Lincoln’s Historic Haymarket—The Place to Be.

by Donna Joy Brakenhoff

Whatever the season, Lincoln’s Historic Haymarket will please locals and visitors alike. Once a warehouse district, the Haymarket offers street life, restaurants and bars, shops and events for all ages and interests.

Love antiques? Check out Burlington Antiques, located in the old train station. Bluestem Books on South 9th Street is a traditional used bookstore in the Haymarket, and one I visit at least once a month. Indigo Bridge Books and Café in the Creamery Building has a small, but amazing book selection featuring a large children’s section and books by many local authors. The Indigo Bridge café serves free-trade coffee and sponsors frequent readings and community events. Go to for a schedule.

Also in the Creamery Building, Ivanna Cone is an old-fashioned ice cream shop with a revolving menu of freshly made frozen treats. The whole family can enjoy a dish or cone after an afternoon at Paint Yourself Silly, where you can create a colorful keepsake or ceramic treasure.

A recent find is the Lincoln Olive Oil Shop, an entire store devoted to different flavors and types of olive oil, plus vinegar varieties, spices and cookbooks. Its friendly owner offers monthly tasting parties and specials and recipes of his own.  

Licorice International has long been a Lincoln favorite. It began as an online-only store and sells licorice anywhere from Holland, Sweden and Italy to New Zealand or Australia—salty, sweet, red, and black. Free samples and the warm and friendly owners make this a must see shop.  

Eurasia The Russian Store offers not just antiques, but fine gifts plus candy and food items from Russia, as well.  

The From Nebraska shop features items produced in Nebraska, including wine, jellies and jams, clothing, and books about Nebraska and by Nebraska writers. This is a favorite for tourists and Lincolnites alike.  

If you are a Big Red fan, a stop at the Husker Authentic Team Store is a must for game days, or any day you want to show your Husker Spirit.  

Need groceries? Handy for nearby apartment dwellers, students, and tourists alike, Rogo’s Goods on 824 P Street is a charming bodega in the midst of the fun of the Haymarket.  

Ten Thousand Villages, 140 N. 8th Street, is a unique store offering international gift items, jewelry, clothing, lamps, and home furnishings—all with the flair and flavor of the country of origin. You can ask the associates for the history of what you are buying, where it is from, and who helped to make it. All products are crafted by artisans who receive fair wages.

A Lincoln institution since 1975, The Mill is Lincoln’s first small-batch craft coffee roaster. Order your favorite coffee or tea drink in this popular spot on the corner of 8th and P. The Mill features both indoor and outdoor seating, and sells premium teas, coffees, pastries and brewing accessories.

Every Saturday morning from May through October, the Haymarket Farmer’s Market vendors sell local products from flowers and vegetables to meats, cheeses and baked goods, pasta and sweets, homemade root beer, soap, crafts, plants, and much more. It’s grown from two to more than five blocks. Families, kids, students and everyone in between love this classic Saturday morning farmers market.

I am awed by the Arena’s high-tech sophistication—a mere block or two away from quaint brick streets, combining a small town feel with the concert and sporting events of a much larger city.  

Pinnacle Bank Arena hosts special events throughout the year. One of the newest is a dinner and dance, called Haymarket in White. Guests dress all in white and begin with a cocktail hour, then dine on picnic fare, and then dance the night away. The Chocolate Lover’s Fantasy has long been a favorite of Lincolnites. Chocolate connoisseurs celebrate their love of chocolate with delights provided by local chefs, and proceeds from the event and silent auction benefit the Haymarket’s programs.

A new festival is the Cork and Ale. Just as it sounds, attendees sample beer and wine from Nebraska’s finest wineries and breweries. Enjoy live music while savoring special treats created by local eateries to complement each beverage. You even get to bring home a souvenir glass. In its second year, Haymarket Unwrapped is a holiday festival combined with Breakfast with Santa, and features prizes and holiday discounts at the Haymarket specialty shops. Families can see Santa and enjoy street entertainment or take a festive sleigh ride through the neighborhood.  

Across the street from the Arena and near the old train station is The Railyard on Canopy Street. This vibrant outdoor venue offers many free or affordable events from movies, art and sports on the giant screen, and premier entertainment from live concerts. The Railyard offers ice-skating during the winter months, and hosts local events in summertime to support community organizations.

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