Lincoln, the capital of Nebraska, is the personification of a family-oriented, friendly, affordable, college town with solid Midwestern values. But it has some fantastic perks that include high-quality infrastructure, terrific amenities, an emerging, innovative foodie scene, and exciting nightlife.

And there’s even more! A significant incentive drawing many newcomers is the crucial role Lincoln plays in Silicon Prairie, the Midwest’s angle on Silicon Valley. Not only does Lincoln provide excellent job opportunities in a thriving, diverse economy, but with millions and millions of venture investment dollars, many tech start-ups have launched here. Lincoln truly is the cultural and economic hub of southeastern Nebraska, and based on job opportunities and affordability, in 2019, livability.com ranked Lincoln #9 of the ‘Top 100 Best Places to Live’.

Lincoln entices all kinds of new residents, from young singles just starting their professional careers to families and empty nesters. With loads of fun activities, beautiful family-friendly neighborhoods, and affordable housing costs, in Lincoln, you can live life to the fullest without putting a strain on your wallet.

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Living in Lincoln, NE: What to Know Before Moving to Lincoln

Located 50 miles southwest of Omaha, Lincoln is not only the state capital but a Silicon Prairie hub. About 287,400 residents live in Lincoln; the outlying areas are mainly agricultural, so the greater metro area has less than 300,000 people.

The 12th largest resettlement site in the US, Lincoln, provides a promising life to refugees from over 40 countries. In addition to being a welcoming city, areavibes.com named Lincoln the #39 ‘Best City to Live in America’ out of 228 cities, and zumper.com rated Lincoln the 2nd ‘2018 Best Cities to Raise a Family’.

Pros and Cons

Are you suited to the Husker City lifestyle? Check out these pros and cons to find out.

Pros:

  • Lower cost of living: Your Lincoln lifestyle will cost about 10% less than the US average.
  • A healthy, diverse job market: The Silicon Prairie hub is home to technology, plus many other job sectors.
  • Commuting: Although a car-dependent city, getting around is a breeze.
  • Work hard, play hard: Smartasset.com named Lincoln a top US city for its healthy work-life balance.
  • Home of the University of Nebraska: This public research university enrolls over 25,800 students.

Cons:

  • Extreme weather changes throughout the year: Icy cold winters and sticky hot summers.
  • Twisters: Lincoln sits in the middle of ‘Tornado Alley.’
  • Higher property tax: You’ll pay more than the US average in property tax.
  • High health care costs: Expect 20% higher than average health care expenses.
  • Lack of geographical interest: Lincoln has no mountains, no ocean, no desert, but it does have miles and miles of prairie.

Tax Rates

  • Property tax: The Lancaster County average property tax rate is 1.824%. On a home valued at $200,000, expect to pay $3,648 in annual property tax. The national average property tax is 1.08%.
  • Sales tax: The combined city sales tax rate is 7.25%, a fraction lower than the US average sales tax of 7.3%.
  • State income tax: With Nebraska’s progressive income tax, Cornhuskers pay a range from 2.46% to 6.84% based on income and filing status. The US average state income tax is 4.6%.

Housing Market

Out of 228 cities, niche.com ranks Lincoln the #19th ‘Best City to Buy a House in the US’. As of February 2020, the median home value was $195,282, and the median listing price was $247,925. In 2019, home values rose 3.7% and are predicted to go up 3.9% by the end of 2020. In older neighborhoods, you’ll find mixed zoning with cool old houses amid apartment buildings; however, the southern areas of the city have newer neighborhoods with higher-end homes.

If you are renting, expect a median rent price of $1,200 for a three-bedroom home or apartment. A one-bedroom apartment costs about $675 per month. Approximately 41% of residents rent their homes, and about 5% of housing is vacant as of February 2020. You’ll probably have better luck locking in a rental during the summer months when many college students have left town.

Several neighborhoods that are more affordable include Bicentennial Estates, Yankee Ridge, and Indian Village.

