No doubt about it, Christmas looks different in 2020. There are a ton of events planned, most with significant changes to reflect social distancing & mask requirements. But if you’re looking solely for outdoor holiday events in Omaha, this is the list for you.
VIP Holiday Car Wash
When: Through Dec. 31; open daily Thursday through Sunday 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. and Friday and Saturday 5:30 to 10:30 p.m.
Where: VIP Car Wash, 11910 M St., Omaha
What: The wash tunnel will be decorated with thousands of holiday lights programmed to video and music, characters including Anna and Elsa from “Frozen” and The Grinch, costumed staff and volunteers, Santa and his sleigh on the car wash roof, a 24-foot Christmas tree with programmed lights, and lit tunnels full of more lights and the entrance and exit of the wash.
Cost: $20, and a portion supports Autism Action Partnership
Holiday Lights Festival Lighting Display – North Omaha
When: Through Jan. 4, 2021
Where: Six-block area around 24th and Lake streets, Omaha
What: Gorgeous light along a historic district in North Omaha.
Holiday Lights Festival Lighting Display – Old Market
When: Through Jan. 4, 2021
Where: 10th to 13th streets, and from Harney to Jackson streets, Omaha
What: Charming light displays along the brick streets and surrounding areas of the Old Market. Seeing these lights each year is a must for my family.
Holiday Lights Festival Lighting Display – South Omaha
When: Through Jan. 4, 2021
Where: 24th Street between L and Q streets, Omaha
What: Gorgeous light displays along the historic strip of South Omaha.
Looking for neighborhoods with a lot of lights? Omaha World-Herald has a round-up of the best Omaha-area neighborhoods for holiday lights.
Christmas in Old Towne
When: Through January
Where: Washington Park, 20th Avenue and Franklin Street in Old Towne Bellevue, Neb.
What: A walk-through (and drive-by) light display synced to 91.9 FM.
Santa’s Rock n Lights
When: Through Jan. 3, 2021; hours are Fridays and Saturdays, 5 to 10 p.m.; Sundays through Thursdays, 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.; open on Christmas
Where: Werner Park, 12356 Ballpark Way, Papillion, Neb.
What: This drive-thru light show features almost a full mile of programmable elements and over 100,000 animated lights dancing to Christmas music.
Cost: $19.99 – $27.99 (depending on the date). Purchase tickets online.
Season of Lights
When: Through Feb. 14, 2021
Where: Turner Park at Midtown Crossing, 31st and Farnam streets, Omaha
What: Thousands of lights will adorn trees at Turner Park and along Farnam Street.
Meet Santa’s Reindeers
When: Through Dec. 19
Where: Mulhall’s, 3615 N. 120th St., Omaha
What: Dasher and Dancer will be hanging out at Mulhall’s this season. While they’re in the greenhouse, it’s huge, so I’m just going to go ahead and consider it practically outdoors.
Walkin’ in La Vista Wonderland
When: Through Dec. 25; Santa and his reindeer will be at the park on Dec. 8 and 15 from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.
Where: Civic Center Park, 8116 Parkview Blvd., La Vista, Neb.
What: The park is being turned into a winter wonderland filled with holiday cutouts, Santa’s sleigh, light decorations and more. The wonderland will be open all December long, with two nights featuring Santa visits. This will be a socially-distanced event and masks will be required at all times. Please come with only your household group and any groups larger than 8 will be split up.
Winter Wonderland (Drive-Thru)
When: Nov. 28, 5:30 to 8 p.m.
Where: Historic Portal School, Third and North Jefferson streets in Papillion, Neb. (yes, it’s that school)
What: The Papillion Area Historical Society lights up downtown Papillion with a drive thru event.
Santa’s Sleigh Ride
When: Nov. 29, 3 to 7 p.m.
Where: La Vista, Neb. (Santa will start on the west side of 84th Street from approximately 3-5 p.m. and then will be on the east side of 84th Street from approximately 5-7 p.m.)
What: This annual tradition in La Vista features Santa traveling by sleigh. As you wait along the route for Santa, please stay with your household group, observe social distancing, and wear a mask to protect yourself and others!
Santa at the Farm
When: Dec. 5, 10 a.m. to noon
Where: ESU#3 – Gifford Farm Education Center, 700 Camp Gifford Road, Bellevue, Neb.
What: Get a picture and share your wish list with Santa, plus enjoy cookies and hot chocolate, music and crafts, animal visits and more.
Cost: $6 per child (accompanying adults are FREE). Bring cash. Bring a non-perishable food item for the food bank and receive $1 off admission.
