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Top 10 Nebraska Staycations & Midwestern Getaways

It’s that time of year again: a mid-to-late Nebraskan January when we’re stuck in that comatose mood which seems to emulate the condition of the grey slush covering our streets. Well, no longer! It is time to snap out of our winter zombie blues and embrace this time of season. Listed below are 10 brilliant options on how to have the best of times in the worst of temperatures.

The first 5 are local Omaha attractions and events so you can have the weekend staycation of your dreams. The rest are for those who wish to “get the heck out of Dodge” and spend a lengthier retreat (perhaps taking advantage of Presidents Day?) in locations ranging from one to eleven hours out of Omaha. Happy shopping!

1. Mahoney State Park

First on the list is Mohoney State Park located in Ashland, NE – literally over the Platte River and through the woods, this state park is popular as a summer destination, but they have the right amount of space and attractions to make this the perfect staycation and getaway! This includes an ice skating rink, cross country skiing, ice fishing and ­– here’s the kicker – toboggan and sled runs. And who wouldn’t love an afternoon of tobogganing?

2. Midtown Winter Wine Walk

This event is for those who are short or maxed out on vacation days but still need a little vacation fun. Midtown has got you covered! Put your stockings and mittens on and head to Midtown Crossing for a late-January Wine Walk, TONIGHT, January 21st from 5pm-9pm. Sample wines (2.5oz pours for $3 each) from Brix, Black Oak Grill, Cantina Loredo, CRAVE and Grane. Click the photo below to access the Facebook page.

3. Lauritzen Gardens – Marjorie K. Daugherty Conservatory

If you’ve ever been in the middle of shoveling the endless amount of snow from your driveway and unintentionally wished for a tropical setting, I’ve got just the thing for you. Presenting the Marjorie K Daugherty Conservatory at Lauritzen Gardens, located just north of Interstate 80 and near the Henry Doorly Zoo. The conservatory is “[a] study in luxuriant flowers and foliage, unusual plant life, dramatic water features and panoramic views, the 17,500 square foot conservatory is a walkable work of art for all four seasons.” Sounds like a vacation to me.

4. Henry Doorly Zoo

After reading #3, this next attraction will not come as a shock to you. Where’s the best way to escape Omaha and not leave it at all? Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo, of course. If the Lied Jungle, Desert Dome and Butterfly Exhibit aren’t enough to give you an “out of Nebraska” experience, I don’t know what will.

5. Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in La Vista

Tired of the same old dinner and a movie routine? Leave your old mundane date nights in the dust and experience something different. Located in La Vista, Alamo offers a full dinner service DURING your movie, plus an impressive bar offering all your favorite dinner drinks. 

6. The Antiquarium, Bill Farmer Gallery in Brownville, NE

A little over an hour south of Omaha, this Brownville attraction might be the perfect getaway for a weekend of spontaneity and adventure. “As for the name of the store, Thomas Rudloff chose the name “Antiquarium” after returning from a trip to Germany. The German word “antiquariat” means secondhand bookstore and the English word “antiquarian” is that which relates to antiques or antiquities, especially rare and old books.” For the art fanatic, antique appreciator and book lover, this is a haven.

Click here for information on the history of how the attraction migrated from Omaha to an old school gymnasium in Brownville.

If you’ve gotten your fill of books, but aren’t ready for the adventure to end, then toddle down Main Street about 2 minutes and you’ll find yourself at the front door of the local Nebraska Vineyard & Winery, Whiskey Run Creek. Wine and books, what could be better!

7. St. Croix River in Hudson, WI

On the first Saturday and Sunday of February, thousands of visitors gather in Hudson, WI for an annual Hot Air Balloon Festival. If you’re bold enough to travel about 6 hours northeast of Omaha in early February, you’ll be greeted with fantastic frozen river views and a number of cozy and character-filled Bed & Breakfasts to take you in on your weekend away. 

8. Chicago, IL

While the windy city might not first come to mind when considering winter getaways, I think it goes without saying Chicago has much to offer the out-of-towner looking for a fun, quick trip. Located about 7 hours outside of Omaha, Chicago is certain not to disappoint. To ensure that you stay nice and toasty throughout your trip, check out this list of 50 Chicago restaurants and bars with fireplaces.

9. Osthoff Resort on Elkhart Lake, WI

Next on the list is for those who like to travel in style. Osthoff Resort features 500 feet of recreational lakefront property, and while you may not be spending much time on the water the arctic views are nothing shy of spectacular. This top notch castle-like resort features a spa, cooking school and fine dining. At around an 8 hour drive from Omaha, I’d brave the cold for this getaway. 

10. Crystal Mountain Resort & Spa in Thompsonville, MI

Another killer resort to top off our list, Crystal Mountain is your foremost luxury spa and ski experience. The resort features over 250 hotel rooms, cabins, and condos or town homes – some accommodations allow guests to exit their rooms and walk straight to the lifts. Thompsonville, MI is approximately 11 hours from the Omaha metro area (or about a 4 hour flight), but that isn’t much time to travel to a place where you’ll feel out of this world. 🙂



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