December 26, 2018

8 Great Downtown Omaha Restaurants For Families

Having worked in downtown Omaha for more than five years, and living downtown for about seven years before that, I know my restaurants in the area. And I know which ones are great to take kids to. If you’re looking for a family restaurant in downtown Omaha, here are some of my recommendations:

Family restaurants in downtown Omaha

Short list of recommended family-friendly restaurants in downtown Omaha, including near the Old Market and TD Ameritrade Park


The Blatt Beer & Table North Downtown

By all appearance, this looks like a gastropub where grown-ups want to hang out in peace, but they’re pretty welcoming to families. The kid’s menu is above-average here (try the chicken strips), and the location can’t be beat for games and shows at TD Ameritrade Park and CHI Health Center. Plus, they have a changing table in the bathrooms.

Address: 610 N. 12th St. (North Downtown)

Olsen Bake Shop

Olsen is strictly a carry-out, hole-in-the-wall kind of bakery, but don’t let that deter you. They have, quite arguably, the best best donuts in Omaha. Not only do they taste good, they’re cheap, too. Olsen is on the list of
Best Donuts In Omaha.

Address: 1708 S. 10th St. (downtown, south of the Old Market)

Orsi’s Italian Bakery & Pizzeria can be found just outside of the Old Market, in a neighborhood that was once a bustling Little Italy.

Orsi’s Italian Bakery & Pizzeria

It’s Omaha’s longest-running restaurant for a reason. The garlic bread is my favorite, though it hardly makes a meal, so go ahead and order a sheet of pizza. Since I’ve visited last visited Orsi’s, it has expanded to have a dining room (or is planning to), so it has moved beyond being mostly a take-out kind of restaurant.

Address: 621 Pacific St. (Little Italy, southeast of the Old Market)

Plank Seafood Provisions has great outdoor seating – perfect for Old Market people watching.

Plank Seafood + Provisions

My kids are touch and go with seafood, but I can often get them to eat the fish sticks at Plank. The menu for adults and kids is pretty good (try to get there at happy hour for the best deals), and when we went, they gave my kid fun temp tattoos.

Address: 1205 Howard St. (in the Old Market)

Trini’s The Mexican Restaurant

Trini’s is located in my favorite part of the Old Market: The Passageway. It’s a charming indoor space with shops and restaurants. Trini’s is pretty casual and budget-friendly when ordering with kids (though, there is no kid’s menu). Trini’s made the list of best places to Mexican food in Omaha.

Address: 1020 Howard St. (in the Old Market)

Upstream Brewing Co.

I know. A brewery? I’ve gone for brunch, lunch, and dinner and my kids have always been welcomed. There is a kid’s menu (not for brunch, though), and usually some form of entertainment to occupy them while we wait for the food. They also happen to have great beer. The upstairs area will be more of a bar-like atmosphere, so stick to the first floor or the outdoor seating in front.

Address: 514 S 11th St. (in the Old Market)

Zio’s Pizzeria has a location in the heart of the Old Market in downtown Omaha. 

Zio’s Pizzeria

Zio’s is a bit of an institution in Omaha. If you dig New York-style pizza, try it out. There is a kid’s menu, and often, the waiter will bring a ball of dough to the table to keep your kid occupied. Zio’s made the list for best places to get pizza in Omaha.

To be honest, though, if we’re going to have pizza downtown, my kids ask for Old Chicago; and if we’re downtown without the kids, we go to Via Farina. But if you’re looking for local and kid-friendly, Zio’s is a good bet.

Address: 1109 Howard St. (in the Old Market)

11-Worth Cafe

This is classic greasy spoon food at its best. I’ve only been for breakfast, so I can’t vouch for the grill after noon, but beforehand, it’s spot-on. They have a kid’s menu and, usually, will give your kid a balloon before you leave.

Address: 2419 Leavenworth St. (downtown, east of the Old Market)

Related post: 20+ Must-Try Restaurants In Omaha

Recommended restaurants and donut shops in downtown Omaha #familyfriendly #OldMarket #Nebraska

Bonus restaurant for zoo visitors

Headed to Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium? You can purchase food there at plenty of dining locations, but they aren’t always satisfying and they’re definitely pricey . If you didn’t pack a lunch, here’ s another option we tried recently:

Louie M.’s Burger Lust, 1718 Vinton St. Located in the historic Vinton neighborhood, this small but charming burger joint is going to please both kids and parents. I brought the kids here after a trip to the zoo recently, and was pleased they had a kid’s menu. Order a burger, obviously.

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November 9, 2018

30+ Things To Do In Omaha In The Winter

Omaha winters can be long and, before you  know it, cabin fever sets in. Here are some of my favorite things to do in Omaha when it’s cold out:

Things to do in Omaha in the winter - Including activity centers, climbing walls, museums, sledding hills, ski slopes, snow shoe rentals, ice skating, and so much more! #Nebraska #winter #snow

Things To Do Indoors In Omaha

If you’re looking for unique things to do indoors in the winter, this is your list:

Giant activity centers – These are a lot of fun and are a mix of arcade games, food, and sometimes bowling. Most are located in West Omaha, including Amazing Pizza MachineFamily Fun Center XL, SkateDaze, The MARK, Dave & Buster’s, and Chuck E. Cheese. Check Groupon for discounts or visit at off times of the day to save some money. 

Bounce houses & trampoline park – Tire the kids out at Sky Zone Trampoline Park and Urban Air Trampoline Park. Urban Air also has an indoor ropes course and a ninja course. For bounce houses with open play times, check out Pump It Up and BounceU. You’ll have to sign wavers before playing at any of these places.

Gyms For Kids – More for younger kids, gyms are popping up everywhere to give kids a chance to run, tumble, and climb safely. Gyms with public play hours include GO! Kids Gym, KIDS body shop, Kids Warrior Gym, and PE 101 Kids Gym.

Escape rooms – Escape rooms can be found all over Omaha now. I’ve tried two and would recommend them: Get Out Omaha and House of Conundrum. Others include The Escape Omaha, Entrap Games, and Locked Room Omaha. Escape rooms, generally, are better for older kids or going there with a group of your friends. Occasionally, one of the Omaha Public Library branches will have a one-day or weekend-long kid-friendly escape room set up.

