The holiday season is intensifying.
The semester is almost over, and we have until January before school starts back up to relax and spend time with family and friends until the spring semester rolls around.
Many students will leave KC for the holiday season, but there is no reason anyone, local or visiting, shouldn’t be able to enjoy whatever part of their holiday season they spend in the city.
The Country Club Plaza
Since the 1930s, the lighting ceremony has been a tradition, attracting thousands to the Plaza each year on Thanksgiving Eve to witness the spectacle.
Despite the bitter cold and convenience of indoor malls, the holiday season is exceptionally busy on the Plaza, due in part to the romantic ambiance created by the thousands of mutli-color light bulbs and European-esque architectural charm.
Several new restaurants have opened, including Gram & Dun, a locally owned gastropub, and Seasons 52, whose menu changes every four months to include new, seasonally-inspired dishes.
New stores like H&M, Michael Kors and Kate Spade give fashion lovers another reason to check out the Plaza.
The lights turn on daily at 5 p.m. and remain lit for eight hours.
Looking for a memorable date and don’t mind the cold?
Check out the Plaza carriage rides, occurring daily from 5 to 11 p.m. Call ahead earlier in the day to make reservations; the Plaza carriage rides are a hit during the holidays, thanks largely to the lights.
Other light displays
For a change of scenery from the Plaza, check out one of Kansas City’s many Christmas displays.
Many homes along Ward Parkway and in neighboring Brookside and Mission Hill boast impressive holiday displays.
The most impressive lights display I have ever seen is at 7611 Famouth St.
Were it not for the surrounding homes, it would be difficult to tell the decked out holiday display is actually a house.
The garage, containing moving puppets that resemble Old Man Christmas and his elves, has been transformed into Santa’s workshop.
Other displays show a nativity scene, small Christmas town, and moving penguins and nutcrackers, among other things. It’s no wonder loose change can be found all over the floor in Santa’s workshop (ahem, the garage); the electrical bills must be astronomical.
Unsurprisingly, parking signs have been installed along the side of the street to facilitate the upsurge in Christmastime traffic in an otherwise quiet residential neighborhood.
The Crown Center Ice Terrace is a holiday must. The massive rink costs $6 to enter and $3 for skate rental.
Hours are 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday.
On Tuesdays, visitors enjoy two-for-one admission.
Also be sure and check out the 100-foot-tall Mayor’s Christmas Tree, taller than the Rockefeller Center tree in New York City (74 feet) and other noteworthy trees.
The previous year’s tree is cut into wood ornaments, which are sold in the Crown Center Visitor’s Center to benefit the Mayor’s Christmas Tree Fund, assisting the city’s low-income residents.