Christmas Light Sightings in Lincoln’s Near South Neighborhood

Earlier in the day I talked to someone who was stuck in Atlanta Hartsfield Airport, and he hurriedly said, “Are you working another deadline? My flight was just canceled and I’m about to act like Steve Martin did in Planes, Trains, and Automobiles…. I need a hotel voucher and a warm bed!”. Our world has become so fast, desperate, and hyper-focused this year that spending time with the ones you love and seeing the sights of the holidays is always a much-needed pastime. Right here In Lincoln, the Near South neighborhood has been held in high regard for its ability to wow the pants (and Xmas stockings!) off you with its charm.

We know that the neighborhoods further to the south and east have all the modern goodies, digitally controlled lights, and more…. but the Near South holds up strongly with its distinctive and characteristic appearance. The mansions on Sheridan Boulevard have long been the draw of this highly illuminated season, and so many displays that are simple and tastefully done populate this awesome landscape. Grab a Starbucks peppermint, put on your tunes of choice, and point the car just like Clark Griswald did South of the stadium and capitol, where history plays its hand in offering up a winter wonderland that Frosty himself would be proud of. Classy always makes for memorable Christmas locations, and driving down all of these well-decorated streets offers up ideal Midwestern appeal.

Just North of 27th and Sheridan, Stratford drive is one of the best examples of festive and well-planned décor. Long walkways, old school wreaths on doors, the occasional digital or Homer Simpson-themed display, and peering at a warm interior with a well-lit and trimmed white tree are all reasons why the Near South is so special during the holidays. Simple candy cane patterns and all-white layouts are common, and it’s a walk-through that can get you right back to the gift-wrapping and errand-running spirit even after the delays in mail and orders in stock may have curbed your enthusiasm.

Wooden sleds with metal runners, cueing up Netflix for holiday favorites, and getting the family together for an outing are special traditions: these are homes in Lincoln that have sturdy and winter-ready bones, and you also can take a drive just one mile north to check out this year’s great light display at the Lincoln Zoo. It isn’t hard to talk newcomers to Lincoln into the fact that urban IS desirable and very liveable, one of America’s greatest bike trail networks at your disposal is readily accessible, and college towns always do Christmas big: when the white stuff starts to fall, The Near South needs no “dusting off” to be decadently first-in-show.

The Near South Neighborhood is a fantastic neighborhood during the rest of the year as well.  The sense of community is really something special, and this includes the Near South Neighborhood Association. They do incredible work in the neighborhood by hosting clean-up events, a biennial tour of historic homes in the neighborhood, and of course the Luminarias Display on Goodhue Blvd on Christmas Eve. Brandon Fowler, a Nebraska Realty agent, says, "It's a really fun neighborhood to explore on foot, as you seem to see something new on every walk.  In the eight years, we've owned our home we've been blown away by how awesome the people we've met have been.  We really couldn't picture ourselves living in a different community here in Lincoln."

Fowler isn't alone in his appreciation for this unique community in Lincoln. The Near South neighborhood is quickly becoming a favorite with new home buyers, too! Fowler and his wife say, "One of our favorite things to do before checking out the lights is to grab a coffee or hot chocolate from Meadowlark on 17th and South." This area often features local artists, so you might be able to grab a last-minute stocking stuffer for a friend!  If you need to do a little bit of shopping, Antique Corner Co-Op has a fantastic selection of well-cared-for antique furniture, which goes well with the beautiful historic homes in this historic neighborhood.  From here you are just a few short blocks from the Mount Emerald Historic District.  This area is posted to the National Register of Historic Places and has some of the coolest houses in Lincoln many of which deck out the front of their homes with fantastic lights.  

Take an evening this holiday season to explore this unique neighborhood. Trust us, you'll be glad you did!