Moo-ving to Lincoln, Steak Capitol of the World Read Guide >
Although Lincoln is a capital city, it has a small-town vibe. Every neighborhood has a park and, no matter where you are in Lincoln, you’ll have easy access to golf courses, Cornhusker’s football games, minor league baseball, and even women’s roller derby. That being said, location does, as always, matter. Thankfully, almost everywhere in town is safe, secure, and totes an easy commute to boot, just so long as you’re not taking public transportation.
Simply put, driving is easy in Lincoln. Normal traffic conditions permitting, Lincolnites can drive across town within 25 minutes. If you want to avoid potholes, a bike commute across town will take under an hour at any time on Lincoln’s extensive bike path system. Beware of travelling on the six Football Saturdays in autumn though, or you’ll find yourself somewhere in the middle of the 80,000 Cornhusker’s fans that flock from all over the state to turn the Cornhusker’s Memorial Stadium into the 3rd largest “city” in Nebraska.
Although cars and bikes are easy in Lincoln, public transportation can be a pain. The StarTran buses are clean and comfortable, but they only operate from 5:00 AM to 7:30 PM on weekdays, with reduced hours and routes on Saturdays and no service on Sundays. For those looking to transfer, you might want to reconsider. The buses go everywhere in the city, but connections to other routes are only made through one main hub, so your bus commute may be extra long depending on your destination.
South Lincoln consists of everything south of O St. and is the largest section of Lincoln. This area has many different looks to it depending on where you go, but the price of your house and average age of your neighbors tend to increase as you head further down south.
Lincoln’s downtown is mostly a commercial district filled with stone and column government buildings, so those looking for a happening residential area downtown should make their way toward Haymarket (see North Lincoln). Just south of downtown is the gorgeous Near South neighborhood where a 2BR apartment will typically cost you $600. Near South is filled with college grads, artists, and the Sunken Gardens, all surrounded by big trees and huge lawns. Another lovely place in South Lincoln is family-friendly Irvingdale where a 2BR apartment in an ivy-covered brownstone will cost a similarly cheap $650.
Since the city of Lincoln has already annexed all the would-be suburban areas, your best bet to find something similar are the Far South and Southern Hills neighborhoods, just below Highway 2. Here, you’ll not only find a nice 2BR house or town home for an easy $600, but you’ll also come across small, well-kept yards, front porches, and that charming small town atmosphere. Unlike the aforementioned southern bit of Lincoln’s downtown, your neighbors will mostly fall into the younger/middle-aged demographics.
North Lincoln encapsulates everything between south of I-80 and north of O St. This section is home to the University of Nebraska, and your neighbors here are guaranteed to be college kids, meaning long-lasting, loud college parties. However, rowdy nights aren’t the only thing you’ll find in North Lincoln. Some of the best art in town populates this area, offering everything from captivating performances to fascinating visual arts. And if you’re not one for the collegiate house-party scene, O St., between 9th and 17th, features some excellent venues to scratch that nightlife itch. Plus, if, like most Lincolnites, you can’t live without your Cornhusker football games, you can skip the traffic and parking snafus and simply walk or bike straight to Memorial Stadium. The most student-friendly neighborhoods are East Campus, with the historical “Professor Row” where no two houses look alike; University Place, with small, dingy, stone apartment buildings; and North Bottoms, with large, rather run-down apartment buildings and overgrown yards. The ambiance may not be the best, but all of these areas have 2BR’s available for an affordable $500.
North Lincoln also holds the residential section of downtown: Haymarket. For only $800, you can rent a 2BR in a large, brick apartment building surrounded by Lincoln’s most diverse neighborhood of young professionals, recent college grads, and artists. Special attractions here include college and minor league baseball at Haymarket Park, and the weekly farmer’s market.
Since Haymarket and the university area are the happening places for the drunk, dazed, and disorderly, North Lincoln has the highest crime rate in the city. That’s not saying much, as “high crime” in Lincoln means “pretty tame” to the rest of us, so lock your doors and you’ll be protected from any drunkards walking interrupting movie night.
Hate college parties next door but can’t afford South or East Lincoln? Try moving north of the Cornhusker Highway to largely undeveloped, retirement-friendly Autumn Wood, where $500 will net you a 1BR apartment in a large building. Not ready to retire? Try Bicentennial Estates where you can nab yourself a large suburban colonial-style home complete with a basketball hoop in the driveway for $900. If mobile home living is more your style, try Sunset Acres, a large, but mildly dingy neighborhood with an attractive price tag: $500 for a 2BR.
West Lincoln involves everything west of Salt Creek: wide open spaces, woods, fields and undeveloped private land. In short: this area is the country. It’s easier to rent a house way out here than an apartment, but for $1100, a 2BR in the neighborhood of Hitching Post Hills or Yankee Hill will make you feel at home next door to your middle-aged neighbors with kids.
If you love golf, you’ll love East Lincoln. This area is the most expensive section in town, but with good reason: almost every block holds a golf course. In Crown Pointe, for instance, the residents here are all golf-loving, middle-aged folks with younger children and huge houses complete with bay windows, multiple-peaks and enormous, well-trimmed lawns. Those huge houses will cost you though; a 4BR house will run you around $1900.
Northwest Lincoln sits north of O St. and west of Salt Creek. This section holds the Lincoln Airport (though it’s cheaper to get a flight from Omaha), some fun lakes, and some very suburban neighborhoods. The Highlands area lies between the airport and I-80, while Arnold Heights holds former military housing right beside the airfield. Both ‘hoods are filled with young and middle-aged couples with children, but $700 in Highlands will get you a 2BR apartment near split-level, ranch-style tract homes, and only a 1BR apartment in Arnold Heights featuring views of carports and single-level brick houses. For recently retired couples, a large apartment building near the stylish and huge homes in Capitol Beach could be your best bet. A 3BR apartment here will set you back $900. Don’t worry, that price includes a stellar view of the lake.
Now that you’re outfitted with all the right apartment hunting tips, it’s time for you to go out and grab you one, assuming you survived all cow-themed puns (Sorry, we couldn’t help ourselves). One more thing: if you’re a fan of the Boulder Buffs, you might want to leave your shirts at home when, but you probably already knew that.
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