Head to the heart of downtown Kansas City and you’ll find yourself in the Power and Light District, one of Kansas City’s most popular weekend destinations for food, drinks, games and entertainment. The district includes approximately nine city blocks, from Truman Road on the south to 12th Street on the north, stretching east to west from Oak to Baltimore. Within these confines you’ll find restaurants, bars, concert stages, offices, luxury apartments and one of Kansas City’s crown jewels — the Sprint Center.
You’ll also find Power and Light events hosted in this district throughout the year. There are one-off events each weekend and beloved Power and Light District events held annually. Each year there’s more going on as Power and Light continues to grow.
This district was vital to the downtown renaissance Kansas City has experienced over the last decade, transforming a dead downtown of office buildings and parking lots into a thriving area for food, urban living and entertainment. Each of the Power and Light events you attend is a continuation of this growth; we all play a part in making our city even better.
This guide will help you plan your event calendar and get the most out of KC Power and Light events.
Power and Light Events
First, we’ll cover some of the biggest Kansas City Power and Light District events throughout the year, and then we’ll give you some suggestions on the best places to find food and drinks while you’re in the area. For both cases, you have plenty of choices.
- Mardi Gras Bar Crawl: Kansas City may not have a historic Mardi Gras tradition like New Orleans, but the Mardi Gras Bar Crawl has been one of Kansas City’s favorite Power and Light events for more than 10 years running. Register ahead of time for an all-inclusive party package at more than 14 bars. In between stops, you can catch crawfish-eating contests, fire jugglers, street performers and live music.
- Urbana: This summertime festival series is still in its infancy but has attracted a large crowd from the start. On select Sundays from June to August, Urbana closes down 14th street in the Power and Light District to create a street scene free of cars and full of fun. Find food, drinks, music, art and games at this family-friendly event in Power and Light.
- Miller Lite Fan Fest: It’s the most wonderful time of the year. No, not Christmas. We’re talking about March Madness. We love college hoops in Kansas City, and you can celebrate March Madness tipping off with hundreds of your closest friends at Miller Lite Fan Fest. The KC Live! event space is set up as a giant outdoor viewing area with several large, projected screens showing the games. This is an all-ages event, so you can bring the whole family.
- Patrick’s Day Party Brunch: Power and Light District events like the St. Patrick’s Day Party Brunch are a good opportunity to see what the Power and Light dining scene has to offer. Each restaurant in the district will have special menu from 9am to 1pm on St. Patrick’s Day. A full day of festivities follows the brunch, so stick around and celebrate Irish pride, and maybe grab a drink at The Dubliner, one of Kansas City’s best-known Irish pubs.
- Downtown Wine Walk: Kansas City Power and Light District events like this are best experienced with a group of close friends. Get together for a beautiful, wine-fueled stroll around downtown KC. Even if you aren’t a wine connoisseur, you can still enjoy glasses from participating venues around Power and Light.
- Big XII Tournament: Rock Chalk? Emaw? Boomer Sooner? Whatever slogan your fandom causes you to scream excessively during games, you’ll love the Big XII Tournament. This is one of the premiere conference tournaments in the country, and the Power and Light District transforms for the whole weekend. Streets are blocked off to set up basketball courts and make room for vendor booths. Restaurants have specials, and the KC Live! space is an all-day watch party. Plus, this is the perfect time to check out the College Basketball Experience, a unique, interactive museum of college basketball history.
Power and Lights Events Tips: Where to Eat, Park and More
If you’ve been around the block a couple times, you may already know your favorite Power and Light restaurants. But for those of you who are new, or need to try new things, there are some fantastic dining options at any Power and Light District events.
One of the hottest Power and Light District restaurants is BRGR Kitchen + Bar. This spot has rave reviews and you can count on a mouth-watering burger whenever you go. The atmosphere is nice, and it’s in the heart of downtown.
For the best sports bar in the area, you have to go to Johnny’s Tavern. Johnny’s is a Kansas City institution. It began in neighboring Lawrence, KS, back in 1953. There, it quickly became a game day destination for those unable to pile into The Phog. Johnny’s was one of the first restaurants to open in the Power and Light District, and it’s the best place to watch a game in downtown Kansas City. Except if…
There’s one caveat. If the sport is soccer and game is Sporting KC, there’s no place to go better than No Other Pub. This is the official Sporting KC bar in Kansas City. Cheer on the boys with the most passionate fans outside the stadium.
Before you can get to any of the tasty meals at one of Kansas City Power and Light District’s upcoming events, you’ll have to deal with parking. Keep in mind that we’ve got it pretty good in KC as compared to some other large cities, but it can still be a challenge. You have a couple options.
First, if you’re willing to pay, you can always find a parking garage. This is the simplest option for those who don’t mind spending the extra money. When it comes to street parking, almost every spot will be metered or time limited, which makes it more difficult to find a spot that’s not too far away.
However, some recent additions to downtown have made parking at Power and Light events much easier. Thanks to the KC Streetcar, you can park anywhere along Main Street from Union Station and the River Market and catch a free ride to the Power and Light District. If you’d rather fly (or, should we say, scoot) solo, download the Bird or Lime scooter apps. Find a scooter, activate it through the app, and take it from your car into Power and Light.
Whichever way you choose to reach your destination, we hope you can find a good time at one of these Power and Light events, and a good meal at one of these superb restaurants.