Cost of Living

You’ll no doubt appreciate and enjoy Lincoln’s affordable cost of living. Compared to the US average index of 100, Lincoln’s cost of living index is 89.8. Basic index expenses include groceries at 97.4, healthcare at 124.5, housing at 78.1, utilities at 92.3, transportation at 76, and miscellaneous (eating out, clothing, repairs, insurance, etc.) at 98.3.

The Economic Policy Institute’s Family Budget Calculator estimates that a family of four will need to earn $87,094 annually, or $7,258 monthly to live a moderately comfortable lifestyle in Lincoln. According to bestplaces.net, the family median income, at $71,756, is higher than the US average of $70.850. However, Lincoln’s per capita income, at $28,839, is lower than the US average of $31,177.

Weather and Natural Disasters

Hold onto your hat and make sure you own a few pairs of shorts, some flip flops, a warm parka, and snow boots. Sitting out on the prairie, Lincoln doesn’t get moderating protection from mountains or oceans, so the weather can be severe. Even though you’ll get to experience four seasons in this humid continental zone, summers and winters can be extreme.

In the summer months, you’ll face heat, humidity, thunderstorms, and tornadoes. The hottest months are July and August, with average highs of 88 and average lows of 65. The average annual rainfall is 29 inches, with the majority falling in May, June, and July.

And in the icy-cold, cloudy winters, some years you’ll see very little snow while in other years you’ll deal with snowstorm after snowstorm. Snowfall averages 26 inches but varies greatly year to year – in 2018-2019, snowfall totaled 55”. December and January are the coldest months with average highs of 36 and average lows of 15.

Tornadoes are the most common serious weather threat, but you can also face severe winter storms with snow and ice and summer thunderstorms with lightning, flash floods, and earthquakes. The University of Nebraska posts safety procedures for each type of threat, and the site info can help you stay safe during weather extremes. Be sure to check it out!

Economy and Job Market

Site Selection magazine listed Lincoln #4 for economic development in metro areas of 200,000 to 1,000,000 residents. Released in February 2019, the ‘State of the Silicon Prairie Report’ ranked Lincoln #12 of 42 cities for venture investment, activity, jobs, innovation, and more. The job market increased by 1.5% in 2019, and growth is expected to be about 31.1% over the next ten years as compared to 33.% for average US job growth. At 3%, the unemployment rate is 30% lower than the US average.

The major industrial sectors are the city, state, and federal governments; education; health; finance; technology; insurance; publishing; manufacturing; pharmaceuticals; telecommunications; medical; and railroads. Primary Lincoln employers include the State of Nebraska, Lincoln Public Schools, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Bryan Health, US Government, City of Lincoln, Saint Elizabeth Regional Medical Center, Burlington Northern Railroad, Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital, and Duncan Aviation.

If you’re looking for a job when you move to Lincoln, check university career fairs and online job sites like ziprecruiter.com, careerbuilder.com, and glassdoor.com. Silicon Prairie Center is an excellent resource if you’re looking for work in the tech sector. Before you schedule interviews, make sure your resume is in tip-top shape.

Traffic and Transportation

Whether you’ll be driving, biking, walking, or using public transit, you’ll find it easy and convenient to get around in Lincoln. The city’s streets lay in a sensible grid, and 131 miles of bike trails weave through town. But watch out for one exception to the ease and convenience: during Huskers games on fall weekends, don’t even think of driving in the northern part of town.

Major thoroughfares include I-80, connecting west to San Francisco or east to Omaha and on to the New York metro area; I-180 runs north from Downtown Lincoln to connect with I-80; from the city center, US Highway 6 runs northeast, 34 runs northwest, and 77 runs south.

StarTran, which operates 67 buses on 18 routes, provides public transit. The city’s bike-share program, BikeLNK, operates 21 bike docks with locations expanded outside of Downtown. Like any responsible college town, the town operates fun pedicabs in Downtown, which are especially handy during Huskers games. Walkscore.com rates Lincoln with a 61 bike score, 24 transit score, and 43 walking score. You’ll find the most walkable neighborhoods are Haymarket, Downtown, Hawley, and Everett.

