Roll the highlight reel for a holiday-inspired week of arts, entertainment and seasonal cheer in Downtown Kansas City from Monday to Sunday, Dec. 9-15:
Crown Center, 2405 Grand. This week, will be aglow with the spirit of the season, featuring::
- Mayor’s Christmas Tree – The 100-foot-tall lighted tree, one of the nation’s tallest, is the centerpiece for an illuminating holiday celebration. The tree is a symbol of the Mayor’s Christmas Tree Fund, which is dedicated to assisting the city’s less fortunate. After the holidays, the wood from the Mayor’s tree is made into commemorative ornaments, which are sold the following year to benefit the fund. Now shining through Dec. 31.
- Holiday Choirs – Beautiful music fills the halls of Crown Center, as more than 110 area school, church and community choirs perform daily through Dec. 22. Click here for a current list of our holiday choirs.
- EBT Santa’s Countdown to Christmas – Don’t miss one of Kansas City’s favorite pieces of Christmas nostalgia. 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. the Jolly Ol’ Soul will be on display through Dec. 31.
- Santa’s Gingerbread Station – Kids and families can explore this interactive exhibit (through Dec. 31), meet and have their photo taken with Santa Claus (through Dec. 24), climb aboard the Crown Center Express Train Engine, and enjoy Gingerbread Village No admission fee.
- And, the ever-popular Ice Terrace – Kansas City’s public outdoor ice skating mecca – is open daily through March 8 (except for Christmas Day). Visit the Crown Center Ice Terrace for the complete schedule and more details.
Downtown Dazzle – Explore Downtown Kansas City and celebrate the season with holiday lights, special experiences, and dining and shopping exclusives now through Dec. 30. For a listing of the many seasonal events in Downtown, and to discover the Dazzle Deals coupon book, visit DowntownDazzle.com. As an added bonus to the holiday magic in Downtown this year, the following holiday pop-up adventures are designed to put a little extra merry in your heart:
- Holiday Jam on the KC Streetcar – Free live music on board the KC Streetcar is set for 5-7 p.m. Friday with Enrique Chi; 1-3 p.m. Saturday with Tevin Williams; and 4-6 p.m. Saturday with Thunder Jacket.
- The Crossroads Hotel, 2101 Central, introduces The Toy Shop , a magical mash-up of a bar and toy experience, open from 4 p.m. to close daily through Dec. 28.
- The Rockhill Grille, 2020 Grand Blvd., is back with its second floor Miracle at Rockhill holiday pop-up bar experience, open from 3 p.m. to midnight through Dec. 28.
Folly Theater, 300 W. 12th St. This week, presenting four back-to-back performances that are certain to put you in the spirit of the season, including:
- Tenth Avenue North – Heralded as “a Christmas experience unlike any other,” the Decade The Halls Tour brings a whole new meaning to the timelessness of Christmas. Featuring both traditional Christmas favorites and original Christmas songs, each is set stylistically in a different decade. Prepare to be dazzled beginning at 7 p.m. Thursday.
- Pedrito Martinez Group – The 37th annual Folly Jazz Series presents a group that is writing a new chapter in Cuban music history. Martinez formed his own group in 2005 and has drawn critical and peer acclaim for his brilliant percussion playing and powerful singing which are both deeply rooted in folkloric, and also highly danceable, Afro-Cuban culture. Their much-anticipated KC debut is set for 8 p.m. Friday.
- Central Standard presents Holiday Harmonies featuring Vocal Standard at 7 p.m. Saturday. Prepared to be wowed in this night of a cappella holiday hits performed by the award-winning Central Standard Barbershop Style choir.
- Sheku Kanneh-Mason is already a star in Great Britain, but he’s waiting to be discovered on this side of the Atlantic. Winner of the 2016 BBC Young Musician of the Year contest in January 2018, his debut album for Decca hit No. 18 on the official U.K. album chart and number one on the classical chart. The 19-year-old cellist is from an exceptional family of seven children who are all accomplished classical musician. Don’t miss this free recital at 5 p.m. Sunday.
