The most wonderful time of the year is here! While the next few months are going to look different than ever before due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there are still plenty of events happening in the Omaha area that will allow you to celebrate the holidays—while also staying safe.
This year, join the fun at our region’s favorite holiday events, which include several virtual soirées, 5Ks, Santa sightings and more. Let us know which ones you plan to attend in the comments below!
Please note: due to the rise in COVID-19 cases in the area and the current local restrictions, many of these events may be canceled or postponed. We recommend visiting each event’s respective website before attending to stay updated on any changes. And if you do go out, we encourage you to stay safe by socially distancing and wearing a facial covering.
When: November 7-December 24
Where: Bass Pro Shops
With their customers and staff’s safety in mind, Bass Pro Shops will be hosting Santa visits from November 7th through Christmas Eve. This year, you will be able to make a reservation online and will be required to undergo a temperature screening before visiting with Santa, to wear a mask and to social distance. The actual visits with Santa will be contactless, with an acrylic barrier in between Mr. Claus and families at all times.
When: November 7-December 24
Santa is coming to Cabela’s this season! With COVID-19 procedures very similar to Bass Pro Shops, children will be able to visit with Santa through an acrylic barrier to keep them and their families safe. Facial coverings are required as is physical distancing. Click here to make a reservation!
When: November 14-January 7
For families who don’t want to risk in-person visits with the jolly big guy, Westroads Mall will be hosting virtual visits with Santa this year! All you have to do is make a reservation on their website and then enjoy a plethora of virtual events from the Clauses and friends, like visits with Santa, storytime with Mrs. Claus, or even a pre-recorded personalized Santa video that your child can cherish for years to come.
When: November 20-December 20
Where: The Rose Theater
Celebrate the holidays with the very first show ever presented at The Rose Theater in 1995! Meet George Bailey, whose guardian angel has to descend on Christmas Eve to save him from despair and to remind him that his life has been, after all, a wonderful life. Featuring live music from the era and a virtuosic cast playing multiple roles, this production is sure to remind us about the power of community. To keep you safe, auditorium seating will be limited in capacity with empty seats in between family groups. Face coverings are required when not seated.
When: November 20-January 3
Where: Werner Park
Photo courtesy of Santa’s Rock n Lights
Due to gathering restrictions and social distancing measures this holiday season, a drive-through light display might just be the perfect way to celebrate! Head to Werner Park in Papillion for a drive-through wonderland, complete with a light tunnel, massive light sculptures, displays timed to music, and more. There will be a limited amount of vehicles allowed in every night, so you’ll want to get your tickets as soon as possible. Click here for more information.
When: November 21-January 3
Where: Lauritzen Gardens
Experience this festive plant like never before at the Holiday Poinsettia Show at Lauritzen Gardens! This year, view thousands of poinsettias bursting with rich and vibrant colors. In the center of it all, a magnificent 20-foot poinsettia will stand tall, surrounded by a cascade of twinkling white lights, ornaments and model garden trains—which is a sight you definitely don’t want to miss! This year’s show has been designed as a one-way experience with ample room to allow for social distancing.
When: November 20-January 4
Where: Throughout Omaha
The holidays are a magical time throughout Omaha! One of our favorite ways to indulge in holiday cheer is by visiting all of the amazing local light displays. This year, you can find public light displays in Old Market, running from 10th to 13th Street and from Harney to Jackson Street. You can also head to the North Omaha lighting display, which encompasses a six-block area around 24th and Lake Streets or the South Omaha lighting display, which will be showcased on 24th Street between L and Q Streets. All of the lighting displays will be up until January 4th, so you have plenty of time to explore!
When: November 20-February 14
Where: Turner Park
Photo courtesy of Midtown Crossing
Speaking of light displays—don’t miss the annual Season of Lights at Midtown Crossing! This incredible tradition consists of tens of thousands of white LED lights strung throughout Turner Park and along Farnam Street. Plus, plenty of local businesses will be decorating their front windows for your pleasure. Stop by to explore the lights and see the beautifully decorated tree in Farnam Court!
When: November 26, 7 a.m.
Before you dig into your Thanksgiving feast, consider starting your holiday off with a festive 5K! This year, the Omaha Turkey Trot will be held downtown, with a course winding through essential Omaha stops. Participants will be rewarded with delicious Cake Creation donuts at the finish line, and brownie points will be awarded if you show up in a turkey costume! Due to COVID-19, they are also offering a virtual option this year. Click here for all the information.
When: November 26, 7-7:20 p.m.
The tree lighting ceremony at the Durham Museum is an event we look forward to every year. While we won’t be able to enjoy it in person this year, you can participate virtually! On Thanksgiving night, tune into the Durham Museum’s Facebook page to watch their 40-foot-tall Christmas Tree come to life for the holiday season. The 20-minute program will include musical performances, a greeting from Santa, and the countdown to lighting the region’s largest indoor Christmas tree—all from the comfort of your couch!
When: November 27-January 10
Where: The Durham Museum
Photo courtesy of the Durham Museum
You know what Buddy the Elf says: The best way to spread Christmas cheer—is to visit The Durham Museum, of course! This long-standing tradition has become one of the top holiday destinations in the region. Stop by to see the 40-foot-tall twinkling tree and plenty of festive holiday concerts. You may even see Santa himself!
