Forget the fountains; Kansas City is the ‘City of Lights’


Forget being the City of Fountains. Kansas City can be called the City of Lights…as in Holiday lights.

What a weekend! We spent a wonderful weekend in the Missouri city taking in holiday events, as well as some culture.

The holiday light viewing was worth the trip by itself.

But, for a look at the attractions we visited, please see our post – Kansas City: Grinch, pirates, baseball greats, jazz and BBQ.

From checking out the holiday decorations at the City Market in downtown to the Plaza lights, Kansas City can light the season excitement with any other major city.

We started our weekend with a stop at the City Market. This downtown location, near the Missouri River, offers both professional vendors and weekend marketers at the Farmer Market. It’s one of the oldest farmer markets in the western United States, opening in 1857.

How does a Farmers Market fit into holiday lights? Per se, it doesn’t. What it does offer are poinsettias, decorations and The Grinch!

IMG_1868We stopped at a store called Dutch Flowers. We found a 2-foot wood-carved Christmas tree that hangs from the ceiling. We bought it, along with four ornaments, for under $20. You couldn’t beat this deal. Plus, Lisa now gets her holiday tree this year. We passed on putting up a tree in fear our 7-month-old kitten, Gus, would want to climb it or destroy it. He is a bit rambunctious right now.

We picked up some additional ornaments at a nice store at the market.

We met the Grinch. Only, he isn’t trying to ruin Christmas for the Whos in Whoville. Instead, he and Cindy Lu Who welcome children and pose for pictures with them. All for charity. Canned goods and cash donations are used to help area food banks.

IMG_1910Since we didn’t have a child with us (despite the family’s description of me as a kid), we planned to have our Elf on the Shelf – Peter – pose with them. We lucked out, as some young pageant participants were assisting the folks at Whoville. We met a Miss Nebraska. Hannah Miller (from Omaha) is a Miss Nebraska US Teen. She graciously agreed to take Peter and pose with Cindy Lu and the Grinch.

For information on the City Market, please see

Our next stop was in the Power and Light District. Lisa had won a gift from The Polished Edge jewelry store.

While she visited with the store staff, I checked out the holiday decorations. I loved how they put bulbs on top of the display cases.

IMG_2176The best part was the Santas in the window display. The Santas were designed by artist Deb Henderson. She decorated the White House in Washington, DC, during the Clinton administration. Quite impressive!

IMG_2189For more information on the Power and Light District, please see

For more information on The Polished Edge, please see

When in Kansas City, we almost always visit Union Station. This time of the year, it is decorated in festive style.

Large wreathes hang above entrances. The decks are decorated with holiday themes. Christmas trees are located throughout the terminal area.

IMG_2402The main tree is front and center. It’s decorated in beautiful colors and themes. At the foot of it, people can pose form family or group pictures. A bench is even provided for guests.

A piano recital was going on next the tree display. The kids performing were outstanding. Traditional and contemporary music was performed.

IMG_2423Union Station at night looked beautiful with light blue shading.


For more information on Union Station, please see

Next door, the Crown Center Mall was decorated big. Crown Center is home to the Mayor’s Christmas Tree. It sits in the middle of the mall’s outdoor area. Life-sized wooden toys – trains, soldiers, etc. – sit at the bottom of the tree.

IMG_2748The Mayor’s Tree stands 100 feet tall. It’s a symbol of the Mayor’s Christmas Tree trust fund, which raises money to help the area’s less fortunate. After the tree is removed following the holiday season, the wood in cut up and made into ornaments. The funds from the ornament sales are used for the trust fund.

Trees to the right and left of the Mayor’s Tree are decorated in white lights. The them carries across the street as lights in the shape of doves sit on the overpass leading to the mall’s fountains. The working fountains with the white-lighted trees in the background are beautiful to look at.

IMG_2570Inside the mall, decorations continue. Four trees are astatically pleasing, sitting behind the music stage in the food court.

Nearby is the gingerbread house display.

IMG_2855The Westin hotel also has a tree decorating its walkway.

For more information on Crown Center, please visit

Continuing our quest for holiday lights, we moved on the Country Club Plaza area.

Our first stop was the Nelson-Atkins Museum. Lisa had read about the Christmas tree the museum displays and thought we should stop. She was right.

IMG_2492The tree – in the middle of the lobby – was beautiful. It is 22 feet high, but decorated elegantly.

The nativity scene at the bottom of the tree was beautiful. The figurines were handmade from 18th century Italy. I was amazed that they were from the 1700s. Some of the figures had to be touched up by a Missouri history professor, but they retain their authenticity.

IMG_2482For more information on the museum, please visit

The Plaza lights are always a nice view. We walked the main street of the Plaza. The building tops were strung with lights of various colors.

IMG_2556The weather turned a bit cold during our walk, so we thought we’d warm up a couple of lattes from Starbucks. Man, that place was packed. But, the hot drinks/hand warmers were worth it.

For more information on the Country Club Plaza, please visit

After the Plaza, we headed to one of our favorite holiday spots in KCMO – Zona Rosa.

The outdoor shopping center hangs large holiday crowns above various intersections. They resurrected this practice from the 1950s-60s. The city used to hang the crowns over intersections in downtown.

IMG_2940The crowns have a variety of designs and light colors.

In the plaza area of Zona Rosa, a holiday tree stands with the crown near the top of it. The walk is lined with trees with white lights. It’s a beautiful area and a great winter walk, even with brisk temperatures. IMG_2914

For more information on Zona Rosa, please see

We capped our day and night of holiday sightseeing with a stop at Barney Allis Plaza, near 12th and Wyandotte. The plaza is decorated with plenty of lights.

The grand part of the light viewing is actually the display on the side of the Marriott Hotel. The hotel displays a nice selection of holiday colors and designs, such as Santa Claus, gift boxes, snowmen and trees, as well as words, such as Joy.

IMG_2995We were quite content with our holiday light viewing in Kansas City. If you haven’t done it yet, travel to another city and take in the lights. They just add to the holiday season.

Happy Holidays, and Merry Christmas.

Disclosure: Thanks to the Kansas City Visitors Bureau ( for the complimentary tickets and hotel stay. However, all comments and thoughts belong to us. We will be open and honest regarding service and/or attractions.