Here are twenty-five great things to do in Kansas City this weekend, December 1-4, including a festive drink pop-up at Julep, an ugly Christmas sweater party, and several holiday markets and large puppet shows—yes, several.
Monet & Friends Alive
Starlight Theatre is partnering with the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art to present Monet and other impressionists’ works in a new way that aims to channel them through “rich, dynamic display of light, color, sound and fragrance.”
November 1–December 31. Times vary. Starlight Theatre.
Evergy Festival of Lights at Powell Gardens
This unique festive outdoor experience follows a 1-mile walk through Powell Gardens’ immersive, botanically inspired light installations. On Fridays and Saturdays, patrons can create and deliver their holiday wish lists to Santa, who will be in a festive crib in the Children’s Garden, where he will also be posing for photos. There will also be live Christmas music performed by local favorites like St. Paul Ringers Bell Choir and Carolers of Note.
November 10-December 30. Times vary. Powell Gardens.
A Charlie Brown Christmas
The beloved cartoon comes to life as a live jazz trio plays the original Vince Guaraldi arrangements along with the holiday classic. Charlie Brown tries to direct the school Christmas pageant and tries to remind others of the season’s true meaning with a droopy, small fir tree. There will also be shows interpreted in ASL and sensory-friendly performances offered to include the whole community.
November 15–December 31. Times vary. The Coterie.
A Christmas Carol
Charles Dickens’ all-time Christmas classic tells the story of Ebenezer Scrooge’s redemption through visits from the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future. KC Repertory Theatre’s annual production of A Christmas Carol creates generations of memories and helps remind families of the meaning of the season.
November 18–December 24. Spencer Theatre.
The same company that brought the wildly popular touring Immersive Van Gough exhibit is bringing the same idea but making it festive for this immersive Christmas experience. Tchaikovsky’s iconic music, including favorites like “The March of The Toys” and “The Dance of The Sugar Plum Fairy,” will be playing as 500,000 cubic feet of projections cover every surface.
November 18 – December 31. Times vary. Lighthouse ArtSpace.
Rec Deck The Halls
For the second year in a row, the brewery will transform the fourth-floor into a fun holiday pop-up bar once again. The festive boozy experience will feature holiday-inspired cocktails and beers, along with keepsake glassware, Christmas-y bites, decorated shuffleboard courts, and various special holiday events throughout the season.
November 25- December 30. Fridays and Saturdays, 1:30-10pm. Boulevard Brewery.
Sippin’ Santa at KC
The national touring holiday pop-up comes to KC, bringing a paradoxically fun Christmas-fusion-tiki bar. Julep will be transformed into a holiday oasis with kitschy, festive décor and a tiki themed cocktail menu, with fittingly named drinks like the Kris Kringle Kolada and Rudolph’s Rum Rhapsody.
November 30-December 31. Julep.
The Piano Lesson
The Pulitzer winning play written by August Wilson is part of his “century cycle” play series set in the thirties. This must-see show is directed by Melonnie Walker and addresses historic and modern tensions surrounding race relations in America.
December 1-10. Times Vary. Melting Pot Theatre.
Buddy’s Holly Jolly Christmas
Impersonator Zachary Stevenson performs his nearly sold-out show which features both Buddy Holly classics and favorite Christmas tunes.
December 1-3. 7:30 pm. Ruby Room.
Prelude to Christmas Concert
The concert promises to be a peaceful, tranquil experience just in time for the hectic holiday season. Featuring harp, string quartet, harpsichord, angelic professional choir and Cathedral organ, classical favorites will be played around winter themes, with proceeds going to feed the homeless.
December 1. 6:30 pm. Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception.
Winter House Concert with The Reyes Brothers
Tony and Andre Reyes with Robert Castillon will be performing an intimate acoustic house jazz concert, playing a wide array of songs to show their diverse skills, from Latin infused beats to Christmas hits.
December 1. 6 pm. Kansas City Museum.
Holiday Cheers Market
In collaboration with KC fave Strawberry Swing, the Electric Park garden bar at J. Rieger is transformed into a winter wonderland with holiday-inspired cocktails, local rotating vendors and carolers.
December 2-3, 9-10, 16-17. 6 pm. J. Rieger Co.
18th Annual Ugly Christmas Sweater Party
This long-running ironic holiday party features hip-hop trio Sugarhill Gang, whose 1979 hit “Rapper’s Delight” was the first rap single to become a top forty hit. Local Quite Frankly the Band will also play, and the event will have holiday-themed games, a photo booth, a best costume contest and raffle prizes, all benefiting Operation Breakthrough.
