We know 2020 has been a challenging year for many of us, but in just a few weeks we’ll finally be welcoming in 2021—and we plan to celebrate!
Just like everything else in 2020, New Year’s Eve is shaping up to be pretty different than ever before. But while we might have to forgo the normal opulent parties, bar crawls and Champagne-soirees, there are still plenty of ways you can say hello to 2021 safely!
To prove it to you, we’ve rounded up a few ideas of how you can spend this exciting holiday in Omaha. Below you’ll find some socially-distanced events, at-home celebration ideas and special meal and cocktail deals to take advantage of. Enjoy!
For Adults | For the Whole Family
Photo courtesy of Flagship Restaurant Group via Plank Seafood & Provisions
2020 has had a lot of ups and downs, but if there’s anything we hope will stay around after the pandemic is over, it’s to-go cocktails! Bars and restaurants all across the Omaha area have been offering easy and delicious cocktail kits and pre-made cocktails in jars that you can pick up curbside and take home to enjoy. One of our favorite deals is from Plank Seafood & Provisions in Old Market, offering Bloody Marys, daiquiris, old fashioneds, spiked lemonade, margaritas and so much more for curbside takeout. Order a few drinks this New Year’s Eve and top it off with a platter of fresh oysters, beignet-style hush puppies, mahi-mahi tacos or tasty lobster rolls! Click here to peruse their entire takeout menu.
Enjoy a Curbside Feast From Le Bouillon
This New Year’s Eve, we’re definitely going to miss the fancy dining at local celebrations. But what if we told you that you could enjoy a bit of those classic NYE traditions from the comfort of your own home? Le Bouillon is a French restaurant nestled in the heart of Old Market offering soul-warming food using ingredients from local farmers and producers. Their menu changes every week, but regardless of what they’re offering, we promise it will be delicious. Order a few fancy dishes for curbside pickup to top off your at-home 2020 send off like their amazing risotto, duck frites and more. If you’d rather make the feast yourself, Le Bouillon has a weekly meal kit, which includes all the ingredients and instructions you’ll need to craft a delicious meal for you and your loved ones.
If you’d rather spend your New Year’s Eve celebrating the local art scene, Pottawattamie Arts, Culture and Entertainment in Council Bluffs is hosting open studio hours from 4-8 p.m. on the last night of the year. Enjoy wandering the halls of the Hoff Center, exploring a dazzling array of media like oil and acrylics, pastel, photography, sculpture, home goods, and more, all made by local artists. Masks will be required as is social distancing. Click here for all the information.
Go to a Virtual Concert
The biggest thing we’ll miss from this year’s New Year’s Eve celebrations is getting dolled up and going to festive parties and events! But just because you’re at home, doesn’t mean you can’t still get dressed up and enjoy a show. The Omaha Symphony Orchestra has a backlist of recorded performances that you can enjoy from the comfort of your own home. Right now, they have The Nutcracker ready and free to stream online! So put on your favorite dressy clothes, pour yourself a glass of bubbly and party in your living room until the clock strikes midnight.
Binge Your Favorite Holiday Movies
New Year’s Eve is always a bittersweet day. On one hand, it’s the beginning of a brand new year. On the other, it’s the end of the much-beloved holiday season. Even though Christmas has come and gone, spend one last evening binging all the holiday movies you forgot to watch earlier this month! Elf, Home Alone, Christmas Vacation and even Die Hard are great choices. Not only is it a great way to pass the time, but it will also have you entering the new year in the holiday spirit—and we can’t imagine a better way to welcome 2021!
Get a Growler of Champagne From the Homy Inn
Champagne is an integral part of NYE. But instead of going out to the local liquor store to pick up a bottle, why not grab a local selection? Omaha’s own Homy Inn has Champagne on tap, and you can purchase a full crowler or growler of it! Choose from sweet, dry, strawberry and peach champagne or opt for their famous sangria.
