Lights, camera, action! Holidays light up Downtown all week long

From the Kansas City Ballet and The Nutcracker to the Kansas City Symphony and TubaChristmas; from Downtown Dazzle’s Urban Homes Tour to Martina McBride’s Joys of Christmas; and from the Symphony’s Handel’s Messiah to the Kansas Jayhawks returning to the hoops of Sprint Center … Downtown will be Dazzling this week. Roll the highlight reel for the week in arts, culture and entertainment – Monday to Sunday, Dec. 3-9:

Downtown Dazzlenow in its fifth year – welcomes you to celebrate the holiday season in the neighborhoods, theaters, restaurants and destinations of Downtown KC, including Crown Center, Union Station, the Crossroads Arts District, the Power & Light District, the City Market, the Westside, the 18th & Vine Jazz DistrictUnion Hill and the KC Streetcar. The seasonal event brings people together from across the region to explore Downtown Kansas City and celebrate the season special experiences, events and dining and shopping exclusives, including…

  • Crown Center will be all aglow this week with Santa’s Gingerbread Station and EBT Santa’s Countdown to Christmas open daily during Crown Center Shops hours now through Dec. 31; Holiday Choirs performing daily from today (Monday) through Dec. 21; plus the illuminated cheer from the 100-foot-tall Mayor Christmas Tree; the magic of the Ice Terrace (open daily); and two holiday stage shows (see below under Live Theater).
  • KC Streetcar presents its second annual Holiday Jam of free musical performances on-board the streetcars. The coming week will feature three Jams, including Ernest James Zydeco from 5-7 p.m. Friday; Christopher “CNote” Nickens from noon-2 p.m. Saturday; and 2Cellos KC from noon to 2 p.m. Saturday.
  • Power & Light District will feature a host of holiday movie parties at the Alamo Drafthouse, including The Greatest Showman at 8 p.m. Monday; Love Actually at 8 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday; and Elf at 8 p.m. Sunday and next Monday, Dec. 10.
  • Union StationHolidays Come Alive features 25,000 lights on the indoor Grand Hall Tree alone! “The holidays at Union Station are more than lights… they are about creating holiday experiences you can’t find anywhere else.
  • Urban Homes Tour – Downtown’s trendiest residential properties – from the Crossroads Arts District to the River Market – will open for free, public tours during the most popular event of Downtown Dazzle. Participants are invited to explore at their leisure from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday while traveling from one property to the next by using the KC Streetcar, walking or driving. To register or to learn more, click here.

The Fairy Princess – The holiday season isn’t just about visits with Santa Claus. The Fairy Princess, a tradition at the Kansas City Museum, will relocate to the museum’s Downtown satellite location – the Garment District Museum – while Corinthian Hall is under renovation. The white-gowned Fair Princess debuted in 1935 at Kline’s Department Store, where she waved her wand and a surprise gift appeared for each child. The princess will work her magic from this weekend and next – from 3-7 p.m. Friday, and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. For ticket information, click here.

First Friday – KC’s hippest night of the holiday season – returns this Friday with a sizzling collection arts and cultural experiences throughout Downtown via the:

  • City Market will be showcasing artists who want to explore their painting skills during an Art Experience Paint Night class from 7-9:30 p.m. in City Market Square OR to demonstrate their techniques and exhibit their works during Be Part of the Art from 6-10 p.m. in Pavilion 1.
  • Crossroads Arts District featuring arts organizations, galleries, studios, and a wide variety of local businesses in a celebration of local, regional and national artists and live entertainment from 5-9 p.m.
  • First Friday on the Vine is a cultural experience of music, art, food, and shopping on every First Friday year round. Shop local artists and a diverse array of food trucks from 5-9 p.m. in the Museums of 18th & Vine Atrium … to keep First Friday hot even if the weather is cool.
  • First Friday Warehouse Weekends – one of the finest vintage marketplaces in the country – flourishes every First Friday weekend (Friday through Sunday) in the West Bottoms.

Folly Theater will have ’em dancing in the aisles this week with two performances that thrives at the opposite ends of the artistic spectrum, including:

  • A Drag Queen Christmas -presented by Murray & Peter – hosted by Miz Cracker and Monet X Change at 8 p.m. Wednesday; and…
  • Bach Collegium Japan – presented by Friends of Chamber Music – an ensemble consisting of performers of original instruments and a choir formed in 1990 by Masaaki Suzuki, the internationally renowned and highly reputed Bach performer, beginning at 7:30 p.m. Thursday.

Kansas City Public Library will revel in the holiday spirit this week, as it presents four public programs on back-to-back days at the Central Library, including:

  • All Because of a Mormon Cow – Eli Paul, former manager of the Library’s Missouri Valley Special Collections, recounts a Wyoming standoff in 1855-1856, where a rash young officer and 28 of his soldiers were killed in what became known as the Grattan Massacre, instigating the First Sioux War and unleashing a generation of fighting on the Great Plains. The program is set for 6:30 p.m. Wednesday. RSVP here.
  • Backstage Pass – This special exhibit feature works from Baron Wolman, the first chief photographer of Rolling Stone magazine, including 35 photographs, contact sheets, and original magazine covers. It opens at 6:30 p.m. Thursday. RSVP here, man.
  • A Winter’s Tale in Word and Song – Combine scenes from Shakespeare’s greatest plays with the works of Bach, Mozart, and Vivaldi and a couple of beloved, centuries-old carols, and … it’s reason to welcome winter. This performance of Bach Aria Soloists and the Heart of America Shakespeare Festival is set for 6:30 p.m. Saturday. RSVP at once.
  • Holiday Open House – Guests of all ages are invited to step into the holiday season with an afternoon of creative art, music, performance, and refreshments beginning at 2 p.m. Sunday. Ho RSVP ho.

