iStock/traveler1116

liv score
697
How We Calculate Our Data
Civics 56
Demographics 45
Economy 62
Education 68
Health 65
Housing 52
Infrastructure 55

#12. Lincoln, NE

Nebraska’s newest tongue-in-cheek slogan made headlines: “Nebraska, honestly it’s not for everyone.” Of course, the opposite is true, especially when it comes to Lincoln. This progressive capital city is home to the University of Nebraska, super friendly people and so much opportunity. For starters, the unemployment rate here is ridiculously low — 2.4 percent in December 2019 — and it’s an incredibly affordable place to live, with plenty of room to spread out. The city is easy to get around, has tons of amenities for kids and families and offers a true sense of community for residents.

Top Industries and Employers: Lincoln Public Schools, the University of Nebraska, the State of Nebraska and Bryan Health Medical Center are some of the largest employers here.

Best Coffee Shop: The Foundry, which also doubles as a co-working and community gathering space. Every dollar you spend at the coffee bar (which also serves tea, beer and wine) is donated to Lincoln-based nonprofits and initiatives.

Best Local Beer/Brewery: Boiler Brewing Company, which makes small-batch beers in what used to be the boiler room of the historic Grand Manse building. The Beaux-Arts Neoclassical-style building dates back to 1904 and served as Lincoln’s federal courthouse and post office.

Must-Have Meal: If you’re on the go, get a runza, a doughy sandwich stuffed with cabbage, ground beef, onion and spices — it’s a quintessential Nebraska meal. If you have more time, head to The Oven, an award-winning Indian restaurant where you can’t go wrong ordering anything off the menu.  

Best Co-Working Space: Fuse Coworking has it all — conference rooms, event space, office suites and tons of events that help build community. 

Best Meetup Spot (When Meeting Up Is a Thing Again): Starlite Lounge & Banquet Room, which has a relaxed, retro vibe — you’ll be waiting for Frank Sinatra to walk through the door while you sip your cocktail.

Creative Hub: First Friday Artwalks at galleries and businesses downtown

Favorite Weekend Activity: If it’s not football season, head to Goldenrod Pastries, a women-powered bakery, for a treat before heading to the Lincoln Children’s Zoo to feed the giraffes. 

Free Way to Have Fun: Free yoga classes and live music at Tower Square in downtown Lincoln.

Local Dream Job: Ask any Lincolnite and they’d probably say “head coach for Nebraska football.” But, if that’s not an option, everyone wants to work at Hudl, a Lincoln software company offering video review and performance analysis tools to more than 160,000 sports teams around the world.

Read More:
Lincoln is One of the Most Recession-Proof Cities in America
Discover the Best Hidden Bar in Lincoln
Beyond Silicon Valley: Lincoln is an  Up-and-Coming Tech Hotspots

– Sarah Kuta

Newsletter Sign Up

Keep up to date with our latest rankings and articles!
Enter your email to be added to our mailing list.