Omaha, a thriving metropolis located on the Missouri River, is a fantastic place to be all year long. Whether you’re lucky enough to live in our amazing city or you’re planning a trip to the Midwest in the near future, there are plenty of things to do in Omaha. The Big O maintains an action-packed events calendar, from art festivals to spectacular fireworks displays, all year long.
So take a look at the many annual events in Omaha and see how many you can attend this year!
There’s no better way to celebrate the beginning of summer than with this annual La Vista festival! The event kicks off with a grand parade (complete with dancing and local marching bands) and is followed by a community cookout, live concert and fireworks.
Photo courtesy of the Omaha Summer Arts Festival
The Omaha Summer Arts Festival showcases all forms of artwork — from canvas painting to face painting, and live music to sculpting. Each year welcomes more than a hundred of the nation’s finest artists to present their work. Plus, there’s always a hands-on children’s fair, so you can bring the whole family out to celebrate!
Omaha’s Santa Lucia Festival was founded in 1925 by Italian immigrant Grazia Bonafede Caniglia who wanted to give other local Italian immigrants a strong connection to their former country. The festival showcases live music and dancing but you definitely don’t want to miss the time-honored procession from St. Frances Cabrini Church to the festival site.
One of our favorite things to do during Father’s Day weekend every year is visiting TD Ameritrade Park for the Collegiate Baseball Championship. We are so proud to be the host city for this famous event every year, not only because of the nail-biting games, but also the festivities surrounding it. Don’t miss tailgating, a championship weekend tradition, and make sure to pay a visit to the Fan Fest, which is located just near the park and is a family-friendly festival packed with interactive games, food trucks, breweries, live music and more!
Photo courtesy of Christine Dunn via Taste of Omaha
Omaha has an incredible dining scene full of farm-to-table restaurants, tantalizing steakhouses, brunch spots and more — so why not get a taste of all of them in one convenient location? At Taste of Omaha, you can enjoy food from top-notch local restaurants along with free live performances all day long.
The community of Ralston definitely knows how to throw a good party, as evidenced by the annual Old Fashioned Fourth of July Celebration! The parade is the largest Independence Day parade in the state, and the post-parade festivities go back in time with vintage-inspired fun booths, costumes, and a family street dance.
This family-oriented festival began in 1987 and has been providing endless summer fun for Omaha area residents ever since. With festivities including history encampments, historical tours, a car and bike show, sporting events, a craft fair, food courts and more — there’s a little something for everyone!
Photo courtesy of the Nebraska Balloon and Wine Festival
The Nebraska Balloon and Wine Festival is one of the area’s most anticipated events of the summer and it’s not hard to see why. Every August, head to Gretna, where you can enjoy multiple colorful balloon launches, nighttime balloon glows, live performances, wine tastings and delicious bites!
SeptemberFest is our favorite way to say goodbye to summer in Omaha. What with an annual rib cook-off, a Labor Day parade, some live music, local vendors, exhilarating rides, and family-friendly games, don’t be surprised if you see most of Eastern Nebraska there that weekend!
Just because we’re not Germany, doesn’t mean we can’t be German just for a day! Every year, you can don your lederhosen and indulge in a variety of beers, brats and music! Events happen throughout Omaha during these two weeks, at the German American Society and Beer Corner USA. Check back in with the event website as September grows closer to see what events are planned for this year!
Celebrate all things pumpkin at the annual Council Bluffs Pumpkin Festival at Ditmars Orchard and Vineyard! Enjoy face painters, a balloon artist, pumpkin painting, pumpkin-inspired treats, a corn maze, tractor-pulled rides, live music and so much more — all the perfect ingredients for a family-friendly fall festival.
If you’re an Omaha local, you know about the Omaha World-Herald’s annual Best of Omaha competition, where everyone votes for the best business in a wide variety of categories. Celebrate all of the winners at this annual festival, which includes a puppy pageant, a fashion show, a children’s carnival, raffle prizes, and free food and drinks.
Nothing will get you in the holiday spirit quite like the Lighting Ceremony, which takes place in our city every year on Thanksgiving Day. This special event always includes live performances from incredible local bands along with a festive countdown to lighting the tree. Following the ceremony, don’t miss the opportunity to jump-start your holiday shopping! Some of Old Market’s finest shops, restaurants and pubs are open, and you can enjoy horse-drawn carriage rides with your loved ones.
This event also kicks off the Omaha Holiday Lights Festival, which runs from Thanksgiving to the beginning of January and allows you to experience downtown covered in thousands of dazzling lights.
To close out each year, Omaha puts on a spectacular fireworks show that is a must-see for every Omahan! This incredible show is one of the largest New Year’s Eve events in the region, drawing more than 30,000 people to the area each year.
The Omaha St. Patrick’s Day Parade is one of the most highly anticipated events of the year. The AOH Father Flanagan Division hosts this annual parade in the streets of downtown, surrounded by hundreds of people donning green. And if you don’t get in enough celebration at the parade itself, you can always catch up at the after party, usually held at the Old Mattress Factory directly following the parade.
Photo courtesy of Kathy Rae Photography via Omaha Fashion Week | Designer: Only By Faith, Models: Develop Model Management
Omaha is known for many things — top-notch steaks, friendly people, beautiful homes, and innovative fashion! Every winter and fall, Omaha Fashion Week returns, bringing local, regional and national designers to showcase their latest looks on the runway. Over the years, it has grown to become the fifth-largest fashion event in the country, boasting a glamorous red carpet, live entertainment, shopping and more.
Since it was established in 2005, the Omaha Film Festival has been giving independent film artists the opportunity to share their work in front of a local audience. Every year, this event gives you the chance to witness films from local and national artists along with the opportunity to attend several parties throughout the week!
Every year around Easter, the Latino Peace Officers Association puts on an Omaha family favorite. The annual egg hunt always features thousands of eggs filled with candy, delicious food, rides, and other family-friendly activities!
Photo courtesy of UrbanImages via the Cinco de Mayo Festival
This grand celebration of Latin American culture is actually one of the biggest festivals year-round in the Midwest — and it’s definitely the most popular way to celebrate the holiday in Omaha. The fantastic live music, parties and carnival rides bring thousands of people to the Omaha area each year. And the main event, the awe-inspiring parade down 24th Street, draws huge crowds to cheer on the floats, marching bands and unique entertainers!
Starting in the late spring, you can visit the Omaha Farmers’ Market! The Omaha Farmers’ Market in the Old Market is considered the best farmers’ market in all of Nebraska. Once you see the bustling activity, the abundance of goods, and the 100+ smiling vendors at the Old Market, you’ll see why!
And if you accidentally sleep through the market on Saturday in the Old Market, you’ll get a second chance to purchase produce at the Omaha Farmers’ Market at Aksarben Village every Sunday! This market boasts more than 110 vendors and is growing year after year.
Whether you’re getting ready to enjoy a Cinco de Mayo parade or a spectacular holiday light display, we hope you have a great time! What annual events in Omaha do you look forward to every year?