8. Lincoln, NE
Available properties in downtown Lincoln, Neb., don’t stay on the market long. Any real estate agent will tell you downtown Lincoln is a hot location. It helps that downtown is positioned between the Nebraska State Capitol building and the University of Nebraska, catering to both the college and business crowd. A low vacancy rate, low median age and high percentage of new homeowners helped Lincoln land a spot on our list of the Top 10 Best Downtowns. Lincoln's downtown is just part of this city's broad appeal. Lincoln made our list of Best Places to Live in both 2015 and 2014, along with being noted as one of the top Cities for Affordable Health Care.
The university plans to convert the 250-acre State Fair Park, located north of downtown, into a research and development campus, which will likely bring even more businesses and residents to the area. Historic buildings, wide streets, shops and restaurants make downtown Lincoln an attractive destination for the young, creative types who continue to move to this Heartland city. Historic Haymarket, Lincoln’s primary entertainment district, is tucked into a cluster of renovated brick warehouses near the University of Nebraska. Inside these warehouses are restaurants, bars, shops and bookstores, and stylish apartments. The recent completion of a $6 million project to improve P Street was completed in 2014, which included widening sidewalks, new light poles, landscaping, bike racks and the installation of a large art piece. An assortment of bars, music venues, galleries and museums draw many people to downtown.
Throughout the downtown area are landscaped areas containing an assortment of plants and flowers. The Downtown Lincoln Association keeps a list of nearly every plant in the area in case anyone ever asks to see a bee balm, husker red or sawtooth oak. Downtown residents don’t have to travel far to get groceries and home improvement items, shop for clothes or artwork, or find services like dry cleaning and shoe repair.