Annual Christmas In The Village
When: Dec. 5, noon to 3 p.m.
Where: Along 24th Street from Burdette to Ohio Street
What: It will be like a reverse parade this year. Drive down 24th Street and see Santa, a Kwanzaa celebration display, costumed characters and musicians. Families in cars will receive bags of candy and coloring books, and groceries, masks, and hand sanitizer will be handed out while supplies last.
Lights Walk – 5k and 11k & Diaper Drive
When: Dec. 5, 4 to 6 p.m.
Where: Start at Urban Abbey, 1026 Jackson St., Omaha
What: The 5k walk sticks close to the Old Market and the Holiday Lights Festival. The additional 6k loop goes up to the Creighton Campus, with its lighted promenade. Cookies provided.
Cost: $2, fun walkers; $3, book stampers; optional donations of diapers and wipes for the YES – Maternity Group Home (especially sizes 3 and 4), as well as purchases of “diaper shares” (suggested donation of $5) will be accepted.
KETV Drive-through Family Festival
When: Dec. 6, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Where: Omaha Police Mounted Patrol Barn, 615 Leavenworth St., Omaha
What: The Family Festival is usually a fun day of visiting various locations and enjoying the free activities, but this year, it’s all in one place. Craft kits will be handed out and the first 500 cars will receive a free book.
Santa’s Reindeer at Bel Air Plaza
When: Dec. 12, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Where: 12100 West Center Road, Omaha
What: Meet Santa and two reindeer (socially-distanced, of course). Children will be able to see the reindeer up close in the heated tent – and parents are encouraged to take photos to capture the holiday memory. Santa and his elves will hand out hot cocoa and individually-wrapped cookies.
Candy Cane Course
When: Dec. 13, 8 a.m.
Where: Seymour Smith Park, 6802 Harrison St., Omaha
What: Omaha Parks and Rec and Bodies Race Co. hold the annual Candy Cane Course, a Christmas-themed 5k/10k run. Get a swag bag with designer shirt, custom medal; costumes contest; FREE kids’ dash; post-race food, and plenty of fun activities.
Cost: $35 per person through Dec. 8
When: Dec. 18-20; hours are Friday from 4:30 to 8:30 p.m., and Saturday & Sunday from noon to 6 p.m.
Where: Bellevue Berry & Pumpkin Ranch, 11001 S. 48th St., Papillion, Neb.
What: An outdoor celebration that includes pictures with Santa (Friday from 5:30-8:30, and Saturday & Sunday 1-5), Christmas wagon rides (if weather permits), Wonderland Kids Play Areas, and a bonfire. Face painting and balloons are extra. Masks are required if you go indoors.
Cost: $10, adults ages 13+ (includes cup of hot chocolate and a cookie), $10, children ages 2-12 (includes Christmas craft bag; and FREE for ages 2 & under free)
Living Nativity & Reindeer
When: Dec. 19, 5:30 to 8 p.m.
Where: Scatter Joy Acres, 4966 Newport Ave., Omaha
What: This is a drive-thru event to see a living Nativity seen with live animals.
Cost: FREE, donations accepted
Outdoor Holiday Market
When: Dec. 20, 1 to 4 p.m.
Where: Parking lot of Crescent Moon, 3578 Farnam St., Omaha
What: This outdoor market features local vendors, food, drinks (including hot Gluhwein) and music. Masks required.
Holiday Hustle 5K
When: Dec. 20, 4 p.m.
Where: Start/Finish line at boat dock at the Prairie Queen Lake site just east of 132nd and Cornhusker Road intersection. We will be utilizing the north part of the lakes trail system. Post Race party at Lucky Bucket Brewery, 11941 Centennial Road, La Vista, Neb.
What: A holiday-themed fun run around a lake. Santa, elf, and other holiday-inspired costumes are encouraged.
Cost: $35 by Nov. 30, $40 between Dec. 1-18, and $45 on Dec. 19 and 20. Go to http://www.u2canrun.rocks to register!
Want a little day trip for holiday lights?
Here are a few outdoor holiday events within about an hour drive of Omaha:
Seventh Annual Avoca Holidays on Main – (Avoca, Iowa) Head to downtown Avoca for this annual event. It’s taking the form of a Christmas Cruise in 2020. In addition to driving up and down, drop off letters for Santa, get to-go cocoa and treats, to-go pancakes at the Legion We will have Santa (no contact – drop off letters only), To-Go Cocoa & Treats, To-Go Pancakes. There’s also a 3K run and a scavenger hunt with prizes. More details
Zoo Lights Powered by LES – (Lincoln, Neb.) UPDATE: This event has been canceled for 2020.
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