I went with a group of friends to Axe Games in West Omaha. While I did not win, I did manage to hit the target once, so it’s a win in my book.

Axe throwing – This is a fun thing to do with a group or as a couple. Some places, like Axe Games, allow younger kids to throw if they’re supervised, but call ahead. Other places to look into include Flying Timber Axe Throwing and Craft Axe Throwing.

Archery Games – I tried out Archery Games with friends, and it’s a workout as much as it is just a fun time. I can see older kids loving it, but it figuring out a bow and arrow in the archery arena may frustrate younger kids.

Indoor putt putt – Like the idea of playing mini golf around a pirate ship, dinosaurs or glow-in-the-dark stuff? Omaha has several indoor putting options. See where you can putt indoors (and outdoors) in Omaha in this post

Climbing Walls – The long-awaited Venture Parks’ new rock climbing walls at Mahoney State Park are open now at the park’s Activity Center (must pay state park admission fee, as well as fee for climbing). Approach Climbing Gym is another option for the public. UNO also has a climbing wall and its free for UNO students, and pretty inexpensive for non-students (kids must be at least 5 years old). And last, but not least, for the really little kids, Omaha Children’s Museum’s special exhibit, Super Sports, has a small wall. The exhibit runs through April 14, 2019.

The Activity Center at Mahoney State Park has a climbing wall area. For $10, you can have the equipment you need to climb.

Performances – It wouldn’t be my blog if I skipped over the great performing arts scene in Omaha. Winter is the best time to see a play or musical performance! Some of my favorite theatrical venues in Omaha are Omaha Community Playhouse, Bluebarn Theatre, and the Broadway Series presented by Omaha Performing Arts. If you’re looking for kids’ shows, see what’s happening at The Rose or what’s coming up in the Omaha Performing Arts Family Series. Live music? Omaha Symphony has a ton of shows, including a Family Series and a great Movie Series. And don’t forget the new Nashville Row Omaha.

Ice skating – Indoor ice skating in Omaha include Motto McLean Ice Arena,  Moylan Iceplex, Baxter Arena, and Ralston Arena. 

Felius is a nonprofit cat cafe in downtown Omaha where you can sip a mocha while cats prowl around you.

Felius – Yes there is a cat cafe in Omaha, and yes, you need to go (assuming you like cats). You order your coffee separately at Felius, and then pay for the amount of time you want to sit in the room, playing with the cats. It’s a relaxing place…again, assuming you like cats.

Bowling – There are several bowling alleys without the frills if you’re looking for inexpensive fun, and then there are a few with flashy add-ons like laser tag or a huge arcade. Bowling alleys in Omaha include Maplewood Lanes, West Lanes Bowling Center, The MARK, Papio Bowl, Chops Bowling Alley, and Western Bowl.

Omaha Attractions That Are Great In The Winter

Staying, somewhat, with the indoor theme, check out some of these area attractions that are great to visit in the winter:

Lauritzen Gardens – The conservatory at Lauritzen Gardens offers two different climates to experience while walking a path through lush gardens. If you visit during the holiday season, you can enjoy additional decorations and the impressive poinsettia tree. Kids love the model trains that have been moved indoors over the winter. 

Omaha’s zoo has several indoor exhibits near the main entrance, making it a great option for a winter afternoon.

Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium – With five indoor attractions near the main entrance, it’s easy to see a lot of animals without spending much time outside. Plus, the Desert Dome and indoor rainforest are fine places to go to forget about winter drearies. I love visiting in the winter so much, I wrote Five Great Things To Do At Omaha’s Zoo In The Winter.

Durham Museum – Expect the Durham Museum to be busy between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve since it’s decked out for the holidays. It’s a fun time to visit, though. After the New Year, it quiets down and you can enjoy exhibits without the crowds. Bring kids here to see the trains (full-size and model).

Kids can climb, play, paint and do all sorts of fun experiments at Omaha Children’s Museum.

Omaha Children’s Museum – If you’ve got kids younger than 9, Omaha Children’s Museum is the best place to let them loose. After a few hours of playing, building, and learning, they’ll be all tuckered out. On weekday mornings, there are Kitchen ABCs classes where kids can learn kitchen skills by preparing a snack and then they get to eat it (class is included with admission, too!). Disclosure: I work at Omaha Children’s Museum. 

Do Space – Head to Do Space for hands-on tech activities for kids. There’s a room for younger kids and one for teens (that has a huge video game screen). Check out kits to test out robots and play games. Adults head here to use the computers and 3D printer. Best of all – it’s FREE!

Joslyn Art MuseumJoslyn Art Museum is my go-to for a calming experience. I just head right to my favorite galleries and seek out new details in familiar paintings. That works when I’m alone. When I’m with my kids, we head to Art Works or check out an activity backpack and do all the activities. Don’t forget, Joslyn is FREE (some traveling exhibitions may be an additional ticket for you, but kids are going to be admitted free).

Council Bluffs attractions – Don’t overlook Council Bluffs when planning winter outings. The Union Pacific Railroad Museum is FREE, so if you have a train-loving kids, it’s a no-brainer place to visit. The first Friday night of the month usually has a fun theme night event. Bass Pro Shop is another FREE place to visit with a large aquarium to fascinate kids, plus around Christmas, there’s Santa’s Wonderland to visit.

More attractions – Don’t forget there’s also Strategic Air Command & Aerospace Museum in Ashland, Neb. And while the store itself isn’t an attraction (in my opinion), the ferris wheel inside Scheels is always an inexpensive hit with kids.

Parks With Winter Activities

Bundle up for these outdoor activities you can do in Omaha in the winter:

Mahoney State Park – This is the ultimate winter destination, in my opinion. You have the outdoor stuff like toboggan hill and ice skating, but then the (already cool) Activity Center now has climbing walls. If you have younger kids, don’t skip the Activity Center – it has the area’s best indoor playground. For more ideas on what to do there, read Mahoney State Park In The Winter. You will need to pay a state park fee, per vehicle, to enter Mahoney, and pay a nominal fee to get into the Activity Center (ice skating and wall climbing are additional fees, too).

