The holidays are a time to be with family, remember the events and learning of the past year as you get ready for a new one, shop till you drop, and spend some quality time taking in the wonders that Kansas City has to offer. The moments between Thanksgiving and New Year are sure to last longer when you take advantage of some of the Holiday traditions in and around our town. Make sure you make the most of Christmas in Kansas City and take advantage of these events!
The Plaza Lights
What began as a string of 16 lights over a door in 1925 has blossomed into a true community event. The Plaza Lighting Ceremony is over but the 280,000 lights which stretch over 80 miles will be there for you to enjoy until mid-January. The only year the Plaza Lights were not in use was 1973 when President Nixon asked U.S. Citizens to limit the amount of Christmas lights to reduce dependence on foreign oil. When a light bulb burns out, they are replaced daily and the burnt bulbs are used as souvenirs at the Plaza Customer Service and are incorporated into gift-wrapped toppers. Several thousand light bulbs are replaced each season.
There are many ways to enjoy the lights: A slow leisurely walk, stopping for hot chocolate, a toddy, or a piece of cheesecake, a carriage ride with Kansas City Carriages and their horse-drawn rides, or flying above The Plaza on a tour from the Helicopter KC. The Plaza shops are open from 10 am-9:00 pm Monday-Friday and 11-6:00 pm on Sundays through December 30th.
Ice Skating at Crown Center
If you haven’t been ice skating at Crown Center during the holidays you may want to put this one on your list this year. Don’t worry about the cold, the snack bar offers excellent hot chocolate that will warm you from the inside out. The rink is celebrating its 50th season of outdoor fun. December and January the rink is open 10:00-9:00 pm Sunday-Thursday and 10-11:00 pm Friday and Saturday. Skating is available till mid-march. Check the website for more information. Admission is $8. Save the $5 skate rental by bringing your own! Children under 4 are free with paid admission! Season Passes are $120.
The Northland offers its own set of lights and holiday cheer with the Northern Lights display and Christmas Crowns. In the middle of the square stands a 50-foot tree, perfect for photos or a selfie or two. The streets of Kansas City in the 1950s through the early ’80s were decorated with crowns and in an effort to make a statement that Zona Rosa would be a strong community partner, the 17-foot wide, 2,000-pound crowns were brought back as a centerpiece symbolizing the traditions, namely Hallmark cards and the Royals baseball team. There are 5 crowns in total and each was constructed from the original designs and blueprints from Manneco of Independence. The owner’s father built and installed the original crowns.
Ride a Train and feed the Reindeer
Take a train ride called The Snowglobe Express on The Midland Express. Ride the rails on a line built in 1867 and in a specially decorated passenger car from 1898. The 12-mile Christmas Train Ride will transport passengers from the Baldwin City Train Depot to the magical world of Snowglobe where Santa’s herd of Reindeer live! You must purchase advance tickets for these events which leave at 8 am, 1:00 pm, 5 pm, or 6:30 pm. There are 2 adult-only rides at 9 pm and 9:45 pm. Adults are $18 and kids are $12. Book your tickets here. Prices range from $30.00-$72.00 and children under 2 are free.
Christmas in Song at the Quality Hill Playhouse
Get into the Christmas spirit with live entertainment and purchase tickets to the 7-row, 150-seat theater at the Quality Hill Playhouse for their production of ‘Christmas in Song’ December 2-24. The songs may be new to you or contemporary or old favorites. Kent Barnhardt gives the background of the songs and mixes the narration with humor. Thousands of people will enjoy the show this season, 150 audience members at a time, which makes for a unique and intimate experience. This event is not for children. Noise and distractions need to be kept to a non-existent level. Each year the cast is made up of 4 performers, two men, and two women. Tickets are $42-45 each and are well worth the price.
Take the time to enjoy Christmas in Kansas City with the treasure trove of events that Kansas City has to offer. Start a tradition of your own and choose something you haven’t done before to mark this year and remember this 2022 Season. Ken and Jason at Concrete Raising Systems wish you and yours a very special Christmas Season.
This article was originally published in December 2014 and has been updated with recent information and links.