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Lincoln, Nebraska
City
Downtown Lincoln skyline
Downtown Lincoln skyline
Flag of Lincoln, Nebraska
Flag
Official seal of Lincoln, Nebraska
Seal
Nickname(s): Star City
Location in Nebraska
Location in Nebraska
Country  United States of America
State  Nebraska
County Flag of Lancaster County, Nebraska.gif Lancaster
Founded Lancaster 1856
Renamed Lincoln July 29, 1867
Incorporated April 1, 1869
Named for Abraham Lincoln
Area
 • City 92.81 sq mi (240.37 km2)
 • Land 91.45 sq mi (236.86 km2)
 • Water 1.35 sq mi (3.5 km2)  1.5%
 • Urban 89.61 sq mi (232.09 km2)
 • Metro 1,422.27 sq mi (3,683.66 km2)
 • CSA 2,260.44 sq mi (5,854.5 km2)
Elevation 1,176 ft (358 m)
Population (2010)
 • City 258,379 (US: 72nd)
 • Estimate (2015) 277,348
 • Density 2,988.3/sq mi (1,153.8/km2)
 • Urban 258,719 (US: 145th)
 • Urban density 2,887.2/sq mi (1,114.8/km2)
 • Metro 318,945 (US: 155th)
 • Metro density 224.3/sq mi (86.6/km2)
 • CSA 345,478 (US: 105th)
 • CSA density 152.8/sq mi (59.0/km2)
Demonym(s) Lincolnite
Time zone CST (UTC-6)
 • Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP code(s) 68501-68510, 68512, 68514, 68516-68517, 68520-68524, 68526-68529, 68531-68532, 68542, 68544, 68583, 68588
Area code(s) 402, 531
FIPS code 31-28000
GNIS feature ID 0837279
Website lincoln.ne.gov

Lincoln (pronounced /ˈlɪŋkən/) is the capital of the U.S. state of Nebraska and the county seat of Lancaster County. The city covers 92.81 square miles (240.38 km2) with a population of 277,348 in 2015. It is the second-most populous city in Nebraska and the 72nd-largest in the United States. The city is the economic and cultural anchor of a substantially larger metropolitan area in the southeastern part of the state called the Lincoln Metropolitan and Lincoln-Beatrice Combined Statistical Areas. The statistical area is home to 345,478 people, making it the 105th-largest combined statistical area in the United States.

The city was founded in 1856 as the village of Lancaster on the wild salt marshes of what was to become Lancaster County. In 1867, the village of Lancaster became Nebraska's state capital and was renamed Lincoln. Bertram G. Goodhue designed state capitol building was completed in 1932 and is the second tallest capitol in the United States. As the city is the seat of government for the state of Nebraska, the state and the United States government are major employers. The University of Nebraska was founded in Lincoln in 1867. The university is the largest in Nebraska with 25,006 students enrolled and is the city's third-largest employer. Other primary employers fall within the service and manufacturing industries, including a growing high-tech sector. The region makes up a part of what is known as the greater Midwest Silicon Prairie.

Designated as a "refugee-friendly" city by the U.S. Department of State in the 1970s, the city was the twelfth-largest resettlement site per capita in the United States by 2000. Refugee Vietnamese, Karen (Burmese ethnic minority), Sudanese, and Yazidi (Iraqi ethnic minority) people have been resettled in the city. Lincoln Public Schools during the school year of 2016–17 provided support for approximately 3,200 students from 118 countries, who spoke 68 different languages.

History

Further information: Timeline of Lincoln, Nebraska history

Pioneer Lincoln

Prior to the expansion westward of settlers, the prairie was covered with buffalo grass. Plains Indians, descendants of indigenous peoples who occupied the area for thousands of years, lived in and hunted along Salt Creek. The Pawnee, which included four tribes, lived in villages along the Platte River. The Great Sioux Nation, including the Ihanktowan-Ihanktowana and the Lakota located to the north and west, used Nebraska as a hunting and skirmish ground, although they did not have any long-term settlements in the state. An occasional buffalo could still be seen in the plat of Lincoln in the 1860s.

