Christmas in the Park is a favorite holiday tradition in Kansas City, Missouri. Every year, 500,000 lights, 175 animated figures, and splashes of Christmas color turn the campground at Longview Lake into a winter wonderland throughout the holiday season. The entire family will revel in the magic of this enchanting drive-thru light display and fundraiser.
A companion event called Christmas in the Sky was added to the Christmas in the Park itinerary in 1997 to kick off the annual Christmas lights display with a stage show and firework display. These events have become holiday favorites in Jackson County, where Kansas City is located, and county officials organize both events each year.
Christmas in the Park
Christmas in the Park is open every night from the Friday after Thanksgiving through December 31 at Kansas City's Longview Lake Park, located two miles south of Interstate 470 off of View High Drive. The two-mile drive to Christmas in the Park begins at the Frank White Jr. Softball Complex at 3901 Southwest Longview Park Drive.
Over two million local residents and visitors have driven through the annual Christmas in the Park event since it first opened in 1987, which has only grown since its inception. Now, more than 500,000 lights and 175 animated displays make up the decorations for the Christmas in the Park event, and every year, the county's Parks and Recreation department adds a new display to the experience.
Christmas in the Park is open nightly from the day after Thanksgiving through New Year's Eve. Hours are Sundays through Thursdays from 5:30 to 10 p.m. and on Fridays and Saturdays from 5:30 to 11 p.m.
Christmas in the Sky
Kansas City visitors can kick off their holiday celebrations in style at the annual Christmas in the Sky event, which is held a few miles away at Longview Lake Beach. Christmas in the Sky is held on November 27, 2019, from 5 to 8 p.m. and includes celebrity performances and an evening holiday stage show with scores of singers and dancers. Santa arrives on a mule-drawn sleigh with The First Gift of Christmas, and tremendous arrays of colorful fireworks, synchronized to holiday music on 99.7 The Point, light up the skies over Longview Lake to close out the evening.
In 2019, the gates open for Christmas in the Sky at 5 p.m., and the holiday stage show starts at 6 p.m. with Santa's arrival scheduled for 6:30 followed by fireworks at 7:30 p.m. After Christmas in the Sky, Kansas Citians and visiting families have their first chance to travel through the Longview Lake Park by car or bicycle to see the display.
Tips for Enjoying Christmas in the Park
Accessible by either car or bike, Christmas in the Park is an experience you won't soon forget, but there are a few things to keep in mind before you make the trip to the campground at Longview Lake Park:
- Be sure to have plenty of gas and plenty of time at your disposal as weekend trips through the park can take several hours.
- Expect bumper-to-bumper or slow-moving traffic getting into the park, driving through, and leaving it.
- When you enter the park, turn your headlights off to get the most out of your experience and avoid ruining the experience of others.
- Bring snacks and non-alcoholic beverages, especially if you're traveling with younger children as there are no hospitality services inside the park during the display.
- Tune into the local 99.7 FM, The Point, for simulcast Christmas music to accompany your drive through the park.
Admission and Charitable Contributions
While admission is free to both the Christmas in the Sky holiday stage and fireworks kick-off shows and the Christmas in the Park holiday lights display, donations are accepted, and a portion of the proceeds is divided among 35 Kansas City-area charities.
More Kansas City Christmas Events
Kansas City goes all out for the holidays. From the famed Plaza Lights display and abundant holiday shopping opportunities to ice skating, New Year's Eve celebrations, and metro-wide seasonal home decorations, Kansas City is full of family-friendly diversions.