Whether you’re still piecing together a winter plan, or if this guide finds you in the throes of a Midwestern snowstorm, there are plenty of excuses to get out through the season, and hey — you might even end up enjoying the cold, crisp weather!

That said, here some are great activities you can do outside during an Omaha winter. Dress warm and have fun!


Sled when it snows

With a record low snowfall this season, the city folk take what they can get when they can get it. And if you love the outdoors and are in the know, chances are you see Western Nebraska as one of the few wintry escapes within shouting distance of Omaha. But when it snows plentifully, there are a few go-to places to keep in mind.

Memorial Park is a perennial favorite for its central location atop hills, while Rockbrook Park (aka Rocket Park) is also fondly remembered by those who grew up in the neighborhood. And if you’re in Lincoln, check out Pioneer’s Park Nature Center – but whether you’re in either of the main cities, you could always head to Mahoney State Park in Ashland.

Photo by Elijah Hale on Unsplash

Take a brisk nature hike

If you can brave the cold, you might want to go for a brisk hike through one of the many parks and trails nearby. After all, it’s a great way to feel energized, assuming you dress warmly.

The good news is there are numerous locations throughout the city, and many like Heron Haven, Hummel Park, and Fontenelle Forest are local favorites and frequented but not overrun or crowded. And because it’s so cold, the bugs will be at a minimum.

And did you know that UNO’s Outdoor Venture Center rents winter equipment like cross country skis and snowshoes? Fontenelle Forest also rents snowshoes – and regulars recommend going when it’s snowy but not freezing.

Though the Omaha Bicycle Co. doesn’t have a physical location anymore, it stays active organizing group bike rides year-round. Found on Facebook page

Go for a bundled-up bike ride

As is the theme for most of this list, just because winter arrived does not mean you must put the bike away. Though you must, of course, watch the weather forecast for snow and ice before riding.

Check out your local bike shop for all-terrain tires that can plow through snow, gravel, and any other surface. Keep your gear in winter shape with a tuneup or purchase a new bike for winter conditions.

Some choice shops you should check out include Green Street Cycles – which has two locations in town, having recently closed its downtown shop – Re-CYCLE Bike Shop, and The Bike Rack, all committed to encouraging pedal power. You can follow Omaha Bicycle Co. on Facebook, as they now schedule group bike rides, even during the cold season.

Photo by Clay Banks, on Unsplash

Go ice fishing

Ice Fishing in Nebraska may not be everyone’s cup of tea because you need pro-level winter gear, a fishing permit, and a hand auger for drilling. But for many anglers, fishing is a year-round passion – and the ice merely makes the sport a bit more interesting.

First, if you don’t already have a fishing permit for the year, pick one up online ($10 for a day or $38 for a year if you’re a resident) at the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission site. Then, if you need the gear, there are several options, including Scheels, Dick’s Sporting Goods, and L and A Bait, just to name a few.

Today, people rely on ice maps to find viable ice fishing spots each season. Check the Nebraska Ice Fishing forums on the Nebraska Fish and Game Association (NEFGA) website or the Nebraska Ice Fishing section on Ice Shanty.

Shred the hills on Mt. Crescent

If you treasure exhilaration, plan a trip to Mt. Crescent, the ski resort just 15 miles northeast of Omaha. The resort hosts classes for beginners and is often considered one of the best places to learn skiing and snowboarding – especially near Omaha.

First, determine your approach. A family season pass for four (from roughly December to March, depending on the weather) will set you back just under a grand, whereas, excluding small children, individual lift tickets go for anywhere between $25-44 per day per person. If you don’t already have gear, renting a helmet, boots, and skis/snowboard will cost $39 each.

But a few heads-ups, readers. First, everyone who rides must have a signed waiver, including people underage, who need a parent or legal guardian’s consent. And second, going between Wednesday and Friday will cost less than going on the weekend. Shred some hills!

Omaha Running Club proves that people who run together have fun together. ORC Facebook page

Run with a group of Omaha runners

If bicycles aren’t you’re thing, you can still go outdoors, be active, and even enjoy the camaraderie of a group, thanks to local winter runs near you. After all, Midwestern runners love running, but they can’t wait for perfect weather unless they move to San Diego.

You can participate in a few local runs scheduled for the last stretch of winter, from now until about the first half of March. It’s the perfect chance to see why many runners prefer cooler weather! 

But if you wanted to run with others WHILE competing — either against others or yourself — then pick up the pace and register for one of the many winter runs offered on the Omaha Running Club race calendar.

The King Dome at Kimberly Creek Retreat fits six adults comfortably. Ashland NE

Enjoy the cold and the glamp

Want to spend time in a natural winter wonderland, but not into hardcore roughing it? “Glamping” at Kimberly Creek Retreat may be your answer. This is the beautiful marriage of an outdoor experience along with a few key trappings of modern civilization (HVAC, electricity).

This private nature sanctuary is located about 30 minutes outside of Omaha, and is designed to let you get away from the hustle-bustle of everyday life. It’s situated on over 20 acres of wooded land that features hills, cliffs, Pawnee Creek, fire pits and hiking trails. Not a camper? Day passes are also available.

Its smallest, cutest private lodgings, the “Nook” and the “Cranny,” are each equipped with one double bed. No matter the size of your cabin, you can get as fancy as you want with amenities galore. Charcuterie platter? Deluxe s’mores? They’ve got ’em. The largest cabin, the “Sundowner” sleeps eight adults, with a hot tub to boot.

Even though you have your creature comforts, do not be surprised if you hear actual creatures — coyotes or owls — while chilling by the campfire. Schedule your reservation at Kimberlycreekretreat.com.

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