In Nebraska, Christmas cheer is everywhere — from homes and businesses to museums to state parks, locals go all out with holiday decorations. Whether you want to try cowboy coffee over a campfire, participate in a snowman contest, run in a 5K race, or just take a scenic drive to view the beautiful light displays, Nebraska has it all. Book a stay at one of many incredible Nebraska vacation rentals today. Take a look at the seven best Christmas getaways in Nebraska.

1. Gering

Source: Flickr/Shelby L. Bell

Christmas is celebrated differently out on the plains, and the Legacy of the Plains Museum in Gering brings it alive in true western cowboy fashion. When you make Gering your vacation destination, your Christmas celebration is all set to include hayrack rides, roasting marshmallows, and drinking cowboy coffee made over a bonfire. The kids get to make Christmas crafts and write letters to Santa that the Pony Express delivers to Santa’s Village in downtown Gering.

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2. Lincoln

Source: Flickr/Greg Gjerdingen

Santa roams the streets of Lincoln. The Historic Haymarket area gears up for the holidays with dazzling light displays and holiday specials in stores. Look for the decked-out 1901 Chicago Burlington & Quincy locomotive displayed beside Lincoln Station. Enjoy free horse-drawn carriage rides and live entertainment on scheduled weekends, and sit down for breakfast with Santa in the lower level of the Candy Factory. Just watch for the signs, and look for the Children’s Museum holiday activities for kids and families, too.

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3. Minden

Minden vacation rentals put you in Nebraska’s official Christmas City. Celebrating a century of extraordinary Christmas lights and festivities earned the city this honor. From late November through December, the town stages exciting family events, including a 5K race, a Christmas parade, and a family festival. There’s a pageant in the downtown square in early and mid-December. Look for concerts and bake sales at local churches and schools for more intimate experiences with the locals.

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4. Nebraska City

Source: Pixabay/Ilgosi

Nebraska City really gets into the Christmas spirit, going all out with celebrations and decorations. The Holiday Trolley Tour of Lights takes passengers all through the town to gaze at the stunning light displays on Saturdays and Sundays. From the day after Thanksgiving until the day before Christmas Eve, the Arbor Lodge Mansion gets in on the Christmas festivities with a unique Christmas at the Mansion experience. Cross the threshold of the 52-room mansion and step back in time to experience the holiday season the way J. Sterling Morton once did. It’s your opportunity to bask in vintage decor, special holiday displays, and holiday music.

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5. Omaha

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Omaha is an amazing vacation destination with a big list of Christmas events. One of the highlights is the downtown Holiday Festival of Lights, featuring ice skating, outdoor concerts, and more than 40 city blocks of spectacular Christmas lights and decorations, all kicked off by the annual Christmas parade. Bring your family to enjoy family fun with the Wells Fargo Family Festival and other Festival of Lights events. The events typically feature free admission and hands-on activities in downtown art and cultural institutions. Part of the fun is the free transportation provided by Ollie the Trolley, connecting all participating locations.

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6. Ponca

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Ponca is a small town that celebrates hometown holidays in a big way on the first Wednesday after Thanksgiving. Beginning with the lighting of the community Christmas tree at the Dixon County Courthouse, the festivities continue with the parade. Santa Claus joins the parade, making his way to the Community Center for pictures, where hot dogs, hot chocolate, and cookies are served. Just outside of town, Ponca State Park’s Christmas in the Woods features some exciting Christmas adventures from late November through mid-December. Check out other events, such as cookie decorating, a snowman contest, and lighted hayrack rides after dark.

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7. North Platte

North Platte’s Cody Park claims the jolliest concentration of Christmas activities in the area. The park transforms into a wonderland by twinkling lights, colorful decorations, a huge Christmas tree, and an incomparable Santa’s Workshop. Created in 1946, the beloved animated workshop display signals the onset of the Christmas holiday season. The event starts in early December with the Christmas tree lighting ceremony and continues through most of the month with concessions and rides. Wander through the quaint decorated huts as you sip hot chocolate and peer into delightful holiday scenes. Look for Santa’s mailbox, so the kids can write to him about their hopes and dreams. Christmas at the Cody’s is one of the most beloved displays in town. Buffalo Bill Cody’s mansion, outbuildings, and grounds are all decked out in sparkling lights and vintage decorations. Immerse yourself in the Christmas of bygone days as you walk through the home, enjoying delicious treats, meeting Santa, and encountering Buffalo Bill. Outdoors, there are carolers, horse-drawn carriage rides, roasted chestnuts, and more.

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