2023 Christmas Events Near Me: Your Festive Guide to Holiday & Christmas Events in Kansas City

Last updated on December 19th, 2023 at 12:56 pm.

Is the Christmas season in Kansas City your family’s favorite time of year? If so, you are probably asking yourself, “Where are the best Christmas events near me?”. With the hustle and bustle of the season and the many holiday events to choose from it can sometimes be overwhelming.

Below you will find dozens upon dozens of options when looking for things to do this season in and around Kansas City, Missouri!

Keep reading for the best Christmas events in KCMO filled with tree lightings, winter magic, Christmas music and of course a few Santa Claus sightings! There are plenty of photo ops with holiday lights as you explore Kansas City this holiday season. So, get your hot cocoa in a thermos and head out to these events the entire family is sure to love.

santa with present
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23 Best Holiday & Christmas Events in Kansas City for 2023

Christmas is approaching, which means so are everyone’s favorite Kansas City Christmas events! The Plaza, Crown Center, Kauffman Event Center, and Union Station all host plenty of popular KC Christmas activities for those looking for holiday classics.

You can make some of these events part of your family advent calendar, a surprise date night, or even attend free Christmas events on a whim this December 2023 in Kansas City.

Classic Kansas City Holiday Events

1. Evergy Festival of Lights at Powell Gardens

DATES: November 16, 2023 to December 30, 2023

holiday lights

During the Evergy Festival of Lights at Powell Gardens,  Kansas City’s botanical garden transforms into a winter wonderland. Bundle up with family and friends while you stroll a lighted outdoor path, pausing for plenty of Instagram and holiday-card worthy photo moments along the way.

You'll see immersive botanic installations that show off the exceptional architecture and landscape elements of the Powell gardens holiday light experience during the most festive season of the year.

Address: 1609 N.W. U.S. Highway 50, Kingsville, MO

2. Crown Center Ice Terrace

DATES: November 3, 2023 through March 10, 2024

ice skating rink

Kansas City's original outdoor skating rink is open for its 51st Season! This is one of the most popular Crown Center events and one of the best family activities to get into the holiday spirit!

For anyone with young kids you can make it a family event as all children under 4 years old are completely free! Crown Center has a ton of walkable, themed holiday exhibits and activities for anyone looking for a budget-friendly event this Christmas.

Regular admission is $9 for adults and children aged 4 and older. Skate rentals are $5 or you may bring your own.

November, December and January hours: Sunday - Thursday, 10 a.m. - 9 p.m., Friday - Saturday, 10 a.m. - 11 p.m. Check the website for hours in February and March.

Location: Crown Center Ice Terrace; 2450 Grand Blvd., Kansas City, MO

3. The Plaza Lights

DATES: Nov 23, 2023 - mid-January 2024

Plaza Lights in Kansas City

The Plaza lights are one of the most fun Christmas events in Kansas City! The Country Club Plaza buildings and shops don over 200,000 bulbs every December and this year is no different.

While the lights look best at night, you can go a little earlier in the day and check out popular shopping or restaurants with the whole family. But, make sure to stay until 5 pm when the lights are turned on! This is a favorite holiday tradition for many families in Kansas City and beyond.

The Evergy Plaza Lighting Ceremony will take place from 5 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, Nov 23, 2023. At 6:52 p.m., a special guest will be introduced (this could be a KC Royals’ player, someone from the Chiefs or any other local celebrity) to flip the switch.

When the switch is flipped on Thanksgiving day, it's officially Christmas time in KCMO!

The lighting will be followed by additional live music performances as well as a fireworks display.

The Evergy Plaza Lights shine daily from 5 p.m. to 3 a.m. from Thursday, Nov. 23, 2023 to Sunday, Jan. 9, 2023.

The November 23rd schedule includes the following:

  • 5 to 6 p.m.: Pre-lighting performances and giveaways from the main stage
  • 6 to 7 p.m.: 93rd Annual Evergy Plaza Lighting Ceremony
  • 6:52 p.m.: Ceremonial flip of the switch featuring Negro Leagues Baseball Museum President Bob Kendrick
  • 7 to 8 p.m.: Post-ceremony concert with The Elders

Big fan of The Plaza lights? The Legends and Zona Rosa also have their shopping districts lit up for Christmas if you’d like to see more.

