Capitol Holiday Information

With the festive winter holidays approaching, it’s time to think about a visit to the Nebraska State Capitol with family and friends. Weekday tours are offered at 9:00, 10:00, and 11:00 a.m. and at 1:00, 2:00, 3:00 and 4:00 p.m. On Saturdays the Capitol is open for tours at 10:00, 11:00 am and 1:00, 2:00, 3:00 and 4:00 p.m. The building opens at 1:00 p.m. on Sundays and tours are available at 1:00, 2:00, 3:00 and 4:00 p.m. The Capitol closes at 5:00 p.m. each day. Visitors should enter the Capitol via ground floor entrances since the main north entrance, north plaza, grand staircase and promenade deck are closed for winter.  All tours begin at the north entrance on second floor, visitors can use the elevators or stairs in the first floor rotunda to reach the second floor. Not part of the guided tour, the 14th floor observation decks are open weather permitting; wind, temperature and precipitation are all considered. Only the two north elevators will go to the 14th floor Memorial Chamber and observation decks. The city, decorated with lights for the holidays, begins to sparkle between 4:00 and 5:00 p.m. as the sun sets earlier and earlier. Those wanting to enjoy the lights of the season should plan to visit 14th floor just before it closes at 5:00 p.m.
The week of Thanksgiving, the Capitol will be open for tours Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. The building will be closed on Thanksgiving Day and the Friday after, and open for regularly scheduled tours on Saturday and Sunday. After the Thanksgiving break, the Office of the Capitol Commission and Pinewood Bowl, Inc. begin planning for the Capitol Tree Lighting Ceremony. Once the holiday tree has arrived at the Capitol and been decorated with ornaments representing all 93 of Nebraska’s counties it will be lit at an annual ceremony and carol sing sponsored by Pinewood Bowl, Inc. The Capitol will open to the public at 1:00 p.m. Sunday December 10th for the ceremony. Prelude music will start at 1:30 p.m., the program begins at 2:00 p.m. and will include the Governor’s holiday message. Following the official lighting of the 20’ Blue Spruce tree those assembled will sing traditional carols. Governor Ricketts and First Lady Susanne Shore plan to open the Governor’s Residence for visitors after the ceremony. The Landmark Store at the Capitol, usually open from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday except holidays, will be open from 1:00 – 4:00 p.m. December 10th. Office of the Capitol Commission commemorative ornaments and other gifts are available in the Landmark Store at the Capitol and the Landmark Store at the Nebraska History Museum, 15th and P Street, open from 10:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and 1:00 to 5:30 p.m. on Saturdays.    The caroling on December 10th begins the musical festivities at the Capitol. The popular Capitol Carols Concert featuring tuba and euphonium musicians from across the state will be held at noon in the 2nd floor rotunda on Tuesday December 12th. Then on Wednesday December 13th the UNL Husker Horn Choir will hold their noon Holiday Horns concert in the rotunda. Both days, the brass instruments will sparkle and shine as they fill the Capitol with music. The public is invited to attend both concerts.  Those wishing to honor the Nebraska National Guard’s Birthday can attend a 2nd floor rotunda ceremony on December 20th at 10:00 a.m. The first National Guard was organized by the Massachusetts Colony in 1636. The Nebraska National Guard was organized during the forming of Nebraska Territory in 1854. The Capitol will be open Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, from 1:00 – 5:00 p.m. and closed Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. Those coming to Lincoln the week between these holidays to see the tree will want to visit the Capitol on Tuesday or Wednesday. The holiday tree will come down on Thursday December 28, 2017 as Capitol staff prepare for the Second Session of the105th Legislature convening at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday January 3, 2018. Happy Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year to all and to all a good night.