Founding

Lincoln, Nebraska, USA (1868)
Lincoln, as seen in 1868

Lincoln was founded in 1856 as the village of Lancaster and became the county seat of the newly created Lancaster County in 1859. The village was sited on the east bank of Salt Creek. The first settlers were attracted to the area due to the abundance of salt. Once J. Sterling Morton developed his salt mines in Kansas, salt in the village was no longer a viable commodity. Captain W. T. Donovan, a former steamer captain, and his family settled on Salt Creek in 1856. In the fall of 1859, the village settlers met to form a county. A caucus was formed and the committee, which included Captain Donovan, selected the village of Lancaster to be the county seat. The county was named Lancaster. After the passage of the 1862 Homestead Act, homesteaders began to inhabit the area. The first plat was dated August 6, 1864.

By the close of 1868, Lancaster had a population of approximately 500 people. The township of Lancaster was renamed Lincoln with the incorporation of the city of Lincoln on April 1, 1869. In 1869, the University of Nebraska was established in Lincoln by the state with a land grant of about 130,000 acres. Construction of University Hall, the first building, began the same year.

State Capital

See also: Nebraska State Capitol
Thomas P. Kennard house from NW 1
Thomas P. Kennard house

Nebraska was granted statehood on March 1, 1867. The capital of the Nebraska Territory had been Omaha since the creation of the territory in 1854; however, most of the territory's population lived south of the Platte River. After much of the territory south of the Platte River considered annexation to Kansas, the territorial legislature voted to locate the capital city south of the river and as far west as possible. Prior to the vote to remove the capital city from Omaha, a last ditch effort by Omaha Senator J. N. H. Patrick attempted to derail the move by having the future capital city named after recently assassinated President Abraham Lincoln. Many of the people south of the Platte River had been sympathetic to the Confederate cause in the recently concluded Civil War. It was assumed that senators south of the river would not vote to pass the measure if the future capital was named after the former president. In the end, the motion to name the future capital city Lincoln was ineffective and the vote to change the capital's location south of the Platte River was successful with the passage of the Removal Act in 1867.

Nebraska State Capitol (at night, 2016), Lincoln, Nebraska, USA
Goodhue-designed Nebraska State Capitol

The Removal Act called for the formation of a Capital Commission to locate a site for the capital on state owned land. The Commission, composed of Governor David Butler, Secretary of State Thomas Kennard and Auditor John Gillespie, began to tour sites on July 18, 1867 for the new capital city. The village of Lancaster was chosen, in part due to the salt flats and marshes. Lancaster had approximately 30 residents. Disregarding the original plat of the village of Lancaster, Thomas Kennard platted Lincoln on a broader scale. The plat of the village of Lancaster was not dissolved nor abandoned; Lancaster became Lincoln when the Lincoln plat files were finished September 6, 1867. To raise money for the construction of a capital city, a successful auction of lots was held. Newcomers began to arrive and Lincoln's population grew. The Nebraska State Capitol was completed on December 1, 1868; a two-story building constructed with native limestone with a central cupola. The Kennard house, built in 1869, is the oldest remaining building in the original plat of Lincoln.

In 1888 a new capitol building was constructed on the site of the first capitol. The new building replaced the former structurally unsound capitol. The second capitol building was a classical design, designed by architect William H. Willcox. Construction began on a third capitol building in 1922. Bertram G. Goodhue was selected in a national competition as its architect. By 1924, the first phase of construction was completed and state offices moved into the new building. In 1925, the Willcox designed capitol building was razed. The Goodhue designed capitol was constructed in four phases, with the completion of the fourth phase in 1932. The capitol is the second tallest capitol building in the United States. The completion of the original Goodhue design will be finally realized with the completion of the capitol fountains within the four interior courtyards of the capitol building in 2017.