Hummel ParkHummel Park usually has a hiking club that heads out on the first Saturday of the month (even in winter), plus winter special events at Hummel include Santa Sleigh Ride in December and in February, there’s an event planned near Valentine’s Day. The park is FREE to enter and so are the events.

After hiking at Fontelle Forest, have the kids warm up at Habitat Hollow, located in the lower level of the visitor’s center.

Fontenelle Forest – I know a lot of moms who love bringing their kids to Fontenelle Forest for the indoor play area called Habitat Hollow in the lower level of the visitor’s center. But, don’t skip the trails to get some fresh air on a brief hike – you can even rent snow shoes from Fontenelle. However, if OPS is closed for snow, Fontenelle will be closed too. There are always special events or guided hikes, so check the calendar for details. There is a fee, per person, to enter Fontenelle Forest. 

Hitchcock Nature Center – One of my favorite parks to visit any time of the year is Hitchcock Nature Center in Honey Creek, Iowa (about 20 miles from Omaha). The nature center is fantastic, so if you have kids, stop there first; you can check out a kid’s activity backpack while there. Outdoor winter activities at Hitchcock include sledding down Chute Trail or renting snow shoes. You’ll need to pay a county park entry fee, per vehicle, to enter Hitchcock Nature Center.

Outdoor Activities In The Winter

Mt. Crescent Ski Area – The area’s only ski slopes, Mt. Crescent Ski Area is located in Crescent, Iowa. You can rent skis and snowboards, plus sleds. Their sled hill is the only one I know of in the area that has a chair lift to get you to the top of the hill.

Sledding – Popular hills include Memorial Park, Walnut Hill, Spring Lake Park, and Zorinski Park. Schools with great slopes include Black Elk Elementary School, Holling Heights Elementary School, St. Robert Bellarmine School, Papillion-La Vista South High, Portal Elementary School, Ralston Middle School, Laura Dodge Elementary School, Bryan High School, and Bellevue East High School.

Ice skating – Find outdoor rinks near Nebraska Medical Center in Midtown and the Brickyard in downtown Omaha.

Omaha Movie Theaters With Kids Series

Film Streams – Expect high quality films (including some of your childhood favorites) to be screened in Film Streams‘ Forever Young Family & Children’s Series. Kids’ tickets are only $2.50 for the series! These are screened at the Ruth Sokolof Theater in downtown Omaha.

Marcus Theaters – This chain of movie theaters usually has a few series screening older films for low-price tickets. Check the website for upcoming series. The typical locations in Omaha to show these films are at Village Pointe, Majestic and Twin Creek.

Winter Fun In Nebraska

Get out of Omaha for even more winter activities! The Well-Traveled Nebraskan wrote about 13 Surprising Nebraska Winter Things To Do and Activities.

A huge list of things to do in the winter in Omaha, Nebraska - Everything from rock walls to snow shoeing, plus the best sledding hills, cheap movies and more

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October 14, 2018

Fun Shows In 18-19 Omaha Symphony Family Series

Love “Star Wars”? I’ve got an Omaha Symphony show for you. Does your kid love pirates? Sit tight, I’ve got another Omaha Symphony show for you. I’ve taken my kids to quite a few Family Series shows to know a good show theme my kids will love, and this year, all three shows in the series are dialed into my kids’ passions: “Star Wars,” magical tales like “Aladdin,” and pirates.

What to expect at an Omaha Symphony Family Series concert, plus details on the 2018-2019 season #partner #orchestra #concert #familyfriendly

I’ve partnered with my friends at the Omaha Symphony to tell you about the 2018-2019 Omaha Symphony Family Series – and throughout the season, I’ll be giving away tickets to each show! Follow Oh My! Omaha on Facebook for those giveaways.

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Omaha Symphony. Omaha Symphony provided the tickets for the giveaways. All thoughts, opinions and typos are my own.

What are Family Series shows like?

I think my youngest was about 2 years old when she went to her first Omaha Symphony concert. She was dressed like a little fairy. And she fit in.

My daughter’s was 2 years old when she went to her first Omaha Symphony show, the “Spooktacular.”

Omaha Symphony Family Series is a great introduction to the orchestral music because they’re designed to be short, fun, and super engaging. They’re in the middle of the afternoon, lights are not as dim, and there are plenty of jokes to make everyone smile. Every show is at the Holland Performing Arts Center.

Related post: The Family-Friendly Omaha Symphony

What I liked about these shows, too, was that if one kid got a little antsy, it was fine for her to be squirmy in her seat because we were surrounded by other families. 

Signs direct you where to go for the lobby activities held before each Omaha Symphony Family Series show.

My kids’ favorite part is the pre-show lobby activities. Before each show in the Family Series, starting at 1:15 p.m., there are activities in the lobby that may include a craft table, photo opp, and our personal favorite… the instrument petting zoo. 

My kids love the instrument petting zoo because they get to play different instruments and make a lot of noise. 

My son, the pirate, testing out at trumpet at the instrument petting zoo.

They’re pretty affordable, too. Family Series shows are all general admission, and tickets are $15 each. While there are other great concerts coming up by the Omaha Symphony that may appeal to your children, you’ll have a hard time beating that $15 price. Same orchestra, much lower price to hear them play!

2018-2019 Omaha Symphony Family Series

I’m pretty excited about each show in the 2018-2019 Omaha Symphony Family Series. The themes are a lot of fun, plus it looks like some shows are going to have great guests at them. 

Omaha Symphony’s Spooktacular: Out Of This World

My all-time favorite Family Series show is the Spooktacular each year. Not only is most of the audience dressed in costumes, but the musicians on stage are too! 

This year’s show, “Spooktacular: Out Of This World,” has a space adventure theme running throughout, so you’re going to hear some very recognizable theme music. Of course, that means some “Star Wars” music, “Star Trek,” and more. The Spooktacular is on Oct. 28 at 2 p.m.

Related post: What to expect at Omaha Symphony’s Spooktacular

Members of the 501st Garrison will be there, and you’ll want your camera for the lobby pre-show activities and photo opps. 

Plus, there is trick-or-treating after the show! 