Location: 4706 Broadway Blvd, Kansas City, MO (at 41st & Wyandotte)

4. Santa's Arrival at Crown Center

DATES: November 24 - December 24, 2023

Santa Claus arrives in a horse-drawn carriage to kick off the holiday season. Join Santa as he makes his way to Santa's Gingerbread Station, where he resides through December 24.

Arrival on the 24th of November will be between 10:00 a.m. to 10:15 a.m.

 Location: 2450 Grand Boulevard, Kansas City, MO 

5. Mayor’s Christmas Tree Lighting at Crown Center

DATE: November 24, 2023

As mentioned above, Crown Center has a wealth of Christmas-themed events. The Mayor’s Christmas Tree is one of the largest trees illuminated with Christmas lights in the entire nation!

The magnificent Mayor’s Christmas Tree is illuminated by more than 7,200 white bulbs, the Crown Center centerpiece proves a proud showcase of Kansas City’s winter spirit.

Attend the lighting ceremony the day after Thanksgiving to officially kick off the yuletide season. You’ll also enjoy long-standing traditions like silent night caroling at this annual festival celebrating the holidays.

Discover Cocoa and Campfires, an area to enjoy hot beverages and s’mores by the fire pits. Stage entertainment begins at 5:30. Then, join the Mayor and guests for the countdown to light the tree.  Fireworks to follow.

If you’ve checked out the Mayor’s Christmas Tree and the Crown Center Ice Terrace, it’s only a short walk to Legoland, Sea Life aquarium, or to visit Santa himself inside Crown Center at Santa’s Gingerbread Station.

Mayor’s 2023 Christmas Tree Ornament

Mayor’s 2023 Christmas Tree Ornament

This year’s ornament is a wreath modeled after the one that hangs in the Crown Center Shops atrium. It was designed by Hallmark artist Ramon Olivera. Ornaments will be available for sale on Friday, Nov. 24, but advance orders can be placed now.

The tree will be up from November 2, 2023 through January 2, 2024.

Location: 2450 Grand Boulevard, Kansas City, MO 

6. Winter Magic Drive Through Light Show

DATES: November 2 - December 31, 2023

Winter Magic Drive Through Holiday Lights

This is a fantastic holiday event the whole family will love!

The 2023 Kansas City Winter Magic is once again in Kessler Park off Cliff Drive in the Historic Northeast. It was moved to this location in 2023 to accommodate more cars each night. Book your ticket, gather some fun snacks, put a holiday playlist together, and take a ride into a winter wonderland!

Once you enter the first tunnel of light displays, you’ll be transported to a winter wonderland of one mile of twinkly lights, and life-size decorations that celebrate Kansas City and the holidays.

Each twist of the road reveals a new themed section such as the 12 days of Christmas, Hannukah, reindeer pixel town, and tunnels of lights. Check out details for the KCMO Winter Magic as well as the KCKS Holiday Lights and Magic.

READ MORE: Winter Magic Guide & Video

Location: 1800 Cliff Drive in Kessler Park, Kansas City, MO

Holiday Concerts and Shows

holiday lights with red bulbs

For anyone hoping to experience a new adventure this Christmas, there is a holiday-themed stand-up at The Bird comedy theater, a live KC symphony performance accompanying the movie Elf, and others listed below!

7. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical

DATES: November 7 – December 31, 2023

Back by popular demand, the beloved television classic Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer soars off the screen and onto the stage this holiday season. Rudolph and his friends, Clarice, Hermey the Elf, and Yukon Cornelius learn what makes you different makes you special.

As one reviewer put it, “If adorable is at the top of your Christmas list, save an afternoon or evening for Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical… as rich as eggnog!”

Location: The Coterie Theatre; 2450 Grand Blvd, Kansas City, MO 

8. The Nutcracker at Kauffman

DATES: December 1-24, 2023

Nutcracker ballet

For fans of Kansas City Ballet, their performance of The Nutcracker offers a beautiful set, magical costumes, and top-notch choreography for audiences this December. This Victorian-era classic is brought to life in KC every year and is one of metro areas holiday classics. 

Tickets start as low as $34 making The Nutcracker a great Christmas date option with visuals that are sure to impress.

