The first official day of the winter season is December 21st, thus beginning the annual countdown until the first spring day on March 21st. By now, Omaha has become accustomed (if that is at all possible) to the wind, slush, frozen windshields, gray skies, and temps ranging from chilly to subzero.

Who could blame Omahans for seeking indoor activities to get us through the season? For those days when you want to stay inside where it is cozy – whether it is at home or an indoor facility – here is a list of ten activities to help you embrace rather than merely endure the season.

The beloved local botanical garden was built in 1982. Found on Facebook page

Stop and smell the flowers at Lauritzen Gardens

  • Lauritzen Gardens
  • 100 Bancroft St. | (402) 346-4002
  • Open daily from 9 am – 5 pm
  • $10 for adults, $3 for ages three to 12, free for members and kids under two

Everyone loves to relish the coziness of indoors during the holidays, but afterward, lots of folks are longing to be around plant life again – especially when times may seem bleak. If you want to get your nature fix without committing to an at-home greenhouse, take a trip down to the Lauritzen Gardens!

With several flower exhibits and events to comb through, they offer an earthy breath of spring during the harsh Midwestern winters. Refuse to wait for spring to smell the flowers!

Bring the family or tag along with some friends and grab a snack at their ConAgra Cafe from 10 am-2 pm. Check out their Valentine’s Day Dinner event if you are looking for a delectable dining experience to treat your loved one!

The Omaha Performing Arts Foundation has served its local community for over twenty years. Found on Facebook page

Tune into Live on the Stream with Omaha Performing Arts

  • Omaha Performing Arts
  • Stream at
  • Every Wednesday at noon and Saturday at 6:00 pm

Omaha takes well-deserved pride in its local music community, and has through the hardest moments of this ongoing pandemic. And what better way to spend an evening than exploring what Omaha Performing Arts has to offer than with a live-streamed show you can watch in the comfort of your home or on-the-go between trips?

With various local musical acts, Omaha Performing Arts’ Live on the Stream gives you the chance to kick back with something unique and homemade on your own time. You can watch on Facebook Live, Youtube, or Omaha Performing Art’s website for an archived list of past performances.

Ultimately, the organization is a compelling source of free entertainment for those trying to have fun on a budget. But there are always opportunities to donate if you’d like to support the Omaha Performing Arts. Follow them on Facebook for updates!

The facility is named after Motto McLean, nicknamed “Mr. Hockey,” who played for the Omaha Knights and passed away in 2019. Found on Facebook page

Skate at the Motto McLean Ice Arena

  • Motto McLean Ice Arena
  • 5015 S 45th St. | (402) 444-4955
  • Open Monday – Thursday: 8 am – 6 pm
  • Public skate: $5 for anyone six and up; kids under six get in free with paid adult

Despite the frigid iciness in the air, and although it may seem counter-intuitive to some, there is nothing like weathering the cold, putting on skates, and hitting the rink. So, why not check out the Motto McLean Ice Arena for an afternoon of ice skating or rent the place for a party?

Ice skating can be a fun change of pace for a family looking to get out after hunkering down for the holidays or an adrenaline-induced solo ride. But the arena also has several popular Groupons offered, making it an ideal place to visit if you’re looking for affordable winter activities.

Check out their website for reservations and further details on events offered or facility rental prices, including date skate, stick-and-puck, drop-in hockey, and freestyle skate events. Note it costs $2 to rent a pair of skates. 

Did you know the guitar long predates the piano? Found on Unsplash

Start making music at home

  • Ground Floor Guitar: 4009 Farnam St | (402) 614-6888
  • Keyboard Kastle: 7013 Dodge St | (402) 680-3351
  • Schmitt Music: 7355 Dodge St | (402) 391-5588
  • Guitar Center: 3115 Oak View Dr | (402) 330-1709

Have you ever hummed a made-up melody you wish was part of a song? With several top-notch instrument stores, avenues to learn music, and the advent of recording technology, it’s never been easier to experience the healing power of music.

Omaha has an eclectic selection of new and used instrument stores for you to visit. Ground Floor Guitar is perfect for guitars, Keyboard Kastle is great for synths and pianos, Schmitt Music offers a wide variety of classical instruments, and Guitar Center has all the recording gear you could want.

Aside from an instrument, the bare minimum you need to record your music is a smartphone. But if you want to go deeper, pick up an interface and microphone, hook them up to your computer, and download a free Digital Audio Workstation like Reaper to get started. Check out some tutorials on YouTube, and voila!

The Joslyn is nearing 100 years: the museum was built in 1931. Found on Facebook page

Admire the arts at the Joslyn

  • Joslyn Art Museum
  • 2200 Dodge St | (402) 342-3300
  • Open Wednesday – Sunday: 10 am to 4 pm
  • General admission is free

If making or seeking out live streams is not your thing, there are still plenty of ways to take in art locally while beating the cold. Omaha’s Joslyn Art Museum is home to a series of exciting visual art exhibits that make for a delightful trip for the family or an afternoon venture with a pal.

