Thanksgiving 2017 Holiday Hacks

Holiday hacks, happenings and gentle suggestions on how to make the most out of your Thanksgiving long weekend.


Four Country Club Plaza Lighting Hacks

   Come on, you know you want to go! Sure, it’s going to be crowded, but the Plaza Lights have been a Kansas City tradition for 88 years. You can’t call yourself a Kanas Citian if you haven’t experienced it at least once. So, eat one more piece of pumpkin pie, then head on over to the Plaza and never fear because 435 is going to give you the inside scoop on how to hack this event.


   1. Come Early. Sure, this one is a no brainer. But if you want to beat the crowds, the early bird gets the best spot. Besides, there’s still plenty to do before the lighting ceremony. You can get a post-Thanksgiving workout in by walking around the Plaza. A brisk 45-minute walk will burn about 200 calories, and then to celebrate your nod to cardiovascular health you can enjoy a cocktail or hot chocolate. Many Plaza restaurants are open on Thanksgiving. Check out some of the Plaza's newest restaurants, Parkway Social Kitchen and the renovated O’Dowd's Gastrobar. 


   2. Park Here. We’re not going to lie, parking during Plaza Lighting Ceremony can be tricky. You can stay updated on garage availability by following @ThePlazaKC on Twitter. Recommended nearby parking garages include Valencia Garage (by Gap and H&M) on the north side of 47th and Pennsylvania; Neptune Garage on Wornall near 46th Street; Seville Garage (near The Capital Grille and Bank of America) behind the main stage on Jefferson and Nichols Road; and the Plaza III Garage near Victoria’s Secret on Pennsylvania.


   3. Best Vantage Point. The main stage is located on Nichols Road and Pennsylvania, near Brio Tuscan Grille and Burberry. The ceremony starts at 6 p.m. Three simultaneous firework displays will take place immediately after the Flip of the Switch at 6:54 near the stage at Nichols and Pennsylvania (above Burberry); on Broadway (above Helzberg); and atop the InterContinental Hotel. Best views of the ceremony stage will be in the Nichols and Pennsylvania intersection, and along Nichols Road between Pennsylvania and Broadway.


   4. Spoil Yourself: The ultimate hack is to book a hotel room at either the InterContinental or the Raphael. As of today, each hotel still had some rooms left for a Thanksgiving check-in. Both hotels are lush and will greatly up your holiday mojo factor – big time.


Crown Center Ice Terrace Ice Skating


8 Things to Do Over the Long Thanksgiving Weekend (that don’t involve shopping)


   1. Ice Skating – Admit it, your pants are tight and the children in your life need to burn off some energy. This makes ice skating the ideal activity. Bonus – it will get you in the winter wonderland frame of mind. The Ice at Park Place is opened from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and the Crown Center Ice Terrace is open from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Crown, Park Place:


   2. Last Chance to Experience the Mummy Exhibit at Union Station – This exhibit is about to be all wrapped up. (Get it? Mummies and wrapped – sorry, not sorry for that pun.) Seriously, the mummies are only here till the end of the December so if you haven’t seen it yet, now’s the time to come face to face with the largest exhibition of real mummies and related artifacts ever assembled. More information at


   3. Explore Your Inner Artist at the Nelson-AtkinsSaturday and Sunday there will be FREE activities for all ages! The kids can “Put It Together Like Picasso” by creating a mini 3-D paper figure inspired by Picasso’s work, or go on a hunt for textures and patterns in the African Art Gallery. Afterwards experience the yummy wonder of the museum’s Rozzelle Court restaurant. Don’t worry if you have picky eaters. The restaurant is buffet style. More information


   4. Huge Tree Alert – Missed the Plaza lighting ceremony on Thanksgiving Day? Well, here’s the next best thing, being on hand for the lighting of one of the tallest Christmas trees in the nation. Yep, the 100-foot-tall Mayor's Christmas Tree, located at Crown Center, will have its switch flipped on the day after Thanksgiving. The program begins at 5:30 p.m. After the holidays, the wood from the Mayor's Christmas Tree is made into commemorative ornaments, which are sold the following year to benefit the Mayor's Christmas Tree Fund. Family Selfie Moment  – Go beneath the tree and discover a wooden playground that is the perfect setting for a holiday photo. More information at



   5. Mammograms – Yes, we know this one seems wildly out of place. But, many breast health imaging centers are open on Friday and it’s one of the slowest days of the year for mammograms. So, you can get in and out in a jiffy. Plus, it’s not something you can take your kids to so think of it as a break from your family. 


   6. A Christmas Carol – No one does this classic better than the KC Rep, and this year it’s an all-NEW adaptation that promises “lively musical numbers, ornate costumes, and dashing stagecraft,” (translation lots of cool tech stuff). If you haven’t seen this classic performed by the KC Rep, what are you waiting for? More information at



   7. Lights R Us – Enjoy holiday fun right from the comfort of your car. Get your kids in their PJ’s, pack some cookies and head on over to the Holiday Lights on Farmstead Lane. This is the fifth year and there are lots of new features and animation. The 38-minute show is synchronized with music, and all you have to do is tune your radio to 90.5 Rose FM to watch this year's spectacular show. Fingers crossed your kids fall asleep on the way home. More information at


   8. Fa-la-la – Still not in the ho, ho, ho spirit? Listen to great holiday music courtesy of this Spotify list from our friends at The Bridge (90.9.) Listen to the playlist here: