November 1, 2017

Ultimate Omaha Holiday Events List

Updated: Oct. 18, 2018

Omaha is the best place for a family to celebrate Christmas and New Year’s Eve in 2018. You can find free activities, every kind of live performance from ballet to orchestra to rock, and a ton of chances to meet Santa around town.

Got a kid-free night ahead of you? Good, I also included some activities that are perfect for a holiday date night.

The ultimate holiday events list for Omaha - Includes concerts, festivals, Santa visits, special dinners, performances, Christmas-themed fun runs, and more #holidays #Nebraska

Pin this post because I will add to this list often!

Omaha Holiday Events in 2018

“A Christmas Carol”

When: Nov. 16 though Dec. 23; performances are Wednesdays at 7 p.m., Thursdays-Saturday at 7:30 p.m., and Sundays at 2 and 6:30 p.m.

Where: Omaha Community Playhouse, 6915 Cass St.

What: This is an annual tradition on stage in Omaha. Read What To Expect If You Bring Kids “A Christmas Carol.”

Cost: $40 

Gingerbread House Display

When: Nov. 17 through Dec. 31, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily; the center closes at 3 P.M. on Thanksgiving Eve, Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. The center will be closed on Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.

Where: Mormon Trail Center at Historic Winter Quarters, 3215 State St., and Kanesville Tabernacle, 222 East Broadway, Council Bluffs, Iowa

What: It’s an annual gingerbread house display that’s free to visit. See pictures from a past festival here!

Cost: FREE

Miracle On Farnam

When: Nov. 17 through Jan. 1

Where: Midtown Crossing, Farnam Street between Turner Boulevard and 33rd Street

What: View window displays and then vote to help determine People’s Choice Awards.

Cost: FREE

Holiday Harmony

When: Nov. 22, Nov. 24-26, and Dec. 2-3, Dec. 9-10, and Dec. 15-23, various times

Where: Lauritzen Gardens, First and Bancroft streets

What: Enjoy live music amid the festive garden surroundings.

Cost: Included with admission, which is $10 adults, $5 children 6-12). Members are admitted FREE.

Holiday Lights Festival -Thanksgiving Lighting Ceremony

When: Nov. 22 through Jan. 6, 2019, 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. nightly (Thanksgiving Lighting Festival event is Nov. 22, 6 to 7 p.m.)

Where: Gene Leahy Mall, 14th and Farnam streets

What: Trees around the Old Market and mall are lit up for Christmas.

Cost: FREE

“Santa’s Magic”

When: Nov. 23 through Dec. 23, multiple shows daily; Santa arrives with the Omaha Fire Department on Nov. 23 at 10 a.m.

Where: Omaha Children’s Museum, 500 S. 20th St.

What: An interactive exhibit featuring Santa, the Snow Queen, elves and indoor snow. Be sure to come with your wish list.

Cost: Included with regular Museum admission, which is $13 for ages 2+, $12 for seniors, and FREE for children younger than 24 months and members

Holiday Poinsettia Show

When: Nov. 23 through Jan. 6, 2019 (closed Thanksgiving, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day); the Holiday Poinsettia Aglow is 5 to 8 p.m. in the evenings.

Where: Lauritzen Gardens, First and Bancroft streets

What: This indoor flower show is perfect for the holidays, plus the indoor model train is always a hit with kids.

Cost: Included with admission, which is $10 adults, $5 children 6-12). Members are admitted FREE.

Christmas At Union Station

When: Nov. 23 through Jan. 6, 2019

Where: The Durham Museum, 801 S. 10th St.

What: See the region’s largest Christmas tree, the Holiday Cultural Tree Exhibit, and meet Santa (Saturdays, Nov. 25-Dec. 23, 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Sundays, Nov. 26-Dec. 17, 1-3 p.m.; Tuesdays on Dec. 4, 11 and 18, 5 to 8 p.m.). Holiday Concert Series performances are Saturdays at 10 a.m., Sundays at 1 p.m., and Tuesdays (in December) at 5 p.m. Holiday Cultural Festival is Nov. 30 from 5 to 8 p.m. Family Nights With Santas are every Tuesday in December from 5 to 8 p.m.

Cost: Included with regular admission, which is $11 for adults; $8 for seniors; $7 for children 3-12; and free for members and children age 2 and under.

Sounds of the Season

When: Saturdays, Nov. 24 through Dec. 22, 7 to 8 p.m.

Where: Gene Leahy Mall and the Old Market

What: Carolers and performers will be performing on Saturday nights.

Cost: FREE

Las Posadas 2018

When: Dec. 13, 6 to 8 p.m.

Where: El Museo Latino, 4701 S. 25th St.

What: Activities for children, music and refreshments, as well as the opportunity to participate in a traditional Posada beginning at 6:30. Las Posadas is a holiday tradition at Christmas time, taking place in December each year. Posada is Spanish for “inn.” The traditional song for “asking for Posada” refers to the journey of Mary and Joseph. The Posadas today consists of singing the traditional Christmas song and places one group of singers as the “Inn-keepers” inside a home, and another group of singers as the “pilgrims” on the outside. The “pilgrims” sing asking for a place at the Inn. The “In-keepers” respond by singing that there is no place at the Inn. The pilgrims go from house to house singing, until finally someone invites them in.

Cost: FREE

Cookies, Carols and Cider: A Holiday Lights Tour

When: Dec. 14, 6 to 9 p.m.

Where: Various locations

What: This tour will take you through some of Omaha’s most-decorated neighborhoods for viewing of lights and holiday decorations.

Cost: $45

Hogwarts Holiday Lock-In

When: Dec. 14, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Where: Omaha Public Library Abrahams branch, 5111 N. 90th St.

What: Join us for a spectacular evening of holiday festivities at Hogwarts. Witches and wizards are encouraged to wear their holiday robes for this night of feasting, questing and camaraderie. A parental permission slip must be signed.

Cost: FREE (registration required; for ages 7-12)

Holiday Happenings

When: Dec. 15, 10:30 a.m.

Where: Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium in the Scott Aquarium Shark Tunnel

What: Holiday characters will scuba dive in the shark tunnel. Throughout the day, zoo residents will receive special enrichment gifts, too.

Cost: Included with zoo admission

Christmas Party

When: Dec. 15, 10:30 to 11:30 a.m.

Where: Omaha Public Library Millard branch, 13214 Westwood Lane

What: Decorate cookies with Mrs. Claus, sing and read with Buddy the Elf, and make crafts with the Conductor of the Polar Express. Wear holiday clothes or your pajamas if you like! Parents need to come and chaperone their children, but only kids need to register for the party.

Cost: FREE (registration required)

Gingerbread Houses

When: Dec. 15, 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Where: Omaha Public Library South Omaha branch, 2808 Q St.

What: Use your best building skills to create a festive “gingerbread” house out of graham crackers, icing, and candy. The building process can get messy, so please dress accordingly. All supplies will be included. All ages.

Cost: FREE (registration required)

“Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical”

When: Dec. 15, 2 and 7:30 p.m.

Where: Orpheum Theater, 409 S. 16th St.

What: The beloved TV classic, “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” soars off the screen and onto the stage this holiday season.

Cost: TBD

2018 City of Omaha Carol Concert

When: Dec. 15, 6 p.m.

Where: Salvation Army Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center, 2825 Y St.

What: Join more than 10 performing arts groups from across the area as they celebrate the Spirit of Christmas. Guests are asked to bring a toy to donate to the Omaha Angel Tree Program.

Cost: FREE; $10 for VIP

Jingle Ball

When: Dec. 15, 7 to 11 p.m.

Where: Fraternal Order of Eagles Aerie 38, 201 S. 24th St.

What: It’s Omaha Jitterbugs’ vintage White Christmas swing dance fundraiser with live music by Miss Jubilee. 

Cost: $15 in advance, $10 for students, $20 at the door, and $50 VIP

Drive Thru Live Nativity

When: Dec. 16, 6 to 8 p.m.

Where: St. Andrew’s United Methodist Church, 15050 W. Maple Road

What: Experience the night Jesus was born from the comfort of your vehicle. After you drive through, come inside to warm up, get a picture with Santa, and enjoy other festivities.

Cost: TBD

Get Crafty: Holiday Cards

When: Dec. 18, 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.

Where: Omaha Public Library Sorensen branch, 4808 Cass St.

What: Drop in to and make a holiday card or gift bag using scrapbooking supplies and washi tape. All supplies provided. All ages.

Cost: FREE

Gingerbread Preschool Storytime

When: Dec. 19, 10 a.m. to noon

Where: Omaha Public Library Main branch, 215 S. 15th St.

What: Enjoy gingerbread and other cookie themed books, fingerplays and songs. We’ll create a “gingerbread” craft to take home. Recommended for ages 3 to 5 years, though children of all ages are welcome. Preschoolers will enjoy stories, activities, creative movements and songs more challenging than those featured in Toddler Storytimes. 

Cost: FREE

Make & Give Thank You Cards

When: Dec. 19, 11 a.m.

Where: Omaha Public Library Saddlebrook branch, 14850 Laurel St.

What: In anticipation of receiving gifts, be prepared with hand-made thank you cards! Come and make as many thank you cards as you might need and take them home with you to give to the special people in your life who deserve some thanks! All supplies will be provided. Ages 5 and younger.

Cost: FREE

Uncle Jim’s Holiday Party With Emmet Otter

When: Dec. 19, 6 p.m.

Where: Reverb Lounge, 6121 Military Ave.

What: Watch “Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas” and other movie classics, and enjoy free chili. Other snacks and special cocktails will also be available.

Cost: FREE

Fourth Annual 100 Block Ugly Sweater Pub Crawl

When: Dec. 21, 6 to 10 p.m.

Where: 100 Block of West Broadway in Council Bluffs, Iowa (registration is at Barley’s Bar at 114 W. Broadway from 6 to 9 p.m.)

What: Wear you ugliest sweater and sample a different beer at each participating location.

Cost: $5

Santa Visit

When: Dec. 22, 5 to 7 p.m.

Where: Go! Kids’ Gym, 4223 S. 120th St.

What: Santa will bring a treat for each child, plus cookies and open play time.

Cost: $5 for annual membership holders; $10 for non-annual membership holders; FREE for kids 2 and younger with a paid sibling. 

Mannheim Steamroller Christmas

When: Dec. 22 and 23; performances are Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 7 p.m.

Where: Orpheum Theater, 409 S. 16th St.

What: The group’s Christmas concert is full of multimedia special effects and has become an annual holiday tradition at the Orpheum Theater.

Cost: TBD

Christmas Eve Storytime

When: Dec. 24, 10:30 to 11:15 a.m.

Where: Omaha Public Library Abrahams branch, 5111 N. 90th St.

What: Join us for a special holiday themed family storytime. We will be singing Christmas carols, reading stories featuring Santa Claus and celebrating the season. Kids are encouraged to wear their pajamas.

Cost: FREE

Jim Brickman: A Joyful Christmas

When: Dec. 28, 7:30 p.m.

Where: Holland Performing Arts Center, 1200 Douglas St.

What: Grammy-nominated songwriter and piano sensation, Jim Brickman, brings his 30-city holiday tour “A Joyful Christmas” to Omaha. In honor of this 22nd annual holiday tour, Brickman will debut original songs, along with the sounds and stories of the season.

Cost: Tickets start at $28

Drive-In Screening “Nightmare Before Christmas” & “Rocky Horror Picture Show”

When: Dec. 31, 5 to 9 p.m. (“Nightmare” starts at dusk)

Where: Falconwood Park, 905 Allied Road, Bellevue, Neb.

What: Drive-in movie experience with a holiday feel to one show.

Cost: Per vehicle, it’s $7 for one person (single occupancy), $14 for two (double occupancy), or $20 for 3 or more people (3+ Occupancy). 

Bubbly New Year’s Eve Party

When: Dec.31, 5 to 8 p.m.

Where: Omaha Children’s Museum, 500 S. 20th St.

What: Have all the fun of a New Year’s celebration without staying up too late. This year, we’re ringing in the New Year with bubbles! Enjoy bubble activities like DIY bubble wands, bubble painting and the popular Bubble Science Show. Plus there will be character meet & greet opportunities with a mermaid! The night ends with a bubble wrap stomp, sparkling apple juice toast and a fizzy countdown at “midnight.”

Cost: Included with museum admission, which is $13 for ages 2-59, $12 for seniors, and FREE for members and kids under 2

Holiday Lights Festival – New Year’s Eve Fireworks Spectacular

When: Dec. 31, 7 p.m.

Where: Gene Leahy Mall,14th and Farnam streets

What: The show will feature a mesmerizing display of fireworks designed by J&M Displays and choreographed to a special Iconic 60s musical accompaniment broadcasted on STAR 104.5; viewers are encouraged to tune in. The official viewing site is the Gene Leahy Mall.

Cost: FREE

Looking for holiday lights tours?

Here are the tours I’ve come across:

Holiday Omaha Beer & Holiday Cheer Lights Tour with Omaha Brew Bus. Two tour options: A grown-up tour that includes a local brewery stop, and a family-friendly tour where you can view the lights while enjoying Christmas cookie. Grown-up tour includes a brewery visit and pint for up to 13 people for $325 (2.5 hours). Family tour includes water, pop, and cookies 

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Huge list of Omaha holiday events, including Christmas concerts, festivals, Santa visits, and other traditional holiday activities


  1. Mitzi Stinson says

    hi Kim i was wondering if you knew of some hotels in Omaha that decorate for Christmas? I am wanting to come and stay in Omaha Christmas weekend, and would like to be surrounded by beautiful decorations and great food. thanks…

    • Hi Mitzi – Good question! The one place I know for certain is Magnolia Hotel downtown. It has a large gingerbread display each year. I’m fairly certain that Embassy Suites in the Old Market will be decorated too, or at the very least, it’s right by all the gorgeous downtown lights. I’m going to ask around though. If you follow Oh My Omaha on Facebook or Twitter, I’ll see what people respond with.

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