Tip: I work at Omaha Children’s Museum and they’ve partnered with Omaha Symphony for an awesome promotion! Visit the Tinker Lab at the museum and make a lightsaber hilt, share a picture on social media (tagging both OCM and OS), and you’ll be entered in to win four tickets to the Spooktacular AND a pass for four to Omaha Children’s Museum. Plus, if your child brings the hilt to the Spooktacular, he/she gets a special prize and their own line to get a picture with a stormtrooper. 

“Aladdin, Cinderella and More Magical Tales”

The next show in the series is “Aladdin, Cinderella and More Magical Tales” on Feb. 10, 2019. This one will be fun to watch because the special guests are dancers from the Heartland Youth Ballet.

This one sounds like an adventure, featuring music from  “Aladdin,” “Beauty and the Beast,” and selections from Prokofiev’s “Cinderella.”

“Pirates Ahoy!”

My kids love them some pirates, so this last show in the series may be their favorite. “Pirates Ahoy!” is on March 31, 2019. There’s a story to this show, and apparently it’s a race against Captain Guerrero and his crew to find Blackbeard’s treasure.

If you want tickets to any of the shows above, visit Also, don’t forget, I’ll be doing giveaways before each show on the Oh My! Omaha Facebook page (First one starts this week!). Follow the page or subscribe to the Oh My! Omaha e-newsletter to get a heads up on each giveaway. 

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Find out why your family will love the Omaha Symphony's Family Series - Pre-show lobby activities like instrument petting zoo and lots of fun during the performance #partner #Omaha #Nebraska #familyfriendly
October 7, 2018

Why Omaha Families Will Like OK Go’s Concert

OK Go is coming to Omaha, you guys. Do you know how many times I’ve watched OK Go’s “This Too Shall Pass” with my son? So many, I could recreate their Rube Goldberg Machine in my dreams.

OK Go The Live Video Tour 2018
OK Go performs in Omaha on Oct. 19, 2018 at the Holland Performing Arts Center. Photo courtesy Omaha Performing Arts

So, when I heard the OK Go: The Live Video Tour is exactly what it sounds like – live music and with video – I thought, this show is perfect for him. I’ve got the details on the Oct. 19 concert below and…a giveaway!

Disclosure: I’ve partnered with Omaha Performing Arts for this post, who is providing the tickets for the giveaway. All thoughts, opinions and typos are my own.

OK Go: The Live Video Tour In Omaha

OK Go, the rock band famous for their wildly creative videos, brings their unique magic to the stage in 2018. They’re performing at the Holland Performing Arts Center in Omaha on Friday, Oct. 19, at 7:30 p.m.

Tip: Any chance you get to see a band you like play at the Holland Performing Arts Center, you should take it. 

According to the press release: “As you might expect from the pioneering band who danced on treadmills and in zero gravity, this show is unlike any you’ve seen before: it’s a film screening and a rock concert rolled into one.”

OK Go The Live Video Tour 2018
OK Go: The Live Video Tour is in Omaha on Oct. 19, 2018. Photo courtesy Omaha Performing Arts

Not your typical concert, the band will perform their songs live and in sync with 20 of their iconic videos. There will even be an interactive piece that the audience will perform. Between some of the songs, the band will do a Q&A with the audience. 

“Like the band, the show defies categorization, but bring your family and expect dancing, joy, and wonder,” according to promoters. 

Let’s hear from the band about why this is a show is going to be great for families (the video takes a while to appear on this page, so sit tight, it will appear soon):

Ok Go

If you don't have any plans October 19, we know a few guys who can help you with that 😁 Get your tickets here ➡️

Posted by Omaha Performing Arts on Friday, September 14, 2018

If you go

OK Go: The Live Video Tour

When: Oct. 19, 7:30 p.m.

Where: Holland Performing Arts Center, 1200 Douglas St.

Cost: $35-$50. Purchase tickets at or save on ticketing fees and purchase in person at the box office located inside the Holland Performing Arts Center.


You want to go, right? 

I’ve partnered with Omaha Performing Arts to giveaway a set of FOUR tickets to OK Go: The Live Video Tour! Please enter through the Rafflecopter form below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway ends at 11:59 p.m. CST on Sunday, Oct. 14. One winner will be drawn and contacted via email. The winner will have 48 hours to respond before another winner is drawn. Must be 18 years old or older to enter. Tickets have no cash value and may not be exchanged for another show. Good luck!

September 26, 2018

Omaha Annual Holiday Traditions

Omaha’s annual holiday season lasts longer than a month, with a ton of family-friendly celebrations and Christmas traditions you can count on each year. The events usually kick off on Thanksgiving night and run through the first week of January each year. Here are some of my favorite Omaha annual holiday traditions:

Looking for annual Christmas shows, holiday displays and kid-friendly activities in Omaha? Here's a round up of celebrations you can count on each year during the holiday season.

Omaha Holiday Lights Festival

On everyone’s to-do list is to stroll through the Old Market and Gene Leahy Mall where millions of lights are strung up for 40 blocks as part of Omaha’s Holiday Lights Festival. You can count on this festival to kick the holidays off in Omaha – starting with tree lighting and a concert on Thanksgiving Night. The weeks-long festival includes carolers on the weekends, an outdoor ice skating rink, the free Wells Fargo Family Festival, and fireworks on New Year’s Eve.

Holiday Lights Festival Omaha Ice Rink
The ice rink during the Holiday Lights Festival. Since this picture was taken, the rink has relocated a few blocks to the north.

2019 News: The lights strung around Gene Leahy Mall are one of my favorite parts of the festival. However, starting in 2019, there will be construction that will make it impossible to have the lights up at the mall for a few years. See them this year, before they’re temporarily relocated.

Omaha Attractions With Christmas Celebrations

Omaha’s zoo – Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium has a couple of events to note. On some weekends, Holiday Happenings is a fun one to catch. Head to the aquarium at designated times to watch Santa and elves scuba dive in the shark tank. The event is included with admission. For an extra fee, there are holiday events with a meal like Pancakes & Penguins.

Durham Museum Christmas tree
The Durham Museum is home to the largest indoor Christmas tree each year. “Christmas at Union Station” usually begins the day after Thanksgiving and runs through early January.

