Lincoln: The city with a small town feel

When you think of neighborhoods, what do you see in your mind’s eye? Do you see the original part of town, with brick streets and hundred-year-old buildings, or perhaps homes built up around a college, or a development built around a lake. There are many types of neighborhoods, and ours in Lincoln have much to offer for visitors and locals alike. Exploring Lincoln’s neighborhoods is exciting and fun. As we travel through each neighborhood in the following paragraphs, you will see the whole of Lincoln come alive.

Statuesque trees and majestic architecture is found in the homes in the Country Club Neighborhood. Located on and surrounding Sheridan Boulevard, this area began to grow over a hundred years ago with the building of the Lincoln Country Club on South 24th Street. Pictured is a sample of the homes you will see when you drive through this neighborhood.

The Near South Neighborhood is one of our oldest areas. Close to downtown, this neighborhood is home to both large single-family dwellings and many apartments for our college students to reside in while attending school at the university.

Here you will find an eclectic mix of young families, single young adults who may be working in the downtown offices and some elderly housing. The homes are also an eclectic mix. Some have been remodeled into apartments, some refurbished to their original stateliness. Here you will also find some of Lincoln’s bed and breakfasts. These charming inns offer respite from a Nebraska Cornhusker weekend of activities, or just a chance to get away and spend some time in a grand Lincoln home.

The Near South Neighborhood is a well-integrated area also offering small ethnic shops with Hispanic and Asian fare. You may even find an antique shop or two tucked between homes.

One popular attraction to the youth and all ages of this area is the Recreational Center located on 13th and G Streets. This facility offers many youth programs as well as pick-up basketball games, a walking track and weight machines. You will also want to check out the bulletin board every time you visit as there you will find opportunities for the One Book One Lincoln discussion groups. Or you may take a cooking class.

There is always something interesting going on in the Near South Neighborhood. There are books and pamphlets available with maps of walking tours so you can see the architecture first hand, and learn about some of the more historical aspects of this neighborhood.

The North Bottoms, also known as the Russian Bottoms, is directly north of the University of Lincoln’s downtown campus. Stop in one of the city’s oldest parks to watch a softball game on a warm summer evening, or plan an Autumn picnic under the stone pillared shelter.

The Germans from Russia Museum is found in the heart of this neighborhood. Various events throughout the year are held here to showcase the neighborhood and the entire city is invited. This author’s favorite activity is the soup and pie supper.

Havelock was originally a separate village from Lincoln. Drive to northeast Lincoln east of 56th Street and you will find Misty’s, a traditional and long standing steak house. Stop in for their prime rib, one of their specialties, and stay to watch the game in their lounge where everyone seems to know your name. It is just that neighborhood feeling kind of place.

The neighborhood hardware store is a popular gathering place on Saturday afternoon, and Havelock Furniture is a local family-owned business that has been proudly serving Lincoln for over 50 years.

Arnold Heights, also known as Airpark, began as base housing for the Lincoln Air Force Base. After the base closed in 1966, Airpark was annexed by Lincoln and now about half of the 1,000 housing units are privately owned, and half are managed by Lincoln Housing Authority. There is a brand new IGA grocery store for Airpark residents to shop, and the population of this neighborhood rises dramatically whenever an air show comes to town.

Belmont is located just north of Cornhusker Highway and south of Superior Street. Its close location to Interstate 180 makes this neighborhood ideal for commuters. Capitol Beach is found north of West O Street, just west of the downtown area. It is home to Capitol Beach Lake. There are summer cabins, nestled right next to year round larger homes on the land directly surrounding the lake. There are also condominiums available, with a view of the lake. The Capitol Beach area is the former site of Lincoln’s own amusement park including a wooden roller coaster, a ballroom and steamboat rides. Yesterday and today, for summer fun and winter beauty, Capitol Beach is a great place to explore. Many of Lincoln’s neighborhoods encompass one of our many colleges.

One college neighborhood, College View, home to Union College, is located along 48th Street, near Calvert Street. I love to explore this neighborhood because of the many unique shops that you find, mostly locally owned. One of our oldest family owned bakeries, Conroy’s, makes its home In College View.

As in all of our neighborhoods, you will see a pleasing mixture of single-family homes and apartments for students and others who enjoy apartment living. University Place is located along 48th Street between Leighton Avenue and Adams Street. It was an incorporated community before it was annexed by Lincoln in 1926. Wesleyan University calls University Place home.

This neighborhood offers specialty shops for clothing, books and eateries that welcome the area residents, as well as those who live in other communities. At the local art museum, Mission Arts, you can take a class in couple’s art or browse their beautiful art objects for sale.

All of our neighborhoods bring a rich and varying culture to Lincoln. We are a big city with a small town feel, and each neighborhood adds its special uniqueness within Lincoln. Together we have built a strong, friendly and diverse community rich in friends, family and culture.

By Donna Joy Brakenhoff

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