Location: 1601 Broadway Boulevard, Kansas City, MO 

9. The Muppet Christmas Carol™ in Concert Film + Live Orchestra

DATES; December 8-9, 2023

Why watch a movie at home when you could visit the Kauffman Center of the Performing Arts and enjoy a heartwarming holiday film on the big screen?

Kansas City Symphony presents Disney’s "The Muppet Christmas Carol in Concert" featuring a screening of the complete film with the musical score performed live. Join The Muppets for this classic Charles Dickens holiday tale, with Kermit the Frog, Gonzo, Miss Piggy, and Fozzie Bear.

In this story Scrooge receives visits from spirits of three Christmases — past, present and future. They show him the error of his self-serving ways, but the miserable old man seems to be past any hope of redemption and happiness.

Location: 1601 Broadway Blvd, Kansas City, MO 64108

10. KC Symphony Presents Christmas Festival

DATE: Dec 14-17, 2023

The KC Symphony will be playing Christmas carols and other classic songs during their Christmas Festival performances. Touted as a ‘musical sleigh ride’ this performance will feature a visit from Santa, a family sing-along, as well as special guests! 

Tickets are selling fast, with remaining tickets starting at $35, for this perfect KC outing for lovers of live music this holiday season.

Location: 1601 Broadway Blvd, Kansas City, MO

11. The Trans-Siberian Orchestra

DATE: December 16, 2023

The T-Mobile Center will be hosting the Trans-Siberian Orchestra again this Christmas season for The Ghost’s of Eve tour. Kansas City is one of a mere 60 cities in North America that the band will be touring this holiday season. This year's theme is The Ghosts of Christmas Eve.

With two showings and tickets starting at just $39, this is a must-see performance this holiday season.

Location: 1407 Grand Boulevard, Kansas City, MO 

12. The Nightmare Before Christmas + Live Orchestra

DATES: December 21-24, 2023

See one of Tim Burton's most celebrated films like never before! The full feature film, "The Nightmare Before Christmas," will be projected in its entirety on a giant screen in Helzberg Hall with dialogue, singing and effects, accompanied by Danny Elfman's darkly charming score played live by the Kansas City Symphony with guest conductor, Jason Seber.

Location: 1601 Broadway Blvd, Kansas City, MO 

13. The Bird Comedy Theater Holiday Spectacular

DATE: Saturday, December 23, 2023 at 7:30

The Bird Comedy Theater Holiday Spectacular

The Bird is an 18+ comedy club venue that is hosting a variety show Holiday Spectacular for its first Christmas in Kansas City. This show should bring plenty of Christmas spirit, merriment, and laughs!

Unable to make the December 23rd event? The Bird is hosting numerous Christmas and holiday-themed events including a free First Friday show.

Location: 103 W. 19th St Kansas City, MO 

Kansas City Christmas Events

14. GloWild at the Zoo

DATES: September 28 - December 30, 2023

GloWild is a lantern festival and light show like no other, featuring massive handmade steel and silk works of art depicting animals, local landmarks, botanicals, and Asian cultural creations.

GloWild has been extended through December 30 with the addition of an illuminated Christmas Village located at the sheep station in Australia. The jolly old man himself, Santa, will also be making visits for photo opportunities on select evenings

Location: 6800 Zoo Drive Kansas City, MO

15. Holiday Reflections at Union Station

DATES: November 20, 2023 thru January 1, 2024 (closed Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day)

Holiday Reflection captures the holiday spirit with enchanting lights and floating ornaments, dozens of trees, and a mini Holiday Express train that’s a favorite for kids as well as the largest holiday model train layout in the Midwest. Filling the Grand Plaza at Union Station, this is truly a beautiful Christmas experience that you won’t want to miss. Tickets start at $9 and kids under 12 months get free entry.

Location: 30 West Pershing Road Kansas City, MO

16. PJ Party with Santa

DATE: December 1, 2023

pajama party

Wear your warmest jammies and meet Santa! The PJ Party with Santa will be a festive event with holiday music and a chance for photos with Santa as well as by the Christmas tree or with Willard the reindeer. The party includes free milk, cookies & a holiday children’s book (one per family).

Afterward, head to the ice skating rink to skate with Elves and enjoy free hot chocolate for those skating in their jammies.

This is a FREE community event from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., but it is requested that each family bring a Mac n’ cheese cup donation for Feed Northland Kids (FNK) who supports hungry children and families in our Northland Community.

