Kansas City Bucket List's Guide to Winter Activities in KC

Winter in Kansas City is the perfect blend of crisp, cold weather and cozy indoor and outdoor venues to round out your winter experiential bucket list! Winter for some means staying inside with a warm fire, hot drink, and delicious winter fare, and for others it means bundling up to soak up the sights and sounds of stimulating Kansas City views!

All photos by Mindy Hargesheimer.

All photos by Mindy Hargesheimer.


Nothing screams winter like testing your skills on the ice rink! Get ready to lace your skates up and give it a whirl at Crown Center and at Park Place in Leawood. Crown Center (2405 Grand Blvd) is hosting ice-skating to the public for the 46th year in a row and has the perfect view of endless white winter lights, and the 100-foot Mayor’s Christmas tree. You'll find every age trying out their top speed, and others just enjoying some whimsical rounds with a companion or child in hand; and nothing is more adorable than seeing skates on tiny little humans. If you revel in watching others’ clumsiness, grab a hot cocoa and watch as people test their Olympic skills; some leaving you in awe, and others providing some much appreciated comic relief. Plus, who doesn’t strangely enjoy watching the Zamboni work it’s magic? Crown Center is the perfect seasonal outing, and you can choose from a plethora of neighboring eats and drinks!


Equally as inviting is Park Place (11565 Ash St) in KC's gorgeous Leawood neighborhood; it's festively lit up at night with white lights twinkling above the charming tree-lined streets, its locally owned retail boutiques are sophisticated and sell one-of-a-kind gifts, the restaurants provide a variety of options depending on what your palate is in the mood for, and reward yourself with some craft cocktails in the end. Whether you head north or south to enjoy this winter activity, bring your own gear or rent skates, and find your inner Olympian!


There’s a charm and allure to visiting places as historical as KC’s 104-year old Union Station (30 West Pershing Rd) and downtown's Hotel Phillips (106 West 12th St), particularly during the winter months! Tourist attractions aside, Union Station is perfect for sipping a locally roasted coffee and enjoying good conversation with friends, family, or even a stranger while people-watching and taking in the grandeur of this hall. Enjoy a beautiful winter morning sitting cafe-side at Parisi Coffee soaking up the warmth on the interior amongst a stunning display of festive holiday decor, or join in the early evening hours and grab a belly-warming and palate-satisfying drink and dinner at Pierpont's or Harvey's.


Whether you live local or are playing host to out-of-town visitors, Hotel Phillips also provides one of the most rich displays of Christmas trimmings that shouldn't be missed. Spend your time dining and drinking within Tavernonna or P.S. Speakeasy, or navigate the downtown grid and choose from any one of the fabulous options to enjoy one of your most memorable winter evenings out.


For those of you who eat up a good holiday light display or spectacle, KC has a few to choose from, including The Plaza lights and Longview Lake. The Plaza is one gorgeous sight in and of itself, but with the flip of a switch, the winter months bring on one of the most boldly bright and colorful additions this city gets to experience. From November to January, find your vantage point, may that be looking up to the architecturally lined details, or looking down from a hotel room or helicopter ride, giving you one of the most memorable winter moments you’ll hold on to for years to come. Likewise, Longview Lake has been running for 30+ years strong with the most animated displays and total lights around town. 175 different oversized displays and 300,000 bold colored bulbs later, your car-side trek around the park completes with a small cash donation (entry is free) and some chocolate candies for the road home! And, donations go to almost 40 local charities, which makes it even more spectacular. Open the Friday after Thanksgiving thru the end of December, the event kicks off each year with a visit by Santa, dancers and music, and a fireworks show accompanied by synchronized radio tunes. This is truly a festive opportunity for adults and children alike!

Kansas City is home to an incredible amount of kid-friendly activities that will keep your children’s eyes wide, hearts happy, and minds blown when it comes to being exposed to new and different adventures. What kid doesn’t love the zoo, so when it’s cold outside, bring the kids in the the Kansas City Zoo (6800 Zoo Dr) for polar bears and penguins, and your job as a parent is complete; they can even get a performance of Santa swimming alongside the penguins! Worlds of Fun (4545 Worlds of Fun Ave) also offers an amazing winter wonderland during the months of November and December, including an array of options for kids to love, like live entertainment, holiday characters, cooking decorating, and select rides open to enjoy during an otherwise closed season.