Kansas City’s Best 2022 Holiday Lights, Markets & Events | KCUR 89.3

How early is it too early for Christmas music on the radio and vacation adventures? As another long election season draws to a close, we look forward to embracing our city’s timeless holiday traditions and finding new adventures to enjoy throughout the fall and winter.

Starting this week, the Kansas City area will twinkle with holiday lights, adding cheer and festive color to our humble urban skyline. Holiday markets will soon appear on the subway, teeming with gifts made by local makers and artists.

Head to these holiday events and markets with your family and friends to explore, shop and spend more time making memories.


Overland Park Arboretum and Botanical Gardens


The 23rd Annual Luminary Walk returns to the Overland Park Arboretum & Botanical Gardens beginning Friday, November 25, 2022.

Aurora Borealis Lighting Ceremony

Head to Northland on Saturday November 19 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. for the Northern Lights Lighting Ceremony, with a full list of festive events. This free event includes Christmas wreaths, a towering 55-foot Christmas tree, and a commemorative bell from Santa’s sleigh.

Stay for a 4 p.m. performance of The Nutcracker Suite by Priscilla and Dana’s School of Dance and holiday tunes performed by local bands. Show off your skating moves at the Zona Rosa Ice Rink and warm up with food and drinks from Brew HaHa Coffeehouse, Muffin Top Dessert, Wild Cactex and more.

Santa Claus arrives at 6 p.m. to turn on the Christmas lights switch.

Evergy Festival of Lights at Powell Gardens

The Evergy Festival of Lights at Powell Gardens, open Wednesday through Sunday, 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. now through December 30. New this year include larger-than-life photo ops, an interactive Light Labyrinth art installation, and Santa’s Workshop, where you can buy an ornament to decorate or buy Christmas stockings.

Expect to see fan favorites including the Snow Globe Selfie Station, Enchanted Tiki Bar, and Quixotic Fountain of Light.

Light Fixtures Walk at Overland Park Arboretum and Botanical Gardens

The 23rd Annual Luminary Walk returns to the Overland Park Arboretum & Botanical Gardens, weekends from Friday 25 November. Walk with family or friends on well-lit paths. Admire the villages of gnomes and fairies, the peaceful winter woods illuminated by candlelight and the cheerful children’s garden.

Stay for live musical performances and a tour with Mr. Claus. Thousands of lights adorn the trees, buildings and bridges along the Luminary Walk, which serves as the Arboretum’s major fundraising event.

Kansas City Holiday Markets

Kansas City Holiday Markets
Holiday markets abound in Metro Kansas City, from the annual Lenexa Holiday Market to the Kansas City River Market’s Merry Market.

Lenexa Holiday Farmers Market

Hop on the sled and head to Lenexa for the fifth annual Holiday Farmers Market, Saturday Nov. 19 and Saturday December 17, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.. Browse among vendors and artists selling locally grown, raised, and made products.

While you’re at it, stock up on pecans, meats, handmade pies, wine and jellies to fill your belly this Thanksgiving and beyond.

Merry Market with Strawberry Swing

Merry Market with the Strawberry Swing returns to City Market for its 12th season from Friday, Nov. 25, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.. This festive outdoor shopping event is free and brings together over 90 artisans and makers specializing in a range of crafts including ceramics, printing, painting, photography, woodworking and more.

Holiday Cheers Market with Strawberry Swing at J. Rieger & Co.

The Strawberry Swing will also host a series of evening holiday markets at J. Rieger & Co. starting in Friday December 2 from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., and continuing every weekend until Christmas. Sip holiday cocktails and browse handcrafted gifts from seven rotating artisans and makers.

Christkindlmarkt at the campsite

Christkindlmarkt returns for its third year at Campground in the West Bottoms, 8-11 Dec. and Dec. 15-17, 5-10 p.m.. Campground owners Christopher Ciesiel and Cristin Llewellyn modeled the event on an outdoor European-style Christmas market.

Shoppers can enjoy locally made goods, food, hot drinks and cocktails, holiday music and more with open bars inside the restaurant and in the outdoor market.

Lee’s Summit Downtown Farmers Market Holiday Market

Support two dozen local farmers, artists and creators at Downtown Lee’s Summit Farmers Market Holiday Mart on Saturday December 10 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.. Shop for handmade products to share as gifts or to accompany a holiday meal.

Bonus: the first 200 customers receive a free insulated tote bag.

The music sets the tone

Kansas City The Wires Holiday Music Event
Take a break from the holiday bustle with The Wires: A Winter Solstice Concert, Thursday, December 22, 7-8 p.m.

Christmas in the square

Celebrate the start of the holidays with free events at Christmas On the Square in historic downtown Harrisonville on Saturday December 3 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.. Summon the holiday spirit with classic songs performed by Jenna & Martin and the Tornado Alley Barbershop Quartet.

You can shop among 40 local vendors at the winter market, meet old Santa, then hitch a ride in an old-fashioned wagon or miniature train. The mayor officially announces the start of the holidays with a tree lighting ceremony at 6:15 p.m.

Christmas tuba

Play with the band at Tuba Christmas on Friday, December 9 at 12 p.m.. Or just enjoy a free outdoor show at noon (weather permitting) in the Crown Center plaza. Tuba and euphonium performers should register in advance to participate and join the KC Symphony in Tuba Christmas.

For the rest of us, it’s a Tuba Festivus. Dress for the weather in holiday attire, bring a chair to sit on if you wish, and sing along to holiday songs performed by hundreds of tuba players.

The Wires: a concert at the winter solstice

Need a break from the holiday lights, shopping and bustle of the season? Soothe the soul and renew the spirits with The Wires: A Winter Solstice Concert on Thursday, December 22 from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.. This appearance by the alternative string duo is their fifth annual performance at the Pilgrim Center.

Due to the limited number of places, this free event is chargeable. Tickets will be available through Eventbrite beginning Friday, November 25.