Photo courtesy of The Magnolia Hotel
Even if you can’t go out and party at an opulent celebration, you can still treat yourself to a little luxury! Book a staycation at one of Omaha’s finest hotels: The Magnolia Hotel, located downtown. This small hotel chain (only in six cities across the US) has made a name for itself with stellar service, artfully restored historic details and modern flair. The Omaha location is situated in the former Aquila Court Building, which was built in 1923. Whether you’re by yourself or with a partner, you’re sure to feel like royalty here. To help prevent the spread of COVID-19, they have increased sanitation and other measures to keep the property clean and safe for guests. Click here for current COVID-19 guidelines and information on booking!
For the Whole Family
Photo courtesy of Brad Williams Photography via The Holiday Lights Festival
Every year, Omaha’s annual Holiday Lights Festival concludes with a dazzling fireworks show. This spectacular show is one of the largest NYE fireworks displays in the entire midwest, drawing thousands of visitors every year. To help prevent the spread of COVID-19, 2020’s event encourages Omahans to enjoy the show from the comfort of their car in specific viewing areas. Just drive up, tune your radio to STAR 104.5 and watch this year’s special show, which will celebrate front-line and essential workers who have been working tirelessly to keep our community safe this year. Click here for a full map of the recommended viewing locations.
Do a NYE Craft
DIY New Year’s Balls, noisemakers, confetti poppers and banners—there are so many ways that kids can bring the NYE cheer to life with just a few simple household items! Settle in with your family on the last day of the year and spend a few hours making DIY goodies to play with all night long. Here’s a handy list from Spaceships and Laser Beams outlining some of our favorite New Year’s themed crafts for children of all ages!
Watch the Ball Drop on TV
If your children are older and able to stay up until Midnight (or 11 p.m. Central Time), why not participate in the time-honored tradition of watching the ball drop in Times Square? While they won’t be allowing the massive crowds like years past, Manhattan still plans to drop the massive shiny orb at Midnight EST on New Year’s Eve. You can watch the show virtually by tuning in to ABCNews.com, Facebook Watch or on the ABC News app.
Have PJ Party
When you’re a kid, there’s nothing better than wearing your PJs but not having to go to sleep! So as long as you’re planning on staying up all night—why not throw a little pajama party? Get dressed up in your best pajamas, complete with bunny slippers, hats and eye masks, and spend the night indulging in fun snacks, watching movies and celebrating the new year quarantine-style.
If you have younger children in your family that can’t stay up very late, Noon Year’s Eve is always a fun alternative! This year, The Durham Museum will be hosting a special Noon Year’s Eve celebration, where you and your family can explore the museum, participate in exciting events and take home a goodie bag to let you celebrate the holiday at home. This event is included with museum admission, but timed entry reservations are required to allow for social distancing. Click here for more information.
Get Hot Chocolate From Urban Abbey
While you’re out exploring Omaha’s holiday light displays (click here for a list of our favorites!), don’t forget to make a hot cocoa stop! Urban Abbey, in addition to incredible coffee, just happens to have some of the best hot chocolate in town. They even have a white chocolate version that is oh-so-good. If you’d rather pick your hot cocoa up curbside, just give them a call and they’ll bring it out to your car.
Photo courtesy of VIP Carwash
A car wash isn’t usually cause for celebration. But combine the swirling, colorful bubbles with a psychedelic holiday light show and you have an exciting (and safe!) holiday event for the whole family! VIP Carwash on M Street is hosting a special holiday light show inside their car wash on New Year’s Eve. The show will feature hundreds of lights programmed to videos and music, characters like Anna and Elsa, the Grinch and Santa Claus, and a costumed staff and volunteers. Each car wash comes with VIP’s highest level wash: The VIP and a hand dry for just $20. 10% of all sales will go to support the Autism Action Partnership to help improve the quality of life for those on the autism spectrum. The holiday fun is happening through the entire month of December (excluding Christmas Eve and Christmas Day) including New Year’s Eve from 5:30 p.m.-10 p.m.!
Host a Virtual Gathering
One of the biggest things we have missed during the pandemic is getting together with all of our family and friends. Luckily, because we live in the 21st century, it’s pretty easy to set up a virtual soiree. On New Year’s Eve, get the gang together online for a midnight countdown, a dance party or just to hang out! All you’ll need is a Zoom subscription and a little imagination to create an exciting event for all of your favorite people.
How are you planning on spending New Year’s Eve 2021 in Omaha? Let us know in the comments!