#49 – Country Club Plaza Lights
Country Club Plaza
Good for: Getting in the holiday spirit
Tip: Take a carriage ride around the Plaza for great views of all the lights.
Like the Plaza Art Fair, the Light Ceremony is a long-standing Plaza tradition. For the past 88 years, the Country Club Plaza has hosted a ceremony as they turn on all the holiday lights in the 15-block area. When the flip switches on Thanksgiving night, the Plaza becomes a festive spot for the holidays.
The History of the Country Club Plaza Lights
The Plaza Lights tradition began in 1925 with a single strand of lights around a doorway. The sentiment stuck and the first ceremony followed in 1930. Today, multi-colored lights line all buildings on the Plaza. The ceremony is televised and fireworks and a concert follow the lighting.
The ceremony is practiced in the early morning before Thanksgiving Day, drawing some diehard between 2am and 5am to get the first view.
Over the years, many famous Kansas Citians have been asked to flip the light switch, including fashion designer, Kate Spade; comedians, Paul Rudd and Jason Sudekis; former Royals player, George Brett and more.
After the ceremony, the Country Club Plaza Lights shine daily from 5pm to 3am, Thanksgiving through mid-January. Each day, a crew checks and replaces any burnt-out bulbs. The old bulbs are attached to gifts wrapped at Customer Service during the holidays. In mid-January after the holiday festivities have ended, the removal process begins (and goes until March!).
Holiday Season on the Plaza
There are many festivities to enjoy beyond the lights during the holiday season on the Plaza. Two companies offer horse-drawn carriage rides around the Plaza. All stores are open late to accommodate shoppers. The streets and light posts are decorated. Sculptures even have festive hats.
Along with Union Station, it is one of the best spots in the city to get in the holiday spirit. xx, Libbie.