The Durham Museum – One of my favorite ways to kick off the season is the tree lighting ceremony at The Durham Museum. It’s held the day after Thanksgiving each year, and while it’s always super crowded, it’s worth fighting the crowds to be a part of it. It also kicks off Christmas at Union Station, which runs throughout the holidays and includes the Holiday Cultural Tree Exhibit, pictures with Santa, concerts, and the Holiday Cultural Festival.

Santa's Magic annual show Omaha Children's Museum
“Santa’s Magic” runs Nov. 24 through Dec. 23 each year at at Omaha Children’s Museum. In addition to the Snow Queen who makes it snow indoors, children can get one-on-one time with Santa. Photo courtesy Omaha Children’s Museum

Omaha Children’s Museum – If your kids are younger, there’s nothing more magical than “Santa’s Magic,” which runs from Black Friday through Dec.. 23 typically, at Omaha Children’s Museum. It’s an interactive show with an Elsa-like character who makes it “snow” indoors, elves, and Santa arriving by chimney. Kids get a turn talking to Santa at the end.

Holiday Poinsettia Show at Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha
Laurtizen Garden’s Holiday Poinsettia Show is an annual flower show indoors, usually running the weekend after Thanksgiving through early January. Photo courtesy Nebraska Tourism

Lauritzen Gardens – Omaha’s botanical gardens have the annual Holiday Poinsettia Show. Kids will like that the model trains run around the displays. While I’m there, I enjoy stopping by the conservatory. It’s a tropical oasis in the winter. For the past two years, the Poinsettia Show has been lit at night for visitors in the evening.

Christmas Concerts In Omaha

There are a few things you can be sure of, and one is that there will be an abundance of Christmas concerts to choose from each year in Omaha.

Omaha Symphony – “Christmas Celebration” has been an annual tradition for years. While the show changes with music and featured performers, you can be sure that Santa will be there (and many “Santas” who will be dancing at one point).

Santa and Omaha Symphony
Santa arrives at the Omaha Symphony’s “Christmas Celebration” one year. Photo courtesy Omaha Symphony

Handel’s Messiah – I have yet to catch this annual performance by Voices of Omaha, but this concert features a long concert choir singing. It’s usually held in mid-November.

Holidays Under Glass – This is a free lunch-time concert series at the Joslyn Art Museum. If you go, you may want to arrive early to make sure you get a seat in the atrium.

Making Spirits Bright Concert & Sounds of the Season – A big part of the Holiday Lights Festival is music. There’s a free concert every year on Thanksgiving night called Making Spirits Bright at the Holland Performing Arts Center. You’ll also find carolers on the weekends in the Old Market and in Gene Leahy Mall for free mini concerts (AKA, Sounds of the Season).

Christmas on Stage In Omaha

Omaha is home to a thriving performing arts scene, and there are quite a few traditional holiday shows performed each year. Plus, many theaters like The Rose will have a holiday show this time of year.

Omaha Community Playhouse – OCP has been performing “A Christmas Carol” for decades and its perfected the musical.  It’s great to introduce to elementary age kids or older (it’s kinda long). The sets, costumes, music and choreography is top notch every year.

A Christmas Carol in Omaha
Jerry Longe is in his 13th year of portraying Ebenezer Scrooge in “A Christmas Carol” in 2018. Photo courtesy Omaha Community Playhouse

American Midwest Ballet – Nebraska Ballet is now American Midwest Ballet, the regions only professional ballet company. They’ve been performing “The Nutcracker” for years, and you can usually catch it at the Orpheum Theater in Omaha or Iowa Western Community College’s Art Center in Council Bluffs, Iowa.

Holiday at Hogwarts show in Omaha
The toast before the first sip of butter beer during the annual show “Holiday at Hogwarts” at Apollon Art Space in Omaha.

Apollon Art Space – A little untraditional, but still it feels like a holiday show, “Holiday At Hogwarts” is an annual dinner theater show at Apollon Art Space. During this interactive show held in December, you’ll talk with familiar characters from Harry Potter’s world in a dining room decorated for Christmas. It’s pretty kid-friendly, so you’re fine going with or without kids. Read more about the show here.

Gingerbread Displays In Omaha

Gingerbread Festival – Each year, dozens and dozens of gingerbread creations are on display at the Mormon Trail Center in North Omaha. The free Gingerbread Festival has a different theme each year and they’re made by children, families and, what I have to guess, are semi-professional gingerbread engineers.

Gingerbread train at Magnolia Hotel in Omaha
Each year, the chef and his team at Magnolia Hotel in downtown Omaha create an elaborate gingerbread scene. It’s free to visit, and located just off the hotel’s lobby. 

Magnolia Hotel – Stop by the downtown hotel’s lobby during the holidays to see the chef’s creations. One year, it was a gingerbread train and town.

Holiday Shopping In Omaha

For holiday shopping in Omaha, there are a couple events that I particularly look forward to.

Hot Shops Winter Open House – Hot Shops is a collection of studios and galleries of local artists working in different media. Twice a year, the open house invites the public in to see their work, watch live demonstrations (check out the glass blowing) and, of course, shop. The open house is typically the first weekend in December.

Hot Shops glassblowing demonstration during open house
Shop for one-of-a-kind gifts and watch artist demonstrations during the Hot Shops open house, typically held the first weekend in December.

Holiday Market – The Holiday Market is Omaha’s answer to Christmas markets in Europe, though definitely not as big. Shop booths of local and regional artists and food vendors in tents at Aksarben Village. Santa is usually found somewhere in the market, too. The Holiday Market is typically the first weekend in December.

Round up of annual holiday events, shows, and festivals in Omaha. These are events you can plan on if you're visiting for the first time or you want to start a holiday tradition.  #Christmas #Santa #holidays

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September 1, 2018

Halloween In Omaha

After years of adding Halloween events to my monthly events roundups, it’s time to just give Halloween its own post. Here’s a list of events, movie screenings, date night ideas, and free activities to celebrate Halloween. Most are kid-friendly, but some are definitely not. 

The following are things to do in Omaha leading up to Halloween 2018. If you know of an event to add, please let me know at!