Growth and expansion

Government Square, Lincoln, Nebraska, USA
Government Square; U.S. Post Office and Courthouse (1879–1906), City Hall (1906–1969).

The worldwide economic depression of 1890 saw the reduction of Lincoln's population from 55,000 to 37,000 by 1900. Volga-German immigrants from Russia settled in the North Bottoms neighborhood and as Lincoln expanded with the growth in population, the city began to annex towns nearby. Bethany Heights, incorporated in 1890, was the first town annexed in 1922. In 1926, the town of University Place was annexed. College View, incorporated in 1892, was annexed in 1929. Union College, a Seventh Day Adventist institution, was founded in College View in 1891. In 1930, annexed the town of Havelock. Havelock actively opposed annexation to Lincoln and only relented due to a strike by the Burlington railroad shop workers which halted progress and growth for the city.

The Burlington and Missouri River Railroad's first train arrived in Lincoln on June 26, 1870, soon to be followed by the Midland Pacific in 1871 and the Atchison and Nebraska in 1872. The Union Pacific began service in 1877. The Chicago and North Western and Missouri Pacific began service in 1886. The Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific extended service to Lincoln in 1892. Lincoln became a rail center hub.

Detroit-Lincoln-Denver Highway monument (from SW), Lincoln, Nebraska, USA
Detroit-Lincoln-Denver (D-L-D) Highway monument

As automobile travel became more common in the U.S., the need for better roads in Nebraska and throughout the U.S. grew. The Omaha-Denver Trans-Continental Route Association in 1911, with support from the Good Roads Movement, established the Omaha-Lincoln-Denver Highway (O-L-D) through Lincoln. The goal was having the most efficient highway to travel on throughout Nebraska, from Omaha to Denver. In 1920, the Omaha-Denver Association merged with the Detroit-Lincoln-Denver Highway Association. As a result, the O-L-D was renamed the Detroit-Lincoln-Denver Highway (D-L-D) with the goal of having a continuous highway from Detroit to Denver. The goal was eventually realized by the mid 1920s; 1,700 mi (2,700 km) of constantly improved highway through six states. The auto route was a tourist magnet and traffic was heavy. Businesses were built and facilities were established in towns along the route in order to keep up with traveler demand. In 1924, the D-L-D was officially designated as Nebraska State Highway 6. In 1926, the highway became part of the Federal Highway System and was renumbered U.S. Route 38. In 1931, U.S. 38 was renumbered as a U.S. 6/U.S. 38 overlap and in 1933, the U.S. 38 route designation was dropped.

Arrow Sport, Lincoln Airport, Lincoln, Nebraska, USA
Arrow Sport, Lincoln Airport.

In the early years of air travel, Lincoln had three airports and one airfield. Union Airport, was established northeast of Lincoln in 1920. The Lincoln Flying School was founded by E.J. Sias in a building he built at 2145 O Street. Charles Lindbergh was a student at the flying school in 1922. The flying school closed in 1947. Some remnants of the Union Airport can still be seen in-between N. 56th and N. 70th Streets, north of Fletcher Avenue; mangled within a slowly developing industrial zone. Arrow Airport was established around 1925 as a manufacturing and test facility for Arrow Aircraft and Motors Corporation, primarily the Arrow Sport. The airfield was located near Havelock; or to the west of where the North 48th Street Small Vehicle Transfer Station is located today. Arrow Aircraft and Motors declared bankruptcy in 1939 and Arrow Airport closed roughly several decades later. An existing Arrow Sport can be seen on permanent display, hanging in the Lincoln Airport's main passenger terminal.