December 2. 7:30 pm. The Truman.
Soul of Santa
The Soul of Santa “Do Good” Foundation is holding their fourth holiday celebration in the Jazz District. It will feature talks from local officials, including Mayor Quinton Lucas, along with the Christmas tree lighting and a holiday concert at the Gem Theater.
December 2. 6 pm. 18th & Vine.
The Doo Wop Project Christmas
The classic barbershop quartet-esque group brings audiences on a journey of sound, starting with street-corner singing to doo-wop-ified versions of today’s hits. They are bringing that same energy to Christmas, promising a nostalgic take on classic favorites.
December 2. 8 pm. Kauffman Center.
Amahl and the Night Visitors
Pairing live singing and music with puppetry, this original Lyric Opera of Kansas City production was created with master puppeteer Paul Mesner. Based on Italian folktales of the Nativity and the Epiphany, this unique show retells the story of three kings—the Magi—as they make their journey to Bethlehem and meet an impoverished, disabled boy and his mother, who change the trajectory of their miraculous journey.
December 2–4 and 9–11. Times vary. The Michael and Ginger Frost Production Arts Building.
The gardens are transformed bright with color as thousands of lights glow on trees, buildings and bridges. Candle-lined pathways lead to magical gnome and fairy villages and the colorful children’s garden. There are musical performances to enhance the holiday ambiance and even the opportunity to visit with Santa in his Woodland Depot.
December 2–3, 8–10 and 15–17. 5 pm. Overland Park Arboretum & Botanical Gardens.
Kansas City-born and internationally renowned performance art collective Quixotic brings an interactive multimedia performance this winter. Blending acrobatics, futuristic visuals, live music, and perfumery, Sensatia promises a wildly unique sensory experience.
December 2-3, 10, 16-17, 30. 8:30 pm. Quixotic Theater.
This event is part of the “Who Needs Art” campaign, which urges folks to buy and support local, especially during the holiday shopping season. There will be a curated selection of over forty local artists, live musical performances, and discounted beverages from neighborhood favorite Cafe Corazon.
December 2. 6-9 pm. December 3. 11 am-3 pm. December 9. 5-9 pm. December 10. 12-3 pm. ArtsKC Gallery.
tenThing Brass Ensemble: A Feeling of Norwegian Christmas
The ten-piece, all-female brass ensemble established itself on the international scene through their wide repertoire, often working with Norwegian guitarist and arranger Jarle Storløkken on scores, which allows them even greater diversity in their performances. This show starts at the picturesque fjords of Norway and travels throughout the deep European winter wonderland landscape, featuring various festive musical accompaniment along the journey.
December 2. 8 pm. Yardley Hall.
This holiday tradition has been spreading the joy of Christmas for thirty years. The German inspired Christkind Markt has festive lights, carols, Father Christmas, oompah bands and other entertainment. There are also numerous market stalls selling crafts, ornaments and other holiday gifts, and German foods available in the Bier Garten, along with activities for children to decorate their own gingerbread houses.
December 2. 5-9 pm. December 3. 10am-7pm. Kansas City United Church of Christ.
In its twenty-fifth year, this annual production features over 30 larger-than-life puppets, live actors, singers, and musicians for this classic Christmas enactment.
December 2-4. Times Vary. Grace and Holy Trinity Cathedral.
Every weekend between Thanksgiving and Christmas, there will be an open-air shopping experience in River Market—the perfect place to find local, handmade gifts during the holidays. There will also be additional options in the market to sip on seasonal beers and canned cocktails, Kansas City Public Library’s Holiday Book Mobile popup, and performances from carolers and choruses.
December 3–4, 10–11, 17–18. 10 am-5 pm. River Market.
HoliGays Party and Vendor Fair
The Holiday-themed event will feature pop-ups by numerous queer-owned local businesses, as well as open-mic performances, free educational activities from local LGBTQ+ organizations, and an exciting raffle with numerous “high value” prizes. In honor of the event, KC favorite Cafe Cà Phê will be serving a glittery specialty beverage called “The Gaysian,” with the proceeds for this drink benefiting Umeshiso, a small local “gaysian-owned” business.
December 3. 10 am-5 pm. Cafe Cà Phê.
Winterlude – Doug Talley Quartet
The midwestern quartet has been performing for nearly thirty years, consistently pushing the boundaries of jazz with vibrant harmonies and forceful rhythms.
December 4. 7 pm. Polsky Theatre.