When you want to head out of the city, Amtrak operates the California Zephyr for daily trips between California and Chicago. At the Lincoln Airport, you can fly non-stop to Chicago, Denver, and Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airports.

What to Do

From outdoor activities, arts, and culture, to Husker football, Lincoln offers something for everyone.

A 248-mile trail system connects over 131 large regional and community parks throughout the city. You can tee up at over five public golf courses or explore the Veterans Memorial Garden, the Pioneers Park Nature Center, the Sunken Gardens, the Lincoln Children’s Zoo, or the MoPac Trail for walking, cycling, and equestrians. You can enjoy several public recreation centers and nine outdoor public pools. Outside of town, recreational lakes provide boating, fishing, and watersports fun.

Lincoln’s music scene is thriving and exciting. If you love music, check out the Pinnacle Bank Arena, Duffy’s Tavern, Bourbon Theatre, Pia-Mor Ballroom, Pinewood Bowl, and the Zoo Bar – you’ll find music to suit your taste all over town. And along O Street is where you’ll discover exciting nightlife in brewpubs, taverns, and trendy cocktail lounges.

The Lied Center features the Lincoln Symphony Orchestra, concerts, guest lectures, and Broadway productions. The Sheldon Museum of Art, and Burkholder Project and Noyes Art Gallery exhibit past and current artists’ works. And tours through the Mueller Planetarium and the Nebraska State Capital are exciting places to tour on a scorching summer or icy cold day.

From May through October, grab your shopping bags and run over to the Haymarket Farmers’ Market then after a morning of shopping, fuel up with a Runza, Lincoln’s famous meat pie filled with ground beef, cabbage, and onions. If you’re an auto buff, a visit to the Speedway Motors Museum of American Speed for racing and automotive history is worthwhile.

Although Lincoln doesn’t host professional sports teams, the town comes out in droves to rally for the University of Nebraska’s Huskers. In addition to football, the university supports 22 men’s and women’s NCAA Division 1 sports teams.

Schools and Universities

Lincoln Public Schools (LPS) operates 60 schools that serve over 41,000 Lincoln students. The top-rated public schools, according to greatschools.org, include Cavett, Kahoa, Morley, Pyrtle, Rousseau, Ruth Hill, Adams, and Kloefkorn Elementary Schools; Scott Middle School; and Lincoln East High School – all rated 8/10. The highest rating goes to Lux Middle School, rated 9/10.

As one of the nation’s largest resettlement sites, LPS provides an English Language Learners program that serves around 3,000 students from over 150 countries who speak 125 different languages. The public school system also offers special interest and accelerated programs.

If you’re interested in post-secondary education, you can choose from nine Lincoln colleges and universities. The public research institute, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, is the state’s largest university, with about 25,820 students enrolled. Additional institutions include the Methodist Church (an affiliate of Nebraska Wesleyan University), Bryan College of Health Sciences, and satellite campuses of Concordia University, Doane University, Bellevue University, and Purdue University. Southeast Community College offers a two-year program, and the College of Hair Design and Joseph’s College of Cosmetology offer technical certificates.

Crime

Violent crime in Lincoln, at 17, is lower than the US average of 22.7. However, property crime is higher than average at 47.5 compared to the US average of 35.4. Crime rates appear to be even throughout the city, with no distinct dangerous pockets of crime.

Utilities

  • Electricity: Lincoln Electric System provides electric power. You can open an account online or call 402-475-4211.
  • Gas: Black Hills Energy provides natural gas. To open a new account, you’ll need to provide your social security number. Open your account online or call 888-890-5554.
  • Water: The Lincoln Water System will service your home or office. Open your account online or call 402-441-7571.
  • Trash and recycling: The City of Lincoln provides garbage and recycling service. You can open your account by calling 402-441-7043.
  • Cable and internet: One of the easiest ways to learn about internet and cable providers is to go to highspeedinternet.com, enter your new zip code, and you’ll see a list of companies who can service your neighborhood, their pricing plans, and download speeds.
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The Best Neighborhoods in Lincoln NE

Historic Haymarket  and Downtown

Charming and bustling Historic Haymarket and Downtown border R St on the north, N Antelope Valley Pkwy and Capitol Pkwy on the east, G Street on the south, and S 9th St and Salt Creek Rd on the west.

