The holiday season is upon us, and soon, a familiar jolly figure makes his way through the city’s events. Yes, Santa Claus himself has marked his calendar with a series of stops in Omaha, ensuring that kids of all ages get a chance to share their Christmas with him. Whether you’re looking to capture that picture-perfect moment with Santa, enjoy a hearty breakfast alongside him, or partake in fun-filled activities, Omaha has something special in store. Keep reading for the ultimate guide to the best Santa sightings, photo opportunities, and when he’ll be at festive events in the city this year!
Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. At no extra cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.
Want to add your Santa event? Leave a comment here with the details or email me at Kim (at) ohmyomaha (dot) com with the following details: When, Where, What, and Cost. Thanks!
When: Nov. 4 through Dec. 24, 2023
Where: Bass Pro Shops, 2901 Bass Pro Drive, Council Bluffs, Iowa, and Cabela’s, 12703 Westport Parkway, LaVista, Neb.
What: Santa arrived extra early this year. Reserve a time to see Santa online starting Oct. 29, and get a free picture with him. You can show up without a reservation but expect a wait. There is typically some sort of craft or activity available to do while you wait, though.
When: Nov. 17 through Dec. 30, 2023; hours are 6 to 9 p.m. Sunday through Wednesday and 6 to 10 p.m. Thursday through Saturday. The event will not be held on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, as well as Thursdays, Dec. 7 and 14. ** Santa will be at Zoolightful nightly through Dec. 22.
Where: Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium
What: Visiting Santa is just one of many activities during Zoolightful. Find him at Santa’s North Pole (AKA, the Mutual of Omaha Pavilion), where you can get pictures with him and drop off your wish lists.
Cost: Visiting Santa is included with your ticket to Zoolightful.
When: Christmas at Union Station opens Nov. 24, 2023. Santa will be at Santa’s Cabin Nov. 24 -Dec. 17 (Fridays-Saturdays, 10AM-Noon & 1-3PM; and Sundays from Noon-3PM) and Dec. 19-23 (Tuesday-Saturday, 10AM-Noon & 1-3PM). Santa also visits during the Tree Lighting Ceremony on Nov. 24, the Holiday Cultural Festival on Dec. 1 and Tuesday evenings for Family Nights with Santa (Tuesdays, 5-8PM: Nov. 28 and Dec. 5, 12 & 19).
Where: The Durham Museum, 801 S. 10th St., Omaha, Neb.
What: Visit Santa’s “cabin” located inside the Truhlsen Lecture Hall and talk with him from a distance on one of our “old-fashioned telephones or sit on his lap…you choose! If using the phone, Santa’s elves will be at the switchboard to make sure you get connected to the big guy himself. Then children have time to talk to Santa and tell him their wish list on their private phone call with the jolly old elf himself.
Cost: Included with museum admission. During the popular Christmas season, it’s highly encourage guests to reserve or buy a ticket in advance online or over the phone, including museum members.
When: Nov. 24 through Dec. 23, 2023
Where: Omaha Children’s Museum, 500 S. 20th St., Omaha, Neb.
What: Santa’s Magic is an immersive, short show followed by a chance to visit with Santa and get a picture taken with him. It’s an annual temporary exhibit at the museum.
Cost: Included with admission; pictures are an additional fee
When: Nov. 24 through Dec. 24, 2023; Santa’s hours are Monday – Friday, 2 to 8 p.m. (break at 4:30 p.m.); Saturday, noon to 8 p.m. (break at 3:30 p.m.); Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. (break at 3:30 p.m.); and Saturday, Dec. 23, noon to 4 p.m. (no break)
Where: Regency Shopping Center, 120 Regency Parkway, Omaha (center court outside of Borsheims)
What: Photos with Santa, of course. Cameras are allowed with a minimum purchase.
When: Nov. 24 through Dec. 24, 2023
Where: Westroads Mall, 10000 California St., Omaha, Neb., on the mall’s lower level, Von Maur Court
What: Visit with Santa and get photos with him.
Cost: Varies per package
When: Nov. 30 from 4 to 8 p.m.
Where: Historic Dundee, 5000 Underwood Ave., Omaha, Neb.
What: Get photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus during Lights on Dundee (pets are welcome) near the Dundee Mural.
