After long hours of studying, many University of Nebraska-Lincoln students look for places to let loose and have fun. For those unfamiliar with what the Star City has to offer, figuring out how to best experience Lincoln nightlife can be overwhelming.
While many favorite hangout spots have an age minimum of 21, there are plenty of other locations in Lincoln where minors can enjoy their evenings. Here is a quick starter’s guide to the best places to go for food, music and entertainment.
Round1 Bowling & Amusement at Gateway Mall, 6100 O St.
Gateway Mall is the largest enclosed outlet mall in the city, boasting a wide variety of stores and entertainment options. But one of its largest attractions is Round1, a national arcade chain that opened its Lincoln location in December 2018.
Round1 features over 200 games on its arcade floor, ranging from classics such as Pac-Man and Space Invaders to Japanese games that can’t be found anywhere else in the United States. The entertainment center also has 10 lanes of bowling, karaoke and party rooms, ping pong and billiards.
Round1 is open every day from 10 a.m. to 2 a.m. After 10 p.m., only patrons over the age of 18 can stay, making it a great time for college students when the family crowd has cleared out. However, there is a 21-and-over age restriction enforced at midnight.
Lincoln Escape Room, 3700 S. 9th St.
Escape rooms have grown in popularity across America over the past few years, as it’s a creative and fun way to bond with a large group of people. It’s a perfect location to get to know the fellow freshmen you’ll meet during the first few weeks of college.
It can be a little bit expensive, as booking a room costs $25 per person, but it’s definitely a worthwhile experience. Lincoln Escape Room offers a wide variety of themes, like investigating the study of a missing musician, locating the antidote for a deadly bio-terror attack and hacking a government research facility.
Lincoln Escape Room can provide a nighttime adventure on weekends, and it is open until 11:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.
Food in Downtown Lincoln
One of the many perks of attending UNL is that its city campus is only a short walk away from downtown Lincoln. Within a radius of a few blocks, there are numerous excellent restaurants to try.
Hurts Donuts Company is a great stop for college students who have a sweet tooth. The regional chain is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, so it’s a great way to fuel a late-night study session or grab a quick treat amongst friends. Hurts boasts over 70 varieties of donuts and is known for its bizarre toppings, such as breakfast cereals and bacon.
Yia Yia’s is known for delicious made-to-order pizzas, with toppings to fit any taste. Sultan’s Kite serves falafel, gyros and other Mediterranean dishes. Honest Abe’s lives up to its claim of having the “Greatest Burger Ever” with its juicy, made-to-order burgers, well-seasoned “Freedom Fries” and delectable shakes. And if you’re looking for somewhere to go for Sunday brunch, look no further than the friendly atmosphere and savory breakfast food of The Egg and I.
The Lincoln Music Scene
After eating dinner, students can cap off their night with a show at one of many music venues around campus.
Pinnacle Bank Arena hosts some of the biggest names in entertainment, with Michael Bublé, Cardi B and Carrie Underwood performing there this year. If you are a fan of musical theatre, The Lied Center for Performing Arts is bringing in Broadway shows such as “The Phantom of the Opera” and “Irving Berlin’s White Christmas” this coming semester.
The Bay is a skate park and coffee bar by day and concert venue by night, making it a great location to both study and let loose. It also holds workshops in its new digital arts space called The Collective, making The Bay a hub of creativity and expression near campus.
The Bourbon Theatre, a renovated movie theatre from the 1930s, is one of many bars in downtown Lincoln that allows minors to attend its concerts. Mason Ramsey and Drake Bell performed for packed crowds at The Bourbon last semester, so be on the lookout for who is performing next.
And on Thursdays, Rule G Night Club has “College Nights,” where students 18-and-older can get in with a valid college ID to dance to music mixed by a live DJ.
Whether you are looking for a quick bite to eat, live music or stress-relieving fun, there are plenty of options to experience in Lincoln. For more information on these and other attractions, visit the Lincoln Conventions and Visitors Bureau website.