Editor’s Note, Dec. 27, 2021: Stop us if you’ve heard this before. It’s the holidays and people want to celebrate, but please be smart. We need you to wear a mask, get vaccinated, get boosted and take COVID-19 seriously. Douglas County hospitals were at 90% capacity and nearly 3,000 Nebraskans have died from the virus. And while 62% of Nebraskans have gotten the shot, the more contagious omicron variant poses serious threats as cases are, once again, spiking while Douglas County goes without a mask mandate.
We don’t want to pull stories to remind readers COVID-19 is serious, especially as we enter our third year of the pandemic. But that’s the reality. Get your loved ones vaccinated and boosted. Make sure you have a mask in hand when you need to go to the grocery store. Pandemic fatigue or not, it’s not just possible to beat this, but necessary.
The New Year has long represented a moment of celebration and reflection in the world. This year, Omaha locals looking to celebrate have several options on both New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.
Have fun, be safe, and happy New Year!
1920s New Year’s Eve Party
- Edge of the Universe
- December 31 | 7 p.m. | No cover
- 6070 N Maple St
If you consider yourself a fan of the Great Gatsby or Omaha history, the speak-easy event of the year is your true calling this New Year’s Eve. That is, of course, the 1920s New Years’ Eve Party at Edge of the Universe – voted Best Bar for Conversation in 2021.
The Edge of the Universe will do more than merely emulate a moment 100 years ago. The venue has firsthand experience with the 20s, given the building was a speak-easy back in the day of prohibition.
There is no cost to get in the doors and attend. That said, there will be drinks and food available for purchase. Feel free to dress up in the elegant throwback style of the flappers and join the establishment in toasting a complimentary glass of champagne or sparkling cider while the confetti pops at midnight.
New Year’s Eve at Moe and Curly’s
- Moe and Curly’s Pub
- January 31 | 9 p.m. | $90+
- 1011 Capitol Ave | (402) 934-4448
New Year’s Eve at Moe and Curly’s, the venue voted Best Karaoke Bar in 2020, is one big New Year’s event between two bars. Split your night effortlessly between the home base Moe and Curly’s and Howard & Fine for the ultimate experience.
The $90 charge at the door gets you an immersive experience of karaoke at Moe and Curly’s and a DJ at Howard & Fine. Plus, there is an open bar for you to peruse and safely enhance the night on the town.
If you want a table for you and your friends, you will have to explore the VIP reservation options. Thankfully, if you go the premium route – $160 for two seats or $320 for four – it comes with a bottle of champagne and half-off any premium or top-shelf drinks at the bar. Note general admission tickets are available for purchase at the door.
8th Annual Omaha Hip Hop Awards New Year’s Eve Super Gala
- Omaha Palazzo
- December 31 | 8 p.m. – 1 a.m. | $64
- 5110 N 132nd St | (402) 819-8792
The 2021 Omaha Hip Hop Awards represent the eighth installment of the vital awards ceremony, musical showcase, and cultural time-stamp dedicated to preserving Omaha’s hip-hop history. Hosted by hilarious comedian and professional mentor Malcolm Tiller at the Omaha Palazzo – Omaha’s premier Italian event venue- you can expect the night to be quite a savory and fulfilling experience – both for the spirit and the stomach.
In true gala fashion, a red carpet entrance will start the night. Houston Alexander will appear, and there will be plenty of on-point performances to punctuate the ceremony before the ball drops at midnight.
There’s plenty to wet your whistle at the open bar, of course. The seated catering includes fried chicken, spaghetti with meat sauce, garlic bread, caesar salad, and assorted desserts.
Barnato Presents ’21 NYE Party
- December 31 | 8 p.m. – 2 a.m. |$55-$250
- 225 N 170th St Suite 95 | (402) 964-2021
If you seek one of the best venues deep in West Omaha for a New Year’s celebration, head to Barnato’s NYE Party. Here, you will experience a mix of live music and good dance vibes, thanks to the DJ’s.
Gibbz will open up the party’s string of live performances. Then from 8-10:45 p.m., CHERUB will take the stage. But it’s not over yet! A local to-be-determined DJ will get the venue-sized aux cord for their chance at the glory. And finally, Jason from CHERUB will take over the reins and DJ through the night until 2021 becomes 2022.
If you want to go for the more expensive set of tickets, the $250 price gets you a reserved table for two. Doors open at 7 p.m.
New Year’s Eve at the Switch
- The Switch Beer & Food Hall
- December 31 | 7 p.m. | No Cover
- 3618 Farnam Street | (531) 375-5486
If an end-of-the-year party in the Blackstone district sounds like fun to you, you are in luck. New Year’s Eve at the Switch has everything you want and more this New Year’s Eve, including a night of great tunes, food, and drinks in the Blackstone area.
