Downtown A&E scene will be aglow this Thanksgiving week

The Mayor’s Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony at Crown Center will welcome the holiday season in grand style. The ceremony is set for 5:30 p.m. Friday, which also marks the opening of Downtown Dazzle, the signature holiday celebration for Downtown KC.

Here’s the highlight reel for the Downtown KC arts & entertainment scene for the week of Thanksgiving – Monday to Sunday, Nov. 20-26:

Crown Center will roll out the red carpet for the holiday season – and Downtown Dazzle – this week with a feast of seasonal joy, including:

  • Santa’s Arrival – Santa Claus arrives in a horse-drawn carriage at 10 a.m. Friday to kick off the holiday season. Join Santa as he makes his way to Santa’s Gingerbread Station, where he resides through Dec. 24.
  • Mayor’s Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony – The 100-foot-tall tree, one of the nation’s tallest, is the centerpiece for an illuminating holiday celebration. Mayor Sly James and a celebrity guest will flip the switch to light the tree. The tree is a symbol of the Mayor’s Christmas Tree Fund, which is dedicated to assisting the city’s less fortunate. Program begins at 5:30 p.m. Friday. No admission fee.
  • Santa’s Gingerbread Station – Kids and families can explore this interactive exhibit, meet and have their photo taken with Santa Claus beginning Friday, 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Downtown Dazzle – your complete Downtown KC holiday experience through Jan. 1 – opens on Friday with the Mayor’s Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony at Crown Center and a dazzling holiday lighting installation at Washington Square Park. Wander through Crown Center’s magnificent holiday lights and then make your way across Pershing Road to stroll through the Downtown Dazzle holiday lights. 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.

The Elders will rock the night away on Saturday at Knuckleheads Saloon.

The Elders will highlight a busy week ahead at Knuckleheads Saloon in the East Bottoms. KC’s favorite Irish folk rock band at 8:30 p.m. Saturday – one of 10 Knuckleheads performances over the coming week.

Hall of Fame Classic will feature four collegiate basketball powerhouses on Sunday and Monday (Nov. 21) at Sprint Center. Creighton will tip off against UCLA at 6 p.m. Sunday, followed by the match-up of Baylor and Wisconsin. On the following evening, the consolation game will start at 6:30 p.m., immediately followed by the championship game.

Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts will be in the spirit of Thanksgiving this week, featuring four performances over the next seven days, including:

  • An Evening with David Sedaris will unfold beginning  at 8 p.m. today (Monday) in Muriel Kauffman Theatre. Sedaris has become one of America’s preeminent humor writers. The great skill with which he slices through cultural euphemisms and political correctness demonstrates that he is a master of satire and one of the most observant writers addressing the human condition today.
  • Romantic Royalty: Tchaikovsky and Chopin will be performed by the Kansas City Symphony, featuring guest conductor Yoav Talmi, at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday in Helzberg Hall.

The Truman will heat up the East Crossroads with three shows this week, including I Prevail with its Rage on the Stage Tour at 6:45 p.m. Tuesday; Mac Lethal, featuring DJ P and Loogey, at 8:30 p.m. Wednesday; and Joywave with The Aces, Maybird and Hembree at 8 p.m. Saturday.

Union Station is immersed in the holiday spirit with Holidays Come Alive – complete with a spectacular, lighted holiday tree and free holiday mini-train rides daily through Jan. 1. For the complete holiday schedule at Union Station, visit

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 begin Friday and continue through Christmas Eve.
  • Musical Monday & Tuesday – Hosted by MTH founder George Harter, this production explores the evolution of show tunes to pop tunes – from Cole Porter to Johnny Mercer to Barbra Streisand – at 7:30 p.m. Monday and Tuesday at MTH Theater at Crown Center.

ARTS – your guide to arts and culture in greater Kansas City:

LIVE MUSIC – of all tastes and flavors – is performed at these Downtown venues on most nights:

MUSEUMS are alive and well throughout Downtown, including these 16 destinations:

For more of what’s happening in Downtown and Kansas City, check out our friends at