Horse-drawn carriage rides around the center of Kansas City, Missouri, are a delight all year long, particularly during the year-end holidays when the Plaza Lights illuminate the area's pretty Spanish architecture. The rides typically start on Nichols Road in Country Club Plaza and tour the best-known sites throughout the plaza; most rides take place in the evening.
It's always best to make a reservation, but it's not necessary. If you can't reserve, you'll be standing in line waiting for the next carriage. Lines and wait times may be long; if you're waiting in cold weather, dress warmly and get yourself some hot chocolate at Starbucks (Nichols Road and Central Street) or at Latte Land (W. 47th Street and Jefferson Street).
Two companies have been operating horse-drawn carriage rides in the Country Club Plaza area for decades, ranging from romantic after-dinner rides to specialty rides geared to romantic weddings (or proposals), fully decked out princess and Cinderella rides for birthdays with carriages festooned like glittery pumpkins, and corporate events designed to show off the city to clients. Drivers are often dressed in costume to match the occasion.
These are the two companies providing horse-drawn rides on Country Club Plaza and some of their services. In each case, consult the company's website for detailed information, including up-to-the-minute dates and times of service, current rates, phone numbers and more.
- Location: All rides begin and end at the corner of Nichols Road and Pennsylvania (near Burberry). Other pickups and drop-off locations are not permitted.
- Operation: Rides operate as weather permits; if the weather is inclement and not safe for horses and riders, rides do not operate. You can rent not only classic carriages for a couple or a family, but also sleighs, country wagons, and large carriages that hold from 12 to 22 people.
- Times: Carriage rides typically start at 6 p.m. on Fridays and 3 p.m. on Saturdays. Although reservations are not necessary for standard-size carriages, which can accommodate a couple or a family, events requiring a special carriage or special arrangements should be reserved well in advance (see website).
- Location: Look for the little red carriage on the corner of Nichols Road and Wyandotte Street (on the east side of Halls).
- Operation: Owners Travis and Candi Hummel say their carriages are on location at Country Club Plaza almost every afternoon, weather permitting. To be sure one of the company's horse-drawn carriages will be conducting rides on a given day, and not at an outside event, call or email.
- Times: Carriage rides typically start at 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and a few hours earlier on Saturday and Sunday.