When: Dec. 2 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Where: Scheels Omaha, 17202 Davenport St., Omaha, Neb.
What: Santa and Mrs. Claus arrive by carriage at 10 a.m. at the North Entrance, and then kids can meet them until 2 p.m. There will also be free face painting, balloon art, and ferris wheel rides.
When: Dec. 2 from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Where: Kros Strain Brewing Company taproom, 10411 Portal Road, Suite 102, La Vista, Neb.
What: Bring a camera to snap pictures with Santa. There will be a digital line so parents can grab a beer (or a soda or juice available for purchase for the kids) and sip while waiting. There will be cookies and treats available for purchase from Freedman Baking Co. if you need to bribe the big fella.
When: Dec. 2 from noon to 5 p.m.
Where: 24th and Lake streets, Omaha, Neb.
What: Christmas in the Village is an annual event featuring live music and performances, carriage rides, and shopping at the Holiday Boutique. Santa and Mrs. Claus arrive by horse-drawn carriage at noon. There will also be a living nativity, face painting and games.
When: Dec. 2 & 9, 2023 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Where: Bel Air Plaza, 12100 W. Center Road, Omaha, Neb.
What: Santa and his reindeer will be inside a heated tent and ready to mingle with families. Kids can share their wishlists with Santa, and everyone can enjoy cookies, hot cocoa, and giveaways.
When: Dec. 3 & 10, 1 to 3 p.m.
Where: Ditmars Orchard & Vineyard, 19475 225th St., Council Bluffs, Iowa
When: Dec. 4, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Where: Downtown YMCA at 20th & Howard streets and Omaha Children’s Museum at 20th and St. Mary Avenue, Omaha, Neb.
What: The KETV Festival is an annual free event held during the Holiday Lights Festival at various locations in downtown Omaha. Santa and Mrs. Claus can be found at the Y, and there will also be a Meet & Greet with Santa at the museum.
When: Dec. 4, 2023 from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.
Where: Vitality Health Center, 14471 West Center Road, Omaha, Neb.
What: Come to Vitality Health Center to visit Santa and take a picture with him. Snacks and a craft for kids will be provided!
When: Mondays, Dec. 4, 11 & 18, 2023 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. On Dec. 4, Santa will also have a reindeer outside.
Where: Ollie & Hobbes in Papillion (84th Street & Highway 370) on Dec. 4 & 18, and at the Ollie & Hobbes One Pacific Place location (105th & Pacific streets) on Dec. 11.
What: Bring a camera to meet Santa and get a picture with him at Ollie & Hobbes.
Cost: FREE (food and drinks are extra)
When: Dec. 5, 2023 from 6:30 to 8 p.m.
Where: Southwest YMCA, 13010 Atwood Ave., Omaha, Neb.
What: Swim, make cookies, and see Santa at the YMCA!
Cost: FREE for members and non-members can drop in for a day pass.
When: Dec. 5-7, 2023 from 10 to 11 a.m.
Where: Dec. 5 story time is at 11432 Davenport St., Omaha, location; Dec. 6 is at 3201 Farnam St., Suite 6112, Omaha, location; and Dec. 7 is at 10520 S. 204th St., Gretna, Neb., location.
What: Listen to stories, then meet with Santa and browse the children’s book fair.
When: Dec. 6, 2023 from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m.
Where: Santa’s Workshop inside at Shadow Creek Towne Center, 7775 Olson Drive, Papillion, Neb.
When: Dec. 6, 2023 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
What: Meet Santa, Mrs. Claus and Loli Pop Dah Clown & Friends. Plus, receive one FREE kids meal with the purchase of an adult entree.
When: Dec. 9, 2023 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Where: Strategic Air Command and Aerospace Museum, 28210 West Park Highway, Ashland, Neb.
What: Warm up while enjoying a cup of hot cocoa with the elves, catch a reading of “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas,” meet Star Wars characters, and enjoy live music. Plus, meet Santa!
Cost: $17.50 for adults; $9 for children (ages 4-12); FREE for children ages 3 and under and members
When: Dec. 9, 2023 from 1 to 4 p.m.
Where: Mahoney State Park, 28500 W. Park Highway, Ashland, Neb. at the Crete Carrier Riverview Lodge
What: Classic Christmas is a (mostly) indoor event for families that includes free portraits with Santa. Other activities include decorating a sugar cookie, making a holiday ornament, and creating a greeting card for a senior living facility, and a trolley ride aroundthe park (rides will be operating, weather permitting).
