PopulationMetro: 331,519
With its vibrant art and nightlife scenes, Lincoln is the Midwest’s next university city.

Home to much of the regions population, entertainment, as well as the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the city has leapt from college town status to a university city.

Home to the University of Nebraska’s flagship campus, Lincoln is much more than a college town—it’s a regional hub where settling down to raise a family doesn’t mean settling for any less than a cosmopolitan urban experience. And while Lincoln may be growing, it’s still a place where strangers greet one another on the sidewalk and the whole community gets together to back Cornhuskers football.

With a #40 ranking for Educational Attainment and a #61 for Prosperity, Lincoln has a diversified, knowledge-based economy centered around the university and its research dollars. But this is also Nebraska’s state capital, and with business mecca Omaha only an hour away Lincoln residents have plenty of career paths to choose from.

Place 41
Product 57
Programming 31
People 49
Prosperity 37
Promotion 29

The ‘Huskers are huge here, and fall games see an overflow crowd of 90,000 or more packing into Memorial Stadium (known to fans as The Sea of Red). When there’s not a game on, students and regular folks alike might head to the renovated 1930s Bourbon Theatre for a concert and craft cocktails, or check out the city’s emerging dining scene (Lincoln earns a #16 ranking for Nightlife).

Families appreciate Lincoln’s affordable cost of living and well-regarded public schools, but the city is also investing $100s of millions in public transit and a revitalized downtown, which is attracting younger folks, too. And since joining the Bloomberg Philanthropies’ What Works Cities initiative in 2016, this forward-thinking city is also working on open data and performance management programs to make the city work better for all its residents.