The city's small municipal airfield in 1930 was dedicated to Charles Lindbergh and named Lindbergh Field for a short period of time as another airfield was named Lindbergh in California. The airfield was north of Salt Lake, in an area known variously over the years as Huskerville, Arnold Heights and Air Park; and was located approximately within the western half of the West Lincoln Township. The air field was a stop for United Airlines in 1927 and a mail stop in 1928. As train, automobile, and air travel increased, business flourished, and the city prospered. The population of Lincoln increased 38.2% from 1920 to a population of 75,933 in 1930. In 1942 the Lincoln Army Airfield was established at the site. During World War II, over 25,000 aviation mechanics were trained with over 40,000 troopers being processed for combat. The Army closed the base in 1945. The Air Force reactivated the base during the Korean War in 1952. In 1966, the base was closed and Lincoln annexed the airfield, including the base's old housing units to the west. The base became the Lincoln Municipal Airport under ownership of the Lincoln Airport Authority. The airport was later renamed the Lincoln Airport. The two main airlines serving the airport were United Airlines and Frontier Airlines. The authority shared facilities with the Nebraska National Guard, who continued ownership over some portions of the old Air Force base. In 1966, Lincoln annexed the township of West Lincoln, incorporated in 1887. West Lincoln voters rejected annexation by Lincoln until the state legislature passed a bill in 1965 allowing cities to annex surrounding areas without a vote.

Revitalization and growth

Nighttime skyline of downtown Lincoln, Nebraska, USA (2015, from Arnold Heights Park)
Lincoln on a late Sunday night (2015).

The downtown core retail district from 1959 to 1984 saw profound changes as retail shopping moved from downtown to the suburban Gateway Shopping Mall. In 1956, Bankers Life Insurance Company of Nebraska announced plans to build a $6 million shopping center next to their new campus on the east-side outskirts of Lincoln. Gateway Mall was completed and open for business at 60th and O streets in 1960. By 1984, 75% of Lincoln's revenue from retail sales tax came from within a one-mile radius of the Mall. With the exodus of retail and service businesses, the downtown core began to decline and deteriorate.

The Nebraska legislature in 1969 legislated laws for urban renewal and shortly thereafter Lincoln began a program of revitalization and beautification of the city. Most of the urban renewal projects focused on downtown and the near South areas. Many ideas were considered and not implemented. Successes included Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery, designed by Philip Johnson; new branch libraries, new street lighting, the First National Bank Building and the National Bank of Commerce Building designed by I.M. Pei.

In 1971, an expansion of Gateway Mall was completed. Lincoln's first woman mayor, Helen Boosalis, was elected in 1975. Mayor Boosalis was a strong supporter of the revitalization of Lincoln with the downtown beautification project being completed in 1978. In 1979, the square-block downtown Centrum was opened and connected to buildings with a skywalk. The Centrum was a two-level shopping mall with a garage for 1,038 cars. With the beautification and urban renewal projects, many historic buildings were razed in the city. In 2007 and 2009, the city of Lincoln received beautification grants for improvements on O and West O Streets, west of the Harris Overpass, commemorating the history of the D-L-D.

Vietnamese refugees, from the fall of Saigon in 1975, established a significant ethnic community with businesses along the 27th Street corridor alongside Mexican eateries and African markets. Lincoln was designated as a "Refugee Friendly" city by the U.S. Department of State in the 1970s. In 2000, Lincoln was the twelfth-largest resettlement site per capita in the country. As of 2011, Lincoln had the largest Karen (Burmese ethnic minority) population in the United States, behind Omaha. As of the same year, Nebraska was one of the largest resettlement sites for the people of Sudan, mostly in Lincoln and Omaha. In recent years, Lincoln had the largest Yazidi (Iraqi ethnic minority) population in the U.S.

The decade from 1990 to 2000 saw a significant rise in population from 191,972 to 225,581. North 27th Street and Cornhusker Highway were redeveloped with new housing and businesses built. The boom housing market in south Lincoln created new housing developments including high end housing in areas like Cripple Creek, Willamsburg and The Ridge. The shopping center Southpointe Pavilions was completed in competition of Gateway Mall.