A roundup of Halloween events in Omaha including costume balls, trunk or treats, movies, and more ways to celebrate #spooky #kidfriendly #nebraska

Kid-friendly & Teen Halloween Events

Cobweb Castle, Sept. 29 through Oct. 31 during museum hours, Omaha Children’s Museum, 500 S. 20th St., included with regular museum admission

Howl-O-Ween Safari, Oct. 5 and 6 at 6 p.m., Wildlife Safari Park, 16406 N. 292 St., Ashland, Neb., $20 for members and $25 for non-members (VIP passes to enter one hour early are $30 for members and $35 for non-members

Planes, Trains & Autos Halloween Event, Oct. 6 and 7 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Strategic Air Command and Aerospace Museum, 28210 W. Park Highway, Ashland, Neb., included with regular museum admission

Nebraska Furniture Mart Halloween 5K, Oct. 13, Nebraska Furniture Mart, 700 S. 72nd St., $30 for ages 14+ and $10 for children ages 13 and yougner

Witches Tea, Oct. 13 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Mangelson’s 3457 S. 84th St., FREE

Spooky Saturday, Oct. 13 from 3 to 4 p.m., Omaha Public Library South Omaha branch, 2808 Q St. (best for ages 5-11), FREE

Spooktacular, Oct. 13, 14, 19, 20, 21, 26, 27, and 28, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium, $8.95 for members and $9.95 for non-members 

Teen Hangout: Omaha Urban Legends, Oct. 18 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., Omaha Public Library South Omaha branch, 2808 Q St., FREE

Horror Movie Trivia 7: Halloween Edition, Oct. 18 from 8 to 10:30 p.m., The Waiting Room Lounge, 6212 Maple St., FREE

LEGO Club: Halloween Edition, Oct. 19 from 4:30 to 5:45 p.m., Omaha Public Library South Omaha branch, 2808 Q St., FREE

Tricks & Treats, Oct. 19 from 6 to 8 p.m., Westwood Plaza at 120th and Center streets, FREE

Trick or Treat with the Animals of Gifford Farm, Oct. 20 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., ESU#3 – Gifford Farm Education Center, 700 Camp Gifford Road, Bellevue, Neb., $5 per trick-or-treater (cash or check only)

Monster’s Masquerade, Oct. 20 from 6 to 9 p.m., Omaha Children’s Museum, 500 S. 20th St., $20 for members and $25 for non-members

Hoot n’ Howl Glow Ride, Oct. 20 from 6 to 9 p.m., Malvern Depot, 301 W. Fifth St., Malvern, Iowa, $25

LEGO Club Halloween Edition, Oct. 22 from 4:30 to 5:45 p.m., Omaha Public Library South Omaha Library, 2808 Q St., FREE

The Great Hall-oween Haunt, Oct. 23 from 5 to 8 p.m., The Durham Museum, 801 S. 10th St., included with regular museum admission

Healthy Trick or Treat Night, Oct. 23 and 30, 5:30 to 8 p.m., Omaha Children’s Museum, 500 S. 20th St., included with regular museum admission

Spooktacular, Oct. 23 from 6 to 7:30 p.m., Omaha Public Library Florence branch, 2920 Bondesson St., FREE

Elkhorn Hills Trunk or Treat!, Oct. 24 from 5:45 to 7p.m., 20227 Veterans Drive, Elkhorn Neb. FREE

Trunk-Or-Treat, Oct. 24 at 6:30 p.m., Resurrection Evangelical Lutheran Church, 153 S. McKenna Ave., Gretna, Neb., FREE

Anime Club: Horror Edition (Teens), Oct. 25 from 4 to 5:30 p.m., Omaha Public Library Washington branch, 2868 Ames Ave., FREE

Jeff Quinn’s Spooky Magic Show, Oct. 26 at 2 p.m., Omaha Public Library Abrahams branch, 5111 N. 90th St., FREE

Annual Carson Businesses Halloween Trick or Treat Night, Oct. 26 from 4 to 6 p.m., Carson Community Center and nearby businesses, 316 S. Commercial St., Carson, Iowa, FREE

HETRA’s Stall and Treat Halloween Party With The Horses, Oct. 26 from 5 to 7 p.m., 10130 S. 222nd St., Gretna, Neb., FREE

Baseballoween at Werner Park, Oct. 26 from 5 to 8 p.m., Werner Park, 12356 Ballpark Way, FREE

Trick Or Treat With Spider-Man, Oct. 26 from 5 to 8 p.m., Nebraska Furniture Mart, 700 S. 72nd St., FREE 

Teen Halloween Hunger Games Lock-In, Oct. 26 from 6:30 to 9 p.m., Omaha Public Library Abrahams branch, 5111 N. 90th St., FREE (registration required)

Halloween Howl 5K Run/Walk, Oct. 27 at 9 a.m. (registration opens at 8), New Horizons Presbyterian Church, 30 Valley View Drive, Council Bluffs, Iowa, $25 (benefits Midlands Humane Society) 

Trick-Or-Treat At The Museum, Oct. 27 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Union Pacific Museum, 200 Pearl St, Council Bluffs, Iowa, FREE

Saddlebrook Spooktacular, Oct. 27 from 10:30 a.m. to noon, Omaha Public Library Saddlebrook branch, 14850 Laurel Ave., FREE

Benson Boo Bash, Oc. 27 from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., downtown Benson, FREE

Omaha’s Great Pumpkin Festival, Oct. 27 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Village Pointe Shopping Center, 17305 Davenport St., FREE

DIY Potion Bottles (Teens), Oct. 27 from noon to 2 p.m., Omaha Public Library Florence branch, 2920 Bondesson St., FREE 

Halloween BOO! Cruise: A Family Adventure!, Oct. 27 from noon to 1 p.m., River City Star, 151 Freedom Park Road, $16 for adults, $13 for seniors/military, $10 for children (12 and younger), and $4 for wee ones (ages 18 months and younger)

Haunted Escape Room (Teens), Oct. 27 from 1 to 3 p.m., Omaha Public Library Saddlebrook branch, 14850 Laurel Ave., FREE

Halloween Bash!, Oct. 27 from 1 to 4 p.m., Hy’Vee at 3410 N. 156th St., FREE

UNO Mav Kids Halloween Party, Oct. 27 from 1 to 4 p.m., UNO HPER Building, 6001 Dodge St., FREE

Haunted House, Oct. 27 from 1 to 5 p.m., Omaha Public Library Millard branch, 13214 Westwood Lane, FREE (registration required)

Spooky Science, Oct. 27 from 2 to 3 p.m., Omaha Public Library South Omaha branch, 2808 Q St., FREE

Teen Cafe: Halloween Treats, Oct. 27 from 2 to 3:30 p.m., Omaha Public Library Abrahams branch, 5111 N. 90th St., FREE

Second Annual Halloween Bash, Oct. 27 from 3 p.m. to midnight (poker for adults held at 6 and 9 p.m), VFW 247, 3302 Leavenworth St.

