Kansas City Holiday Light Displays
Usher in the season with these breathtaking displays
Just like its iconic jazz and mouthwatering barbecue, Kansas City has earned a bold reputation for its impressive holiday light displays. Before you go, take note of these luminous, Kansas City traditions that are sure to brighten your holiday.
A local tradition for nearly 90 years, The Plaza Lights span 15-blocks on the famed Country Club Plaza, featuring thousands of glimmering, jewel-colored bulbs that accentuate every dome, tower and window of the Spanish-inspired shopping district (Nov. 28-Jan. 12). Area native and television and film star Rob Riggle will flip the switch at the 84th Annual KCP&L Plaza Lighting Ceremony on Thanksgiving night.
Checking in at a lofty 100 feet, the Mayor’s Christmas Tree at Crown Center stretches higher than those on display at the White House and Rockefeller Center (Nov. 29-Jan.1). The massive holiday icon sparkles with 7,200 white bulbs and represents the Mayor’s Christmas Tree Fund, which aids Kansas City’s less fortunate. Mayor Sly James and a celebrity guest will flip the switch on Nov. 29.
The eight-block Kansas City Power & Light District will shine with its 4th Annual Holiday Open House on Nov. 30. In addition to the lighting of its enormous tree, this free event in the downtown entertainment hub will feature visits with Santa Claus and his reindeer, holiday carols, shopping deals and happy hour specials at surrounding restaurants and bars.
A few blocks up the road, several downtown buildings will light up the winter sky for City Lights (Nov. 22-Jan. 1). The notable centerpiece is the front façade of the 22-story Marriott Kansas City Downtown, featuring a synchronized display of 30,000 bulbs and 16.7 million colors. This annual celebration of lights marks the return of The Salvation Army's Annual Christmas Campaign.
Zona Rosa, a shopping district known for reviving several local traditions, spruces up its streets each holiday season for Northern Lights (Nov. 23-mid-January). Massive and ornate, several lighted crowns are suspended above the district’s busy streets, harking back to a 1950s downtown Kansas City tradition. Also in store for visitors: breakfast with Santa, a holiday igloo, carriage rides and visits with Kansas City Museum’s Fairy Princess.
Legends Outlets Kansas City will keep shoppers in tune with its Legendary Light Show, back for its ninth year (Nov. 24-Jan. 2). Every 15 minutes, the sprawling shopping center will spring to life with thousands of dazzling lights synchronized to classic holiday tunes. Other festive activities include a decadent 45-foot tree and larger-than-life Christmas ornaments sprinkled throughout the district.
Union Station's Grand Hall is decked out with trees galore during the holidays. On Nov. 23, come witness the lights turn on and enjoy Dickens Carolers, Kansas City Ballet dancers and have the kids take a ride on their Mini Holiday Express. Then come back Dec. 18-22 to see the full-sized Southern Holiday Express Train as it rolls into the station.
Thanksgiving weekend marks the return of Christmas in the Park, a festive drive-through display in Longview Lake Park (Nov. 27-Dec. 31). A tradition for 25 years, the Park is transformed into a delightful winter wonderland with more than 300,000 lights and almost 200 animated figures. The event is free, but donations are accepted to benefit local charities.
Dance the night away with a new holiday tradition at Briarcliff Village, one of the only locally owned shopping centers in KC. Come watch as this Northland shopping center comes to life every night at 6 & 8 pm, with a 15-minute animated experience called Dancing Holiday Lights (Nov. 24-Jan. 12). See the lights turn on for the first time Sun. Nov. 24 where a number of free activities will be available including, live music from 5-Star Jazz Band, photos with Santa, face painting, Fox Hill Singers, carriage rides and other Holiday themed activities.
Looking to enjoy the sights without leaving the comfort of your car? Head to Christmas Card Lane, a drive-through adventure inside one of KC’s most festive neighborhoods (Nov. 29-Jan. 1). Featuring more than 200 decorated homes in the city of Olathe, the celebration earned its name by the larger-than-life greeting cards that line the streets.
Kansas City’s major holiday lights displays offer no shortage of cheer for you and yours this season.