Kansas City's Holiday Light Displays
Updated Nov. 16, 2020: Many of Kansas City's iconic holiday displays will return this year. With the details of associated events subject to change, please confirm details directly with individual businesses as you make plans.
Just like its iconic jazz and mouthwatering barbecue, Kansas City has earned a reputation for its impressive holiday light displays. Before you go, take note of these luminous KC traditions that are sure to brighten your holiday.
Here’s how to usher in the season with these breathtaking displays:
A Tradition Unlike Any Other
A local tradition for 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.
Read more on ways to experience the dazzling display this year.
Festive Holiday Must-Sees
Historic Union Station is undoubtedly one of the most festive addresses in KC—and it's going even bigger in 2020. In addition to its massive model-train display and KC's largest indoor holiday tree, visitors can also explore the new Holiday Reflections walk-through village in Grand Hall beginning Nov. 21. Cross off your shopping list at the festive Holiday Swing outdoor craft market every Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 28-Dec. 20. Finally, wrap up your holiday adventure with a visit to Dinosaur Road Trip, a landmark exhibit on display through January.
Thanksgiving week marks the return of Christmas in the Park, a festive drive-through display in Longview Lake Park. A tradition for more than 25 years, the park is transformed into a delightful winter wonderland with more than 500,000 lights and almost 200 animated figures. The event is free, but donations are accepted to benefit local charities.
Make your way to another mesmerizing drive-through display at Winter Magic, opening Nov. 2 and featuring nearly a mile of lights guiding you through Swope Park. Reserve a time slot online in advance. Proceeds benefit the KC Parks Summer Camp Scholarship Fund.
Don't miss the Soul of Santa Holiday Tree and Street Lighting in the iconic 18th & Vine Historic Jazz District, which includes a curbside breakfast, toy giveaway and more. And check out Parkville's Christmas on the River event as the annual holiday celebration lights the city up with live entertainment, delicious treats and the famous fireworks show at the end of the night.
The Center of Attention
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. The massive holiday icon sparkles with 10,600 white bulbs and represents the Mayor’s Christmas Tree Fund, which aids Kansas City’s less fortunate. Mayor Quinton Lucas and a special guest always flip the switch the night after Thanksgiving.
Immerse yourself in merriment with the Great Holiday Escape KC Package, offered by Crown Center, Union Station and several nearby attractions. The package includes a stay at the Westin Kansas City and your choice of attraction tickets, placing local shops, top-tier entertainment and some of the city's best holiday displays just steps away.
Celebrate another mayor's Christmas tree at Thompson Park in Downtown Overland Park, plus a sprawling display of lights adorning the Clock Tower Plaza in the heart of the neighborhood.
A few blocks up the road, several downtown buildings light up the winter sky for City Lights. 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.
Seasonal Shopping Centers
Zona Rosa, a shopping district known for reviving several local traditions, spruces up its streets each holiday season for Northern Lights. Massive and ornate, several lighted crowns are suspended above the district’s busy streets, harkening 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 keeps shoppers in tune with its Legendary Light Show, as every 15 minutes, the sprawling shopping center will spring to life with thousands of dazzling lights synchronized to classic holiday songs. Other festive activities include a decadent 45-foot tree and larger-than-life Christmas ornaments sprinkled throughout the district.