Quick Tips to Enjoy the Plaza Lighting Ceremony with Kids

If you’re from Kansas City you already know what a staple the Plaza Lighting Ceremony is to the start of the holiday season. Christmas in Kansas City isn’t even fathomable without the Plaza Lights. Our family makes this a tradition to start our holidays off right each year, and we are never disappointed! My husband and I started going when we were dating and have continued the tradition with each passing year, even with little babes in tow.

If you’re planning to attend the Plaza Lighting Ceremony, it’s important to be prepared (especially if you’ve got small kids). I’ve put together a list of tips to help make your experience less stressful and more magical!

Plan Ahead for Restrooms

Most stores are closed and restaurants restrooms are reserved for customers dining in. While I’m sure you could find a restroom somewhere… plan ahead and make sure everyone has used the potty before you get to the event.

Be Flexible with Strollers

Strollers are great and make it so much easier to navigate the crowds and walking, just be sure to be flexible! There are lots of people and patience is the key! I would also highly recommend baby wearing. It would save space and keep your little one warm and snuggly.

Bring Warm Drinks

Make a pit-stop for coffee and hot cocoa on the way down. You might end up waiting in a long line at the Starbucks or one of the other coffee shops on the Plaza, and you don’t want to get stuck waiting and miss the lighting!

Be Patient with Parking 

Parking can be tricky with so many people coming for the festivities, so my first piece of advice is to be patient. Typically, parking is easier to find off the Plaza. If you’re willing to walk a little bit, it will save you some sanity.

Plaza Lighting Ceremony
Photo via VisitKC.com

Be Prepared for Extra Purchases 

There are lots of street vendors selling light up toys and glow sticks. The kids are all instantly sold and last year we ended up bringing home a couple different ones. If you’re not wanting to go all out, my advice is to get some fun glow sticks and light up toys from the dollar store beforehand.

The show starts at 5 p.m. with a pre-show. Since we have little ones and standing around watching a show isn’t always the most entertaining for them, we usually arrive closer to the flip of the switch, which is scheduled for 6:52 p.m. We try to walk to get to a good viewing spot but it’s not a big deal if you aren’t up close, the lights turning on is a big hit from wherever you are!

This year, the women’s soccer team KC Current will flip the switch! The show will also feature performances by Quixotic, Musical Theater Heritage, Summer Breeze and others, in addition to fireworks. The lights will stay lit through January 9.

If you’re looking for a new easy family tradition, I highly recommend it! It’s so much more magical than just watching it on TV. Each year, I look forward to seeing my kids faces light up at the official start to the holiday season!

Anna was born and raised in Kansas City and is a graduate of MidAmerica Nazarene University. She is married to her college sweetheart and BFF, Ryne, who are both educators. They live in Olathe with three littles; Hudson (5), Lincoln (2), and Charlee (9 months) and their two dogs; Kindle and Lucy. Life is chaotic and crazy. But she’s learning to embrace the chaos. When she’s not doing her teacher thing, Anna enjoys just hanging with her people, shopping, antiquing/DIY, decorating, and working on her dream of having her own blog. Anna loves jumping on the trampoline with her boys, eating Mexican food, dating her husband, drinking wine, Restoration Emporium, and being with her friends and family.


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