When: November 28, 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
Where: Rockbrook Village
On Small Business Saturday, head to Rockbrook Village to visit with Santa, meet his live reindeer, enjoy carriage rides around the village, and to shop at all your favorite stores! There will also be a holiday scavenger hunt for children. Social distancing and facial coverings are highly encouraged.
When: November 28, 5:30-8:30 p.m.
Where: Papillon Community Foundation
It will take more than a global pandemic to stop Papillion from celebrating the holidays! Join them on Saturday, November 28 from 5:30-8 p.m. for a drive-through experience packed full of holiday cheer. Keep your eye out for their daily updates on what they have in store for the 28th and some additional fun experiences that will be offered through Christmas Day.
When: December 3, 3-7 p.m.
Help spread some holiday cheer by entering the first ever Lights on Dundee Gingerbread Contest! Create a gingerbread house (or whatever structure inspires you) out of edible materials of your choosing. Then submit a photo of your creation to the contest officials or take it to Exist Green to put it on physical display throughout Dundee! Winners will receive special prizes from local businesses. Click here for all the information on entering.
When: December 5, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Where: Strategic Air Command & Aerospace Museum
Santa Claus and Star Wars join forces for a fun-filled family day! At this special annual event at the Strategic Air Command and Aerospace Museum, enjoy space-related booths, pictures with Santa and Star Wars characters, activities, make-and-take ornaments, and holiday music. Come out and experience a holiday event that is out of this world! The cost of the event is general admission to the museum.
When: December 5, 10 a.m.-12 p.m.
Where: Gifford Farm Education Center
Join Gifford Farm for a fun day of holiday cheer with Santa! Ole St. Nick will be taking photos with kids and hearing their wish lists. You’ll also be able to indulge in hot chocolate and cookies, enjoy music and crafts, pet animals and so much more. Don’t forget to have your little ones write a letter to Santa and bring it along! They will personally receive a letter back a few days before Christmas.
When: December 6, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.
Where: Omaha Police Mounted Patrol Barn
To keep the community safe this year, the annual KETV Family Festival will be a drive-through experience at the Omaha Police Mounted Patrol Barn! Drive through to see police riding their horses, Santa, receive craft kits, and so much more. Volunteers will be on hand to collect food donations for the Shine the Light on Hunger campaign, so be sure to bring a nonperishable food item with you to contribute.
When: December 6, 12-6 p.m.
Where: German-American Society
The German-American Society’s Christmas in Germany fest takes a slice of German Advent traditions and plunks it down in the middle of Omaha. They’ll have Gluehwein (hot mulled wine that in the eyes of many Germans defines the season), a Christkindlmarkt (AKA a Weihnachtsmarkt– a Christmas market), Weihnachtsgebaeck (Christmas cookies) and Lebkuchen (gingerbread), as well as a German store, live music, dance performances, German food and even a visit from St. Nikolaus! All of the fun is happening in person on December 6, which means facial coverings and social distancing are encouraged.
When: November 7, 10 a.m.-1 p.m.
Where: Fat Brain Toys
Go and meet real reindeer outside of the Fat Brain Toys’ Omaha store! You’ll also receive up to $45 off of your purchase so that you can get a little early holiday shopping done. Kids are encouraged to write a letter to Santa and to place it into their North Pole mailbox when visiting.
When: December 10, 7:30 p.m.
Where: The Holland Performing Arts Center
Ring in the holiday season with The Hot Sardines! Full of brass and dazzle, this hot jazz band will infuse yuletide classics with their unique and swinging sound. The fun arrangements of holiday tunes include: “White Christmas,” “Santa Claus Got Stuck in My Chimney” and “Please Come Home for Christmas.” Click here to read about their current COVID-19 policies.
When: December 11 & 12, 4-8 p.m.
Where: Zorinsky Lake
Grab your hot chocolate, load the family into the car and drive through the Illuminate Inclusion holiday light display at Zorinsky Lake! Illuminate Inclusion is a family-friendly, socially distant fundraiser to build the first accessible and inclusive playground west of 84th Street at Zorinsky Lake. You can catch the light display December 11-12 from 5-9 p.m. each night at the water park entrance off of 156th Street at Zorinsky Lake.
When: December 12, 5 p.m.
Where: Beth El Synagogue Parking Lot
Celebrate Chanukah with Beth El! In addition to Havdallah and Chanukah candle-lighting, performers from Omaha Circus Arts will light up the night with a dazzling display. If you aren’t able to make this event in person, they will also be streaming it live on Zoom. Click here for more information.
When: December 20, 4-11 p.m.
Where: Prairie Queen Lake Site
Don your favorite Santa hat, suit or elf costume and come out and get some exercise! This holiday-themed run will start and end at the boat dock just east of the 132nd and Cornhusker Road intersection. Afterward, join your running mates for a post-race party at Lucky Bucket Brewery in La Vista. Click here to register.
Which of these holiday events are you planning to attend? Let us know in the comments below!