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Featured Photo by Union Station Kansas City

Kansas City Holiday Lights Events Near The Missouri River

Whether you’re celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or any other holiday this December, going to see the holiday lights can be a memorable tradition. If you want to make a holiday getaway out of it, Kansas City is a great destination with multiple light displays and events around town. From popular indoor spaces like Union Station to the beautiful garden paths at Powell Gardens, the entire town lights up around the holidays and is a great place to get your fill of holiday lights and cheer!

5 Ways to Get Outside on the Turtle River

Photo by Visit KC

Running from the day after Thanksgiving to around mid-January, the Kansas City Plaza Lights has been a local city tradition for over 90 years. This extravagant holiday spectacle is fifteen blocks of thousands of glimmering lights on the domes, towers, and windows of the Spanish-inspired Country Club Plaza. For anyone who hasn’t seen it before, it is truly a unique sight to see, but even those who have might find it hard not to visit once each holiday season. You can also take in the lights while doing a little holiday shopping in the plaza, taking advantage of the seasonal extended store hours.

5 Ways to Get Outside on the Turtle River

Photo by Union Station

A newer Kansas City holiday tradition, the interactive Holiday Reflections walk-through holiday village is another place to discover at Union Station. You can expect to see dozens of decorated trees, giant ornaments, a holiday model train display, animated elements, beautiful lights, and holiday spirit, decorations, and characters at every turn. The Holiday Reflections village is a great place to visit with kids, too, as they can ride the Mini Holiday Express Train and see Santa wandering around for photos.

5 Ways to Get Outside on the Turtle River

For a traditional holiday lights experience, you can drive through the Jackson County Parks & Recreation’s annual Christmas in the Park outdoor lights display. Going on over thirty years of holiday cheer, this lighted wonderland features over half a million lights and 175 epic animated displays. Christmas in the Park is an easy way for everyone to get out and enjoy a beautiful holiday display, and you can even pack some snacks, a hot beverage, and turn on some Christmas tunes to make the experience all the better! A trip through the lights will also give you a chance to do some good this holiday season by giving a voluntary donation as you exit the event to benefit more than 35 local charities.

5 Ways to Get Outside on the Turtle River

Powell Gardens is another Kansas City destination where you can check out some beautiful holiday lights and get into the holiday spirit with family and friends. Here you can walk the various botanically-inspired holiday installations on a lighted outdoor path and be immersed in the natural joy of the season as you take it all in. With more than 20 miles of lights and Instagram and holiday card worthy photo spots, you can enjoy seeing the trees, landscapes, architecture and various plants all dressed up in holiday lights and décor. Grab a spiked or non-alcoholic hot chocolate or cider at the Enchanted Tiki Bar glass domed conservatory, let the kids deliver their lists to Santa in the Children’s Garden, and even take in a birds eye view from the Missouri Barn Silo. Happy Holidays!

Content Writer and Social Media Coordinator. I paint, listen to music, and play with my dogs a lot. When I’m not doing all that, I love to read and try new things.

Maeve Miller

Writer , River Travel Magazine