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Things to Do in Kansas City During the Holidays

Just as a snow globe captures the magic of a winter wonderland, Kansas City encapsulates the charm and joy of the holiday season.

You’ll find the city alive with festive activities, from the captivating light displays at Country Club Plaza, to the moving performances of The Nutcracker.

As you stroll through local markets, unique gift ideas might catch your eye, or perhaps you’ll be drawn to the soulful melodies at The Soul of Santa event. The possibilities are as numerous as snowflakes in a blizzard.

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But what if you had a guide to ensure you don’t miss the best parts? Stick around to discover Kansas City’s hidden holiday treasures.

Key Takeaways

  • Kansas City Plaza Lights and Holiday Events are a top attraction, with a lighting ceremony and performances by the City Ballet.
  • Holiday shopping can be enjoyed at various locations such as Legends Outlets, Westport Christmas Market, Merry Market at the City Market, and Strawberry Swing at Crown Center.
  • Kansas City offers a variety of winter sports activities, including ice skating, skiing, and snowboarding at Snow Creek, as well as other seasonal celebrations.
  • Visitors can explore unique KC-made gift ideas at the Center for the Performing, Longview Lake, Powell Gardens, and Tiny Tim’s confectioner.

Dazzling Kansas City Plaza Lights

festive holiday lights display

Marking its 94th year, the dazzling Plaza Lights at Country Club Plaza are hailed as one of the nation’s top holiday displays, bathing Kansas City in a mesmerizing glow that you simply can’t miss.

This spectacle, one of Kansas City’s favorite holiday traditions, transforms the plaza into a winter wonderland. The lighting ceremony is an anticipated event, attracting locals and tourists alike. No matter where you’re standing, the view is spectacular.

After the ceremony, you can stroll through the plaza, taking in the twinkling display while the City Ballet performs. The Plaza Lights remain on throughout the holiday season, casting a warm, festive glow over Kansas City.

Unforgettable Holiday Events in KC

memorable kansas city festivities

While the enchanting Plaza Lights are a must-see, there’s a whole host of unforgettable holiday events in Kansas City that you’ll want to explore.

One highlight is Union Station’s Holiday Reflections walk-thru village, where you can immerse yourself in the festive atmosphere as you gaze upon a grand Christmas tree.

For a more cultural experience, the Nutcracker at the Kauffman is a staple event in Kansas during these festive times.

You could also venture to Overland Park for the Festival of Lights, a spectacle that offers a beautiful take on the holiday spirit.

Best Locations for Holiday Shopping

top shopping destinations worldwide

If you’re on the hunt for unique gifts and festive bargains, Kansas City offers a vibrant array of holiday shopping locations that you shouldn’t miss.

  1. Legends Outlets: With over 75 stores, this is a favorite destination for Christmas shopping. Enjoy the lights and holiday events.
  2. Westport Christmas Market: Located in Kansas City’s oldest district, it’s a charming place to find unique gifts.
  3. Merry Market at the City Market: In partnership with Art Garden KC, this market offers one-of-a-kind souvenirs and craft goods.
  4. Strawberry Swing at Crown Center: Immerse yourself in the festive holiday swing and shop around the 39 Plaza.

Essential Kansas City Winter Sports

kansas city winter activities

Beyond the allure of shopping and twinkling lights, Kansas City’s winter sports scene offers thrilling activities like ice skating, skiing, and snowboarding, particularly at Snow Creek in Weston, a stone’s throw away from the city. As an essential Kansas City winter sports hub, it’s the perfect place to unleash your holiday spirit.

Don’t miss out on other seasonal celebrations, such as ice skating at the city’s favorite rink or attending the Holiday Swing at the Kauffman Center. These holiday events are sure to fill you with joy.

Unique KC-Made Gift Ideas

creative kansas city souvenirs

As you explore Kansas City during the holidays, don’t forget to check out the unique KC-made gift ideas that range from sweet artisanal chocolates and candies to handcrafted pottery and glassware.

Here are four places that are a must:

  1. Center for the Performing: Known for their performance of ‘A Christmas Carol’, you’ll find Tiny Tim and Ebenezer Scrooge on unique merchandise. Proceeds benefit their educational programs.
  2. Longview Lake: A lovely spot for handmade jewelry and accessories.
  3. Powell Gardens: Besides the beautiful sights, they sell local artwork and prints.
  4. Tiny Tim’s: A local confectioner, famous for their chocolates and candies.


As the curtain falls on your festive frolics in Kansas City, remember, it’s not just the dazzling lights or shopping sprees that make the holidays special.

It’s the joy of the season, shared experiences, and the warmth of the KC community.

So, be sure to embrace the yuletide magic, immerse yourself in the local culture, and make cherished memories.

After all, isn’t that the true essence of the holidays?

Until next time, stay merry, Kansas City!

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