Guide to Holiday Lights in Kansas City

Mayor’s Christmas Tree Lighting (November 2| 5:30 p.m. virtual)

The annual ceremony to turn on the lights of the Mayor’s Christmas Tree and Crown Center Square will be virtual this year. Watch the Mayor’s Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony on Crown Center’s Facebook page and CrownCenter.com starting at 5:30 p.m.
 
NEW for 2020:
  • During the virtual ceremony, Kansas City, Mo., Mayor Quinton Lucas and friends will turn on more than 48,000 LED white lights on the 100-foot-tall Mayor’s Christmas Tree and around Crown Center Square.
  • Holiday-themed music and entertainment will include performances by Quixotic, harpist Calvin Arsenia, and Crown Brass.
  • On Friday, Nov. 27, entertainment options at Crown Center will be plentiful during the day with Santa visits, skating at Crown Center Ice Terrace, and shopping. At 5:30 p.m., the main event will be available to watch online, and Crown Center invites everyone to watch the lighting ceremony virtually instead of gathering on the square this year.
  • The Mayor’s Christmas Tree and festive holiday lights will brighten Crown Center Square through Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021, so there will be plenty of time to view the lights.
  • Masks and social distancing are required while at Crown Center.

Winter Magic at Swope Park (Nov. 2 – Jan. 2)

Come one, come all, to Winter Magic – the most fantastic of drive-thru holiday events in Kansas City. A world of winter wonder awaits you! Don’t worry about Krampus (or COVID-19), you’ll be safe in your car the whole time. Hey, wear your pajamas and bring your hot chocolate, if it pulls your sled. Drive thru nearly one mile of the most amazing, mesmerizing, WINTERrifically magical holiday light experiences you’ve ever laid your gazers on. See the elves work the toy factory, cruise through the longest light tunnel in the Midwest, be hypnotized by our spinning trees, rock the elf out in Pixel Town, and so much more. Elf buddies Peerpil and Alinor will be at the gate to greet you. I’m telling ya, your snodsokklers will probably never believe you.

See the holiday magic every night this season in Historic Swope Park next to the Kansas City Zoo. The magic runs November 2nd through the new year. Visit www.WinterMagicKC.com for available time slots.

Briarcliff Holiday Lighting Celebration (November 14 | 4 p.m.)

Stop by the Village to usher in the holiday season! Stay in your car and tune in your radio for the synchronized music and fireworks show. You can wave to Santa and then stop by Nell Hills to get a family photo outside a scenic backdrop. Lights and fireworks begin at 6 p.m.

Overland Park Mayor’s Holiday Tree Lighting (November 20 | 5:30 p.m.)

Join us for a celebration of the coming holiday season hosted in partnership with Mayor Carl Gerlach. We’re having our socially-distanced ceremony with Santa in Thompson Park, and we hope to see you there!

Mayor’s Tree Lighting: Lee’s Summit (November 20)

Grab a thermos of hot cocoa, jump in the car, and cruise or walk through Downtown to enjoy live window displays and holiday shopping from 6-8 p.m. Starting at 6 p.m., an animated light display will begin in City Hall Plaza. Bask in the magic of both the holiday lights and the animated display through the first week of January.

Mayor’s Tree Lighting: North Kansas City (November 20 | 6 p.m.)

Join us virtually on our Facebook page as we light the Mayor’s Tree for the 2020 holiday season. Enjoy some holiday themed music along with a story read by Santa! Holiday displays will be showcased and stay up throughout the holiday season for the perfect family photo-opt!

Zona Rosa Holiday Lighting Celebration (November 21 | 6 p.m.)

Enjoy holiday-inspired performances by well-known local bands, food trucks, an appearance by Santa Claus and big giveaways (located at Town Square). More info coming soon! The lights will already be turned on earlier in the day so just come and go as you please and enjoy the 50 ft tree, majestic crowns and festive atmosphere! Masks required as you move about the event as well as social distancing.

Gladstone Mayor’s Christmas Tree Lighting (November 24 | 6 p.m.)

More information coming soon. Check online for details.

Christmas in the Park at Longview Lake (November 25-December 31)

With more than 500,000 lights, 175 animated figures and splashes of Christmas color, the entire family will delight in the magic of this enchanting drive-thru winter wonderland… a gift to you from Jackson County!