Cost: Activities are FREE, but a valid state park vehicle permit required for entry.
When: Dec. 9 & 10, 2023 from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Where: Fontenelle Forest, 1111 Bellevue Blvd. North, Bellevue, Neb.
What: To kick off the annual Winter Wonderland event, Fontenelle Forest offers visitors two full days of fun, family-friendly activities, including holiday-inspired activities and crafts, complimentary hot cocoa, a chance to meet educational birds of prey up close, and of course, pictures with Santa Claus.
Cost: Included with admission
When: Dec. 9, 10 & 16, 2023 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Where: NFM, 700 S. 72nd St.
Cost: FREE (kids also get a free gift, while supplies last)
When: Dec. 9 & 10 and Dec. 16 & 17, 2023; Fridays from 4:30 to 8:30 p.m., and Saturday & Sundays from noon to 6 p.m.
Where: Bellevue Berry Farm & Pumpkin Patch, 11001 S. 48th St., Papillion, Neb.
What: Warm up with hot cocoa, decorate cookies with Mrs. Claus, and take a picture with Santa. Kids play areas will be open, and take a wagon ride through the Holiday Trail of Lights (if weather permits). Ornament decorating self serve and for additional cost face painting and balloons are available.
Cost: Admission is $10 and includes hot chocolate, cookie and Christmas craft bag. Kids ages 2 and under are free.
When: Dec. 10, 2023 from 10 a.m. to noon
Where: Dusted Charm, 120 W. Broadway, Council Bluffs, Iowa
Cost: FREE (kids receive a surprise, while supplies last)
When: Dec. 10, 2023 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Where: Raising Cane’s, 7060 Dodge St., Sunday
What: Raising Cane’s is partnering with UNO group, Allies for Sign Language, to bring an all-inclusive holiday event for the Deaf, Deaf Blind, and Hard of Hearing Community while raising funds for the organization to continue its work in the future. Santa will only communicate in sign language, but his interpreter elf will be on site with him to help translate for friends and family. Mention “Allies for Sign Language” at the register and 15% of net sales at the Restaurant will be donated back to the organization.
When: Dec. 10, 2023 at 1 p.m.
Where: Central Perch, 105 Pearl St., Council Bluffs, Iowa
When: Dec. 10, 2023 from 1 to 3 p.m.
Where: Emanuel Lutheran Church, 2444 N. Broadway, Council Bluffs, Iowa
What: The church is holding a free event that’s open to the public, where kids can enjoy some cookies and hot cocoa and visit Santa. “We wanted to offer an environment that would be calmer than a retail store and where you could visit and take your own photos.” There will also be some Christmas crafts you can work on while you are here or take them with you.
When: Dec. 10, 2023 from 5 to 7 p.m.
Where: Nebraska Brewing Co., 6950 S. 108th St., La Vista, Neb.
What: Enjoy Christmas activities before you tell Santa what you want for Christmas
When: Dec. 10, 2023 from 5 to 8 p.m.
Where: Lauritzen Gardens, 100 Bancroft St., Omaha, Neb.
What: Buy a Bright Nights ticket for Dec. 10 and enjoy an evening of festive fun for families! Visit with Santa Claus, hear a seasonal story, see LED performers, make an ornament, meet the Omaha Police Department Mounted Patrol, watch creativity in action with Matthew Shrader and Hot Shops Art Center, get your face painted, play games, and more!
Cost: Admission is $15 (ages 13+), $9 (ages 3-12), and free for ages 2 and under. Garden members receive a 50% discount on tickets. Timed tickets are required for all guests over 3 years of age.
When: Dec. 16, 2023 from 9 to 11 a.m.
Where: Quaker Steak & Lube, 3320 Mid America Drive, Council Bluffs, Iowa
What: Breakfast with Santa will include a waffle bar, cocoa bar, bacon, eggs, toast, fresh fruit, coffee and more. There will be a craft table and photos with Santa, as well.
Cost: $20 per adult and $8 for kids 10 and younger
More holiday fun in Omaha
Story times and photos with Santa Claus are just the beginning of holiday festivities in Omaha. For more things to do this November and December, check out these posts: