If you plan a trip to Kansas City, you will probably include a visit to the Country Club Plaza. The Plaza was the country's first 'suburban' shopping district. Built in the early 1920s by developer JC Nichols, this area is about five miles from downtown--back then, a long distance! But the automobile was becoming popular and Mr Nichols had a feeling the residents would support another shopping area. He modeled the Plaza after his travels in Spain. Today you'll find several blocks of premier shops, offices, restaurants and boutiques lining wide streets and surrounded by upscale hotels and condos.
Visiting the Country Club Plaza at any time of year is special, but particularly so during the Christmas season. All of the buildings and towers are outlined in brightly colored lights. This tradition had humble beginnings: it started with a 6 foot string of bulbs around a doorway. As more buildings were added, so were the lights. The first formal 'lighting ceremoney' was in 1930. My picture here does not capture the beautiful magic of this tradition.
Every Thanksgiving, thousands of people line the streets of the Plaza for that first lighting of the season. A famous native Kansas Citian presides over the ceremony ( Jason Sudekis, Kate Spade, George Brett, etc) and a youngster is chosen at random from the crowd to flip the switch. The lights shine every night until mid January. And you can even have a light as a souvenir--burnt out bulbs are sold as keepsakes.
To see how stunning this display really is, google 'Kansas City Country Club lights. The photos will get you in the holiday spirit!