Before being sealed from the public, Robber’s Cave had been a notorious hangout for 130 years. Since it was sealed for decades, many had forgotten the 5,600-foot long cave just beneath downtown Lincoln, Nebraska. Yes, people broke in over the years, but recently, the cave reopened for tours and visitors are able to descend several stories to tour its depths.
Every inch of the soft Dakota sandstone walls are covered with names, initials, dates, band names, symbols, and Greek letters. The cave has a naturally formed area likely used by Native Americans and pioneers. Brewers from Wisconsin and Minnesota built Lincoln’s first brewery into the sandstone bluff. The Lincoln Brewery commissioned Jacob Andra to enlarge the cave to its existing size for the purpose of lagering caverns.
When the brewery closed, the structure above the cave became a brothel and an infamous hangout before being destroyed in 1885. A Lincoln family purchased the property and marketed the cave for parties, tours, and social gatherings for decades.
Robber’s Cave is truly a time capsule, and people are rediscovering it every day. The stories behind the cave’s origin and use through the years are not just interesting and remarkable, but fascinating and terrifying.
The Atlas Obscura Podcast is a short, daily celebration of all the world’s strange and wondrous places. Check out this episode about the Lost Boys of Robber’s Cave.
Know Before You Go
The cave is located several stories beneath an event center at 925 Robbers Cave Rd. Tours are available seven days a week year-round - they just have to be booked at least a few hours in advance. When you arrive for the tour, there's a parking lot in front of the building and you'll enter through the front doors.
Check the Robber's Cave Tours website for information on pricing and hours.