Holiday Lights on Farmstead Lane (November 26-January 7)

If you love festive holiday light displays, then head to Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead and watch sparkling lights synchronized to music with animation, lighting effects, patterns and messages. This year’s show which will feature all your favorite holiday scenes, plus lights and music from some of the most popular movies. Just bring some cocoa, cookies and blankets as you view the lights and hear the music from the warmth of your car.

Sea of Lights  (November 27-January 10)

SEA LIFE is lighting up with holiday spirit and over 10,000 holiday lights! sea of lights at sea life Kansas cityJourney into Sea of Lights and experience the lights as they sparkle across 5,000 fishy friends! The Scuba Claus Dive Show available select times on weekends in December. Face masks are required. Reserve your ticket online.

Paulie’s Penguin Playground

The Craig family Christmas display started off in 2004 with 15 penguins and a few Christmas lights; now, this regional favorite for those in Olathe and surrounding areas has grown to 150 lighted figures which fill most of Paul’s yard. Many of the figures move, some play music and there are even penguin videos playing on the roof.

The Annual Plaza Lighting Ceremony (Thanksgiving Day | 5 p.m.)

“In 1925, Charles Pitrat, head of the Nichols Company maintenance operation, placed a single six-foot strand of sixteen colored light bulbs across the doorway of the Suydam building, the Plaza’s first building … The tradition grew just the way the Plaza did. As buildings were added, so were lights. When the Plaza Theatre was completed in 1928, Pitrat strung lights across 47th Street to reach the theater building. The next year he outlined the buildings and towers with lights. And so it went, adding more lights to frame more buildings. Putting up those first lights took one man and a ladder. The chore is definitely more difficult today.” The switch gets flipped at this 90th annual KCP&L Plaza Lighting Ceremony at 6:54 p.m.

Holiday Luminary Walk (November 29-30, December 6-7, December 13-14)

Stroll along candlelit trails through the gardens and woods of the Overland Park Arboretum & Botanical Gardens during this 19th annual holiday event. This event (taking place over three weekends) serves as a major fundraiser for the Friends of the Arboretum and features a mile of candles, holiday lights, live entertainment, Santa Claus, horse-drawn wagon rides, hot cider around a campfire, mystical Gnome and Fairy Villages and more.

Mayor’s Christmas Tree Lighting (November 29 | 5:30 p.m.)

The 100-foot-tall Mayor’s Christmas Tree, one of the nation’s tallest, is the centerpiece for an illuminating holiday celebration. Kansas City’s Mayor Quinton Lucas and a special guest will flip the switch to light the tree. The program begins at 5:30 p.m. No admission fees. After the holidays, the wood from the Mayor’s Christmas Tree is made into commemorative ornaments, which are sold the following year to benefit the Mayor’s Christmas Tree Fund.

Powell Gardens’ Festival of Lights (November 29 – January 5)

A lighting exhibition like you’ve never seen before! The Festival of Lights includes botanically-themed lighting displays that begin at the garden entrance and stretch along a winding pathway through six of the seven themed gardens. Enjoy free children’s activities each day from 4 p.m.-8 p.m. including an ornament station to take the magic home with you!

Sar-Ko Aglow (December 6 | 6 p.m.)

Continue your holiday festivities by meeting up with friends and neighbors for a community celebration at Sar-Ko-Par Trails Park in Lenexa. Enjoy a stroll through the park while taking in the spectacular lights, sipping hot cocoa and listening to carolers. Look for Santa on the circle driveway! The Legler Barn Museum will also be open during the event.

Sarah
Sarah is mama to 9-year-old, Henry, 6-year-old Clark and 4-year-old Lucy. After growing up in Manhattan, Kansas (Go Cats!), she moved to Minnesota where she met her husband, Shea. Realizing how much she hated snow in May, she convinced him to move to Kansas City in 2010. Together they have lived in Midtown, Waldo, the Plaza before migrating to Johnson County. Sarah has her master’s in urban administration and is currently in the Kansas City Centurions program. In between the crazy, she likes to drink coffee, run, travel (but never to the same place twice), and experience all things Kansas City!