Nebraskan revival: Lincoln restoring buzz of ’20s heyday
Capital city and college town drawing tourists with youthful, creative vibe and Art Deco architectural gems downtown
Back in the 1920s, Nebraska’s capital had a marketing slogan: “Lincoln — A City Worthy of a Noble Name.”
Today, it holds up more than ever in the creativemeets-collegiate downtown in this tidy metropolis of 280,364 residents, which is home to the University of Nebraska and a growing immigrant population (now nearly 9 per cent of city dwellers).
The increasingly buzzy downtown is luring visitors with recently opened shops and watering holes. And, be sure not to miss the 1932 Art Deco Capitol building, with its mosaics by muralist Hildreth Meiere and 14th-floor views of the Great Plains.
The Other Room is a speakeasy-inspired bar (bring cash and put your phone on silent) tucked in a brick-walled alley in downtown Lincoln’s Haymarket district. The joint was a James Beard Award semifinalist in 2015. It uses more than 12 housemade bitters in its cocktails. Try the frothy Po Boy Punch (cognac, pecan bitters, egg white and nutmeg).
Stella Collective features Nebraska-made wares, with clothing, plant and housewares shops under one roof. Finds include Omaha-made Benson Soap Mill, which blends coffee shop castoffs (like previously steeped chai tea) into their body products, and Lincoln’s own Wax Buffalo soy candles as well as vintage furniture.
The Sheldon Museum of Art, a Philip Johnson-designed jewel box of a building, was built of travertine marble with gold leaf ceiling details in Italy, then meticulously reconstructed at the University of Nebraska in 1963. Treasures inside include Edward Hopper’s “Room in New York” and Georgia O’Keeffe’s effervescent “New York, Night”.