From cool condos to edgy lofts (some with rooftop pools), you can find creative urban housing innovatively fashioned out of beautiful old industrial buildings and warehouses. The Cigar Factory, Canopy Lofts, Arena Lofts, and Hobson Place are some of the popular buildings that offer great features like secure elevators, exposed brick walls, and original hardwood floors. You’ll also find two- to five-bedroom single-family cottages and bungalows in this neighborhood.

Downtown is where it’s happening – something is going on every day and night of the week. Street dances, nightly tavern card games, weekly farmers’ market, and First Friday Artwalks light up Haymarket and Downtown 365 days and nights a year.

Tons of restaurants, from casual pho to chic sushi, include Blue Sushi Sake Grill, Bourbon Street, Hiro 88, and JTK Cuisine & Cocktails. Plus, Downtown is full of bars, craft brewpubs, and cocktail lounges. Downtown and Historic Haymarket are easily walkable, plus the Amtrak station is right there when you’re ready for a long-distance adventure.

  • Population: 3,634
  • Median home value: $195,292
  • Median rent price: $989
  • Homeownership: 43% of residents own their homes
  • Median household income: $71,585
  • Schools: McPhee Elementary School, Elliott Elementary School, Park Middle School, Lincoln High School

Country Club

According to areavibes.com, Country Club is the #1 neighborhood in Lincoln. The borders include South St on the north, S 33rd St on the east, Hwy 2 on the south, and S 20th St on the west.

You’ll find some apartments, affordable older two and three-bedroom homes, and four and five-bedroom newer builds. Home prices vary greatly, ranging from $125,000 to $750,000, and Country Club residents enjoy a median household income 65% higher than the US average. Schools are highly rated, and Country Club high school students have an 18% higher graduation rate than the US average.

The beautiful Country Club of Lincoln takes up a massive swath of ground in the middle of the neighborhood, plus there are convenient amenities like churches, grocery stores, a pharmacy, banks, and some restaurants.

  • The Population: 5,080
  • Median home value: $189,825
  • Median rent price $1,434
  • Homeownership: 86% of residents own their homes
  • Median household income: $91,167
  • Schools: Rosseau, Sheridan, Beattie, and Prescott Elementary Schools, Irving Middle School, Lincoln High School, Lincoln Southeast High School

Family Acres

One of Lincoln’s more affluent neighborhoods, Family Acres, is about 12 minutes southeast of Downtown. The neighborhood boundaries are Pioneers Blvd on the north, S 84th St on the east, an irregular southern border partially defined by Pine Lake Rd, and S 56th St on the west.

Homes are available in elegant five-bedroom two-story structures and modest three-bedroom ranch styles. Family Acres is known for its well-kept yards with lush lawns, lots of trees, and friendly neighbors. One of Lincoln’s more expensive neighborhoods, housing here is 7% more expensive than the US average. However, the income per capita is also high – 72% higher than the national average. Home prices range between $35,000 to $875,000.

Extremely low crime rates and good schools make Family Acres an excellent choice for families. Locals enjoy MoMo Pizzeria & Ristorante, Surf & Turf Food Company, Ginger, and Sebastian’s Table.

  • Population: 9,068
  • Median home value: $261,433
  • Median rent price: $1,045
  • Homeownership: 84%
  • Median household income: $102,353
  • Schools: Maxey Elementary School, Zeman Elementary School, Pound Middle School, Lux Middle School, and Lincoln East High School, Lincoln Southeast High School.

Colonial Hills

Located about eight minutes southeast of Downtown, Colonial Hills is bound by Pioneers Blvd on the north, S 70th St on the east, Old Cheney Rd and Hwy 2 on the south, and S 56th St on the west.

Homes vary in style; many have a substantial feel with stone and brick facades while others are more contemporary traditional one and two-story structures. Although the median home value is lower than the US average, home prices can be as high as $675,000. Homes are nicely maintained, and in Colonial Hills, kids can safely play outside.

