The first official day of the winter season is December 21st, thus beginning the annual countdown until the first day of spring on March 21st.  Wind, slush, frozen windshields grey skies and temps ranging from chilly to subzero; who could blame Omahans for seeking out some indoor activities to get us through the season? For those days when you want to stay inside where it’s cozy, here’s a list of activities to help you embrace rather than just endure the season.

Photo by Paweł Czerwiński on Unsplash

Lending A Helping Hand

Searching for a way to give back this winter? Grab a friend and serve at the many food banks and nonprofits in the Omaha area, such as Food Bank for the Heartland and Together, Inc. Distributing meals can be a fun and rewarding way to spend an afternoon, especially with the knowledge that you are helping many in the community gain access to food this winter.

Lauritzen Garden Greenhouse, photo by Visit Omaha

Stop and Smell the Flowers

Take a mini-vacation to Lauritzen Gardens. Beginning Jan 29 is their Fantastical Folklore exhibit. An enchanting exhibit, set in the garden’s plant kingdom, brings to life the legends and lore from around the globe and celebrates the links between the natural and mythical worlds.

From dragons to mermaids and fairies to trolls, you’ll meet a menagerie of extraordinary creatures and discover the incredible tales behind them all. For more information on the display, their calendar of other winter events and social distancing guidelines, visit the website.

De-stress With Axe Throwing

Get in on the axe throwing craze by booking a session at Flying Timber Axe Throwing or Craft Axe Throwing! Win big by throwing axes at a giant dartboard-like target. The closer you get to the bullseye, the more points you will score (and the more bragging rights you’ll have).

If you’re looking for a casual hangout or a more serious competition, you can book events at Flying Timber and Craft Axe for social, corporate, and league groups. Social distancing guidelines will be in place and all events are staffed with trained instructors. Click here for COVID-19 policies and other information.

Front Row Tickets … On Your Couch!

Every Wednesday at 12:00 p.m. and Saturday at 6:00 p.m. Performing Arts Omaha presents Live on the Stream, entertainment at your fingertips. These concerts are streamed LIVE to PA-O’s Facebook and YouTube so you can watch them on whichever platform you prefer, from the comfort of your home.

The concert will be the first post on whichever page you are watching once it’s showtime. If you follow Performing Arts Omaha on Facebook, you will be sent a notification once we’re live. If you’re not on social media, you can get a direct link to the concert one week in advance at that will take you straight to the concert.

Photo courtesy of

Treat Your Eyes to Some Art at Joslyn Art Museum

If you need some color to break up the grey skies and snow, the Joslyn Art Museum is still offering free admission. Just reserve your ticket ahead of time and you can see temporary exhibits such as Tuan Andrew Nguyen’s The Boat People or Revisiting America: The Prints of Currier & Ives, the latter of which will have a $10 admission ticket. Permanent collections are also on display.

Photo by Apolo Photographer on Unsplash

Rock Out at The Durham Museum

Besides The Durham’s ongoing exhibits, get ready for “Guitar: The Instrument that Rocked the World” Feb. 6 – April 25, 2021.

Explore the history of the world’s most recognized musical instrument, experience diverse genres of music and discover the science of pitch and tone. Crossing over cultural boundaries, the guitar has made a significant impact on a wide variety of groups from gypsies to cowboys to teenage rebels.

See over 60 guitars and nearly 100 historical artifacts that immerse you in the heart of music. Experience the rush of the world’s most recognized musical instrument through the powerful lens of science. You, too, can play a Guinness Record-breaking 43.5 foot long guitar. Discover how the selection of different materials and strings, fused with electromagnetism and amplification, create an elaborate device that has revolutionized music.

Photo by Dallas Reedy on Unsplash

Stream Films with Film Streams

Movie theaters have reopened during the pandemic, but it’s understandable to not want to sit in an enclosed space with others for about 2 hours. Thankfully, it is possible to support Omaha’s independent theater, Film Streams, from home.