In 2001, Gateway Mall was purchased by Westfield America Trust. Westfield renamed the mall Westfield Shoppingtown Gateway; then in 2005, Westfield Gateway. Westfield made a $45 million makeover of the mall in 2005 including an expanded food court, a new west-side entrance and installation of an Italian carousel. In 2012, Westfield America Trust sold Westfield Gateway to Starwood Capital Group. Starwood reverted the mall's name from Westfield Gateway to Gateway Mall and has made incremental expansions and renovations.

In 2015, ALLO Communications announced that it would bring ultra-high speed fiber internet to the city. Speeds up to 1 Gigabit per second were planned for both business and household use by using the city's existing fiber network. Construction on the citywide network was to begin in March 2016 and was estimated to be complete by 2019. Telephone and cable TV service would also be included, making it the third company to compete for such services within Lincoln. In April 2016, Windstream Communications announced that 2,300 customers in Lincoln had 1 Gigabit per second internet with an expected expansion of services to 25,000 customers by 2017, making it the first company to have ultra-fast internet available within the city.

Geography

refer to caption
Detailed map of Lincoln streets and features
refer to caption
View from the International Space Station (ISS, 2007); photo centered on northeast Lincoln.

Lincoln has a total area of 92.81 square miles (240.38 km2), of which 91.45 square miles (236.85 km2) of it is land and 1.35 square miles (3.50 km2) is water, according to the United States Census Bureau in 2015.

Lincoln is one of the few large cities of Nebraska not located along either the Platte River or the Missouri River. The city was originally laid out near Salt Creek and among the nearly flat saline wetlands of northern Lancaster County. The city's growth over the years has led to development of the surrounding land, much of which is composed of gently rolling hills. In recent years, Lincoln's northward growth has encroached on the habitat of the endangered Salt Creek tiger beetle.

Metropolitan area

Lincoln is in two metropolitan statistical areas as defined by the United States Census Bureau. The Lincoln Metropolitan Statistical Area consists of Lancaster County and Seward County. Seward county was added to the metropolitan area in 2003. Lincoln is also in the Lincoln-Beatrice Combined Statistical Area which consists of the Lincoln metropolitan area and the micropolitan area of Beatrice. The city of Beatrice is the county seat of Gage County. The Lincoln-Beatrice metropolitan area is home to 345,478 people (2015 estimated) making it the one-hundred-fifth-largest combined statistical area in the United States.

Neighborhoods

View of South Lincoln
View of south Lincoln from the top of the Nebraska State Capitol (2012).
See also: Neighborhoods in Lincoln, Nebraska

Lincoln's neighborhoods include both old and new development. Some neighborhoods in Lincoln were formerly small towns that Lincoln later annexed, including University Place in 1926, Belmont, Bethany (Bethany Heights) in 1922, College View in 1929, Havelock in 1930, and West Lincoln in 1966. A number of Historic Districts are located near downtown Lincoln, while newer neighborhoods have appeared primarily in the south and east. As of December 2013, Lincoln had 45 registered neighborhood associations within the city limits.

One core neighborhood that has seen rapid residential growth in recent years is the downtown Lincoln area. In 2010, there were 1,200 downtown Lincoln residents; in 2016, there were 3,000 (an increase of 140%).

Climate

Located on the Great Plains far from the moderating influence of mountains or large bodies of water, Lincoln possesses a highly variable four-season humid continental climate (Köppen Dfa): winters are cold but relatively dry, summers are hot and occasionally humid. With little precipitation falling during winter, precipitation is concentrated in the warmer months, when thunderstorms frequently roll in, often producing tornadoes. Snow averages 25.9 inches (66 cm) per season but seasonal accumulation has ranged from 7.2 in (18 cm) in 1967–68 to 54.3 in (138 cm) in 1959–60. Snow tends to fall in light amounts, though blizzards are possible. There is an average of 39 days with a snow depth of 1 in (2.5 cm) or more. The average window for freezing temperatures is October 5 thru April 25, allowing a growing season of 162 days.

