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What’s New in Kansas City This Holiday Season

Hallmark's Crown Center is magical during the holidays with seasonal performances, an outdoor ice terrace and the 100-foot-tall Mayor's Christmas Tree.

Hallmark's Crown Center is magical during the holidays with seasonal performances, an outdoor ice terrace and the 100-foot-tall Mayor's Christmas Tree. Photo Courtesy of the Kansas City Convention & Visitors Association

From new holiday happenings to fresh twists on classic favorites, there's no shortage of things to see and do in Kansas City this season. Following is a list of the new holiday adventures that await your family in KC. For a complete rundown of winter activities, plus hundreds of "Season of Magic" discounts and special offers, go to

Celebrities Come Home for the Holidays

KC native and Saturday Night Live regular Jason Sudeikis will flip the switch on Thanksgiving night for the 80th Annual Country Club Plaza Season of Lights. The Plaza spends seven weeks each winter dressed up in jewel-colored lights that outline every shop, dome and tower of the Spanish-inspired shopping and entertainment district.

Eric Stonestreet, KC native and star of the hit ABC comedy Modern Family, will headline the festivities at the Mayor's Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony, Nov. 27 at Crown Center. Home to Hallmark Cards, the creative complex pulls out all the stops each holiday season and the 100-foot-tall Mayor's Christmas Tree as its centerpiece.

Holiday Classics Revisited

The Kansas City Repertory Theatre will present the world premiere of A Christmas Story: The Musical, Nov. 20-Dec. 27. Based on the iconic 1983 holiday film, this new musical follows the holiday hijinks of Ralphie and company-complete with BB guns, frozen tongues and, of course, that infamous leg lamp (Nov. 20-Dec. 27).

Crown Center's American Heartland Theatre sends the heart-tugging tale of George Bailey in a whole new direction for It's A Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play (thru Dec. 27). The setting for the new interpretation is Kansas City's WDAF television studios, circa 1946.

Another silver-screen classic jumping to the stage is Irving Berlin's White Christmas. Direct from Broadway, this new musical has all the charm of the 1954 hit movie starring Bing Crosby (Jan. 5-10 at Music Hall).

Featuring a cast of more than 200 dancers, the Kansas City Ballet's enchanting presentation of The Nutcracker is the largest in an eight-state region and one of the hottest tickets in town (Dec. 16-27). The same story gets a historical twist for A Kansas Nutcracker, a charming production at the Lawrence Arts Center (Dec. 11-20). The rolling plains and prairies of the Sunflower State are the backdrop for this whimsical staging, which recounts the magical dreams of a young Kansas girl in the 1850s.

Debuting at Metro Shopping Centers

The Legends at Village West will keep shoppers in tune this season with its new Legendary Light Show (Nov. 21-Jan. 5). Every 15 minutes, The Legends will spring to life with thousands of dancing lights synchronized to concert-quality holiday music. In another Legends first, children of all ages will be able to wander through Santa's workshop at My Santa Experience-a hands-on area that allows visitors to take part in five activities. Write a letter to Santa, make a craft with elves, play in real snow, decorate cookies with Mrs. Claus and pose for a holiday photo with St. Nick himself.

After bringing back the downtown tradition of gigantic holiday crowns, Zona Rosa will reintroduce another local favorite: the Kansas City Museum's nostalgic Igloo (Nov. 21-Dec. 3). Now part of Zona Rosa's winter wonderland, the chilly, crawl-through structure was once the centerpiece of the museum's popular "Eskimoland" exhibit that opened in 1954.

Straight from the mind of Dr. Seuss, The City Market will be transformed for Whoville Holidays, a yuletide celebration even The Grinch would love (Saturdays Nov. 29 & Dec. 6, 13, 20). Get your picture taken with the grumpy green one, plus take part in holiday art activities and a Cindy Lou Who Look-Alike Contest.

New & Noteworthy Concerts

The Kansas City Symphony's new family show, How the Symphony Saved Christmas, captures the wonder and excitement of Christmas morning. Help Santa bring the spirit of the season to KC through story and song. Clap, laugh, sing and dance your way through this festive family sing-a-long at the Lyric Theatre (Dec. 12-13).

The brand-new Independence Events Center has two marquee performances on tap. The Christmas Music of Manheim Steamroller will roll through town on Dec. 17, bringing along its signature fusion of seasonal classics and modern-day rock. The next day, the Charlie Daniels Band will perform selections from its new holiday album, including "O Come All Ye Faithful," "Joy to the World" and "Silent Night."

Contemporary vocalist Jim Brickman and American Idol star David Archuleta will both deck the halls of downtown's revamped Midland Theatre. Brickman's holiday showcase, Beautiful World Christmas, arrives Nov. 21, and Archuleta's Christmas From the Heart takes place Dec. 8.

"Season of Magic" Holiday Deals

Visiting Kansas City has never been more affordable. This holiday season, KC's premier attractions have come together to offer significant savings to visitors. The citywide deals include cool, money-saving discounts on everything from hotels to theater, plus several 2-for-1 specials. For a complete list of discounts, go to and click on "Season of Magic."

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