Christmas in Nebraska is an enchanting experience. Almost every town and city has an annual celebration for residents and visitors celebrating the colorful joy of the season. While this list is far from exhaustive, these are some of the most-loved Christmas celebrations in the state – in no particular order.
Minden is well-known as Nebraska's Christmas City. This year the city is celebrating its 100th year of spectacular Christmas lights and festivities. The annual Christmas Pageant will take place in the downtown square on December 6th and December 13th from 7 to 7:30 pm.
2. Nebraska City
Nebraska City goes all out with their Christmas decorations and celebrations. The Holiday Trolley Tour of Lights at the Lied Lodge & Conference Center takes passengers all through Nebraska City to enjoy the dazzling light displays. The tour runs on Saturdays and Sundays beginning on December 4th, leaving the Lied Lodge at 7:00 each night. Due to limited space, reservations are recommended. The Arbor Lodge Mansion and Arbor Day Farm also get in on the action with events of their own; find out more on
the city's calendar.
Ponca State Park offers a wide variety of winter and holiday activities that kicked off on November 28th and run through December 19th. With tons of educational activities, cookie decorating, a snowman contest, and lighted hayrack rides, Ponca's Christmas in the Woods packs a big punch.
Omaha is full of far too many Christmas activities to list here, but one of the highlights is the downtown Holiday Lights Festival. The festival includes a food drive, ice skating, outdoor concerts, and more than 40 blocks of spectacular Christmas lights.
The Wells Fargo Family Festival is this weekend, December 6th, from noon-5pm. Get more information on the festival
Also, be sure not to miss the always-dazzling
Christmas at Union Station.
From December 1st to the 24th, the entire city of Geneva is lit up in a spectacular style. Residents celebrate the season with church programs, a free movie, visits from Santa, a band concert, and local business giveaways.
At the Legacy of the Plains Museum in Gering, the Christmas season comes alive in true western Nebraska fashion. This Saturday, December 6th, from 10 am to 3 pm, enjoy activities like hayrack rides, marshmallow roasting and cowboy coffee over a bonfire. Kids can look forward to making Christmas crafts as well as writing letters to Santa that will be delivered via Pony Express.
7. Crawford - Ft. Robinson State Park
This Saturday, December 5th, visit the historic Fort Robinson State park to see it as you've never seen it before. The buildings are decked out in beautiful Christmas decorations and lit up from 5 to 10 pm.
There is a variety of events and activities over the holiday season in Kearney. This Sunday, December 6th from 10 am - 2 pm, head downtown for the Downtown Christmas Walk. Highlights include a live nativity, sleigh and hayrack rides, caroling, Santa visits, live reindeer, and Christmasy refreshments.
9. Lincoln - Historic Haymarket District
Lincoln's Haymarket lights up for the season with lovely light displays, holiday specials in the stores, and Santa roaming the streets. On December 11th and 18th, 6-9 pm, there will be free horse and carriage rides as well as live entertainment. Have breakfast with Santa on December 12th in the lower level of the Candy Factory from 8-11 am!
Also in Lincoln, visit the Children's Museum on December 4th from 5-8 pm for a holiday kickoff party for kids and families.
Norfolk's city celebration has already passed for this year, but you can catch a great light display, outdoor ice skating, Christmas music, and delicious refreshments at the Divots Celebration of Lights. Located on the grounds of the conference center, the light show takes approximately 20-30 minutes to drive through and is open through January 2nd. Admission is $10 per car, cash only.
Seward's Christmas celebrations have already kicked off, but it's still worth visiting local businesses, Concordia University, the Winter Wonderland, and the Santa house downtown on the Square. Seward was named by Governor Pete Ricketts as Nebraska’s Hometown Christmas City for 2015. Find out more about the festivities
North Platte celebrates Christmas at Buffalo Bill Cody’s mansion. Every room is all dressed up in sparkling lights and beautiful decorations; as you walk through the home you’ll encounter Santa, Buffalo Bill, live entertainment, and some delicious Christmas treats. Outside, carolers and horse-drawn rides round out the experience. The celebration runs December 18th-22nd this year, 5:30-8 pm each evening, with an admission fee of $5.
We know that there are a TON more Christmas celebrations and beautifully decorated towns out there. If you know of any great ones that you’d like to share, please post the details in the comments below or on our Facebook page so other readers can attend as well!