August 2011 Sky in Lincoln, 4
Sky over Lincoln after a late summer thunderstorm.

The monthly daily average temperature ranges from 24.6 °F (−4.1 °C) in January to 77.6 °F (25.3 °C) in July. However, the city is subject both to episodes of bitter cold in winter and heat waves during summer, with 11.4 nights of sub-0 °F (−18 °C) lows, 41 days of 90 °F (32 °C)+ highs, and 4.6 days of 100 °F (38 °C)+ highs. The city straddles the boundary of USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 5b and 6a. Temperature extremes have ranged from −33 °F (−36 °C) on January 12, 1974 up to 115 °F (46 °C) on July 25, 1936. Readings as high as 105 °F (41 °C) or as low as −20 °F (−29 °C) occur somewhat rarely; the last occurrence of each was July 22, 2012 and February 3, 1996.

Based on 30-year averages obtained from NOAA's National Climatic Data Center for the months of December, January and February, Weather Channel ranked Lincoln the seventh-coldest major U.S. city as of 2014 In 2014, the Lincoln-Beatrice area was among the "Cleanest U.S. Cities for Ozone Air Pollution" in the American Lung Association's "State of the Air 2014" report.

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1870 2,441
1880 13,003 432.7%
1890 55,164 324.2%
1900 40,169 −27.2%
1910 43,973 9.5%
1920 54,948 25.0%
1930 75,933 38.2%
1940 81,984 8.0%
1950 98,884 20.6%
1960 128,521 30.0%
1970 149,518 16.3%
1980 171,932 15.0%
1990 191,972 11.7%
2000 225,581 17.5%
2010 258,379 14.5%
Est. 2015 277,348 7.3%
U.S. Decennial Census
2015 Estimate

Lincoln is the second-most-populous city in Nebraska. The U.S. Government designated Lincoln in the 1970s as a refugee-friendly city due to its stable economy, educational institutions, and size. Since then, refugees from Vietnam settled in Lincoln, and further waves came from other countries. In 2013, Lincoln was named one of the "Top Ten most Welcoming Cities in America" by Welcoming America.

2010 census

As of the census of 2010, there were 258,379 people, 103,546 households, and 60,300 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,899.6 inhabitants per square mile (1,119.5/km2). There were 110,546 housing units at an average density of 1,240.6 per square mile (479.0/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 86.0% White, 3.8% African American, 0.8% Native American, 3.8% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 2.5% from other races, and 3.0% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 6.3% of the population.

There were 103,546 households of which 27.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 44.0% were married couples living together, 10.2% had a female householder with no husband present, 4.1% had a male householder with no wife present, and 41.8% were non-families. 31.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.36 and the average family size was 3.01.

The median age in the city was 31.8 years. 22.7% of residents were under the age of 18; 15.7% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 27.9% were from 25 to 44; 22.9% were from 45 to 64; and 10.7% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 50.0% male and 50.0% female.

Arts and culture

Since the opening of Pinnacle Bank Arena in 2013, Lincoln's emerging music scene has grown to the point where it is sometimes referred to as a "Music City." Primary venues for live music include: Pinnacle Bank Arena, Bourbon Theatre, Duffy's Tavern, and the Zoo Bar. The Pla-Mor Ballroom is a classic Lincoln music and dance scene with its in-house Sandy Creek Band. Pinewood Bowl hosts a range of performances – from national music performances to local plays during the warm weather months.

14th and O facing east
Downtown Lincoln at night, 14th and O Streets

The Lied Center is a venue for national tours of Broadway productions, concert music, guest lectures, and regularly features its resident orchestra Lincoln's Symphony Orchestra. Lincoln has several performing arts venues. Plays are staged by UNL students in the Temple Building; community theater productions are held at the Lincoln Community Playhouse, the Loft at The Mill, and the Haymarket Theater.

