No matter what brings your group to Lincoln, you’ll be picking up souvenirs at some point. Here’s a list of our favorite unique shops in Nebraska’s capital city.
From Nebraska Gift Shop
Most travelers like to take home something unique from each place they visit. In the From Nebraska Gift Shop, you won’t find anything other than Nebraska-related goods. From gourmet food baskets to Nebraska T-shirts, everything you find is tied to the Cornhusker State.
Even the location—a former factory in historic Haymarket—is one-of-a-kind. The Gift Shop’s owners are also involved in James Arthur Vineyards and stock a selection of wines from the winery, Nebraska’s largest. One of the store’s aims is to promote local small businesses; a recent gift basket included Nebraska-made salsa, BBQ sauce, snacks and jelly. Plus, if you stop by during the summer, you can catch bands jamming away.
Antiquing is a recognized shopping specialty, and you’ll find plenty of purveyors of antique goods in Lincoln. But if you can only make time for one stop on the vintage trail, it has to be at Burlington Antiques.
This 5,000-square-foot shop in the Haymarket district can properly be called an antique mall; it features 20 different dealers and sells quite a variety of goods: paper and textiles, glassware and china, pottery and jewelry, and even furniture. And unlike the trope of a dusty old shop, cluttered with a thousand unrelated finds, you’ll find that the merchandise here is scrupulously clean and attractively displayed.
Historic Haymarket Farmers Market
Cruising through a farmers market has become quite a popular pastime, and the Haymarket Farmers Market is a great place to spend a Saturday morning. Open from May to October, this market celebrates Nebraska’s farming heritage with fresh fruits, veggies and flowers. Additionally, you can find crafts and baked goodies from some of the 100+ vendors. And there’s live music and dancing, too. Quite a few of the things on sale are sold only at the market, so you’re sure to find an only-in-Nebraska souvenir.
Looking for something trendy and unique for your home? Want to bring something home for a grandkid, niece or nephew? Check out (pk)flynn, a 5,000-square-foot shop that features a curated selection of quirky and stylish goods. Their eclectic inventory includes soaps, candles, decorative items, textiles, plates and kitchen items; there’s also a colorful smorgasbord of kids clothes and baby toys.
Lincoln Arts Festival
A single dollar will get you into the annual Lincoln Arts Festival. And it’s more than worth the investment; you’ll be treated to showings from 30+ local artists as well as artists from 16 other states. There are also live bands, a free yoga class and free art activities in the Creative Zone. Of course, there will also be craft vendors and other great stuff you can buy and take back home with you.
KD Designs Jewelry
KD Designs is helmed by the mother-daughter duo of Kara and Danielle. What started as a grade-school hobby has become a national business and a local favorite. The pieces you pick up here are truly unique; you can craft a bracelet or necklace to your own design, select from a slew of charms for a charm bracelet or necklace, or find something ready-made. Everything in the store is hand-strung, and everything carries a special memory.
This might be a controversial choice—an entire store devoted to that most polarizing of confections. But rest assured that a sweet tooth is all that’s needed to enjoy this shop; plenty of other candies are available.
Licorice International lives up to its name, offering goodies from 16 countries, from the familiar (English, all sorts) to the exotic (Icelandic chocolate lakkris). There’s even a gluten-free section for the dietary-restricted among the group.
Although Licorice International got its start in New York, it’s been calling Lincoln home since 2003. Its current Haymarket location is a 4,450-square-foot ode to candy—a place that stocks over 150 kinds of licorice and welcomes visitors to explore this slightly savory sweet.
The Burkholder Project Gallery and Artist Collective
If your group loves art, plan to spend a lot of time at The Burkholder Project. You’ll find 36 art and design studios plus three different galleries at this former carpet factory in Haymarket. There is a huge range of styles to choose from, including founder Anne Burkholder’s landscapes, Larry Bower’s detailed woodwork, Laura Simpson’s textiles, Sharon Ohmberger’s ceramics and David Cochran’s metal sculptures. Whatever you’re interested in, you’re likely to find something that you love.
Sunday Farmers’ Market at College View
One farmers market not enough for your group? Then after you stroll the Haymarket market on Saturday, head over to the College View market on Sunday. It runs from the end of April until the end of October. In addition to special events (like the free Taste the Market event in March) and programs, you’ll find several dozen vendors selling everything from farm-fresh produce to paella. And if your group is traveling with their four-legged friends, it’s good to know that leashed dogs are welcome, too.
Good Things Gifts and Home Decor
If you only need to know one thing about the Good Things gift shop: they make fresh, homemade fudge, and they make it the old-fashioned way with real butter and cream. If that’s not enough to send any group racing in, then go ahead and mention the country-style textiles and other home goods that this store specializes in. A selection of gourmet food and coffees, jewelry, candles, soaps and seasonal items makes this another place where you’re very likely to find a goodie for everyone on your list, including yourself.
When your travel group leaves Lincoln, you don’t have to leave it behind, as you’ll have happy memories from shopping at these unique spots, and probably a memento or two as well.