From the WWI Truce Tournament to the Broadway tour of Book of Mormons; from the City-Wide Celebration of Kwanzaa to New Year’s Eve revelry in multiple locations; and from Noon Year’s Eve fun for families at Science City to the Soulfest at Municipal Auditorium … Downtown will be simply Dazzling this week from Christmas Eve to NYE! Roll the highlight reel for the week in arts, culture and entertainment – Monday to Monday, Dec. 24-31:
City-Wide Kwanzaa Celebration – Celebrate Kwanzaa in the Gem Theater from Wednesday through Tuesday (Jan. 1) evenings. Each night begins with an African market featuring local vendors at 6 p.m. The program begins at 7 p.m. Each night features a different program or performance hosted by a local organization., including The Kwanzaa Ball on New Year’s Eve. The American Jazz Museum, in partnership with the National Black United Front- KC, presents the 37th annual celebration. For more information, call 816-866-3025; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org; or visit the celebration Facebook page.
Downtown Dazzle will reach its holiday climax this week throughout 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 District, Union 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.
- Crown Center will continue to be all aglow this week as Santa’s Gingerbread Station and EBT Santa’s Countdown to Christmas are open daily during Crown Center Shops hours now through New Year’s Eve Monday; plus the illuminated cheer from the 100-foot-tall Mayor Christmas Tree; plus the magic of the Ice Terrace (open daily). Click here for holiday hours.
- Science City – Its biggest event of the year – Noon Year’s Eve – is set for noon to 7 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 31 with safe, fun and educational activities to ring in the New Year with your whole family! And, make plans for the 6 p.m. balloon drop that features 2,500+ balloons!
- Union Station – Holidays 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, like the Mini Holiday Express Train which will continue to run inside the Station through Jan. 1. This week, the station will welcome back the 18th annual Kansas City Southern Holiday Express Train for two more days – now through Tuesday.
Knuckleheads – the hottest honky tonk in the Big Town – features 10 rockin’ shows this week, including Rainmakers with Blue False Indigo at 9 p.m. Friday; Samantha Fish at 8:30 p.m. Saturday; and the New Year’s Eve Party featuring 5 bands on 3 stages, including Outlaw Jim & The Whiskey Benders with The Ben Miller Band, The M 80’s, The Instmatics and The Kris Lager Band beginning at 9 p.m. Monday, New Year’s Eve.
The Midland will light up Downtown this week with one performance of the Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker. Featuring world class Russian artists, hand-painted sets, Russian Snow Maidens, and jubilant Nesting Dolls. this remarkable version of the Nutcracker is set for 7 p.m. Friday.
New Year’s Eve will be a celebration through Downtown KC with fun, games, parties and live music throughout the urban core, such as Knuckleheads’s (above) and Record Bar (next), The Truman KC (below), Quality Hill Playhouse (Live Theater below) along with a Noon Year’s Eve event for families (Downtown Dazzle above) and three HUGE NYE parties, including:
- Crossroads Hotel will celebrate its first New Year’s Eve beginning at 9 p.m. on NY Eve with a transformative night featuring round-the-clock music and performances programmed by Quixotic, open bar and craft cocktails, champagne and small bites for every appetite. Click here for tickets and more information.
- Power & Light District– For more than 10 years, NYE Live! has been treating party-goers to exclusive access to up to 12 bars and nightclubs, all-inclusive packages, great entertainment, NYE-themed party favors, confetti cannons, Champagne toasts and the city’s most anticipated countdown to Midnight – complete with a “Times Square” ball drop! The fun begins at 8 p.m. on NY Eve.
- Union Station – Dance in the New Year with the hottest, swinging band – Dave Stephens and the KCJO 7 at New Year’s Swingin’ Eve. Your ticket gets it all – admission, live music, party favors, drinks, hot appetizers and midnight champagne toast, and the party begins at 8 p.m. on NY Eve.
The Record Bar will light up the Crossroads with six nights of live music this week, including New Year’s Eve Eve with Not A Planet, Me Likes Bees and Rubeo at 8 p.m. Sunday, and a rockin’ New Year’s Eve with Murder By Death at 9 p.m. Monday, Dec. 31.
Sprint Center will smokin’ this week with the return of three red-hot performances, including:
- Trans Siberian Orchestra returns to Sprint Center two spectacular shows at 3 and 8 p.m. Wednesday. This year’s 20th-anniversary tour, a presentation of TSO’s unforgettable “The Ghosts of Christmas Eve,” will feature founder/composer/lyricist Paul O’Neill’s timeless story of a runaway who finds her way into a mysterious abandoned theater.
- Jeff Dunham brings his Passively Aggressive tour to the Big Town at 5 p.m. Saturday, along with his delightfully twisted cohorts; Peanut, Walter, José Jalapeño, Bubba J, and of course, Achmed the Dead Terroristo.
Truce Tournament – The Kansas City soccer community will take part in the sixth annual tournament commemorating the Christmas Truce in World War I. On Wednesday, teams will compete in The Truce 3v3 soccer tournament played on Memorial Hill with the Kansas City skyline providing an unmistakable backdrop. Activities begin at 8 a.m. Wednesday. For complete details – including a free British pub-themed English Premier League Boxing Day Watch Party inside the Museum – visit the National WWI Museum and Memorial.
The Truman will light up the Big Town with a New Year’s Eve masterpiece featuring Making Movies performing The Talking Heads’ Remain in Light album, plus performances by Calvin Arsenia and Reptil. The show begins at 9 p.m. Monday, Dec. 31.
LIVE THEATER is thriving on Downtown stages, including four productions this holiday week:
- Book of Mormon – The nine-time Tony® Award-winning Best Musical returns to Downtown KC for one week only. This outrageous musical comedy follows the misadventures of a mismatched pair of missionaries, sent halfway across the world to spread the Good Word. The touring production opens Wednesday and continues through Sunday at the Music Hall.
- 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 runs through Jan. 6 at The Living Room.
- NYE Cabaret – Swing in the New Year as J. Kent Barnhart welcomes back Christina Burton and LeShea Wright plus the boys in the band (Ken Remmert on drums and Ben Tervort on bass) for a sizzling evening of jazz standards, 1960s hits, power ballads, and more at 6:30 and 10:30 p.m. New Year’s Eve at Quality Hill Playhouse.
- 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 Sunday at The Coterie at Crown Center.
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 Art in the Loop, Charlotte Street, First Fridays, the City’s all-new arts festival, Open Spaces, plus all other Downtown-centric arts events.
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
- Garment House in the Downtown Loop
- 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
- Museum of Illusions at Union Station
- 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