KC Public Library, 14 W. 10th St. – This week, the Downtown Central Library will feature One for the Coyotes at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday. Al Wallace, who stepped down at WDAF-TV last December, looks back on his life and shares some behind-the-scenes sports stories in a discussion of his book One for the Coyotes: How I Survived 40 Years of My Dream Job in TV News (and Cancer Too). He is joined by his co-author, KC-area journalist David Smale.
Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, 1601 Broadway. This week, the dazzling center will present two holiday shows over seven performances, including:
- The Nutcracker – The Kansas City Ballet awes audiences year after year with its holiday magic, hailed as “positively oozing charm” by The Washington Post. The classic, Victorian-era story of The Nutcracker by E.T.A. Hoffman featuring Clara, the Nutcracker Prince, Dr. Drosselmeier and the Sugar Plum Fairy is a magical theatrical experience wrapped with exquisite costumes, grand sets and captivating choreography. Performances run through Christmas Eve in the Muriel Kauffman Theatre.
- All Star Holidays – The Kansas City Jazz Orchestra presents an evening that’s sure to fire up a cold December night. The beloved jazz orchestra will be joined by stars of the Kansas City jazz scene, Lonnie McFadden, Jason Goudeau, and Molly Hammer, to play your seasonal favorites beginning at 7 p.m. Tuesday in Helzberg Hall.
Knuckleheads, 2715 Rochester. This week, KC’s favorite honky tonk will rock the East Bottoms with 12 live shows, including CeeLo Green at 7:30 p.m. Monday; a musical celebration of Presley, Perkins, Lewis & Cash at 8 p.m. Thursday; Bobby Rush celebrating A Very Merry Booty Christmas at 8:30 p.m. Friday; and Marshall Crenshaw at 9:30 p.m. Sunday.
National WWI Museum and Memorial, 2 Memorial Dr. This week, featuring a special exhibition on The Vietnam War. More than 40 years after its conclusion, the War remains one of the most controversial events of the 20th century. How did the conflict begin? Why did it begin? What are the connections between the war and its confounding cousin, World War I? This exhibition explores themes of patriotism, duty and citizenship through a remarkable collection of objects from the New York Historical Society.
Power & Light District, 50 E. 13th St. This week, presenting Everette at 7 p.m. Friday in Big Sky Nights at PBR Big Sky; the 12 Bars of Charity Bar Crawl – a friendly competition between eight charities – begins at 8 p.m. Saturday in the KC Live! Block; and the Grinch Move Party at 4 p.m. & Gremlins Movie Party at 7 p.m. Sunday at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema.
Union Station, 30 W. Pershing Rd. This week, experiencing a warm and welcoming holiday glow via:
- Holidays Come Alive – Stay warm and cozy inside KC’s favorite indoor holiday destination, enjoying a variety of unique sights, sounds and experiences this holiday season, including the Largest Indoor Holiday Tree, Holiday Plays & Performances, Breathtaking Decorations & Family Photo Ops, Kansas City Southern Holiday Express (Dec. 18-22), Holiday Movies & Planetarium Show (click here for tickets), Mini Train Rides (thru Dec. 29), Exhibitions, Holiday Science In Science City, and Holiday Displays & Activities for the entire family!
- Merry Science – Join us for activities, demonstrations, hands-on learning and fun on Saturday and Sunday at Science City.
- Classic Holiday Movies – This week, featuring the Polar Express Pajama Party now through Wednesday, Dec. 18 in the Regnier Extreme Screen Theatre.
- Genghis Khan – Bringing the Legend to Life – Discover how legends are made in this world-class exhibition that explores the culture, conquests and heritage of the world’s greatest conqueror . . . the man Time Magazine and The Washington Post named “The Most Important Person of the Last Millennium.” Journey back 800 years, to experience the treasures and stories of Genghis Khan’s 13th-century Mongol Empire, the exhibition is showing seven days a week. Click here to learn more.
