Downtown Dazzle, Rock the Red Kettle and First Friday lay down the beat for all-things-Downtown in the week ahead – Monday to Sunday, Nov. 27-Dec. 3:
Art Starts at the Library – The Central Library provides a perfect family-friendly starting point on First Friday. Among the offerings: the exhibit Cattle, Cowboys, and Culture: Kansas City and Amarillo, Building an Urban West and Rodolfo Marron III’s reflective This Is for La Raza. There’s also a pre-Christmas book giveaway, live holiday music … and Santa. The fun begins at 5:30 p.m. Friday. RSVP here.
- Santa’s Gingerbread Station – Kids and families can explore this interactive exhibit, meet and have their photo taken with Santa Claus, climb aboard the Crown Center Express Train Engine, and enjoy Gingerbread Village. No admission fee. Photos with Santa are available for a fee, or you may take your own. Open during Crown Center Shops holiday hours now through New Year’s Eve.
- EBT Santa’s Countdown to Christmas – EBT Laughing Santa, who first appeared at KC’s Emery, Bird, Thayer department store in the early 1900s, has been providing memories for new generations at Crown Center since 1979. Children of all ages will marvel at this Jolly Ol’ Soul as he chuckles his way through the holiday season while counting down the days until Christmas. Open during Crown Center Shops holiday hours now through New Year’s Eve.
- Holiday Choirs will light up the Crown Center atrium, as more than 130 area school, church and community choirs perform every day through Dec. 19.
- Ice Terrace – Kansas City’s only public outdoor ice skating rink is open for its 45th season of great skating fun! The rink is open daily at 10 a.m. Visit the Ice Terrace website for hours and fees.
First Friday – one of the KC’s coolest and hottest events of the winter – returns for its December feast of visual and performing arts bursting throughout Downtown with:
- A gaggle of arts and cultural experiences throughout the Crossroads Arts District and the 18th & Vine Jazz District from 5-9 p.m. Friday; and
- One of the country’s most complete vintage marketplaces – First Friday Warehouse Weekends – returns to the West Bottoms this Friday through Sunday.
Downtown Dazzle – your complete Downtown KC holiday experience through Jan. 1. Now in its fourth year, Dazzle brings people together from across the region to explore all neighborhoods of Downtown KC and celebrate the season with holiday lights, special experiences and dining and shopping exclusives. For a complete guide to a dazzling array of holiday fun this week – including the Rock the Red Kettle concert on Friday – visit DowntownDazzle.com.
Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts will begin its holiday celebration this week with a special performance by the Canadian Brass: Christmastime is Here! at 8 p.m. Friday in Helzberg Hall. These five brass masters – featuring the French horn, trombone and tuba, along with the Kansas City Symphony welcome the holidays with the sounds of the season.
Knuckleheads Saloon – the rockin’est venue in greater Downtown – features 12 different gigs this week on multiple stages, including Big Red Truck from Nashville at 9:30 p.m. Wednesday; Making Movies & Friends in the Garage at 8 p.m. Saturday; and Rain at 9 p.m. Saturday.
The Midland will begin its holiday season of performances with three concerts this week, including Straight No Chaser on its Speakeasy Tour at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday; Damien Escobar – one of the planet’s finest violinists, will take center stage at 8 p.m. Thursday; The Night the Buzz Stole Xmas, featuring Phoenix, Y God Y, and more get the party started at 7:30 p.m. Sunday.
Rock the Red Kettle – The Salvation Army presents its second, annual free Rock the Red Kettle concert, featuring alternative rock band Switchfoot and pop rock band Parachute, beginning at 6:30 p.m. Friday at the Power & Light District.
The Truman will heat up the East Crossroads with four shows this week, including Chad Prather with James Johann at 8 p.m. Thursday; Chris Lane, featuring Dylan Schneider and Bailey Bryan at 8 p.m. Friday; Hollywood Undead with Butcher Babies and Demrick at 8 p.m. Saturday; and Periphery, featuring Astronoid and 34 at 8 p.m. Sunday.
Union Station is immersed in the holiday spirit with Holidays Come Alive – complete with a spectacular, lighted holiday tree and holiday mini-train rides daily through Jan. 1. Often referred to as the Jones Store Train and beloved by generations at the holidays, the holiday train was once a popular attraction at the Jones Store Downtown. Riders must be under 48″ tall (approximately 5-6 years of age and under). For the complete holiday schedule at Union Station, visit UnionStation.org/holidays.
LIVE THEATER is thriving on Downtown stages, which feature three productions this week:
- A Charlie Brown Christmas – The animated classic will come to life on stage, complete with a live jazz trio will play the original Vince Guaraldi arrangements. Join Charlie Brown on this memorable journey, which runs through Christmas Eve only at The Coterie.
- Christmas in Song – Celebrate the joy of the Christmas season through its beloved songs and carols as the Quality Hill Playhouse presents its 16th annual holiday celebration. Performances run through Christmas Eve.
- Raggedy Ann and Andy’s Christmas Adventure – a production of Theatre for Young America – opens Tuesday on the City Stage at Union Station.
ARTS – your guide to arts and culture in greater Kansas City:
- ArtsKCGo is the new, online guide to arts and cultural events in greater Kansas City – including First Fridays, Art in the Loop, Charlotte Street and all other Downtown-centric events. ArtsKCGo.com is a service of ArtsKC, the Regional Arts Council of Kansas City. Check it out!
LIVE MUSIC – of all tastes and flavors – is performed at these Downtown venues on most nights:
- Angel’s Rock Bar in the Power & Light District
- The Black Dolphin in the Crossroads
- Blue Room in the Historic 18th & Vine Jazz District
- Brewery Emperial in the Crossroads Arts District
- The Brick in the Crossroads Arts District
- The Dubliner in the Power & Light District
- Gem Theater in the Historic 18th & Vine Jazz District
- Green Lady Lounge in the Crossroads
- Howl at the Moon in the Power & Light District
- KC Live Block! in the Power & Light District
- Kill Devil Club in the Power & Light District
- Knuckleheads Saloon in the East Bottoms
- Leinenkugel’s Kansas City in the Power & Light District
- The Majestic in the Downtown Loop
- The Midland in the Downtown Loop
- Mosaic Ultra Lounge in the Power & Light District
- Mutual Musicians Foundation in the 18th & Vine Jazz District
- The Phoenix in the Downtown Loop
- PBR Big Sky in the Power & Light District
- Prohibition Hall in the Downtown Loop
- Record Bar in the Crossroads
- The Ship in the West Bottoms
- Stockyards Brewing Company in the West Bottoms
- The Truman in the East Crossroads – Coming soon!
MUSEUMS are alive and well throughout Downtown, including these 16 destinations:
- Airline History Museum in Hangar 9 at the Downtown Airport
- American Jazz Museum in the historic 18th & Vine Jazz District
- American Royal Museum in the West Bottoms
- Arabia Steamboat Museum in the City Market
- Black Archives of Mid-America in the historic 18th & Vine Jazz District
- Hallmark Visitors Center at Crown Center
- Historic Garment District Museum in the Downtown Loop at 801 Broadway
- Kansas City Museum in northeast KC at 3218 Gladstone Blvd.
- Money Museum at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City
- National Archives of Kansas City, west of Union Station
- National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame at the Sprint Center
- The National WWI Museum and Memorial at Liberty Memorial
- Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in the historic 18th & Vine Jazz District
- Science City at Union Station
- TWA Museum at the Downtown Airport
- Union Station Gallery at Union Station
For more of what’s happening in Downtown and Kansas City, check out our friends at VisitKC.com