Kansas City's Holiday Light 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 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.
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.
Celebrate another mayor's Christmas tree in during the lighting ceremony in Downtown Overland Park, featuring carolers, hayrides and even a visit from Saint Nick.
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.
Festive Holiday Must-Sees
Union Station's Grand Hall is decked out with trees, tinsel, lights and more during the holidays. Take the kids to see the Holiday Express Train as it rolls into the station, bringing loads of Christmas spirit, including Santa, his workshop, reindeer and elves for everyone to see.
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 300,000 lights and almost 200 animated figures. The event is free, but donations are accepted to benefit local charities.
WinterFest is Kansas City’s newest and grandest holiday tradition, so let yourself be whisked away as Worlds of Fun is transformed into a magical winter village filled with ice skating, family rides, seasonal décor, live entertainment, a nightly tree lighting and more.
Check out Parkville's Christmas on the River event as the 26th annual holiday celebration lights the city up with live entertainment, delicious treats and the famous fireworks show at the end of the night. And don't miss the Soul of Santa Holiday Tree and Street Lighting in the iconic 18th & Vine Historic Jazz District, which includes a special live concert at the Gem Theater after the ceremony.