9 Free Holiday Events in Kansas City for Families (2018)

Are you looking for family-friendly holiday events in the Kansas City area that won’t break (or even bend) the budget? If so, keep reading! We’ve rounded up free events and activities for your family to enjoy through the end of 2018. From Santa’s arrival to the much-loved Holiday Express Train, there’s something here for everyone to adore this holiday season.

(These free events are listed in order by date to make it easier for you to mark your calendar.)


Santa Claus arrives at Crown Center

Be there at 10 a.m. on November 23rd to watch Santa arrive in a horse-drawn carriage! Now that’s how you kick off Christmas in Kansas City.

Mayor’s Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony

Visit the Crown Center Square at 5:30 p.m. on November 23rd to watch one of the country’s largest Christmas trees light up. You can find other Kansas City Christmas tree lighting ceremonies listed here.

EBT’s Laughing Santa

Visit the perpetually jolly St. Nick and help him count down the days until Christmas. He’ll be chuckling his way to Xmas from November 23 to December 31 at the Crown Center Shops. Join the generations of children who treasure memories of this iconic Kansas City tradition.

Lanesfield School County Christmas

Experience a traditional 1904 Christmas at the historic Lanesfield School in Edgerton, Kansas. Drop in on Saturday, November 24th, between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. Write your letter to Santa using an old-fashioned nib pen and inkwell, and make a traditional style ornament to hang on your tree at home.

Holiday Choirs at Crown Center

Come and listen to holiday music from more than 130 local musicians and groups. Church, community, and children’s choirs will sing for your enjoyment every day from November 26th to December 21st.

Journey to Judea

This interactive Christmas experience tells the Nativity story during an hour-long walking tour that involves music, live action, animals, and a cast of nearly one hundred actors spread across 20 acres. The Journey takes place on the following dates:

  • Friday, November 16th, from 5:30-8:00 p.m. (deaf visitors only)
  • Saturday, November 17th, from 4-9 p.m.
  • Sunday, November 18th, from 4-9 p.m.
  • Friday, November 30th, from 5-9 p.m.
  • Saturday, December 1st, from 4-9 p.m.
  • Sunday, December 2nd, from 4-9 p.m.

Free reservations are required. KC Parent has a list of other live Nativities in the Kansas City area that are also free.


Enjoy Christmas music, tuba-style, at the Municipal Auditorium in Kansas City, Missouri, at noon on December 7th. Oom, pah, pah! Advanced registration is required to enjoy this free event.

Elf Night at Summit Fair

Visit Summit Fair in Lee’s Summit, Missouri, on December 7th, from 6-9 p.m. for a Christmas celebration that can’t be matched. Enjoy balloon art, cookies & cocoa, face painting, giveaways, kid’s crafts, and more. Everything is free but availability is on a first come, first-served basis while supplies last.

The Holiday Express Train 

Everybody’s favorite Christmas train will chug into Union Station on Friday, December 14th, and remain through Tuesday, December 18th. Come and see Rudy the smiling tank car, a gingerbread boxcar, the elves’ workshop, a flatcar with Santa’s sleigh and reindeer, the reindeer’s stable, and the little red caboose! Train hours are:

  • Dec. 14: 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Dec. 15: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Dec. 16: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Dec. 17: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Dec. 18: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Reservations are encouraged in order to avoid long lines, though walk-ups are always welcome, too!

Want something else to do in Kansas City during the 2018 holidays? Check out your local library’s calendar of events for even more holiday happenings. From a visit from the great-great-grandson of Charles Dickens to family storytelling celebrations, your local library is a great place for Christmas fun.


About McCarthy Pre-Owned Supercenter

Serving drivers throughout Kansas City, Lee’s Summit, and Independence, MO, our enormous used car dealership in Blue Springs is the perfect place to grab an affordable pre-owned car for that special someone this Christmas. Browse our inventory and current holiday used car specials online or visit us at 3030 NW South Outer Rd to view our selection in person. You can also contact our used car sales team at 816-224-7500 to discuss your financing options or schedule a test drive.

And enjoy the holidays!














ELF Night at Summit Fair