Enter the rattle if you feel lucky – you might win gift cards to your favorite places in Blackstone. And the bar hands out free glasses of champagne when the clock strikes midnight to help you ring in the New Year, no matter what.
There is no cover to get in, but the food, drinks, and other services like participating in the raffle are available for purchase on the side. Be safe and see why The Switch Beer & Food Hall rocks on any given night – but especially on a night worth remembering.
NYE at O’Leaver’s
- O’Leaver’s Pub
- December 31 | Free | 9 p.m.
- 1322 Saddle Creek Rd |(402) 556-1238
Start the New Year off right with this show, especially if you are a fan of punk music, openly mature themes, and free things. New Year’s Eve at O’Leaver’s – one of the best patio bars in Omaha – won’t only include the excellent drinks, establishment, and service you know and love.
The New Year party will feature a hilariously titled tribute band called Smutthole Burpers, named after the legendary punk outfit Butthole Surfers, of course. While it may not seem like everybody’s bag from the outset, the band is filled with talented members of several local bands, including The Natural States, Bokr Tov, and Boner Killerz.
If you come, you will get a free glass of champagne from the bar to ring in the New Year with everybody else when it turns midnight. This free night of rowdy tunes and drinking might be perfect for you.
Holiday Lights Festival
- December 24, 25, 27, and 31; January 1 and 3 | All day | Free
- The Old Market: 10th to 13th St and Harney to Jackson St
- North Omaha: the six-block area around 24th and Lake St
- South Omaha: 24th St between L and Q St
The Holiday Lights Festival will continue shining in three areas of Omaha for six more days – The Old Market, North Omaha, and South Omaha. If you want to take advantage of the setup in either of these spaces – especially if you are frantically looking for festive activities – head to the Holiday Lights Festival on New Year’s Day or New Year’s Eve.
These all-day free holiday events are perfect for anyone or any age. It’s for the people who appreciate the simple pleasures, like seeing their neighborhood and the neighborhoods that represent historical Omaha lit up with brilliant colors.
Miss VA’s Single Release Party
- Wired Pub and Grill
- January 1 | 9 p.m. show | $10 ADV $15 DOS
- 5338 North 103rd Street | 5338 N 103rd St
Omaha is no stranger to rap and hip-hop music – check out our burgeoning local scene. This New Year’s Day, check out Miss VA’s “Respect the Crown” Release Party, which will get held at Wired Pub and Grill.
Miss VA is an independent hip-hop artist from Omaha who has spent the better part of a decade perfecting her craft and showcasing other local hip-hop artists. So, it makes sense the artist will not be performing alone for her release party.
Live performances, surprises, prizes, and an epic affordable New Year’s celebration will commemorate the release of “Respect The Crown” as both a song and music video available for streaming online. And the DJ for the evening will be DJ Sirr Jinxx. Get your tickets in advance for more savings!
Them Uke Boys at Dubliner Pub
- Dubliner Pub
- January 1 | $5 | 7:30-11:30 p.m.
- 1205 Harney St | (402) 342-5887
If you want a unique way to ring in the New Year and enjoy talented acoustic sets featuring songs you know and love, Them Uke Boys at Dubliner Pub represents the perfect way to celebrate the New Year. The four-piece plays all the songs you love featuring harmonies, spirit, and yes, ukeleles.
Four local artists from the scene make up Them Uke Boys. That includes singers and guitarists/ukelele-ists Daniel Butler, Patrick Conrad, Jonathon Knobbe, and drummer Mark Winkelbauer III.
For $5 and a variety of pop songs in a form you never knew you needed, this event will be a no-brainer. Plus, Dubliner is essentially the closest you can get to experiencing a genuine Irish St. Patrick’s Day on New Year’s Eve in Omaha, Nebraska – and that is something you cannot afford to miss.
Sazcha’s EP Release Show at Reverb Lounge
- Reverb Lounge
- January 1 | 8 p.m. | $8
- 6121 Military Ave | (402) 884-5707
If you are a fan of psychedelic punk music and are looking for an all-ages musical event at an affordable price to ring in the New Year, then check out Sazcha’s EP Release Show at Reverb Lounge. The local three-piece unit has a brand new batch of songs to share with the town at one of the most notable venues in Benson.
Sazcha has released one previous EP, called The Big Soup, available for streaming and purchasing on the band’s Bandcamp page. So, give that a listen if you want to get the most out of the New Year’s show.
Local supporting acts include the solo project Specter Poetics and three-piece Dell Boca Vista. Come check out what these groups have to say during a night that is fun for everyone.