Spooky Science for Teens, Oct. 27 from 4 to 5 p.m., Omaha Public Library South Omaha branch, 2808 Q St., FREE

Trick or Treat in the Forest, Oct. 27 from 4 to 7 p.m., Fontenelle Forest, 1111 Bellevue Blvd. N, Bellevue, Neb., $5 each for members and $15 each for non-members, and FREE for children ages 2 and younger

Trunk or Treat, Oct. 27 from 4:30 to 6 p.m., Chick-fil-A, 6310 N. 72nd St., FREE

Meet & Treat, Oct. 27 from 5 to 8 p.m., Southeast Precinct, 25th and Vinton streets, FREE

Omaha Zombie Walk – Roarin’ 20s, Oct. 27 from 6 to 8 p.m., Benson (56th St. NW Radial to 62nd Street & Maple), FREE

Ghoulish Garden Adventure, Oct. 28 from noon to 4 p.m., Lauritzen Gardens, 100 Bancroft St., included with regular garden admission

Halloween Hoopla, Oct. 28 from 1 to 3 p.m., Shadow Lake Towne Center, 72nd Street and Highway 380, Papillion, Neb., FREE

Carved at Rockbrook Village, Oct. 28 from 1 to 3:30 p.m., Rockbrook Village, 2800 S. 110th Court, FREE

Old Market Fall Festival, Oct. 28 from 1 to 4 p.m., various locations in the Old Market, FREE

Symphony Spooktacular “Out of this World,” Oct. 28 at 2 p.m. (pre-show activities begin about 45 minutes before the show), Holland Performing Arts Center, 1200 Douglas St., $15

Trunk-Or-Treat, Oct. 28 from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m., Emanuel Lutheran Church, 2444 N. Broadway, Council Bluffs, Iowa, FREE

Community-Wide Trunk-Or-Treat, Oct. 28 from 3:30 to 5 p.m., New Horizon Presbyterian Church, 30 Valley View Drive, Council Bluffs, Iowa, FREE

Trunk or Treat, Oct. 28 from 6:30 to 8 p.m., Play By Play Kidzone, 13540 Discovery Drive, FREE with canned food donation or $1 donation to Food bank for the Heartland

“Ballad of Anna The Brave” Radio Show, Oct. 28, Gallery 1516, 1516 Leavenworth St., FREE

100 Block Trick or Treat for the Kids, Oct. 29 from 4:30 to 6 p.m., 100 block of West Broadway, FREE

Trick-or-Treat At Regency, Oct. 29 from 5 to 6:30 p.m., Regency Court 120, Regency Parkway, FREE

Touch A Truck & Trick-Or-Treat, Oct. 29 from 5 to 8 p.m., Quaker Steak & Lube, 3320 Mid America Dr, Council Bluffs, Iowa, FREE (kids meals are $1)

Tiny Tots Halloween Party, Oct. 30 from 10 a.m. to noon, Omaha Public Library Sorensen branch, 4808 Cass St., FREE

Spooky Project Runway Challenge (Teens), Oct. 30 from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m., Omaha Public Library Sorensen branch, 4808 Cass St., FREE (registration required)

Halloween Fun Fest, Oct. 31 from 10:30 a.m. to noon, Omaha Public Library Main branch, 215 S. 15th St., FREE

Kids In Costume Eat Free, Oct. 31 from 10:30 a.m. to close, McAlister’s Deli locations, FREE (for 12 and younger)

La Vista’s Halloween Safe Night, Oct. 31 from 5:30 to 7 p.m., 
La Vista Community Center, 8116 Park View Blvd., La Vista, Neb., FREE

Haunted Houses

Camp Fear, Riverwest Park, 23301 West Maple Road, Elkhorn, Neb., open Sept. 14 through Oct. 31, depends on the attraction

Dead Manor Haunted House, 7328 S. 179th St., open Oct. 26-38 and Oct. 31, free will donation

Gateway of Chaos, Mills County Fairgrounds, Malvern, Iowa, open Fridays and Saturdays through Oct. 31, $10 per person, $8 with two non-perishable food item donations and $6 with two non-perishable food items and two household item donations

Madness Haunted House, 1751 Madison Ave., Council Bluffs, Iowa, open Sept. 14 through Oct. 31

Mystery Manor, 716 N. 18th St., $14 (save $2 if purchased online; fast pass is $25), open Sept. 14 through Oct. 31

Ranch of Terror and “Darkness” The Hayride Experience, Bellevue Berry Farm and Pumpkin Ranch, 11001 S. 48th St., open Sept. 21 through Oct. 28, Ranch of Terror and Hayride Experience are $13 each or $22 for a combo, 

Scary Acres, 17272 Giles Road, open Sept. 14 through Oct. 31, $10-11 for each attraction or $25 for a combo of all three

The Shadow’s Edge, 3457 S. 84th St., open Sept. 21 through Oct. 31

Movies to get you in the Halloween Spirit

Drive-In Movies at Falconwood Park, movie starts at dusk, 905 Allied Road, Bellevue, Neb., $7-$20; movies include “Monster’s Inc.” (Sept. 27), “Rocky Horror Picture Show” (Oct. 4), “Twilight” (Oct. 11), “Hocus Pocus” (Oct. 18), “Coraline”/”Hotel Transylvania” double header (Oct. 21), “The Nightmare Before Christmas” (Oct. 25), and “The Craft”/”Zombieland” double feature (Oct. 27)

