Thurs–Sat: 10:00 a.m.–9:00 p.m.
Sun: 1:00–5:00 p.m.
Prices vary by piece.

Make your own masterpiece!  This shop has an assortment of pottery for you to choose from, so you can bring back Grandma a mug or paint your sibling a piggybank.

Illustration of a rocket

Strategic Air and Space Museum

28210 West Park Hwy,
Ashland, NE 68003
Open 7 days a week.
May 24–Sept 1: 9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
Sept 2–May 23: 10:30 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
Adults: $12.00
Children (ages 4 –12): $6.00
Senior citizens (65+): $11.00
Active/retired military: $11.00

Visitors can ride the motion simulators, including two helicopter rides and five roller coaster rides. You can also tour the displays on the Holocaust, the life of astronaut Clayton Anderson, and a Vietnam Memorial Wall.

Illustration of a VW bus

Museum of American Speed

599 Oak Creek Dr., Lincoln, NE
Seasonal hours; call 402.323.3166
Closed weekends & holidays

Speed demons love this museum! The indoor/outdoor exhibits feature hundreds of souped-up hot rods and racing vehicles. Other displays showcase engines, transmissions and other inner components.

Illustration of a joystick

Arcade, laser tag and bowling at Sun Valley Lanes

321 Victory Lane, Lincoln, NE 68528

Play a game of laser tag with your friends and family. Challenge each other to a duel or work in teams!

Illustration of Nebraska

University of Nebraska State Museum

645 North 14th St., Lincoln, NE 68588
Mon–Sat: 9:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m.
Thur: 9:30 a.m.–8:00 p.m.
Sun: 1:30 p.m.–4:30 p.m.
Adults (19+): $6.00
Children (ages 5–18): $3.00
Young children (4 and under): Free

Visitors have the chance to play with an interactive map explaining geology, view Don Doll’s photographs of Native American children in regalia and explore fossils found over the last 50 years when Nebraska’s highways were being built.

Illustration of bowling pins

Parkway Bowling Lanes

2555 South 48th St., Lincoln, NE 68506
Mon–Thurs: 7:30 a.m.–midnight
Fri: 7:30 a.m.–1:00 a.m.
Sat: Noon–1:00 a.m.
Sun: 2:00–10:00 p.m.
Weekdays before 6 p.m.: $4.00
Weeknights after 6 p.m.: $5.00
Youth (13 and under) and Seniors (55+)
Weekdays before 6 p.m.: $3.50
Weeknights after 6 p.m.: $4.00
Shoe rental: $3.00

Enjoy a friendly game of bowling here—it’s only about 1 mile from the Union College campus!

Illustration of a trampoline

Urban Air Trampoline and Adventure Park

2840 S 70th St, Lincoln, NE 68506
Mon–Thurs: 4–8 p.m.
Fri: 4-9 p.m.
Sat: 11 a.m.-9 p.m.
Sun: 12–7:00 p.m.
Tickets from $12.99-$24.99 for 2 hours

If you want to literally bounce off walls, Urban Air is the place for you. Located just on the other side of Holmes Lake, you’ll find a ropes course, climbing wall and many other fun activities here.