When the snow falls in Omaha you have a few choices. You can snuggle up in front of your fireplace, hide out and watch football games or you can get outside! With a pair of skis, snowshoes, skates — and a few layers of coats — you can turn a lazy day into a memorable adventure.
For those of us who wake up every morning just to check the snow reports and for those who are just starting out this season, we compiled an Omaha Winter Activities Guide. The Omaha area isn’t short on choices.
For beginners, stop by UNO’s Outdoor Venture Center to rent all the necessary winter sport equipment before you head out! Anyone in the community can rent. With a center at the Omaha campus and the Lincoln campus, there’s no reason not to venture outside this year!
Neale Woods is one of two dense forests inside the Omaha city limits. With over 600 acres of land to explore, it’s the perfect place to strap on a pair of snowshoes. Even in winter, you’ll be able to see deer, wild turkey and many species of bird.
Hitchcock is open every day of the year for hiking, camping, picnicking, bird watching, snow sledding, star gazing or simply enjoying nature. We suggest renting snowshoes from the Loess Hills Lodge Welcome Desk; then, take to the hills for a winter hike!
Indian Cave State Park covers 3,052 acres along the Missouri River. The park has 22 miles of trails perfect for snowshoeing. Our favorite spot is the Rock Bluff Run Trail. It’s a 6.1 mile loop starting near Falls City. Along the way, you’ll see wildlife, nature and sweeping views of the river.
Cross Country Skiing
The golf course at Elmwood Park is one of the best spots for cross-country skiing in the winter months. It was originally created in 1889 as a park that could block out the lights and sounds of the city within its limits. On the course and all through the trail system, you’ll find the city maintained this goal — especially in the winter months.
Photos courtesy of Harleys and Heels
Zorinsky Lake is one of the most popular recreation opportunities in the area year-round. And in the winter months, a whole new world of sports becomes available. With 770 acres of public access land, our favorite winter activity is cross country skiing. Strap in and start exploring!
Located midway between Lincoln and Omaha, Mahoney State Park is the perfect destination for winter activities of all kinds. Sledding, ice skating, ice fishing, special holiday activities and cross country skiing are all available. The best way to take in the sights is along a snow covered trail with a pair of skis on your feet!
Mt. Crescent is open year-round, but the winter months are the most active and popular times to visit. One of the only downhill resorts in the area, the whole family can take ski and snowboard lessons then start shredding the hills!
About 2 and a half hours from Omaha, Snow Creek in Weston, Missouri has some of the most fun ski and tube hills in the area. Get your skis waxed and your whole crew ready!
The Sled Hill at Clemmons Park in Fremont has been a popular winter destination for years. Now an official sled hill, The Fremont Parks and Recreation Department can create man-made snow with a snow gun when conditions are right. You can even sled into the night under the lights!
The best sled hill at Spring Lake Park is just west of 13th Street, about a block south of L Street. In snowy conditions, children and adults of all ages can slide down at full speed!
Right in central Omaha, Memorial Park is normally a hotspot for picnickers, dog walkers and history buffs. But in the winter months, it turns into a sledding paradise! The best hill is north of Dodge Street, just west of Happy Hollow Boulevard.
One of the most popular sled locations in the city, Walnut Hill Park is just north of Midtown. It’s the perfect spot for a few quick sled runs!
In Lincoln, Pioneers Park Nature Center gets a flurry of activity each snowfall. With 668 acres of tallgrass prairie, there are multiple hills within the grounds to slide down and get a rush of that cold winter air!
Just 20 minutes north of Council Bluffs, Chute Trail is Hitchcock’s notorious sledding hill. It’s great for inner tubes and sleds — depending on how fast you want to speed down!
Grover Ice, Omaha’s newest rink, is located right in Midtown. Omaha Hockey Club, the MCHL and Hockey Finder all play at Grover Ice as well as the Omaha Broomball Club. Open skate hours are Monday – Friday 1 – 3 p.m. and Fridays 6 – 7:30 p.m. and 9 – 10:30 p.m. Bring the whole family down Saturdays from 12:45 – 2:15 p.m. and Sundays 2 – 3:30 p.m. too!
At University of Nebraska Medical Center, you can rent skates and get the family skating together on this festive outdoor rink. UNMC, Clarkson College, Nebraska Medicine employees and Ronald McDonald House employees and house guests skate for free. For just $7, everyone else can get a pair of skates and get on the ice!
At certain Public Ice Skating sessions, instructors from The Ralston Skating Academy are available for 15 minute lessons. Anyone can hop on the ice and quickly learn the basics. If you bring a group of four, your $20 total admission includes skating, skate rental and popcorn!
Photos courtesy of Moylan Iceplex
At Moylan, you can have a casual skate night, join a club hockey team, take a skating class, drop-in for a game of hockey, play broomball — or join in Twilight Skating. On Saturdays from 7:30 – 10:30 p.m., the house lights go down and the party lights come up. The center is filled with music from a live DJ. And all for $10!
Motto McLean hosts public skating as well as special events on the ice. Throughout the season, you can enjoy Family Skate, drop-in hockey and many other events! Check their website for updates.
Located in Fremont, Sidner is part of the second largest YMCA in the country. They host Hocket leagues, lessons and practices as well as freestyle skate times. So bring the whole family for an indoor skating afternoon!
The Railyard has quickly become a winter tradition in Lincoln. Not only can you skate on the bright and festive rink, you can grab a hot beverage and a bite to eat at any of the surrounding Public Market or Railyard businesses. Try The Doughnut Hole for a sweet treat and a coffee or Buffalo Rings & Wings right next to the rink!
Baxter Arena offers public skating for just $5 and skate rental for an additional $3. If you want to try something new, get on the ice with The Aksarben Curling Club! They welcome beginners and experienced curlers or stop by Fridays and Sundays to watch.
Get Outside this Winter — it’s good for your health!
According to Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance, indoor air is 2 – 5 times more polluted than air outside. Additionally, performing aerobic exercise 2 – 3 times a week improves your overall lung health and helps your fight against lung disease. So, getting outside this season not only helps you and your family stay entertained during the cold months; it helps you all stay active and healthy!
Share your favorite winter activities in the Omaha area! Where do you go when the snow is falling?