Lincoln, Nebraska's state capital and second largest city, with a population of 225,000, became the capital city on March 1, 1867. The "Star City" and "All-American City" thrives on its abundant agricultural production, manufacturing, retail and wholesale trade, government activities, and higher education.
Lincoln's historical and cultural diversity is evident by many attractions located throughout the city. Nebraska's architectural wonder, the State Capitol Building, houses the only one-house legislature in the nation. Also known as the Tower of the Plains, the capitol contains art and sculpture which reflects Nebraska's past, paying tribute to Native Americans and early pioneers. Other museums include the Museum of Nebraska History, the Germans from Russia Museum, the Lincoln Children's Museum and the National Museum of Roller Skating. The Historic Haymarket District is home to the Iron Horse Mini-Park and the weekly farmers’ market (from May through October). The Lentz Center for Asian Culture also has important displays, and the Mueller Planetarium sponsors regular showings.
Nebraska history also flourishes on campus with the Center for Great Plains Studies, which includes a western art collection and library and the Nebraska State Museum, home to many important archives related to Nebraska and western history. The University of Nebraska is home to the International Quilt Study Center which encourages the appreciation of quilts as art and cultural history.
The Arts thrive in Lincoln. The Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery and Sculpture Garden on UNL's city campus is a focal point, recognized for its permanent collection of 20th century art. The Sheldon is also home to the internationally-known Mary Riepma Ross Film Theater. The Lied Center for Performing Arts is Lincoln's premiere showcase for regional, national, and international touring companies as well as individual artists. Avant-garde performances are featured in the adjacent Johnny Carson Black Box Theater. The Howell and Studio Theatres, home of the Nebraska Repertory Theatre, as well as Kimball Recital Hall, are all on campus. Lincoln also boasts two symphony orchestras, a university orchestra and a professional orchestra. The Lincoln Community Playhouse, a ballet company, numerous art galleries, the Star City Dinner Theatre and Comedy Cabaret and several open air events also enhance the arts in Lincoln.
A plethora of recreational opportunities are available in the capital city as Lincoln has nearly 6,000 acres of parks, offering more park acres per capita than any other U. S. city. The Folsom Children's Zoo and Botanical Gardens offer more than 300 species of animals, thousands of plants, as well as touchable exhibits. Lincoln has 11 golf courses, 65 tennis courts, 10 outdoor swimming pools, an ice arena ("The Ice Box" - home of Lincoln Stars Hockey), and soccer fields (located at the Abbott Sports Complex). The extensive bike trails lead most everywhere in town and are widely used.
Lincoln offers all the advantages of a larger city with the convenience, security, and friendliness of a small town. A smaller metropolitan area with 270,000 people, it is home to state government, a large insurance industry, the Gallup Organization, and agribusiness. It offers readily available employment opportunities for partners and spouses, very good public schools, and a low cost of living. Latinos, African Americans, and Asians total approximately 10% of Lincoln's population, and the university has growing ties to each of these community groups. The city itself is also growing, but the traffic is reasonable, and University graduate students are given free city bus passes. Omaha (population approximately 430,000) is also culturally, historically, and artistically rich; from campus, Omaha is about a forty-five minute drive along Interstate 80.
*copyright UNL Graduate Studies, reprinted (with adaptations) with permission.
For information about the city of Lincoln, visit the Lincoln conventions and visitors bureau Website.
For information about the state of Nebraska, visit the website of the Nebraska State Government.