This is an outdoor event — make sure to wear those hats, gloves and coats to stay warm while you enjoy the festivities!

Location: Zona Rosa 8640 N Dixson Ave, Kansas City, MO

17. Kristkindl Markt

Experience the festive sounds, sights, aromas lights and Old World atmosphere of Kristkindl Markt at the Kansas City United Church of Christ in Brookside. This German inspired Christmas Market and Food Festival will have German foods, vendors selling unique holiday decorations and gifts, live music, gingerbread house making and so much more!

Location: 205 W. 65th Street, Kansas City, MO

DATES: December 2-3, 2023

18. Meet Santa at the Zoo

DATES: December 3-4, 2023

Santa Claus

The Kansas City Zoo will be hosting both Santa and Mrs. Claus this year for their Meet Santa event. Visitors can bring letters and Christmas lists to give to Santa, and even meet them both  in person! 

The Meet Santa event happens to coincide with the Zoo’s Penguin March as well! After meeting Santa and giving him a Christmas list, visitors can watch the zoo’s penguins as they take a walk around the zoo in the winter weather. This makes for a very adorable holiday event for the whole family!

Location: 6800 Zoo Drive, Kansas City, MO 

19. Polar Express Movie at Union Station

DATES: December 8-31, 2023

The Polar Express is a holiday movie filled with Christmas time magic. It plays at 12:30 pm, 4:00 pm, and 7:30 pm in the Regnier Extreme Screen Theatre at Union Station and is just $3.50.

This is the story of a young hero boy on Christmas Eve who boards on a powerful magical train that’s headed to the North Pole and Santa Claus’s home. What unfolds is an adventure that follows a doubting boy, who takes an extraordinary train ride to the North Pole; during this ride, he embarks on a journey of self-discovery which shows him that the wonder of life never fades for those who believe.

Address: 30 West Pershing Road Kansas City, MO

20. Victorian Christmas Libations at the John Wornall House Museum

DATES: Dec 15, 2023 from 5:30 pm - 7:30

Visit the John Wornall House Museum for Drink Your History: Victorian Christmas Libations event.

From wassail to English milk punch, the Victorians loved a good holiday cocktail. Though they’ve fallen out of popularity, these libations are still worth considering in 2023. We’ll explore some of the more unusual, unique, and delicious cocktails the Victorians imbibed in during the Christmas season, many which you’ll also get to try!

Alcohol and human history have long been entwined. Join us for a four-part series where we explore the American history of spirits, while also teaching you how to discern differences and taste some of America (and the world’s) most historic beverages. Tickets include a brief presentation, plus 3-4 tasting cups or mixed drinks of the featured liquor.

Address: 8201 State Line Rd. Kansas City, MO 64114

21. Santa Delivers at the Zoo

DATES: November 17 - December 23, 2023

Free with admission to the KC Zoo, guests to Santa Delivers will love getting to see Santa delivering gifts personally to animals at the Zoo that made their way to the nice list. 

This event also coincides with one of 4 ‘Penguin March’ events, where the KC Zoo penguins are let out to walk about the zoo in the chilly weather they love.

Santa will be at the Zoo each night that GloWild is open until December 23. 

Location: 6800 Zoo Drive, Kansas City, MO 

22. Hanukkah Glow Party

DATE: December 10, 2023

The Hanukkah Glow Party 2023 is an annual event. Plan for fun with crafts, games, food, a DJ, dance party and more! The event is from 3-5pm.

Address: 5801 W 115 Street in Overland Park

23. Christmas Tree Farm Fun!

Christmas tree farm

Fort Osage Farm & White Pine Lodge in Independence, MO

What is the holiday season without planning to pick out a Christmas tree? Fort Osage Farm opens on Saturday, November 19th and is the closest Missouri Christmas tree farm to KCMO.

They are a Choose & Harvest Christmas tree farm; which means you can wander through the farm and choose your perfect Christmas tree. You then use one of the hand saws provided by the farm and cut your own tree!

They are set on twenty acres of rolling Missouri countryside, filled with Christmas trees. They also offer the largest and most recent cut selection in the metro area of #1 USA Christmas tree Fraser Fir (6′-12′ sizes).  You can even bring your dog!

Address: 3022 N. Twyman Road, Independence, MO

More Kansas City Holiday Fun!

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