Families are attracted to Colonial Hills for the low crime rates, excellent schools, and friendly residents. Amenities include the Edgewood Shopping Center, Target, Lazlo’s Brewery & Grill-South, Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, and Cliff’s Martini Lounge – but with spread out amenities, you’ll need a car to run errands.

  • Population: 3,312
  • Median home value: $165,125
  • Median rent price: $1,100
  • Homeownership: 91%
  • Median household income: $68,592
  • Schools: Zeman Elementary School, Holmes Elementary School, Pound Middle School, Lux Middle School, Lincoln East High School, Lincoln Southeast High School.

40th and A

Bound by Randolph St on the north, S 40th St on the east, Normal Blvd on the south, and S 33rd St on the west, 40th and A is just six minutes southeast of Downtown.

You’ll find a lot of variation in home types and styles in this older established neighborhood. Some are older three-bedroom clapboard cottage styles while others are contemporary two-stories. Homes are usually well-maintained and sit along tree-lined streets.

In 40th and A, you’ll enjoy lots of convenient amenities, from churches to dentists, cafes, coffee houses, and markets. Some favorite places to eat are Stur 22 Lounge for African and Caribbean food, Runza Restaurant, and Hacienda Real.

  • Population: 4,085
  • Median home value: $129,900
  • Median rent price: $667
  • Homeownership: 68%
  • Median household income: $56,031
  • Schools: Randolph Elementary School, Sheridan Elementary School, Holmes Elementary School, Lefler Middle School, and Lincoln East High School

Maple Village-Wedgewood

Located seven minutes east of Downtown, Maple Village-Wedgewood is bound by E O Street on the north, S 84th St on the east, Sandalwood Dr on the south, and Sycamore Dr on the west.

Housing is available in apartment complexes and two to five-bedroom single-family homes along attractive tree-lined streets. Homes with docks and established old trees ring beautiful Wedgewood Lake, popular for boating and fishing.

Novartis GSK Trailhead runs diagonally through the center of the neighborhood, and YMCA Spirit Park and Hillcrest Country Club are just east. Parker’s Smokehouse, Juniper Spa & Yoga Studio, and some medical offices are convenient amenities. Students in Maple Village-Wedgewood have access to some of the top-rated public schools in Lincoln and have a 99% high school graduation.

  • Population: 858
  • Median home value: $160,450
  • Median rent price: $892
  • Homeownership: 80%
  • Median household income: $76,160
  • Schools: Pyrtle Elementary School, Lux Middle School, Lincoln East High School

Far South

About 15 minutes south of Downtown, Far South is an established neighborhood bound by S 14th St on the east, N Mockingbird Lane on the south, and Warwick Blvd on the northwest.

Half of this lovely neighborhood is filled in by Densmore Park, which offers soccer, tennis, volleyball, baseball, and softball fields and courts. Attached homes and traditional single-family residences, a few in the $700,000 price range, sit on attractively landscaped lots. The housing cost in Far South is 25% lower, and the cost of living is 8% lower than US averages. A very safe neighborhood, areavibes.com gives Far South an A+ for amenities and schools.

Just south on S 14th St, you’ll find cafes, health care, apartments, Costco, and grocery stores. Some favorite places to eat along S 14th St and Pine Lake Rd are Slim Chickens, Issara Modern Asian Cuisine, Kurry Xpress, and Florio’s Italian Restaurant & Grille. Further east on Pine Lake Rd, you’ll find the SouthPointe Pavilions mall for chain and boutique shopping.

  • Population: 160
  • Median home value: $139,300
  • Median rent price: $713
  • Homeownership: 51%
  • Median household income: $50,000
  • Schools: Beattie Elementary School, Scott Middle School, Lincoln Southwest High School

Salt Valley View

Bordered by S 14th St on the east, Old Cheney Rd on the south, and the winding Salt Creek and Jamaica North Trail on the west, Salt Valley View is an older residential neighborhood located about 12 minutes south of Downtown.

