Beige stucco buildings with red brick shingles line the historic strip of 47th Street in the heart of the Plaza. People crisscrossing the crosswalks with shopping bags in tow from one, two or three stores populate one of Kansas City’s most iconic districts. There’s retail, entertainment and food galore. You can show up at the Plaza without a plan and find something fun around every corner; but you seem more like the planning type. That’s why you’re searching for events at the Plaza.
You’ve come to the right place. This guide to KC Plaza events will set you up from January through December. There’s a lot going on. If you’re looking for music, arts, food, athletics or more, you can find Plaza events that fit the bill.
So, let’s get right to it. Here are the most popular events at the Plaza and the Plaza restaurants you shouldn’t miss while you are there.
Annual KC Plaza Events
Most of the events at the Plaza have been running for several years, if not much longer than that. As Kansas City has grown, these Plaza events have only become more popular. If you’re planning on attending an event that has the option to register early, we’d recommend grabbing your tickets. These things will be packed!
KC Restaurant Week
KC Restaurant Week is a beloved annual tradition that takes place all across the Kansas City metro area. The Plaza is at the heart of KC Restaurant Week, both geographically and culturally. Kansas City’s blossoming restaurant scene is centered in a few of the brightest districts — the Crossroads, Westport and, of course, the Plaza. Restaurant Week is the tastiest of the Country Club Plaza events throughout the year. You can check out some of the menus from participating restaurants and book your table in advance.
Kansas City Filmfest International
Kansas City’s film community has indie flair. The city is an under-recognized market for creativity and business in movies. You won’t find blockbusters being shot here, but you will find good films. That’s what Kansas City Filmfest is all about. It’s an event at the Plaza that celebrates movies and movie-makers from the Kansas City area. This four-day film festival takes place at the Cinemark on the Plaza, right around the corner from some of KC’s favorite restaurants.
Plaza Art Fair
The Plaza Art Fair is one of the oldest KC Plaza events. Held each year in September, it is going on 90 years. More than 200,000 visitors come to see the artists, street vendors and performers during the weekend. There’s classic art, three concert stages and dozens of local restaurant booths showcasing what KC has to offer. Parkway Social Kitchen’s award-winning Plaza Art Fair booth is something to add to your list if you plan on attending this Plaza event.
Are you a runner? Do you want to be a runner? Do you know a runner? Are you not a runner, but still enjoy beautiful days in fun areas that support good causes? We have the Plaza event for you!
The Plaza 10K is the largest 10K in Missouri or Kansas. The course winds through the Plaza, across Brush Creek to the south and then back into the heart of the Plaza at the finish line. Thousands of participants at varying skill levels participate. Some are running to win; others are going for a personal best. And because a portion of the proceeds from the race support St. Luke’s Home and Hospice, everyone involved is supporting a local organization that provides important services to people in the KC community.
This is unquestionably the most unique Country Club Plaza event. WaterFire KC is a stunning visual arts festival that takes place on Brush Creek. Yes, on it. The creek is the stage for this live performance, which involves music, dance and, of course, fire. WaterFire only takes place in a few cities around the world, and Kansas City is lucky to be one of those.
Plaza Lighting Ceremony
We hope you can make it to several events at the Plaza throughout the year. But if you can only pick one, it should probably be the iconic Plaza Lighting Ceremony. After you’ve finished your Thanksgiving feast, head down to the Plaza to watch 80 miles of lights — more than 200,000 individual bulbs — illuminate the beautiful buildings on the Plaza. The lighting is preceded by a concert, and the switch is always flipped by a local celebrity. Once you’ve walked around the block and taken in the twinkling lights, you can find comfort in a warm bar with a late-night happy hour.
Restaurants on the Plaza
You can always check out our complete guide to Plaza restaurants, but here’s a short version while you plan your day at one of these Kansas City Plaza events.
- Parkway Social Kitchen: An upscale American eatery serving elevated takes on classic comfort foods. Some house favorites include the Pepper Jack-stuffed Tater Tots, Brussels Sprout Salad and Duroc Pork Chop.
- Brio: A casual spot serving bistro-style Italian food. You can find a lighter meal for lunch or a hearty plate for dinner, depending on what you are in the mood for.
- Kaldi’s Coffee: If you need fuel for your day, check out Kaldi’s Coffee. This shop has several locations around Missouri, and serves freshly-roasted coffee that is sure to give you the boost you need.
- Rye: You might need a reservation to find a spot. But, if there’s an open table, Rye is always a good option. Rye serves a variety of locally-sourced meals and is a favorite for Plaza Kansas City events.
There are dozens of good options for breakfast, lunch, dinner and drinks during events at the Plaza. You’ll find something you like, we’re sure of it. Hopefully you can make it to one or more of these KC Plaza events and experience Kansas City’s most iconic district.