Geographically it is an interesting concept that Lincoln, Nebraska has two separate National Title winning teams considered among the best in college football history. The Huskers, with Herbie Husker (and since then Lil' Red) on the sidelines, were the dominant force in the nation in the early 1970s and the mid-1990s.
The teams from 1971 and 1995 are legendary both in the state and in the minds of college football fans all across America, with Nebraska continually winning games despite being in a less than ideal recruiting area. Like all teams, the Huskers move up and down in the rankings, but the passion and the pride in the Cornhusker State run deep.
As a result, a trip to Memorial Stadium becomes a joy for any RVer wanting a true Midwestern college football experience. For many fans, it may be about watching one of the most storied football teams in the country play on their own patch.
The University of Nebraska is home to a diverse athletic program with the Huskers volleyball team also a traditional power. Lincoln is a city where RVs thrive any time of the year, so taking your rig to a Huskers game with likeminded people is an ideal way to spend an early fall weekend.
Memorial Stadium has a capacity of over 85,000 people. The City of Lincoln itself only has a population of just under 300,000 people, yet demand for tickets from places such as Omaha and Kansas City is always high. University of Nebraska Huskers are a major regional draw with single-game tickets usually costing upwards of $100. That figure only increases against higher-level conference opponents such as Ohio State and Michigan.
Traffic on game day in Lincoln can snarl up the city. If you are staying in the direction of Omaha in the RV, then be aware that the traffic on I-80 between the two cities can make an hour-long drive into a two to three-hour trek. Memorial Stadium becomes the third-largest 'city' in Nebraska on game day, so plan at least an hour as a buffer, keep an eye open for road closures on the way in, and get to a parking spot as early as possible to enjoy the tailgating festivities.
Lots directly surrounding the stadium (the ones with the quickest walk to the gates) are reserved for donors to the Nebraska Athletics programs. Donor lots do not allow overnight parking. There are no single-game parking passes for Nebraska game days sold by the university itself.
RVers can park in Lot 11 (season pass and donors only) or further out in Lot 56 of the innovation campus which does allow overnight parking. Lot 56 typically costs $75 for game day only and $150 from Friday night until Sunday morning and are sold on a first-come, first-served basis.
The StarTran Shuttle Buss is the best way to get around on game day. Buses usually start two hours before kickoff and run until 45 minutes before the game starts. There are a number of pick-up and drop-off points around the edges of the campus (and slightly further out) to help fans get to the game. Taxis and rideshare services are also available, but book early as this is not a huge city and these services get very busy on game day.
The best place to stay onsite for single-game visitors with an RV is Lot 56 of the Innovation Campus. This is on the south side of the UNL campus. This will allow you to park from Friday through Sunday, enjoying all the atmosphere as it builds before the game. Weekend RV parking has been around $150 in recent seasons, but be aware of an additional $20 or so for a towed vehicle. RVers will need to be ready to dry camp if staying overnight in the lots near Huskers Memorial Stadium.
If you don't want to stay on site, or if the RV spaces are full by the time you get there, then there are plenty of options within a short drive of the campus. Many of these facilities sit right off of 1-80, so they are very easy to reach without much in the way of city driving. These will offer daily and weekly rates, while offering amenities for kids such as water parks and playground areas.
The best way to get around Lincoln, and to the stadium, is either to walk or to take a shuttle. There is plenty of parking available that is within walking distance, while the shuttle services are an effective way to get to the gates on game day. This is not a city with a particularly efficient public transport system, so keep your timeframes in mind when planning your agenda.
Pack for the weather first while always making sure to wear the correct shade of red to any Huskers game. There are plenty of fan apparel shops in Lincoln (not to mention the merchandise stands at the stadium itself), so it is easy to be ready with Huskers fan gear. Wear a throwback Tommie Frazier or Eric Crouch jersey to get a little extra love from the locals. Huskers fans have plenty of school colors to avoid here, with the crimson and cream of Oklahoma being among the worst offenders in Lincoln.
Nebraska games in October and November can be frigid affairs. That is why one of the most common items you will want at a Husker's tailgate party is a giant Nebraska blanket. These can even be brought into the stadium as a bonus way to keep warm during the game. Load up the RV with other tailgating staples (chairs and flags with Nebraska logos are essential) and enjoy the festivities no matter the weather.
Lincoln is a welcoming city, and you will be among the legions of Nebraska fans heading to the game at similar times. If you are tailgating, remember no alcohol is allowed on campus. Make sure that grills aren't going to cause any problems before you put them away at night.
With lots opening around the stadium six hours prior to kickoff, there is plenty of time to get some tailgating in before a Nebraska game. The most popular tailgating destination is around the Pinnacle Bank Arena, so this is a good spot to head toward for tailgating activities. If you are cooking, then remember no open flames are allowed in the parking garage, but surface lots will be full of fans grilling up their favorite burgers and brats.
Lincoln may not be known as a foodie town, but cities with big colleges draw hidden gem restaurants dotted around the major chains. Local joints are within walking distance or a short taxi ride of the campus, with a few higher-end steakhouses and Gastropubs mixed in with the traditional college fare. Also, don't be afraid to try some of the Indian or Vietnamese cuisines that cater to the international student populations.
Concessions inside Memorial Stadium are standard and filled with flavor. A popular item is the brisket sandwich, a treat that can be found sold on all four sides of the stadium, at least until supplies run out for hungry Huskers fans. Be aware that coffee and hot chocolate are only sold when the temperature is cold enough to justify it.
Nebraska is a school with a clear bag policy for sporting events, so it is good to know what you are allowed to take into a game. A clear plastic bag or a small clutch, fitting the allowed dimensions, will ensure that you don't get turned around at security and sent back to the RV. Expect a screening at the gate and only bring necessary items into the stadium.
The weather in Lincoln will be very different for a late August game versus a late November one. The late summer in Nebraska is hot and sunny, with game day temps potentially in the 80s. By November, the weather has turned, with lows potentially in the 20s (or colder), especially if the Huskers play at night.
Basic medical needs can be taken care of by supplies stored in your RV. Make sure to hydrate properly during the weekend and layer up the sunscreen while sitting in the shade if the sun is beating down in Nebraska. Medical services inside the stadium are provided by a private company that has the ability to give first aid care and minor medical care if an emergency arises.