Lincoln’s own Pinnacle Bank Arena
by Julie Nichols
If there seems to be a silver spaceship in Lincoln’s Haymarket District, hold that thought: You are looking at Pinnacle Bank Arena, carrying Lincoln’s entertainment scene into the future. With its glass and polished metal exterior, the arena’s architecture brings modern aesthetics to a revitalized, vibrant historic district.
After a public vote in 2010, construction began immediately, and the arena held its grand opening in 2013. The state-of-the-art multi-purpose arena became the cornerstone and now the jewel in the crown of the West Haymarket Redevelopment Project. Costing $179 million, Pinnacle Bank Arena hosts the University of Nebraska-Lincoln men’s and women’s basketball teams through the season, and offers year-round concerts, family shows, and touring acts. With general seating capacity over 15,000, Pinnacle Bank arena also offers loge boxes and executive suites, and provides more than 70 concession areas with a variety of food and beverages, including gluten free options.
Some of the biggest names in music and entertainment come to Pinnacle Bank Arena. Michael Bublé opened the first concert season, which also saw Pink, Miranda Lambert, and Sir Elton John perform. Since its launch in 2013, PBA has hosted a wildly varying lineup of performers from Shania Twain to Slipknot, from TOOL to Blake Shelton, Pearl Jam, Cardi B, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Disturbed, James Taylor, Maroon 5, Garth Brooks, Kendrick Lamar, Cher and Neil Young with Promise of the Real.
Now managed by Pinnacle Bank Arena, Pinewood Bowl, an outdoor concert venue in Pioneers Park, offers a more intimate and serene concert setting, and has hosted music luminaries: Willie Nelson, Alison Krauss, Beck, Robert Cray, BB King, Jackson Browne, ZZ Top, Bonnie Raitt, twenty one pilots, Paul Simon and Steely Dan, among others. Pinewood Bowl runs shows from spring through fall.
For those who fancy spectacle, Cirque du Soleil, the Harlem Globetrotters, Capitol City Stampede Rodeo or WWE Smackdown now make regular appearances and suit a variety of tastes in entertainment. For the kids, look for Disney on Ice, and Nickelodeon touring shows. Nebraska’s own Larry the Cable Guy performs regularly at the arena, and Lincoln’s roller derby team, No Coast Derby Girls, hosts tournaments throughout the season.
Now the official home of the University of Nebraska Cornhuskers men’s and women’s basketball, Pinnacle Bank Arena is also the site for the NSAA girls and boys state basketball tournaments. NBA exhibition games and World Series watch parties and Championship Cup tennis are part of the eclectic sporting events held at the arena.
Pinnacle Bank Arena serves the community in a variety of ways, whether through formal events like Chocolate Lovers’ Fantasy and Haymarket in White or by offering fund-raising opportunities in concessions for high school, civic or faith groups. Each year, the arena provides rite of passage for thousands of students by hosting commencement for both Lincoln Public Schools high school graduates and University of Nebraska undergraduate and graduate schools.
In support of the Lincoln community, Pinnacle Bank Arena also hosts the Peoples’ City Mission Tree Festival and Project Connect Lincoln, a one-day, one-stop event that concentrates services on-site for homeless and at-risk individuals and families. Project Connect provides medical, dental and behavioral health professionals who perform services and assist with housing applications, legal issues and substance abuse treatment. Other professionals provide personal care services and assist in guiding people to off-site programs for crisis intervention, education and basic needs. At this event, businesses, individuals and service organizations come together, with the side effect of raising awareness of the needs of people who are often unseen.
With its vast concourse and spectacular open-air roof deck, visitors can see in panorama the Haymarket District, Memorial Stadium, and the Nebraska State Capitol. Sleek and stylish, the Pinnacle Bank Arena is also one of the most sustainable buildings in the country. Qualified as an official Energy Star building, the arena also received a $150,000 recycling grant from the Nebraska Environmental Trust. Reducing energy costs by as much as to 30 percent, Pinnacle Bank Arena has helped support Lincoln’s goals of long-term savings and sustainability.
Parking and hotels are plentiful near the arena. Restaurants and pubs in the Haymarket are great places to meet before or after a show.
For information on the arena and a schedule of events, go to www.pinnaclebankarena.com.