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
December 23, 2014

New Year’s Eve In Omaha With Kids

NYE in Omaha

I know! It’s not even Christmas, how dare I write about New Year’s Eve?!

Well, I’m a planner. It’s around the corner.

New Year’s Eve means something a little different when you have kids. It means you can’t stay up too late with the bubbly because kids never sleep in. Never.

Fortunately, there are plenty of places around Omaha that understand our needs. We want to have fun, but we have these kids that depend on us, so our fun has to be in the daytime. And it has to be kid-friendly.

Fun things to do on New Year’s Eve in Omaha with kids

Noon Year’s Eve

When: 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

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

What: Live music, special crafts and activities. Ring in the “noon year” in your handmade party hats while enjoying the celebratory bubble wrap stomp and the spectacular balloon drop at noon in the Suzanne and Walter Scott Great Hall.

Cost: Museum admission is $9, adults; $7, seniors (62+); $6, children (3-12); FREE for members and children 2 years and under


Ring In The New Year At Omaha Children’s Museum

When: 10 4 p.m.

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

What: Enjoy New Year’s Eve themed crafts, science shows, dance party and final countdown into the New Year at 3 p.m.

Cost: Museum admission is $9 for adults and kids; $8 for seniors; FREE for members and children under 2.


Noon Year’s Eve

When: 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Where: Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium, 3701 S. 10th St.

What: Entertainment from Joe Cole’s Magic Show, fun activities and an early countdown to 2015 complete with a beach ball drop at noon.

Cost: Zoo admission in the winter is $13.50 for adults (12 and over); $12.50 for seniors (65+) and military adults (12 and over); $9, children (3-11); $8, military child (3-11); FREE for members and children 2 and younger)


ConAgra Foods Ice Skating Rink

When: 1 to 5 p.m.

Where: ConAgra Foods Campus, 10th and Harney streets (outdoors)

Cost: $5, includes skate rental (admission is still required for patrons who bring their own skates) and benefits Food Bank for the Heartland. Kids under 5 skate FREE.


Family Canvas

When: 3 to 5:30 p.m.

Where: Village Canvas & Cabernet,  6457 Frances St., Suite 180

What: This is a family-friendly paint class where participants paint an upside down snowman. For ages 6+.

Cost: Adults, $35; child (6-14), $25 and includes all supplies


Holiday Lights Festival’s New Year’s Eve Fireworks Spectacular

When: 7 p.m.

Where: From Gene Leahy Pedestrian Mall

Cost: FREE


And if you still feel like celebrating on New Year’s Day

New Year’s Day fireworks and holiday lights finale

When: Jan. 1, 7:20 p.m. (Holiday Lights Spectacular starts at 7 p.m., fireworks begin immediately after that concludes)

Where: Turner Park at Midtown Crossing, near 33rd and Turner streets

Cost: FREE



December 24, 2013

New Year’s Eve In Omaha … With Kids

Editor’s Note: For New Year’s Eve 2014 event, head to the current list here!

New Year’s Eve 2013 is around the corner. While younger women are pinning their ideal, sexy NYE outfits and making plans with friends, I’m debating the merits of wearing my Christmas jammies to welcome 2014 or going with something forward looking. Yoga pants?

I’ve given up ever seeing midnight on purpose again. I’m a mom. If I’m out of bed at midnight, it’s because some kid had a nightmare or the cat is batting at a door.

I don’t mind celebrating the New Year as long as the fun ends early. Here’s some things to do on New Year’s Eve in Omaha that are kid-friendly (and more importantly, mom-friendly):

Day Time

Sempeck’s Bowling & Entertainment is open for family fun from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. with special prices on activities and bowling.

The Durham Museum will hold a Noon Year’s Eve party from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. for all ages. There will be live music, crafts and activities, culminating with a bubble wrap stomp and ball drop at noon in the Suzanne and Walter Scott Great Hall.

Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium has Noon Year’s Eve festivities planned from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., with a noon countdown.

BounceU is having a Bouncin’ New Year’s from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. It’s a “drop your kids off” kind of deal with pizza, sparkling cider, party hats, noisemakers, and a whole lot of bouncing.

Skate Daze will have a Family NYE Party from 1 to 4 p.m. with games, prizes and a balloon drop.

The ConAgra Ice Skating Rink at 10th and Harney streets is open on New Year’s Eve from 1 to 5 p.m. Admission is $5 and includes skate rental; kids 5 and younger skate FREE. You’re encouraged to bring non-perishable food and household good donations.

Early Evening

First Night Council Bluffs is a wonderful event held from 4:30 to 10 p.m. at several C.B. downtown locations and the Mid America Center Convention Center (kids’ stuff is at the MAC until 8 p.m.). Admission is FREE for 12 and younger, adults pay $10 for all the concerts, activities and magic show.

The Amazing Pizza Machine is open all day with specials, and a New Year’s Eve deal featuring some unlimited stuff going from 5 p.m. to midnight. There will be party favors (while supplies last) and champaign (I’m going out on a limb saying that it’s for you, not your kids – not clear in their flyer).

Omaha Children’s Museum’s First Night of Play is from 6 to 8:30 p.m. The event includes pizza dinner, goodie bag, face painters, balloon artists, dance party and concert by Dino O’Dell. “Midnight” at OCM is at 8 pm, complete with a countdown to the New Year and a giant bubble wrap stomp.

The Holiday Lights Festival’s great big fireworks show downtown starts at 7 p.m. out of Gene Leahy Mall. Show up a little early for primo viewing since this draws a lot of people, and tune your radio to 104.5 for some sweet ‘80s tunes that the fireworks will be timed to.

* * * * *

Friends and family, I wish you all a Merry Everything! Whether you’re celebrating Christmas with loved ones tomorrow or not, may this time of year bring you peace, comfort and optimism.

December 16, 2013

First Night Of Play At Omaha Children’s Museum

I haven’t made New Year’s Eve plans in a few years – four years to be exact, which “coincidentally” is my oldest child’s age. If you have kids with internal alarm clocks set to 6 a.m., staying out until midnight is not a good idea.

So what is a young family to do on New Year’s Eve?

You find a New Year’s Eve party with an early “midnight” and lots for your kids to do.

FNOP-2014Just going to the Omaha Children’s Museum is fun enough for kids, but the staff over there has big plans for partygoers on New Year’s Eve!

First, there’s the entertainment

They’ll have Balloon artists, face painters, a live concert by Dino O’Dell and a dance party.

A lot of activities are planned for New Year's Eve at Omaha Children's Museum.

A lot of activities are planned for New Year’s Eve at Omaha Children’s Museum.

Then, there are the goodies

Chow down on pizza from Dominos and dig through the goodie bags from Oriental Trading Company.

Then, there’s the finale

There’s a countdown at 8 p.m. complete with a bubble wrap stomp (it IS what you think it is… and who can resist bubble wrap?!). There is also a surprise or two in store!

This is one of the most unique ways I see kids being able to make noise and celebrate on New Year's Eve and it looks like so much fun!

This is one of the most unique ways I see kids being able to make noise and celebrate on New Year’s Eve and it looks like so much fun!

It sounds like a fun, safe night for kiddos, right? Don’t wait to get your tickets if this is something you want to do!

What you need to know

When: Tuesday, Dec. 31, 6 to 8:30 p.m.

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

Cost: $14 for non-members, $10 for members, kids 2 and younger are free but still need to be registered. Purchase tickets online.

This post was sponsored by Omaha Children’s Museum. All the opinions written are mine.