The cure for your Husker football withdrawal finally arrives Saturday when you and 90,000 of your closest friends swarm into Memorial Stadium.
Nebraska kicks off a five-game home stretch that runs into October, so fans will be making so many trips to Lincoln they'll wish they owned a second home there.
Maybe you haven't hit Lincoln since last season, or maybe it's even been a couple years.
As fans prepare to descend on the city's downtown, here's the latest on what's new with hotels, parking, restaurants, bars and live music spots.
Memorial Stadium 101
So you like cheering on dear Nebraska, but it's been awhile since you took in a game in person. Don't worry — we'll help you blend in with all the red.
The Berringer statue
Former quarterback and fan favorite Brook Berringer died in a 1996 plane crash. He's honored at the north end of the stadium, where a statue of Tom Osborne and Berringer marks the entrance of the Osborne Complex. There's no more popular place to take a photo.
Want to watch the next generation of Huskers perform? Before the game, check out the football practice fields northeast of the stadium, where kids (and their dads) play catch and trade punts and imagine themselves playing in front of 90,000 fans. Then, of course, the dads get tired and sit down.
The Pride of All Nebraska
The Cornhusker marching band performs on the field before the game and at halftime. But the highlight is about an hour before kickoff as the band marches from Kimball Recital Hall to Memorial Stadium via Stadium Drive. “Hail Varsity” just sounds better bouncing off the old buildings.
Don't mess around outside too long. Five minutes before kickoff comes arguably the highlight of the game. The Huskers file out of the locker room, walk through the red-carpeted tunnel and burst onto the field. If the sights and sounds coming from the video boards don't raise your goosebumps, well, you might not be human.
Barring a helium shortage, buy a red balloon before kickoff. When the Huskers score their first touchdown — don't settle for a field goal! — release and watch it join hundreds of other balloons in the sky. If the wind's just right, it might float all the way to Omaha.
Back to Black?
The 411 on the 2013 Huskers? Well, it's a bit ironic. Bo Pelini is a defensive whiz, but it's Nebraska's D holding the program back right now. Which means that if the Blackshirts give up an early touchdown, the sweaty dude next to you might mutter a few four-letter words.
— Dirk Chatelain
So where are the new places to park, stay?
Red 1 Garage
Location: 555 R St.
Opened: Aug. 1
Numbers of stalls: 947
Rates and information: parkandgo.org
Larson Building Garage
Location: 1317 Q St.
Opened: August 2012
Number of stalls: 640
Rates and information: parkandgo.org
Pinnacle Bank Arena Garage
Location: Attached to south side of arena, 400 Pinnacle Arena Drive
Number of stalls: 280 (Roughly 100 may be available on Husker game days and for other uses, depending on events at the arena.)
Rates and information: pinnaclebankarena.com
Additional on-street parking
(Still under construction)
Location: Canopy Street and West Haymarket area
Spaces: 93. Some will be completed and available by the Huskers' opener Saturday.
What: More than 1,300 new “smart” meters downtown that accept debit and credit cards, as well as coins.
Location: Generally in area bounded by Seventh, 16th, M and R Streets.
Hours: Meters on city streets are enforced from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
On Husker home game days the city offers hangtags for all-day parking for any on-street meter. Hangtags are available for $9 each and can be purchased at all city parking garages from the time parking attendants arrive until supplies last. This is the third year the hangtags have been available.
Sources: City of Lincoln, Pinnacle Bank Arena
Location: 808 R St.
Hilton Garden Inn
Opening: Scheduled to open Monday
Location: 801 R St.
— Michael O'Connor
Where are the new places to eat?
Lincoln has a number of new dining spots for hungry Husker fans looking to try something new. Here's just a few.
Dempsey's Burger Pub
228 N. 12th St., 402-435-0702, dempseyslincoln.com
A downtown Lincoln burger joint with daily drink specials, Kobe beef burgers and both quinoa and portobello mushroom burgers. The one I'm most excited to try is the Au Poivre, a peppercorn-crusted patty topped with Bordelaise sauce, mustard and arugula. Truffle fries are here, too, as are chicken wings and fish and chips.
Henry's on South
2110 Winthrop Road, 402-904-5343, henrysonsouth.com
Henry's took over the space formerly occupied by the tiny, cult-classic Caffe Italia and serves simple French food at a reasonable price. The restaurant also has a bottle shop where it sells wine, handcrafted beer and small-batch spirits.