Nightmare Theater, Sept. 14 through Oct. 31, movie starts at dusk, Riverwest Park, 23301 West Maple Road, Elkhorn, Neb., $5 per person and kids under 5 are FREE (admission is FREE Oct. 29-31); movies include “Children on the Corn” – “Pet Cemetery” (Sept. 14), “House of the Devil” – “Silent Hill” (Sept. 15), “Hotel Transylvania”- “Franken Weenie” – “Hocus Pocus” (Sept. 21 Family Night), ” “The Shining” – “What We Do in the Shadows” – “Orphan” (Sept. 22), “The Bye Bye Man” – “The Crooked Man” – “The Candyman” (Sept. 28), “Jeepers Creepers” – “Happy Death Day” – “The Apparition” (Sept. 29), “Jeepers Creepers 3” – “The Conjuring” (Sept. 30), “The Boy” – “The Lost Boys” (Oct. 4), “Scared Shreckless” – “Beetlejuice” – “Goosebumps” (Oct. 5 Family Night), “The Exorcist” – “Hereditary” – “Insidious” (Oct. 6), “You’re Next” – “Vacancy” (Oct. 7), “House on Haunted Hill” – “The Hills Have Eyes” (Oct. 11), “Evil Dead” – “Cult of Chucky” – “Friday the 13th (original)” (Oct. 12), “IT (2017)” – “Rob Zombie’s “31” – “House October Built 2” (Oct. 13), “Fright Night” – “Poltergeist (original)” (Oct. 14), “Alien” – “Aliens” (Oct. 18), “Nightmare on Elm Street (original)” – “Dark Tapes” – “Prince of Darkness” (Oct. 19), “Texas Chainsaw (1974)” – “Ax Murders of Villisca, IA” – “Annabelle Creation” (Oct. 20), “Ghost House” – “Death House” (Oct. 21), “Mom and Dad” – “The Strangers” (Oct. 25), “Night of the Living Dead” – “Shaun of the Dead” – “Return of the Dead” (Oct. 26), “Rob Zombie Halloween” – “House of 1000 Corpses” – “Devils Rejects” (Oct. 27), “Amityville Horror (2005)” – “Sinister” (Oct. 28), “Halloween (original)” (Oct. 29), “Trick R Treat” (Oct. 30), and “Halloween 3” (Oct. 31)

October Fright Night Series, Oct. 4-27 on select nights at 10 p.m., Majestic Cinema of Omaha and Twin Creek Cinema in Bellevue, $5; movies include “The Shining” (Oct. 4-6), “Candyman” (Oct. 11-13), “It” (Oct. 18-20), and “The Exorcist” (Oct. 25-27)

“Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween” Family Parties, Oct. 13 and 14 from 10 a.m. to noon, Majestic Cinema of Omaha and Twin Creek Cinema in Bellevue, FREE (does not include movie)

Family-Friendly Movie Screenings, Oct. 14-31 on Saturdays at 10 a.m., Sundays at 11 a.m. and on Halloween at 5 p.m., Hollywood Candy, 1209 Jackson St., FREE; “It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” (Oct. 14), “Back To The Future” (Oct. 20), “Twilight Zone” (Oct. 21), “Hocus Pocus” (Oct. 27 and 31), and “Once Bitten” (Oct. 28)

Drafthouse of Horrors “The Blob,” Oct. 28 at 7 p.m., Alamo Drafthouse, 12750 Westport Parkway, $8.60

Adults-Only Halloween Events

Need an excuse to dress up? Here are some events you’re not going to want to bring the kids to:

Wizards Assemble Pub Crawl, Sept. 13 from 4 to 10 p.m., starts at Old Chicago, 1111 Harney St., $20 (price will increase)

Boos and Birdies 1st Annual Halloween Scramble, Oct. 12 at 1 p.m., Knolls Golf Course, 11630 Sahler St., $60 per person (4-person scramble)

I Love The 90s Bar Crawl, Oct. 13 from 2 to 10 p.m., $15

Spooks & Spokes Bike Scavenger Hunt Ride, Oct. 20 at noon, start at Pint 9 Brewery, 10411 Portal Road, suite 104, Papillion, Neb., $40 for a team of two (includes T-shirt)

Halloween Party, Oct. 20 from 7 p.m. to midnight, Wired Pub & Grill, 5338 N. 103rd St.

Cursed Quarters, Tuesdays Oct. 23 through Nov. 20 from 6 to 9 p.m. (films are “The Old House,” “The Haunting,” “The Amityville Horror,” “Poltergeist” and “House”), Film Streams Dundee Linder Microcinema, 4952 Dodge St., $125 for general, $100 for students/teachers/seniors/military, and $75 for members

Sip + Paint / Dia de Muertos, Oct. 24 from 7 to 9 p.m., El Museo Latino, 4701 S. 25th St., $30 (includes two drink tickets)

A Night At The Leaky Cauldron, Oct. 25 from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m., Mercury Drinks + Food, 329 N. 16th St., cost of drinks

Halloween Cookie Decorating, Oct. 27 from 10 a.m. to noon, Jen’s Custom Cookies, 51st and Jefferson streets, $31.50

Masquerade at the Castle, Oct. 26 and 27 from 7 to 11 p.m., Joslyn Castle, 3902 Davenport St., $85 for general admission or $76.50 for Keyholders

Halloween Party, Oct. 27 at 8:30 p.m., New Frontier Bar, 8516 N. 30th St., FREE (maybe?)

Secret Weapon’s Annual Halloween Bash, Oct. 27 at 9 p.m., The Waiting Room, 6212 Maple St., $10

Cult Classic Live, Oct. 30 at 8:30 p.m. (doors open at 7:30 p.m.), Reverb Lounge, 6121 Military Ave., $10 in advance & $12 at the door

Hip Hop Halloween, Oct. 31 from 9 p.m. to midnight (doors open at 8 p.m.), Reverb Lounge, 6121 Military Ave., $8

Want more ideas?

These aren’t necessarily Halloween events, but they’re great fall activities:

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