Holiday traditions offer fun for all


By Kelsey Stewart, News Editor

Baby, it’s cold outside. A cold weather set in doesn’t mean you have to stay home. Omaha has plenty of fun indoor and outdoor winter activities to keep you busy this semester break.


Visit part of the Holiday Lights Festival at the Gene Leahy Mall. The long-standing tradition started in 1999. Downtown streets are decked out in festive twinkling lights for the season. 

  • WHEN: Now through Jan. 6. 
  • HOURS: Lights are on from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. every evening.
  • WHERE: Gene Leahy Mall and neighboring streets, 16th Street from Howard to Dodge streets and 10th Street from Douglas Street to Abbott Drive.
  • ADMISSION: Free.


Browse window displays in Midtown Crossing at “Miracle on Farnam.” Fourteen creative non-profits transformed ordinary storefronts into holiday miracles. Browse the miraculous displays and then vote for your favorite. The winner will receive a $3,000 donation from Midtown Crossing.

  • WHEN: Now through Jan. 1. 
  • HOURS: Windows are lit from 8 a.m. to 1 a.m. daily.
  • WHERE: Midtown Crossing, 33rd and Farnam streets.
  • ADMISSION: Free.
  • CONTACT: 402-934-9275 or


Skaters of all ages can take to the ice this winter. Enjoy the outdoor skating experience under the lights while listening to holiday music.

The ConAgra Foods Ice Rink is open as part of the Holiday Lights Festival. Admission benefits Food Bank for the Heartland. Public is encouraged to bring donations of non-perishable foods and household goods. All skaters must sign a liability waiver before skating.

  • WHEN: Now through Jan. 6.
  • HOURS: Sunday-Thursday, 1 p.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 1 p.m. to midnight; Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.; closed Christmas and New Year’s Day. 
  • WHERE: ConAgra Foods campus, 10th and Harney streets.
  • ADMISSION: $5 includes skate rental. Children under five skate free.

The UNMC outdoor public skating rink features concessions, music and seasonal decorations.

  • WHEN: Now through March 1.
  • HOURS: Tuesday-Friday, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Sunday, noon to 8 p.m.; closed Mondays, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.
  • WHERE: East of 42nd Street, between Emile Street and Dewey Avenue. 
  • ADMISSION: $7 includes skate rental. $5 without skate rental. Cash or credit card only. 


Enjoy the sounds of the season at Joslyn Art Museum’s “Holiday Under Glass.” Visit one of the series’ seven remaining holiday concerts in the museum’s glass atrium. 

  • WHEN: Dec. 12, 14, 19 and 21.
  • HOURS: Noon to 12:45 p.m.
  • WHERE: Joslyn Art Museum, 2200 Dodge St. 
  • ADMISSION: Free with museum admission. $8 for adults, $6 for students, $5 for children.
  • CONTACT: 402-342-3300 or


See more than 5,600 poinsettias on display at the Lauritzen Gardens. The annual holiday show includes a 20-foot-tall poinsettia tree, holiday trees and antique sleighs. Model trains star in the show, too. More than 300 feet of track weaves through the floral display. 

  • WHEN: Now through Jan. 6.
  • HOURS: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.
  • WHERE: Lauritzen Gardens, 100 Bancroft St.
  • ADMISSION: $6 for adults, $3 for children, free for members.
  • CONTACT: 402-346-4002 or


Who needs the Rockefeller Center tree? Omaha has a beautifully decorated 37-foot Blue Spruce at the Durham Museum. In addition to the picturesque tree, the Durham has other holiday events happening all winter long. Go to family nights with Santa, listen to the holiday concert series or see the ethnic tree display. Or you can stop by to see some of the regular museum exhibits. The Durham is collecting items for the Omaha Food Bank throughout the holiday season.

  • WHEN: Now through Jan. 6.
  • HOURS: Sunday, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.; Monday and Wednesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Tuesday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; closed Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. 
  • WHERE: Durham Museum, 801 S. 10th St. 
  • ADMISSION: $8 for adults, $5 for children, free for members.
  • CONTACT: 402-444-5071 or