Film Streams also offers curbside concession pickups every Thursday, Friday and Saturday evening from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Items available include popcorn, snacks, and even alcoholic drinks.

Photo by Matt Botsford on Unsplash

Crack up with Backline Comedy Open Mic

Sitting in a comedy club is not the safest way to spend an evening during a global pandemic, but since March, Omaha has found a way to bring weekly laughs through the Internet. Every Tuesday night at 8 p.m., local comedian Brooke Barsell hosts an online open mic. Available on Facebook, Twitch and YouTube, viewers can watch 40 comedians from around the world tell jokes for 3 minutes apiece.

For those who want to participate in Omaha’s only online open mic, sign-ups are every Saturday with forms accessible on the Backline Comedy Facebook page. You can become involved in the local comedy scene and get to know other comedians from outside Omaha with this online event!

Edge of the Universe in Benson. (Facebook)

Treat Yo’self at the Edge of the Universe

Edge of the Universe Cafe is unlike other cafes. They have an ever-changing roster of fun events, including board games, stories and parties. There is always something new happening at the Edge of the Universe. Their February event is a Super Bowl party, but with a completely unique twist.

Jane Freakin’ Austin!

JANE AUSTEN SUPER BOWL 2021 brings the best drinks, scones, tea cakes, charcuterie boards and fanciest of movie marathons – ALL JANE AUSTEN MOVIES, 12 am – 8pm!!

Along with Edge of the Universe’s entire menu of baked goods, soups and charcuterie boards, you can fuel the festivity with hot drinks, beer and wine. Be there to quote along to your favorite Jane Austen movies! Click here for more information!

Photo by Jenn Kosar on Unsplash

Soup Season

You could make the argument that any season is soup season. We at The Reader would be the first to make such a claim. However, nothing hits the spot on a cold winter day like a bowl of hot soup. Maybe even a grilled cheese or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on the side if it tickles your fancy. So this winter, get a few recipes together (maybe from the latest Omaha Junior League Cookbook or from one of the hundreds of cookbooks available through the Omaha Public Library.) Our favorites are a classic tomato (bonus points if you mix in a bunch of peanut butter — just trust us on this one) as well as butternut squash and a potato.

Mix it up!

If you enjoy a nice adult beverage but are tired of stomaching cheap tall boys or stiff mixed drinks, get yourself some bartending accoutrements and get to shaking. The good news is the best ones for winter don’t require too much skill, hot toddies, mulled ciders and Irish coffees being high on the list. If you want to take it a step further, you can infuse your liquors with herbs, fruits and other great flavors to spice up a simple cocktail.

Photo by Yulia Khlebnikova on Unsplash

Baking is Always in Season!

Breads, cookies, pies. Whatever you’re in the mood for, there are so many great options for the baking beginner or enthusiast. A great project if you’re up for it is creating your own sourdough starter using the yeast that naturally occurs in the air.

Or not….Anti-Baking Anthem

If you’re reading this in 2020, the year of our good lord, you’ve probably heard enough about people getting into baking. Somehow this, and so many other hobbies, became the fulcrum of our collective sanity as the world teetered into the unknown of the pandemic. So instead of picking up something new, try getting rid of something old. Donate old clothes to your favorite charity, thrift store or homeless shelter. Old coats, sweaters, thick pants and other warm clothes that you haven’t worn in years could really be used by someone else.

Fermenting Kombucha, Photo by Tim-Oliver Metz on Unsplash

Fermentation Projects

On the other hand, you might need a spark of novelty in your life. As you look out your window, you may wonder whether Omaha has truly become such a barren wasteland, or if you’re only staring at the reflection in the glass. Why have those warm summer days, and the outdoor dining and patio drinking it brought, left us? Mother Nature is a cruel and inscrutable force. Anyway, you could try making some pickles? Or sauerkraut? Or Kombucha? If you’re feeling really gutsy you can try brewing your own beer.

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