Roll the highlight reel for a holiday-inspired week of arts, entertainment and seasonal cheer in Downtown Kansas City from Monday to Sunday, Dec. 16-22:
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. 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 Sunday. Click here for a current schedule of 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:
- 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 Drag Queen Christmas – The tw-hour holiday extravaganza features contestants from the reality television show, RuPaul’s Drag Race on VH1. The queens will roll out their biggest holiday costumes and perform some of your favorite holiday songs with back-up dancers and a full stage production. The shenanigans begin at 8 p.m. Tuesday.
Grace & Holy Cathedral, 415 W. 13th St. This week, featuring Candlelight, Carols & Cathedral performed by the William Baker Festival Singers at 7:30 p.m. Friday in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. Click here for ticket information.
KC Public Library, 14 W. 10th St. – This week, the Downtown Central Library will feature The Defense of St. Vith at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday. Military historian Mark Gerges of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College discusses the inspiring response by American troops in the Battle of the Bulge, including the 7th Armored Division’s defense of the critical crossroads town of St. Vith. RSVP here.
Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, 1601 Broadway. This week, the dazzling center will be aglow in the spirit of the season, 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 will run through Christmas Eve in the Muriel Kauffman Theatre.
- Beethoven for the Generations featuring Y-Yo Ma, Pamela Frank and Emanuel Ax in this Isaac Stern@100 International Kickoff Event is st for 7:30 p.m. Monday in Helzberg Hall. The Kansas City Symphony celebrates this extraordinary all-Beethoven program, including the composer’s Triple Concerto for piano, violin, cello and orchestra.
- Christmas Festival – The Kansas City Symphony invites you to buckle up for a sleigh ride into Helzberg Hall! Your family and friends will love the annual holiday celebration, filled with festive songs of the season, carols, choirs and special guests — including one jolly visitor from the north. Six performances are calling your name from Friday to Monday, Dec. 23.
Knuckleheads, 2715 Rochester. This week, KC’s favorite honky tonk will rock the East Bottoms with 14 live shows, including Danielle Nichole & Brandon Miller will deliver two powerhouse shows at 6 p.m. (in the Gospel Lounge) and 8:30 p.m. Friday; and Trampled Under Foot will reunite to headline a benefit concert for Jan Faircloth that features Katy Guillen and The Drive, Levee Town, Dust Devil Choir and Whiskey Jim & The Whiskey Benders at 8 p.m. Saturday.
The Midland, 1228 Main St. This week, featuring four sassy ways to celebrate the season, including:
- The Piano Guys return to the Big Town on their Christmas Together tour at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday;
- Angels & Airways will headline The Night The Buzz Stole XXmas at 7:30 p.m. Thursday. Special guests include Badflower and Search & Seizure.
- Cold War Kids will lead The Night The Buzz Stole XXXmas at 6:30 p.m. Friday. Special guests include Lovely the Band, She Wants Revenge and Berwanger.
- Jackyl is back! The rowdy Southern rockers bring their Family Reunion Tour at 7 p.m. Saturday. The Almighty Trouble Brothers will open.
The Music Hall will be aglow in the holiday spirit with A Magical Cirque Christmas at 8 p.m. Tuesday. The producers of Broadway’s smash hit The Illusionists have brought together the world’s greatest entertainers for a spell-binding new holiday production. Experience the magic of Christmas with dazzling performers and breathtaking cirque artists from all corners of the world, accompanied by your favorite holiday music performed live.
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, featuring Gremlins Movie Party at 7 p.m. Sunday and the Christmas Vacation Movie Party at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema; Big Sky Nights featuring Silver Bullet at 7 p.m. Friday at PBR Big Sky; 3rd Annual Santa Ball at 8 p.m. Friday at Leinie Lodge & Beer Garden; and Pajama Party at 9 p.m. Friday at Angels Rock Bar.
Sprint Center, 1407 Grand. This week, elevating into a college hoops mecca, as the Kansas State Wildcats take on the Saint Louis Billikens in a men’s basketball match-up beginning at 6 p.m. Saturday..
Union Station, 30 W. Pershing Rd. This week, experiencing a warm and welcoming holiday glow via:
- Kansas City Southern Holiday Express – One of Kansas City’s favorite holiday traditions, the Holiday Express train will bring Santa to Union Station just before Christmas. Guests can visit with Santa and tour the train for free. This magical holiday train will roll into Union Station for a four-day visit this year from Wednesday to Sunday. For details and the daily schedule, click here.
- 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!
- 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 eights productions – including seven 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 Sunday at Quality Hill Playhouse.
- A Crooner Christmas – The award winning Crooner, Les Lankhorst has made a career of personifying Frank Sinatra on stages all over the world. Now he brings that voice and swagger to KC, along with his Swingin’ Band, for three nights of classic holiday favorites and swinging standards at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday to MTH Theater in Crown Center.
- 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.
- 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 Sunday 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.