Growing up in the Midwest, I often saw picturesque image of Kansas City’s Country Club Plaza at Christmas time.
It looked magical. It looked like that was where Christmas happened. I knew families that went down there each December – to shop, to play.
I wanted to go there.
I see similar pictures now and it still looks magical.
You know where this is going…I started finally planning a trip to KC at Christmas time. I’ve studied up on some sites that know how to do Christmas right in Kansas City (for starters, Visit KC and Visit Overland Park). If I had unlimited time to spend there, unlimited money to play, here are the items on my bucket list I’d like to check off:
Kansas City Christmas Bucket List
Plaza Lights – Obviously. The lights come on at 5 p.m., which means we can go to the Plaza with the kids early enough to not have a late-night meltdown. Now, since this is a pie-in-the-sky bucket list, I’d say we’d see from a carriage ride that magically keeps my feet warm. There’s also the option taking a tour by flight, for those who really want to go all out. They’ll twinkle nightly through Jan. 17, 2016.
Experience the virtual sleigh ride flight school and Ultimate Santa Adventure at Dreamworks DreamPlace Experience at Overland Park Mall in Overland Park, Kan. Overland Park has invited my family to try this out – got my flight passes already! – and I’m so excited to see how my kids react when Shrek and his pals take us on the experience.
And while we’re exploring Overland Park, we might just have to check out the FREE 30-minute drive-through tour, Holiday Lights on Farmstead Lane at Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead.
Shop unique shops in the Crossroads District for special gifts. Mr. Wonderful and I got a quick glimpse of the area and we definitely want to go back! Read about that quick date night here. While we’re there, and since money is no matter, I’d get a box of chocolates as a gift (to myself) at Christopher Elbow chocolates and look explore Webster House, a 19th-century schoolhouse turned antique emporium.
Devour some BBQ. Those who’ve known me for years, know that I’ve been a vegetarian for a long time. I recently started adding back a little meat into my diet and lemme tell you, I’m so ready to try some of the famous Kansas City barbecue. I had friends on Facebook throw out some suggestions – how do these sound: Joe’s Kansas City BBQ, Fiorella’s, Char Bar or Arthur Bryant’s? Which would you suggest?
Speaking of food, I’m a bit of a PBS geek, so I’d love to also dine at Lidia’s Italy Kansas City (yeah, I’m talking about Lidia Bastianich). Maybe we can gorge ourselves at the brunch there sometime?
See “A Charlie Christmas.” I don’t know if The Coterie performs this short live theater production of Christmas season or not, but don’t you think it’d be a cute kid-friendly show to see? It’s at the theater in Crown Center through Jan. 3, 2016.
Finally see Union Station. Been to KC many times and I’ve never been inside Union Station. There’s a lot to do there any time of year, but Christmas time looks like an extraordinary time to visit. There’s the Mayor’s Christmas Tree, which at 100 feet makes it one of the tallest in the U.S. Union Station will also be home to the Kansas City Southern Holiday Express train Dec. 16-20. Wish we were there that weekend – trains impress my kids still, especially ones that carry Santa and elves.
Revisit Crown Center in its holiday splendor. We’ve stopped by Crown Center in the past but I feel like our family really hasn’t seen much there – we haven’t seen SEA LIFE Aquarium or LEGOLAND Discovery Center even. At Christmas time, there’s the FREE interactive exhibit, Santa’s Gingerbread Station and Gingerbread Village, plus the Crown Center Express Train Engine and outdoor ice rink.
My friends at The Walking Tourists suggested we check out Whoville Holidays, a fun Dr. Seuss-inspired celebration at The City Market. The kids love the Grinch and since it’s FREE, how could we not stop by?
There are FREE Holiday Trolleys on the first three weekends in December taking visitors around Downtown KC. Along the ride, we can take a picture in the life-size snowglobe, see light displays, attractions and other cool stuff. Since the kids get excited sitting on a shuttle bus, this would be a fun way to get around town.
We haven’t been to the Kansas City Zoo yet, and I read if you time your visit well and stop by on a Saturday in December, you just might catch Santa diving in a wetsuit. Between you and me, I might hold off our visit until warmer temperatures because I’d love to go on a boat ride at the zoo.
I came across a lot of my inspiration for our upcoming Kansas City holiday adventure at Visit KC. What’s missing? What should I add to our bucket list of things to do?
Your turn: What are the not-to-miss holiday experiences in the Kansas City area?