Kansas City Holiday Events Guide

Lighting Displays, Ice Skating, Shows, Shopping, and Parties

Kansas City
••• Skyscrapers in downtown Kansas City. Eric Bowers Photo/Moment

If you're planning on visiting Kansas City, there is no time more festive and full of activities than the holiday season. 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.

With this guide, you can start planning your holiday trip to the central United States by discovering exactly what events are happening, where to take guests and children, and where to get the best holiday meals and deals. Explore the following ten linked articles to learn more about what Kansas City has to offer tourists this holiday season.

  • 01 of 10
    ••• Thanksgiving meals. James Pauls/Getty Images

    Begin the holiday season this year by being kind to yourself. This Thanksgiving, why not make a reservation at a fine Kansas City restaurant and leave the cooking to someone else?

    Plenty of restaurants in Kansas City offer buffets, traditional sit-down dinners, or abbreviated menus with a casual approach on Thanksgiving so you can be thankful that someone else will be doing the dishes!

    If you're looking for a real taste of Kansas City Thanksgiving, we recommend checking out Lidia's holiday event on Thursday, November 23, 2017, from noon to 6 p.m.

  • 02 of 10
    Crown Center
    ••• Ice skating at Crown Center. Courtesy of Crown Center.

    Entertaining guests during the holiday season can be challenging, but there are plenty of opportunities to show your visiting friends a great time in Kansas City.

    Along with the activities featured in this guide, you can also take a look at the linked article above and discover fun-filled adventures for you and your guest. We recommend a day of ice skating at the Crown Center or a trip to the 18th and Vine Jazz District.

    The Jazz District features the Kansas City Jazz Museum, Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, and the historic Gem Theater as well as the Blue Room—one of the best Jazz clubs in the country!

  • 03 of 10
    Kansas City Plaza Lights
    ••• Holiday lights, the Country Club Plaza in Kansas City, Missouri, my home town. Photo Courtesy Countryclubplaza.com

    The Plaza Lights display at Country Club Plaza is one of Kansas City's favorite traditions and the official kickoff of the holiday season with an official ceremony hosted in the plaza's center on Thanksgiving evening.

    The famous ceremony, which began as 16 lights hung over a doorway, now includes more than 80 miles of lights with 280,000 multicolored bulbs illuminating the buildings and towers of the plaza.

    These lights remain lit throughout the holiday season—turning on at sundown and shutting off around 3 in the morning—until they are finally retired for the year around mid-January.

  • 04 of 10
    ••• Christmas at Longview Lake. Fishwolfe Boro

    Another favorite holiday tradition of so many Kansas residents, Christmas in the Park has more than 300,000 glowing bulbs and 175 animated figures and allows visitors to drive through and experience all of them from the comfort of their heated vehicles.

    Driving through, you can't help but be amazed at the enchanting colors and designs as classic Christmas characters come to life in this stunning display. Every year, the campground at Longview Lake is transformed into a winter wonderland you won't want to miss!

    Continue to 5 of 10 below.
  • 05 of 10
    ••• Legendary Christmas at Legends Outlets. VisitKC

    Christmas in the Park and the Plaza Lights Event aren't the only way to experience the holiday cheer through lighting, there are numerous Christmas lighting displays abound Kansas City, both on public buildings and private homes.

    Check out the linked list in the above title and head to one of these great holiday displays around the metropolitan area. We highly recommend checking out the Legendary Christmas at the Legends Outlets of Kansas City or the Northern Lights at Zona Rosa. 

  • 06 of 10
    ••• Zona Rosa is one of many shopping centers in Kansas City. Visit KC

    Kansas City is a shopaholics paradise, especially during the holiday season when many local retailers offer deals and discounts to visiting shoppers. Fortunately for you, we've compiled a list of the perfect shopping venues to find a great gift for anyone on your list, linked above.

    From quaint boutiques and amazing shops and department stores to discount outlets and vintage retailers, you'll find it all in Kansas City. We recommend visiting one of the many shopping districts like Zona Rosa or the Plaza.

  • 07 of 10
    ••• Kansas City souvenirs. KC Parent​

    Looking for a special gift for someone on your holiday list and can't seem to find it? Forgo the gift card and head to one of these great locally owned Kansas City stores for those hard-to-find gifts for the holiday season or anytime.

    These top places to find unique gifts in Kansas City feature some one-of-a-kind, handmade items alongside kitschy folk art, vintage finds, antiques from bygone Wild West days of the town, and, of course, a whole slew of Kansas City-centric merchandise and ​souvenirs.​

  • 08 of 10
    ••• Outdoor Ice Skating. KC Moms

    Whether you want to throw on your skates and sip some hot cocoa during the winter months at an outdoor rink, or skate indoors year-round, Kansas City has numerous rinks and other options for your winter sporting enjoyment.

    Although the most popular spot for tourists and residents alike to visit is the Crown Plaza's massive rink, there are a number of smaller attractions that are often less crowded. Explore the linked list above and plan your day of skating with ease.

    Continue to 9 of 10 below.
  • 09 of 10
    Press photograph of Kauffman Center in evening, Kansas City in background.
    ••• Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, opened September 16, 2011, Kansas City, Missouri. Architect: Moshe Safdie. Media photo by Tim Hursley ©2011 Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, All Rights Reserved.

    There are plenty of great shows and productions to see all through December in Kansas City, and you can get tickets to any of the holiday shows and productions in the linked list above—as long as you book early.

    From a hip-hop version of "The Nutcracker" to a chilling one-day appearance of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, you're sure to be dazzled this holiday season by the great performances in the metropolitan area.

    Plan your trip today and make sure to purchase your tickets ahead of time to ensure that you and your family can enjoy the holiday magic of one of Kansas City's many great theaters.

  • 10 of 10
    ••• Fireworks at Longview Lake. KC Labor Beacon​

    Kansas Citians love to party, so why not ring in the New Year right at one of the great parties around town? Your options include private and public parties, clubs, restaurants, and every other place where a crowd is ringing in the New Year.

    There are also a number of fireworks displays with beautiful views of the city as backdrops, so make sure to explore the list above to plan out your New Years celebration before making the trek to Kansas City—you don't want to miss some of these events!