Commonly known as the best-kept secret in the Midwest, Lincoln is a destination that is sure to exceed your expectations. According to Kelsey Meyer, Lincoln Convention and Visitors Bureau Sales Development Manager, “Visitors from around the world fall in love with Lincoln’s small-town charm with big city amenities. Lincoln offers the true Nebraskan experience that groups are sure to find unique and enjoy.” The City of Lincoln offers a wide variety of experiences and world-class attractions. You are invited to discover the secret yourself.
Partake in the behind-the-scenes interactive conservation tour of the International Quilt Study Center & Museum, located at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. This is the largest publicly held collection of quilts in the world. The International Quilt Study Center & Museum offers complimentary docent-guided tours of the galleries Tuesday through Saturday at 11 a.m. and at 1 p.m. on Saturdays. During the tour, visitors are led through three or four exhibitions and given greater insight into the works on display. Groups of ten or more can reserve 45- to 60-minute tours with reservations made at least two weeks in advance. Visitors are also invited to go behind the scenes on a tour of the Byron and Sara Rhodes Dillow Conservation Work Room and Collections Storage. During the one-hour guided tour, visitors will learn more about how the IQSCM team cares for the world’s largest publicly held quilt collection. In addition, they will see some of the museum’s most spectacular pieces not currently on display. These tours are offered on the first Saturday and third Friday of each month or by appointment for groups of four or more. For more information about pricing, visit quiltstudy.org/visit/admission-tours.
The Graduate Lincoln is downtown Lincoln’s newly renovated boutique-style hotel. The hotel’s décor pays homage to all things Lincoln and Nebraska, taking guests back to the 1950’s. All design features are tributes to such things as the University of Nebraska, Johnny Carson, who grew up and attended school in Nebraska, the history of roller skating (the National Museum of Roller Skating is in Lincoln.), Kool-Aid (created in Nebraska) and so much more. You can relax at John J’s, the hotel’s tiki bar, which is reminiscent of a 1940’s/50’s era military lounge. For golf lovers, a new Top Golf Swing Suite is located within the restaurant and lounge, giving tour attendees an opportunity to unwind after a day of touring. Since The Graduate Lincoln is just steps away from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln campus, it gives you a chance to stretch your legs and tour the beautiful city campus. This hotel will definitely be a conversation starter for all who spend the night there.
Group Tours can experience a true farm-to-table meal at Prairie Plate Restaurant, located at Lakehouse Farm, just north of Lincoln in rural Waverly. This venue serves food locally grown on the farm or by nearby neighbors. You can take a guided tour of their operation before sitting down to a delicious dinner, served in a restaurant overlooking a beautiful lake. In addition to the restaurant, the 40-acre Lakehouse Farm grows nearly 70 different organic items that are then used in the restaurant’s menu items. Not only will you get a great, locally sourced meal at Prairie Plate, but the views of the surrounding lake and wildlife are unmatched. The dining room can seat as many as 60 but still provide an intimate and cozy atmosphere for your group.
The Nebraska State Capitol building remains a National Historic Landmark and cannot be missed when arriving into Lincoln. Completed in 1932 at a cost of just under $10 million, it was the first state capital building in the country to incorporate a functional tower into its design. Home to the Nebraska Legislature—the only state unicameral legislature in the United States—the Capitol building is a great place to take group tours and marvel at the beautiful architecture. From the Lincoln Monument to the George W. Norris Legislative Chamber and everything in between, this masterpiece of New York architect Bertram Goodhue is a brilliant building that continues to stand the test of time. The 400-foot tower is adorned at the top by The Sower, which represents the state’s commitment to agriculture and growth within its borders. Tours are available every day of the year except Thanksgiving Day and the Friday after, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.
Lincoln has no shortage of unique stores and one of the most popular is Licorice International, located in the historic Haymarket District. Representing 13 countries with over 160 different types, this store is the world’s largest distributor of licorice. You can tour their facility as well as sample their products for free until you find the ones you cannot leave without buying. Located in the historic Haymarket District since 2005, Licorice International also stocks a line of fine chocolates and other gourmet foods and candy dishes. This premier candy store boasts a friendly, knowledgeable staff that makes it a favorite stop for visitors to Lincoln. The next time you are traveling through Lincoln, you must stop at Licorice International.
Founded by “Speedy” Bill and Joyce Smith, the 150,000 square-foot Museum of American Speed was formed to present a continuous chronology of automotive race engines and speed equipment development and to preserve, interpret and display items significant in racing and automotive history. The collection has resulted from the Smiths’ personal involvement in racing and hot-rodding and their lifelong passion for collecting and preserving racing and automotive history. The Museum of American Speed has been open since 1992 and includes vehicles from the early 1900’s to the present, telling the story of auto racing through excellent and rare artifacts. The racing displays include the world’s largest collection of exotic and historic American racing engines. For those who are not interested in racing, the museum also has something for them. When “Speedy” Bill was at auctions purchasing his automotive collection, his wife Joyce entertained herself by purchasing the largest collection of pedal cars in the United States, along with lunch boxes, toys, and so much more.
Lincoln Segway Tours provides an exciting way to check out the great city of Lincoln. Explore downtown Lincoln, The Historic Haymarket, The Railyard and home of the Nebraska Cornhuskers as you glide past Memorial Stadium and more, enjoying all the beauty of the capital city. They offer two different tours: the Turn & Learn tour, which takes you through downtown and includes fascinating history along the way, and the Ride & Glide tour, which takes you on Lincoln’s gorgeous bike trails, seeing Sunken Gardens, the Lincoln Children’s Zoo, Antelope Valley and more. Tours are two hours long and include tr
aining by knowledgeable guides who love Segways. To setup a tour, go to lincolnsegwaytours.com.
Music and performing arts lovers will have plenty of options in Lincoln. Whether they are looking for a Broadway musical, a comedian, or a popular musical artist, Lincoln has it all. There are group-friendly venues, including Pinnacle Bank Arena, Pinewood Bowl, an outdoor Amphitheatre that seats more than 4,000 people, The Comedy Loft, Rococo Theatre, originally built in 1929 and restored, and the Lied Center for Performing Arts. All genres of performing arts are represented, from larger arena shows to more intimate settings that have smaller audiences. Many will be surprised to learn that Lincoln has such a vibrant music scene, with live music being found each night of the week.
To contact the Lincoln CVB, phone (402) 434-5335 or (800) 423-8212. For more information about area attractions and amenities, visit lincoln.org.