LIVE THEATER – This week, a peek behind the curtain reveals nine productions – including six holiday delights – happening this week in Downtown:
- Best Christmas Pageant Ever – Theatre for Young America presents the holiday play that The Seattle Times calls The Seattle Times calls, “One of the best Christmas stories ever – and certainly one of the funniest.” Performances continue through Dec. 28 at the City Stage Theater in Union Station.
- A Charlie Brown Christmas – The animated classic comes to life – complete with a live jazz trio playing the original Vince Guaraldi arrangements – for the holidays. Performances runs through Dec. 29 at The Coterie in Crown Center.
- Christmas in Song – Celebrate the joy of the season through its beloved songs and carols through Dec. 22 at Quality Hill Playhouse.
- For Colored Girls… – Ntozake Shange’s ground breaking choreopoem, For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf tells the stories of seven women represented by seven colors, who have survived the triumphs and tragedies of being black women in a world of racism, oppression, and sexism. This KC Melting Pot Theatre production runs through Sunday at Just Off Broadway Theatre.
- Jingle Jamboree – Mesner Puppet Theater delivers holiday joy for the entire family with this performance that features favorite sing-along songs and audience participation. Performances begin Wednesday and continue through Dec. 28 at the Mesner Theater.
- Milking Christmas – Missy Koonce directs this holiday musical comedy where something has gone haywire in Christmastown. the fun continues through Dec. 23 in The Living Room.
- Miss Saigon – Experience the acclaimed new production of the legendary musical from the creators of Les Misérables. Featuring stunning spectacle and a sensational cast of 42 performing the soaring score, including Broadway hits like “The Heat is On in Saigon,” and “Last Night of the World,” this is a theatrical event you will never forget. The KC Broadway Series production opens Tuesday and runs through Sunday at the Music Hall.
- Sensatia, Cirque Cabaret – Prepare to be transported to an interactive multimedia performance blending spectacular acrobatics, state-of-the-art visuals, live music, perfumery, and creative culinary concepts to arouse each of the five senses. Fusing film, live music, awe-inspiring acrobatics, projection mapping, culinary arts and more, this Quixotic experience promises a truly unique multi-sensory experience. Quixotic’s residency show runs through December in the new Quixotic Theater at Crown Center.
- A Spectacular Christmas Show – Singing • Dancing • Show Tunes ~ These are a few of our favorite things! Holiday tunes from Musical Theater, innovative arrangements of Holiday classics runs through Dec. 22 at MTH Theater in Crown Center.
LIVE MUSIC is on tap most nights at these Downtown clubs and joints: Blue Room Jazz Club, Black Dolphin, The Brick, Gem Theater, Green Lady Lounge, Hush, The Majestic Jazz Club, Mutual Musicians Foundation, The Phoenix, Prohibition Hall , throughout the Power & Light District, The Record Bar and The Ship.
AND, UNIQUE TREASURES are plentiful via Downtown museums and attractions, including the Airline History Museum, Downtown Airport; American Jazz Museum, 18th & Vine; Arabia Steamboat Museum, River Market; Black Archives of Mid-America, 18th & Vine; Todd Bolender Center for Dance and Creativity, Union Station District; Boulevard Beer Hall, Westside; City Market, River Market; College Basketball Experience, Sprint Center; Garment District Museum, Garment District; Kansas City Public Library, Central Business District; Hallmark Visitors Center, Crown Center; Hy-Vee Arena, West Bottoms; Kansas City Museum, Corinthian Hall; Money Museum, Federal Reserve Bank of KC; National Archives, Union Station District; National WWI Museum and Memorial, Liberty Memorial; Legoland Discovery Center, Crown Center; Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, 18th & Vine; Riverfront Heritage Trail, River Market area; Science City, Union Station; Sea Life Aquarium, Crown Center; 21c Museum Hotel, Historic 9th District; TWA Museum, Downtown Airport; and Union Station, Union Station.