Holiday magic fills the air this week in Downtown KC

The Salvation Army presents the second annual Rock the Red Kettle free concert on Friday evening at the Power & Light District.

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.

Celebrate a holly, jolly holiday season at Crown Center.

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 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:

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

The Heartland’s Men’s Chorus is well-strung for the holidays with two performances this weekend at the Folly.

Folly Theater will get all wrapped up for the holidays and finish it off with your favorite BEAUS. The Heartland Men’s Chorus presents Packages With Beaus! at 8 p.m. Saturday and 4 p.m. Sunday.

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 Night the Buzz Stole Xmas arrives Sunday for its first of the three holiday headbangers at The Midland.

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 Xmasfeaturing 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.

The Mini Holiday Express Train is running daily through Jan. 1 at Union Station.


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

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:

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