From Noon and New Year’s Eve festivities on Monday to First Friday; and from the City-Wide Kwanzaa Celebration to Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire … Downtown will be Dazzling again this week. Roll the highlight reel for the last of the 2018 holiday celebrations – and much more – in the Big Town, Monday, Dec. 31 to Sunday, Jan. 6:
Central Library will elevate the New Year with a special program on the new book Hare & Hare: Landscape Architects and City Planners at 2 p.m. Sunday. Authors Carol Grove and Cydney Millstein document the achievements of the Hare & Hare firm and its role in the growth of landscape architecture in the U.S. They discuss their research with former Kansas City council member Jan Marcason, a consultant with the Olsson Studio. RSVP Now for this free Missouri Valley Sunday program.
City-Wide Kwanzaa Celebration – The sixth and final night of the city’s Kwanzaa celebration concludes with the Kwanzaa Ball from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. on New Year’s Eve at the American Jazz Museum. The Jazz Museum has worked in partnership with the National Black United Front- KC, to present the 37th annual celebration that began on Dec. 26. For more information, call 816-866-3025; e-mail email@example.com; or visit the celebration Facebook page.
Downtown Dazzle will reach its holiday climax on New Year’s Eve with celebrations throughout Downtown, including:
- Crown Center will be all aglow as Santa’s Gingerbread Station and EBT Santa’s Countdown to Christmas are open daily 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 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 New Year’s Day.
New Year’s Eve will celebrated on Monday night throughout Downtown with games, parties and live music throughout the urban core, such as Knucklehead’s (below) and Record Bar (ditto), The Truman KC (below), Quality Hill Playhouse (Live Theater below) along with a Noon Year’s Eve event for families (see 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.
First Friday – KC’s hippest night of the new year – returns this Friday with a sizzling collection arts and cultural experiences throughout Downtown via the:
- 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.
- On the Vine is a cultural experience of music, art, food, and shopping on First Fridays year ’round. Shop local artists and a diverse array of food trucks from 4-9 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.
Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts will open its 2019 performance schedule with a blockbuster weekend, featuring the Kansas City Symphony presentation of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire in concert at 7 p.m. Thursday and Friday; noon on Saturday; and 2 p.m. Sunday in Helzberg Hall.
Knucklehead’s – the hottest honky tonk in the Big Town – features 9 rockin’ shows this week, including … 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, NYE; plus Bluegrass in the Bottoms presents Fruition with Brad Parsons & Starbird at 8 p.m. Thursday.
The Record Bar will light up the Crossroads with 3 nights of live music this week, including a rockin’ New Year’s Eve with Murder By Death at 9 p.m. Monday; and a War Child Benefit show featuring Ivory Blue, Adriana Nikole, John Keck and Erica McKenzie.
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, NYE.
LIVE THEATER is thriving on Downtown stages, including two productions this week:
- 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 Sunday 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.
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