For movie viewing, Marcus Theatres owns 32 screens at four locations, and the University of Nebraska's Mary Riepma Ross Media Arts Center shows independent and foreign films. Standalone cinemas in Lincoln include the Joyo Theater and Rococo Theater. The Rococo Theater also hosts benefits and other engagements. The downtown section of O Street is Lincoln's primary bar and nightclub district.

Lincoln is the hometown of Zager and Evans, known for their international No. 1 hit record, "In the Year 2525" (1969). It is also the home town of several notable musical groups, such as Remedy Drive, VOTA, For Against, Lullaby for the Working Class, Matthew Sweet, Dirtfedd, The Show is the Rainbow and Straight. Lincoln is home to Maroon 5 guitarist James Valentine.

In 2012, the city was listed among the 10 best places to retire in the United States by U.S. News & World Report.

Annual cultural events

Annual events in Lincoln have come and gone throughout time, such as Band Day at the University of Nebraska's Lincoln campus and the Star City Holiday Parade. However, some events have never changed while new traditions have been created. Current annual cultural events in Lincoln include the Lincoln National Guard Marathon and Half-Marathon in May, Celebrate Lincoln in early June, the Uncle Sam Jam around July 3, and Boo at the Zoo in October. A locally popular event is the Haymarket Farmers' Market, running from May to October in the Historic Haymarket, one of several farmers markets throughout the city.

Tourism

Tourist attractions and activities include the Sunken Gardens, basketball games at Pinnacle Bank Arena, the Lincoln Children's Zoo, the dairy store at UNL's East Campus, and Mueller Planetarium on the city campus. The Nebraska State Capitol, which is also the tallest building in Lincoln, offers tours. The Frank H. Woods Telephone Museum exhibits historical telephone technology. The Speedway Motors Museum of American Speed preserves, interprets and displays physical items significant in racing and automotive history. In late 2016, Lincoln was ranked #3 on Lonely Planet's "Best in the U.S.," destinations to see in 2017 list.

Parks and recreation

See also: Trails in Lincoln, Nebraska
Refer to caption
Sunken Gardens
Refer to caption
MoPac Trail East, Novartis Trailhead entrance.

Lincoln has an extensive park system, with over 125 individual parks. The parks are connected by a 133 mi (214 km) system of recreational trails. The MoPac Trail is a bicycling, equestrian and walking trail. The trail was built on an abandoned Missouri Pacific Railroad corridor which runs for 27 miles (43 km) from the University of Nebraska's Lincoln campus eastward to Wabash, Nebraska.

Regional parks include Antelope Park from S. 23rd and "N" Streets to S. 33rd Street and Sheridan Boulevard, Bicentennial Cascade Fountain, Hamann Rose Garden, Lincoln Children's Zoo, Veterans Memorial Garden, and Holmes Park at S. 70th Street and Normal Boulevard. Pioneers Park includes the Pioneers Park Nature Center at S. Coddington Avenue and W. Calvert Streets.

Community parks include Ballard Park, Bethany Park, Bowling Lake Park, Densmore Park, Erwin Peterson Park, Fleming Fields, Irvingdale Park, Mahoney Park, Max E. Roper Park, Oak Lake Park, Peter Pan Park, Pine Lake Park, Sawyer Snell Park, Seacrest Park, Tierra Briarhurst, University Place Park and Woods Park.

Other notable parks include Iron Horse Park, Lincoln Community Foundation Tower Square, Nine Mile Prairie owned by the University of Nebraska Foundation, Sunken Gardens, Union Plaza, and Wilderness Park. Smaller neighborhood parks are scattered throughout the city. Additionally, there are five public recreation centers, nine outdoor public pools and five public golf courses not including private facilities in Lincoln.

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