Heoya Food Truck
Visit Facebook.com/heoya1 for location
This Asian fusion food truck was the first one to pop up in Lincoln. It serves Bahn Mi sandwiches, rice bowls and tacos for lunch and dinner on a rotating schedule. The truck now has a sister restaurant, Qilin, at 8341 O St., where Minh Nguyen has built on the truck's original menu.
Honest Abe's Burgers and Freedom
854 N. 70th St., 402-261-9860, Facebook.com/eatabes
Honest Abe's subtitle to its name, “Burgers and Freedom,” gives diners an idea of what to expect at this east Lincoln burger joint. The top item on the menu, called “The Greatest Burger Ever,” is a 6-ounce patty topped with applewood bacon, grilled onions, romaine lettuce, American cheese, “awesome sauce” and ketchup. Abe's also serves many other gourmet burgers as single patties, double patties or vegan patties for no additional charge. The owners of Abe's also run the Sasquatch Bakery, 70th and Vine Streets, and Sebastian's Table, a Spanish tapas restaurant set to open this fall in downtown Lincoln.
1701 Pine Lake Road, 402-261-5594, Facebook.com/issaraasiancuisine
A sister restaurant to downtown's Blue Orchid, Issara's menu is similar to that downtown staple — and so is the atmosphere of the modern Asian restaurant. Thai food is at the heart of what Issara serves, and the cocktail list here is also worth a glance.
301 N. Eighth St. in the Haymarket, 402-261-8849, getleaded.com
This new stop in the historic Haymarket district is sure to be packed on game day, especially since it serves creative pub food. Shared appetizers and a long list of burgers, sandwiches and tacos make it a good stop for hungry sports fans.
940 N. 26th St., 402-261-3213, phofactorylincoln.com
Pho Factory takes all those delicious, hole-in-the-wall Vietnamese places around Lincoln, cooks the same delicious pho and Vietnamese specialties, and ups the ante with a fantastic atmosphere and a liquor license. The restaurant has build-your-own-pho bowls as well as grilled dishes, spring rolls, hot pot and family-style clay pot entrees.
— Sarah Baker Hansen
Where can you catch some live music?
Lincoln's music mainstays — places such as the Zoo Bar, Duffy's, the Bourbon Theatre, the Rococo and Knickerbocker's — haven't gone anywhere, but those looking for live music have a couple of new spots to add to their list.
350 Canopy St. Suite 220, 402-525-4728, vegalincoln.com
While hopping between bars at the Railyard, stop into Vega for a hot dog and some live music. Opened by four Lincoln music vets, the new venue is in the heart of the new entertainment district and will host local and touring bands. Vega will open soon, but there is no firm date, owners say.
Pinnacle Bank Arena
400 Pinnacle Arena Drive, 402-904-5600, pinnaclebankarena.com
That large, gleaming structure you see west of Memorial Stadium? That's Pinnacle Bank Arena, where the Husker men's basketball team will take up residence come November. Until then, you'll hear the sounds of classic rock, country stars and a classic pop crooner echoing out the arena doors.
— Kevin Coffey
Where can you drink?
O Street and its many bars are almost as integral to the Husker football experience as tailgates and Memorial Stadium. For decades, fans have flocked to the recently renovated Watering Hole for wings and burgers, to Duffy's, O'Rourke's, Harry's Wonder Bar, the Spigot and others to either celebrate or forget what happened on the field.
This year, fans have a few more options. Among them:
235 N. Ninth St., 402-476-6511, barrysbarandgrill.com
Barry's has been around since 1959, but the longtime Husker hangout has new owners and a new look. The bar switched owners last year, and while it was open in time for the 2012 season, the rooftop patio was not. It is now, and the patio, which overlooks Memorial Stadium, is the only rooftop bar in town.
728 Q St.
This craft beer and cocktail bar opened above the N Zone, another Husker hangout, last fall. The bar also offers wines and top-shelf liquor and features live music on weekends.
Zipline Brewing Co.
2100 Magnum Circle #1, 402-475-1001, ziplinebrewing.com
This new Nebraska brewery began producing beer about a year ago and opened a tap room in January. Hours are limited, but fans of the brewery's craft beers — including an oatmeal porter and an India red ale — turn out each weekend to see what's on tap. The Zip Line tap room is open Thursdays and Fridays from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturdays from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Compadres Tequila Bar
1320 O St., 402-261-5860, Facebook.com/compadreslincoln
For years, this O Street spot was occupied by Woody's, then the Hour Lounge. This summer, it became a tequila bar that features more than 100 different tequilas, as well as infusions, margaritas, specialty drinks and beer.
— Cara Pesek