Lincoln, Nebraska

I didn’t think there would be much to blog about during my drive through Nebraska and Iowa. It’s not like I was going to come up with anything interesting after then ten hours of this:

But eventually the corn fields give way to Lincoln. Luckily for me and the 263 thousand people who live there, the capitol of Nebraska (and home of the University Nebraska Cornhuskers) is actually a cute town.

The place to be on Friday evening is the Historic Haymarket District. (Then, if you are into the bar scene, head seven blocks east.) These few blocks are between the North/South 7th and 9th streets and the East/West running O, P, Q, and R streets. This logically laid out grid makes it hard to get lost. At the northwest corner of Haymarket (7th and Q), a kid’s park and water fountain down by the old Amtrak station offers views of the huge new stadium being constructed nearby. There is also a parking lot here. We easily found parking at a metered lot here, and a local assured us that meter maids didn’t work past seven on weekends…although she also told us that tourists got a get-out-of-jail-free pass, so I probably shouldn’t quote her here as a reliable source.

From Iron Horse Park you can follow your nose to the old Creamery Building at 7th and P and stand in a line that suggests that this is THE place in town for ice cream. In reality, Ivanna Cone’s was a cute shop with average ice cream. (Unless you get the lemongrass basil flavor, which I would classify as far below average ice cream). Also in the creamery building is the Indigo Bridge bookstore featuring post “Occupy Lincoln” lectures and the TADA theatre, currently showing the hilariously (if inappropriate) Avenue Q puppet show.

It was suggested that we enjoy dinner at the New Orleans-y Buzzard Billy’s (8th and Q), but we opted for Lazlo’s Brewery & Grill (7th and P) instead, which was FABULOUS. I had the best salmon (pesto crusted!) that I’ve ever eaten. Isn’t that typical? I grew up in Seattle and my favorite salmon thus far has been in Lincoln, Nebraska. Lazlo’s also has Omaha steaks for people who believe in more geographically appropriate dining. My beer-loving father reports that the brew was good, with a mild-yet-acceptable IPA. Being seven months pregnant, I can also report that the water was delicious. Lots of tasty ice.

Before heading out of town on Saturday morning, we checked out the Farmer’s Market, also in the Historic Haymarket District. The market is open from eight to noon weekly from May through October. It features tons of people, slightly pricey vegetables, not as much corn as I’d expect in Cornhusker territory, and (as typical in the mid-west) barely any fruit.

There are several hotels downtown, (the Embassy Suites on 13th and the Holiday Inn Downtown on P are both in the Haymarket District) but if you want to save some money, choosing a hotel out by the airport is a good option. It’s a quick ten minute drive into town. We took the scenic route into town, past waterfront lakes, fishing ponds, and the Sea Dogs Minor League baseball stadium. These sights all convinced me that I would gladly spend an extra day or two in Lincoln, Nebraska.