Kansas City TubaChristmas – The Kansas City Symphony will present the region’s largest TubaChristmas event EVER. All area tuba and euphonium players are invited to join in the festivities that begin at noon Friday at Municipal Auditorium. Friends, family and the general public are invited to attend the lunch hour concert to listen to the sounds of the season, tuba-style! Tickets are free, however advanced registration is required. Click here to register, and join a potential world’s largest audience for TubaChristmas!

Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts will feature 10 holiday-inspired performances this week, including:

  • Winter Wonderland – The Kansas City Jazz Orchestra gets its Jingle Bell groove on with some extra hip renditions of holiday tunes featuring Hammond B3 organist, Chris Hazelton. The party is set for 7 p.m. Tuesday in Helzberg Hall.
  • The Nutcracker continues its holiday run of 20 unforgettable performances in the Muriel Kauffman Theatre. The Kansas City Ballet presents this magical, Victorian-era story by E.T.A. Hoffman complete with exquisite costumes, grand sets and captivating choreography. The Nutcracker will be performed six times this week with shows on Thursday through Sunday … and running through Dec. 22.
  • Handel’s Messiah – Nearly 200 amazing musicians and powerful voices bring this choral masterpiece to life with the return of Aram Demirjian as guest conductor. From the “Passion of the Christ” to the “Hallelujah Chorus,” Handel’s glorious Messiah is bigger and better than ever in the acoustically marvelous Helzberg Hall. Performances are set for 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday.

Knuckleheads – the hottest honky tonk in the Big Town – features 14 rockin’ shows this week, including Maria the Mexican at 7 p.m. Friday; Steve Earle and the Dukes with The Mastersons 30th Anniversary of Copperhead Road at 8:30 p.m. Saturday; and the Fish Fry Holiday Extravaganza with the Funky Butt Brass Band at 7 p.m. Sunday.

Country icon Martina McBride will celebrate songs of the season, when she performs on Thursday at the Midland Theatre.

The Midland will be rockin’ around the Christmas tree this week with four huge shows, including:

  • Chvrches featuring The Moth and The Flame, and Royal Teeth at 7 p.m. Tuesday;
  • Martina McBride returns to Downtown KC to celebrate with her Joys of Christmas Tour at 8 p.m. Thursday;
  • Lewis Black – the comedic king of the rant – will ignite the stage at 8 p.m. Saturday;
  • Thom Yorke, featuring Oliver Coates, will light up the Midland with his Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes Tour at 8 p.m. Sunday.

The Record Bar will light up the Crossroads with five nights of live music this week, including The Barclay Martin Ensemble at 8 p.m. Wednesday and the Hooligan Holiday Punk Rock Prom featuring Slapshot, The Press, Unruly Boys, Boss Holligan Sound System and DJ Maladjusted beginning at 8 p.m. Friday.

Sprint Center will feature NCAA men’s basketball with the Jayhawk Shootout, as the 2018 Big 12 Champion Kansas Jayhawks take on the New Mexico State Aggies in non-conference action at 7:30 p.m. Saturday. The Jayhawks are currently ranked as the No. 2 team nationally by ESPN.

The Truman will be soaring with two performances this week, including San Holo with Chet Porter, Taska Black and Beaudamian beginning at 8 p.m. Thursday and Tom Morello and the Atlas Underground Experience at 8 p.m. Saturday.

LIVE THEATER is thriving on Downtown stages, including four productions this week:

  • Christmas in Song featuring a blend of sacred and secular, popular and traditional, this Kansas City tradition has been called “the best Christmas show in town” and “Kansas City’s most consistently stirring Christmas show for 15 years” by critics and audiences alike. The fun continues through Dec. 23 at Quality Hill Playhouse.
  • Milking Christmas – Driven by a mission to keep the holiday perfect, Macey Maid-a-Milking finds herself in a lot of trouble as the future of Christmas hangs in the balance. Directed by Missy Koonce & Rusty Sneary, the hit musical opens Thursday and runs through Jan. 6 at The Living Room.
  • Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical – Back by popular demand, the beloved television classic soars off the screen and onto the stage this holiday season. Rudolph and his friends, Clarice, Hermey the Elf, and Yukon Cornelius learn what makes you different makes you special. Performances run through Dec. 31 at The Coterie at Crown Center.
  • A Spectacular Christmas Show – Singing • Dancing • Show Tunes • Christmas: These are a few of our favorite things! Holiday tunes from musical theater, innovative arrangements of Holiday classics and more will open Thursday and continue through Dec. 23 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