The Haymarket neighborhood in Lincoln, Nebraska, began its story in the second half of the 19th century when “Haymarket Square” was a camping ground and an actual hay mart for travelers to Lincoln.

Fast-forward to present day, and the Haymarket district is on the rise. It’s now a tourist hotspot in downtown Lincoln, filled with restaurants, shops, bars and art galleries.

Its popularity has prompted some significant expansion over the past few years, most recently to the south and west of the initial development around Pinnacle Bank Arena (home to University of Nebraska’s basketball teams and blockbuster concert acts) to include more dining and shopping opportunities.

These expansions in the district have transformed Lincoln’s appeal for the meetings industry, according to Kelsey Meyer, sales development manager for the Lincoln CVB.

“The variety of venues and options for groups of all sizes means there’s always something to see and experience year-round in the Haymarket,” she said.

Where to Stay

Graduate Lincoln Hotel Exterior, Lincoln, Nebraska
Graduate Lincoln Hotel Exterior, Lincoln, Nebraska

While Haymarket is nearby downtown hotels that are equipped for group business, several properties with ample guest rooms and meeting space call the district home:

  • The Graduate Lincoln: With three ballrooms (the largest fitting up to 450 people), multiple breakout rooms and a boardroom, this Cornhusker-friendly hotel is a planners’ best choice for large meetings groups in Haymarket. During free time, attendees can work on their swing at the onsite TopGolf Swing Suite.
  • Courtyard Lincoln Downtown/Haymarket: Within walking distance of the University of Nebraska campus, Pinnacle Bank Arena, Memorial Stadium, Haymarket Park and The Railyard on Canopy Street, this hotel’s central location makes it a great home base for groups. Its two event rooms—the largest fitting 100 people—make it a good choice for small- or medium-sized meetings.
  • Hyatt Place Lincoln/Downtown-Haymarket: Across the street from Pinnacle Bank Area, this Hyatt outpost is near all the busy Haymarket action. It has three meeting rooms, which can be reserved separately or together, to host 12 to 130.
  • Hilton Garden Inn: This cozy Hilton is perfect for small corporate meetings because of its flexible 3,000 square feet of meeting space that’s equipped with onsite catering and state-of-the-art audiovisual (AV).

Offsite Venues

Nebraska Champions Club, Lincoln, Nebraska
Nebraska Champions Club, Lincoln, Nebraska

For groups that want to bring the historic charm of Haymarket to their event, whether it’s through a group reception or meal function, there are two notable venues that Meyer recommends in the district that offer a sense of history and practical space:

  • Lincoln Station Great Hall has space for up to 425 people and AV equipment including two large screens.
  • The Nebraska Club offers several gathering spaces with incredible views of downtown, including a banquet room, lounge and the 20-person Capitol Room.

“Their proximity to other venues in the area makes them just a few steps away from other attractions,” Meyer added.

In fact, the entire Haymarket is a pedestrian-friendly area, so encourage your meeting delegates to pack their best walking shoes to get to venues, restaurants, noteworthy attractions and the hotel, as it’s the easiest way to get around.

Bonus: this means no money spent on ride shares or shuttles.

Group Dining

Screamers, Lincoln, Nebraska
Screamers, Lincoln, Nebraska

Meetings work up appetites, and there is an impressive lineup of group-friendly restaurants in the Haymarket neighborhood to choose from for dinner. We selected out favorite eateries in the area for both their delicious food and inviting atmospheres:

  • Lazlo’s Brewery & Grill has private dining options for 20 to 70 people and a menu featuring burgers, seafood and plenty of beer choices.
  • Screamers Dining & Cabaret accommodates groups of up to 100 people. Attendees will enjoy listening to musical talent as they eat from a menu including everything from steaks to pasta dishes.
  • Rodizio Grill is a Brazilian Steakhouse with two private dining rooms. The menu includes steaks, gourmet salads and specialty cocktails made popular in Brazil.


Haymarket Farmers Market, Lincoln, Nebraska
Haymarket Farmers Market, Lincoln, Nebraska

During downtime, one of the best ways to experience Haymarket is to take a stroll. An excellent place for attendees to start at Gallery Alley, a 125-year-old service alley that’s been adorned with art and acts as a welcoming entry point to the district.

It’s bookended by Burkholder Art Gallery and a handful of shops.

As attendees work their way through Haymarket, these are the highlights of attractions they can explore along the way:

  • Haymarket Farmers’ Market: Foodies and attendees looking to bring some goodies home to their family can browse the popular farmers’ market at Haymarket, a popular weekly event held during the spring and summer months on Saturday mornings. Among the array of fresh produce are take-home gifts like art, crafts and edible goodies.
  • First Friday Artwalk: Art aficionados in town on the first Friday of the month can participate in the popular artwalk, which includes stops at the already mentioned Burkholder Art Gallery, Noyes Art Gallery and Rabbit Hole Bakery, which serves everything from cream puffs to French macaroons.
  • The Railyard: Located across the street from Pinnacle Arena where the Cornhuskers basketball teams play, The Railyard on Canopy Street is an entertainment complex home to over a dozen restaurants and bars, as well as a public market. Rule G Nightclub is located at the Railyard and features a rooftop patio that’s available for private events.

With its historic charm and modern amenities, it’s clear that centering your Lincoln meeting around the city’s Haymarket neighborhood is easier than ever.

[Read This Next: 7 Unique Off-Site Event Venue Options in Nebraska]