You’ll find pre-WWII two-bedroom cottages, four and five-bedroom contemporary homes, and a few apartment buildings. In Salt Valley View, the median household income is 23% higher than the US average, but home values are 23% lower than the US average.

Salt Valley View students have a 97% high school graduation rate, but crime rates are higher compared to other neighborhoods. Filbert Park fills the middle of Salt Valley View neighborhood, and just south of the park, the Nebraska Folklife Network Inc is a cultural gem that occupies a beautiful old four-story stone building. The network “fosters, sustains, and increases awareness of Nebraska’s living cultural heritage.”

  • Population: 1,587
  • Median home value: $141,500
  • Median rent price: $670
  • Homeownership: 82%
  • Median household income: $68,313
  • Schools: Ruth Hill Elementary School, Scott Middle School, Southwest High School

Quality Moving Services from Lincoln Movers

For your move to Lincoln, Nebraska, you want a moving company that focuses on customer service and listens to your needs. The top-rated moving companies we work with are licensed, insured, and known for their outstanding customer service. We thoroughly vet each moving company we recommend to make sure you get top-quality service at affordable rates.

Interstate Moves

The tons of pre-planning and miles of travel that are involved in a state-to-state can cause a lot of stress. When you hire a professional interstate moving company, they handle all the critical logistics and planning so your move will be stress-free.

Intrastate and Local Moves

Even if you’re moving from another Nebraska city or another Lincoln neighborhood, a local move can be as much of a hassle as an interstate relocation. You can count on professional, local movers to handle every step, from properly wrapping your furniture to transporting and setting up your new household for a worry-free move.

Small Load Moves

Great Guys makes it easy to find cheap, reputable, local or cross country small load movers. Whether you just want to move one item like a vintage armoire or your entire dorm, studio, or one-bedroom apartment, a professional small load mover can do the job quickly and cheaply, no matter the distance.

Furniture Shipments

When you’re moving furniture, you want experienced professionals to do the job for you. You may have just one bulky piece to move, or need help moving your entire house full of furniture into storage – either way, we’ll connect you with the best furniture moving companies near you.

Piano Transport

Moving your treasured piano or organ can be stressful. Put your worries aside and hire an experienced piano or organ mover who will pad, transport, and set up your instrument with professional precision and skill.

Art and Antiques

Be sure to hire expert fine art and antique movers when you’re relocating your home or gallery collection. Professional art movers use specialized equipment and methods to relocate your art or antiques with the utmost care.

Storage-in-Transit

When you need to store your belongings temporarily, storage-in-transit offers the best solution. You won’t need to go to all the hassle of trying to find clean, convenient storage because a moving company near you will do all the work. They’ll pick up and store your things in a dedicated, dry, climate-controlled warehouse that’s safe and secure.

Car Shipping

Shipping your vehicle is often a lot easier than trying to figure out the logistics of driving to Lincoln on your own, especially when you’re moving more than one car. An affordable vehicle transporter has the skill and experience to relocate your car, SUV, pick-up, or motorcycle safely, so you don’t have to.

Packing Services

Conquer the challenges of your Lincoln move by hiring a professional packing team to get your household boxed up and ready. And if you choose an unpacking service, you’ll crush all your moving woes.

Residential Moves

You’re probably excited about your move to Lincoln. But there’s also the overwhelm of trying to pull it all together. When you hire affordable professional residential movers, they’ll take care of all the logistics for you. Let them handle all the labor-intensive and time-consuming moving challenges.

Commercial Moves

Hiring an expert commercial moving company will ensure your business move is organized and planned with the utmost attention to detail. Depending on your business, a commercial mover may even use a specialized moving coordinator to manage the relocation. Get free quotes to compare commercial moving services and prices!

Same Day, Emergency, and Short Notice Moves

Very few people plan to move on short notice, but emergencies happen when we least expect them. Even if you’re caught off guard and need to move immediately, we can connect you with top-rated same day movers who will help right away.

Moving Supplies

Moving supplies are part and parcel of any relocation. For your Lincoln move, contact us for the supplies you need, and we can have them conveniently delivered right to your home or office.

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