There are many people who live in Lincoln, but for those of you who don’t, we’re here to help you maximize your experience on gameday/weekend. Restaurants, shopping and tourist attractions are abound in and around Memorial Stadium, so let’s take a look at what could pique your interest.
If you are looking for a good place for a burger and a beer, for me start with Gate 25. Located at 300 Canopy St, it’s right down the street from Pinnacle Bank Arena. I’ll admit I’m not a real big barbecue fan, but their BBQ Bacon Cheeseburger is excellent. Pair that with your favorite domestic beer and you have yourself a decent lunch before kickoff.
If you prefer a little fancier menu, then look no further than Lazlo’s. Located at 210 N 7th St, it has been a mainstay in the Haymarket area. My go-to choice there is an 8oz top sirloin with a nice cabernet.
If you want something a little more “southern comfort” then it’s Buzzard Billy’s. Located at 247 N 8th St, it’s a solid choice between the historic Haymarket area and Memorial Stadium. A great mix of New Orleans Cajun style food and classic American cuisine, it has a wide variety of burgers, pastas and Cajun food, including the Chicken Creole.
There are a few places around town that are a must on game day. On campus places like Morrill Hall and the Sheldon Museum of Art. The Sheldon Museum of Art is located on campus at 12th and R streets, where its collection features 19th and 20th century art. Sheldon is closed on game day, so be sure to stop by the day before if you are planning on making a weekend experience for the family.
Morrill Hall is located in the same parking lot as Memorial Stadium, located on its East side. The entrance is pretty easy to find, just look for the Wolly Mammoth statue out front. It features hands-on exhibits and also a planetarium. Admission is $10 for adults and $6 for children aged 6-18. Children under 3 are free.
One of the best places to enjoy your day with the family off campus is at the Lincoln Children’s Zoo. Located at 1222 S 27th St, which is just south of 27th St and Capital Parkway. It’s a great way for children and adults to have plenty of fun, whether it’s taking a train ride around the zoo, seeing all sorts of different animals and plants throughout the world, or getting some food right before feeding the giraffes, this is a great way for the whole family to spend a couple of hours in Lincoln.
There are many hotel accommodations in the Haymarket area in case you need a place to stay. The Hilton Garden Inn, Courtyard by Marriott, The Graduate, Hyatt Place, the Lincoln Marriott Cornhusker Hotel and the Holiday Inn Express and Suites are just to name a few. All of them are within walking distance of Memorial Stadium, and almost all of them are in the historic Haymarket area, which mean you are right in the heart of the downtown atmosphere. They offer plenty of space in case you want to stay for the evening and enjoy the downtown festivities.
Shopping is an absolute must when it comes to not only Husker gameday, but for traveling to Lincoln in general. Southpointe Mall has plenty of options, from Scheels, to Von Maur to Buckle, just to name a few. Southpointe is a wonderful outdoor mall that offers plenty for everyone, so it’s easy to spend the early morning hours/most of the afternoon preparing for the Nebraska game and subsequent trip back home. It even has its own bus route from the mall to Memorial Stadium, which is convenient if you don’t wish to deal with the downtown chaos leaving.
If you are visiting Lincoln for the first time, or for the first time this season, it’s important to get out and experience everything you can. Making a day out of it is important to both you and your family, whether the game starts at 11 am, 2:30 pm, or 6 pm. The people watching at the tailgates is always an excellent idea, but if you walk around and find the “Nebraska Nice” people, they’ll probably invite you to join them at their tailgate, even if you root for the other team. Many folks will great you with a smile, while many others will shake your hand and tell you “Good luck”. We promise we don’t mean that in any bad way, it’s just who we are. We’re even known to applaud opponents off the field, even if they win.
Lincoln is a fun town with plenty to offer on game day, and if you need any other suggestions, may I suggest you find a local who can point you in the right direction. Go Big Red!