When school gets stressful, some students respond by throwing themselves into their work, but taking a break is just as important.
Doing some leisuring can revitalize you, and there are a lot of fun things to do on campus. But to get a real feel for the city, freshmen and transfers to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln should try looking for entertainment elsewhere.
The Daily Nebraskan lists six of Lincoln’s most chill places to go for amusement.
Caffeine addicts, skaters and music lovers will all find something to do at The Bay. Located just off the east side of campus at 20th and Y streets, The Bay is a triple threat and keystone of Lincoln culture. It features an indoor skatepark, a cafe courtesy of Goldenrod Pastries and performance spaces both indoors and outdoors. Everything is available to all ages, and The Bay strives for inclusivity.
The Bay also does a lot of work in the community, aiming to be a safe place anyone can go to. They do this by distributing All Access Passes to kids in Lincoln Public Schools through social workers and counselors. These passes provide the students with free entry, a free meal and a mentor through Heartland Big Brothers Big Sisters. Patrons can feel great knowing they’re supporting a business that’s trying to better the community, while also providing a new event almost every weekend for Lincolnites to attend.
If music isn’t the kind of entertainment you’re looking for, a trip to the movies will do to relax any stressed Husker. Marcus Lincoln Grand Cinema is only a few blocks south of campus on 11th and P streets, and it’s a standard theater that brings back that pre-Netflix nostalgia of going to the movies.
The showtimes feature all the current blockbusters, and the concessions star popcorn, candy, nachos, Icees and Zaffiro’s pizza. Each of its screening rooms comes equipped with reclinable Dream Lounger chairs that are reserved at ticket purchase, promising viewers the seats they want.
As with most cinemas, the prices can get steep, particularly at concessions, where it’s more than $11 for a small popcorn and box of candy. The tickets themselves will run a cinephile $9.12 for a matinee and $11.53 for an evening showing, but promotions like $5 Tuesdays and $6 Student Thursdays can help cut costs.
If a freshman considers themselves an intellectual who enjoys capital-F films, the Mary Riepma Ross Media Arts Center might be a more worthy place to spend two hours. Run by UNL, the theater sits across the street from Love Library near R Street and is basically made for students.
The Ross only shows two movies at a time, and they’re usually the artsy, indie kind of films that win awards at film festivals and probably require subtitles. Being a smaller operation than the Grand, the Ross is also cheaper. UNL students get $5 tickets no matter the time or day, and a small popcorn and box of candy only cost $9.
I highly recommend seeing something here at least once, even if it seems daunting. The films are usually really interesting, educational stories that keep you contemplative after the credits have rolled.
The first place off-campus most freshmen go — besides Target — is Sunken Gardens. According to the Lincoln Parks Foundation, the space was originally a 1930s neighborhood landfill before beautification efforts began. Now, the space on the corner of 26th and D streets is covered in flower beds, statues, a koi pond and miniature waterfalls.
Just across the street from the Lincoln Children’s Zoo, the gardens are completely free to visit for a stroll, to take photos in front of some of the city’s most beautiful backgrounds or to sit and watch the birds and butterflies. Sunken Gardens is always the most beautiful right when school starts in August, so new roommates should take advantage of it by going on a walk, getting to know each other and taking their first pictures as Huskers together.
One of the more expensive but higher quality forms of entertainment in Lincoln is Escape Lincoln. The escape room complex is located in the Haymarket, right above an axe throwing range. Escape Lincoln offers four experiences with different themes and difficulty levels: “Wonderland,” “221B Baker Street,” “Strangest Things” and “Don’t Enter 1408.” All the rooms can be reserved online for $25 per person, and groups have an hour to complete the room.
If the idea of an escape room conjures claustrophobia, don’t worry, none of the rooms actually lock, and players can leave whenever they need to, but the clock keeps running. Escape Lincoln is the perfect way to celebrate birthdays or other special occasions and distract oneself from school for an hour.
Mini-golf may not be everybody’s thing, but Prehistoric Putt, located at 1919 Cornhusker Highway, is full of stupid fun holes. The two 18-hole indoor courses feature beer pong, skeeball, a batting cage, a zipline and a ball pit, just to name a few of the wilder things. Plus, dinosaur statues populate the entire course along with facts about each species.
At $9 for 18 holes, Prehistoric Putt is not the cheapest or closest amusement center, but the fun makes up for it by miles. It’s absolutely worth paying the extra money to play all 36 holes because the time goes by too fast while having fun, so go ahead and double your hiatus from school work.