As a little girl, my Dad worked for Hallmark, and our yearly family tradition was to visit him at Crown Center, have lunch in their Crown Room and then go to the big Hallmark store to pick out a Christmas ornament. I looked forward to that outing every year! Those days are long gone as my Dad is now retired and I have a family of my own. But I still hang those ornaments on our tree and every time I see them, the memories of that Christmas tradition comes alive.
With my own children, I have tried to create our own special Christmas traditions as I know this is something they will look back on years down the road and remember fondly. I know I will! One of our favorite holiday traditions, is to visit Union Station and Crown Center. It doesn’t even feel like Christmas to me, until I see the spectacular Mayor’s Christmas tree all lit up, the giant wreath at Crown Center and the holiday trains at Union Station! That’s what really brings the season to life for me!
This year, our team was invited to experience Downtown Dazzle. This was my first time participating and my family and I were super excited to add this to our holiday activities. Here’s a rundown of our night with Downtown Dazzle and a few insider tips to make it your new favorite holiday tradition!
We started at Crown Center so we could be front and center for the Mayor’s Christmas Tree lighting. Then we hopped inside to get a bite to eat at Fritz’s. My kids adore the fact that trains deliver their food and I love the fact that no one cares when my kids act up! Win win all around! And Crown Center just puts you in the spirit with their décor, carolers and all the hustle and bustle.
Mom Tip #1: Park at Crown Center where they have free parking on weekends. If you’re bringing a stroller, shoot for a spot on level A or B that has direct access to the elevators. Crown Center also has nice family restrooms in case you need a potty break!
We walked over to Union Station by way of Washington Park which is lit up with computerized lasers, lights and other electronic elements. This is the first year for this holiday light display! We hopped on the Streetcar outside of Union Station and headed to Power & Light. The streets are lined with twinkly lights and there’s a massive Christmas tree in the Elements Courtyard.
Mom Tip #2: If your kids need a treat, stop in to MeMa’s Bakery or Insomnia Cookies while you’re at this stop! Both are right next to the huge tree.
We finished up the night amazed by the lighting display on the Marriott Downtown while the kids burned off their last bits of energy in the Barney Allis Plaza courtyard. On the way back via the streetcar, the kids were already asking when we could do this again! There are so many fun stops along the way that we didn’t even scratch the surface, so you could make Downtown Dazzle a yearly tradition for your family and find a new favorite spot each time!
Final Mom Tip: Don’t forget to visit downtowndazzle.com for the most up-to-date information and schedules! Events vary each weekend, so make sure to consult the schedule before you go. Also, don’t forget to purchase a $5 Be-Dazzled Booklet to get great deals at Crown Center shops, attractions like Lego Land and Sea Life and tons of restaurants downtown.
About the author: Laura is a wife and mom to 2 boys who have taught her more about trains, construction vehicles and baseball than she ever thought possible….and a daughter who has given her an excuse to go crazy shopping for all things girly! She is born and raised in Kansas City and a graduate of KU. Rock Chalk Jayhawk! She loves big Italian family dinners, trying out the latest new restaurant in town on a rare date night with her husband of 10 years, and can never say no to an impromptu dance party with her kids.