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Kansas City Plaza Lights, a spectacular holiday tradition

Kansas City, Missouri
Photo: Kimberli Hull © Cool Adventures

While there are many spots around the world that transform into winter wonderlands during the holidays, the Midwest is home to one of the United State’s most beloved annual holiday traditions – the Plaza lights in Kansas City.

Plaza lights in Kansas City
Plaza lights in Kansas City
Photo: Kimberli Hull © Cool Adventures

Dating back to 1925 when a single strand of lights was hung at the nation’s first suburban shopping district, the Kansas City Plaza lights have grown into a magical display that is now known worldwide for its beauty and grandeur.

Tower decorated with lights at The Plaza in Kansas City
Photo: Kimberli Hull © Cool Adventures

Beginning on Thanksgiving, when the lights are illuminated in a huge lighting ceremony complete with fireworks, the Plaza lights shine brightly through mid-January. Each night beginning around 4:30 the 15-block shopping district is filled with festive, twinkling lights. Stores stay open late during the season and the shops are decked out with dazzling window displays.

Visiting during the Plaza lights season is also one of our favorite times for a stop in Kansas City, having done so numerous times over the past decades. While planning our December calendar this year, we discovered some available time between Cabo and Cuba and happily scheduled a Kansas City Plaza lights visit.

Plaza lights after dark in Kansas City
Plaza lights after dark in Kansas City
Photo: Greg K. Hull © Cool Adventures

Having stayed at the Intercontinental since it was the Alameda Plaza in the 70s, it is always our hotel of choice when visiting Kansas City. Conveniently located across from the Plaza, the hotel has a great staff, large stately rooms, and stunning views of the Plaza lights.

Strolling through the Plaza in the crisp early evening air is a wonderful time to simply enjoy the joy of the season.

Carriage rides at The Plaza in Kansas City Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media
Carriage rides at The Plaza in Kansas City
Photo: Kimberli Hull © Cool Adventures

The clip-clop of the horses pulling carriages, the sound of laughter as friends headed for drinks and dinners, the wide eyes of children as they marvel at the magic of it all, and, of course, the shoppers as they bustle from store to store – it’s as if a holiday card has come to life.

The Plaza is a beautiful setting for a beautiful season. Happy holidays!

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Kansas City Plaza Lights
Kansas City Plaza Lights
Photo: Kimberli Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

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