Check out the Soñadora exhibit by award-winning author and children’s book illustrator Yuyi Morales while it is around until April 17th. Navigating through the museum’s many corners and hallways can work up an appetite, and Joslyn has you covered with their Cafe Durham. 

Lastly, one of Joslyn’s best kept secrets is how the Museum also hosts various cultural events ranging from music to film critique to literature reviews. The facility truly has something for everyone and is a great place to take the family.

The world-renowned zoo opened in 1894. Found on Facebook page

Take a trip to our world-famous zoo

  • Henry Doorly Zoo
  • 3701 S 10th St. | (402) 733-8400
  • Winter prices range from free for small children to $17.95 for adults
  • Open 10 am 4 pm daily

Are you looking for something exotic without breaking the bank? The Henry Doorly Zoo offers several exhibits throughout the winter, including the Lied Jungle, to help you forget the chilly winds outside!

Most of the winter exhibits are pretty close to each other, so it’s not too much of a hike, but with the aquarium open, you won’t run out of neat animal sights during your trip. Stocked with a cafe and food stands, the Omaha Zoo won’t disappoint those looking to get out and see something lively beside the occasional highway deer and birds at the feeder.

Check out their Trivia Nights for those 21 and up. Did you know they also rent out unique spaces like the Desert Dome or Aquarium for events? Peruse their website if you’re looking for a place to host a party or get-together!

The Durham was first opened in 1931, back when it was the Union Station. Found on Facebook page

Visit the Durham Museum

  • The Durham Museum
  • 801 S 10th St. | (402) 444-5071
  • $11 for adults, $8 for seniors, $7 for kids ages three to 12, free for younger kids
  • Open 10 am – 4 pm from Tuesday to Saturday and noon to 4 pm on Sunday

The Durham Museum is always a safe bet. Featuring a variety of exhibits to satisfy history buffs, the facility offers a deep dive into Omaha history with galleries depicting everything from industry to daily life.

This step back in time is sure to leave your afternoon well-spent. Visit the Soda Fountain and Candy Shop for some snacks and treats for the kids, or grab a whole meal – they have it all.

They also offer several online photograph exhibits if you want a glimpse of how far back the museum’s contents go. Check out their social media for updates on special events or educational resources!

Cornhusker Beverage is a local, family-owned business that was started in 1966. Found on Facebook page

Turn your home into a cozy bar

  • Cornhusker Beverage
  • 8510 K St | (402) 331-5404
  • Delivery and store hours: Monday through Saturday from 9 am – 6 pm

If you miss your favorite bar, fear not. Another indoor activity that leaves you in the warmth and comfort of your own home: making cocktails or drinking cold brews. Cornhusker Beverage offers in-store and delivery servicing to get you the liquor, wine, beer, or mixes to your liking.

Choose from over 1,000 liquors, 700 wines, and 300 beers. If browsing online, select your drink category and browse the reviews to find the right beverage, or if you stop by the store, ask one of the helpful staff for their expert opinion.

Take some time to learn cocktail finesse as a fun way to spend an evening or impress friends at a limited gathering – fresh fruits and seasonal herbs go a long way! And if you are a beer person, the selection of craft beers will make you smile. Cheers!

If you are a fan of cats and coffee, you came to the right place. Found on Facebook page

Felius Cat Cafe

  • Felius Cat Cafe
  • 522 S 24th St | (402) 502-7650
  • Tuesday – Friday: 10 am – 6 pm ; Saturday – Sunday: 9 am – 6 pm

You already know you can beat the cold with a toasty cup of coffee, but if you’re looking to warm your heart while you’re at it, head on down to Felius Cat Cafe. If you have never considered the combination of the two, you are in for a treat.

If you’re a cat person, you know cats are lovable, fluffy sources of joy, and if you aren’t a cat person, then what about an opportunity to live a little vicariously and snuggle somebody else’s cat? Even if you only visit, know that you also bring joy to the lovely roaming cats of Felius Cat Cafe.

On the chance that one of those critters melts your heart, they are ALL adoptable. It costs $7.50 to cuddle a cat for 30 minutes or $14 for an hour, and you can adopt any kitty over seven years old for only $75. (Fees are adjusted according to age.) The drinks are affordable, too.

The escape room entertainment facility recommends booking your group in advance. Found on Facebook page

Escape from Get Out

  • Get Out Omaha – Escape Rooms
  • 501 S 13th St. | (402) 881-0368
  • Open Wednesday – Thursday: 3-10 pm; Friday: 2-11 pm; Saturday: 12-11 pm; Sunday: 12-8 pm
  • $25 per person Wednesday – Thursday; Four people or $120 minimum Friday – Sunday

Escape rooms are a great way to get the puzzle-solving part of your brain working without the work of learning a new board game or hundreds of tiny pieces. If you’re looking for an occasional challenge to solve with some friends or family, then Get Out Omaha has what you need.

With a selection of escape rooms, you can treat yourselves to a themed puzzle room at whatever difficulty you prefer. Whether you’re a game nerd at heart or you just like a casual game, you can get competitive or relaxed and solve a series of mysteries with your pals. It’s no wonder why Get Out was among the top escape rooms of Readers’ Choice in 2021.

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