There’s a lot going on in Kansas City.
That may come as a surprise to people on the outside. As a darling of the “east coast writer discovers that Midwestern city isn’t actually awful” genre of magazine article, we’re used to folks underestimating KC. But for us natives, and the transplants too, we know Kansas City is full of diverse culture, entertainment, art and food.
In fact, there’s so much going on that it can be hard to keep track of.
If you’re looking to map out your plan for Kansas City events, this is the place for you. We’ve created the ultimate Kansas City events guide so that you won’t miss a thing. Holiday events in Power & Light, art festivals on the Plaza, weekends in the Crossroads — we’re going to cover it all, and the food that goes with it.
Here’s your complete guide to events in Kansas City.
Kansas City Events
From annual traditions to monthly parties, here are the Kansas City events you don’t want to miss, organized by month.
Kansas City Events in January
- KC Restaurant Week: An annual tradition that highlights what the best Kansas City restaurants have to offer. Participating restaurants create a special menu for the week, and a portion of all proceeds go toward a local charity.
Kansas City Events in February
- Valentine’s Day: There are several ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day in Kansas City. You can make reservations for a romantic dinner, of course. You can also join the KC community at events in Kansas City like Hearts for Art at the Kemper Museum or Kiss & Tail at the zoo.
- Mardi Gras: Kansas City doesn’t have a Mardi Gras tradition like New Orleans, but we still know how to party. There is an annual Mardi Gras Bar Crawl hosted in the Power & Light District. This event typically takes place either the last weekend of February or the first weekend of March.
Kansas City Events in March
- Patrick’s Day Parade: Westport was once an Irish stronghold in Kansas City. Today, we celebrate that heritage annually with the St. Patrick’s Day parade. There are floats and street performers, plus plenty of great restaurants nearby.
- Big XII Tournament: We’ve got some passionate college basketball fans here in Kansas City. Each March, we host the Big XII Conference Tournament at the Sprint Center. It’s one of the most popular events in Kansas City for the whole year. The streets around the area are shut down as fans from across the country descend on KC for one of the premiere conference tournaments in the country. There are a lot of opportunities for a good meal during the tournament, as well as other can’t-miss activities like the College Basketball Experience.
- Snake Saturday Irish Celebration: This Northland tradition began in 1983. It is a family-fun Irish celebration complete with floats, street performers, vendors and food. If you are looking for an Irish party fit for the whole family, this one is for you. While you’re there, check out some of the delicious food served at restaurants in the Northland.
- Easter Parade: This annual event in Kansas City, Mo., is held in Zona Rosa on the north side of Kansas City. There is a parade led by Royals’ mascot Slugger, as well as activities for kids. It’s a good family event in Kansas City.
Kansas City Events in April
- KC Film Fest: Kansas City’s contribution to entertainment through film is still underappreciated. Even for us locals, we’re mostly unaware of the great stories being told in Kansas City and by Kansas City natives. KC Film fest is a chance to see more than 100 films by local creators. This Kansas City event is hosted at the Cinemark on the Plaza, which means you’ll be surrounded by some of the best restaurants in Kansas City.
- Fountain Day: We go by many names here — Paris of the Plains, Chiefs Kingdom, Barbecue Capitol of the World. But one of Kansas City’s best known monikers is the City of Fountains. KC Parks and Rec celebrates the beginning of fountain season with a small festival in mid-April.
- Pig and Swig: Foodies, this one is for you. Pig and Swig showcases the best barbecue, beer and bourbon that Kansas City has to offer. This is a downtown Kansas City event that you don’t want to miss.
Kansas City Events in May
- Brookside Annual Art Festival: This Kansas City event has been running for more than 30 years. Brookside is a beautiful neighborhood right in the middle of Kansas City. Thousands of people visit the Annual Art Festival, and there are plenty of great restaurants in Brookside to go along with the art.
- Polski Day: If you’re ready to celebrate all-things Polish, this is the event in Kansas City, Missouri, for you. Polski Day is heading into its 35th There is food, events and activities for people of all ages.
- NASCAR at Kansas Speedway: Spend a day at the racetrack when NASCAR makes its way to Kansas Speedway in May. This is one of the Kansas City events that attracts national attention. If you’re a racing fan, you don’t want to miss it.
- Celebration at the Station (Memorial Day Weekend): Set on the beautiful lawn between Union Station and the World War I Memorial, this is one of the largest annual events in Kansas City and, according to VisitKC, it is the largest Memorial Day Weekend event in the Midwest. The main event is an outdoor concert by the Kansas City Symphony, but there is plenty to do and eat before the concert begins.
- Turkey Creek Festival: Start the day with a Pancake breakfast before the 5K run/walk, then stick around all day for kid-zone activities, food and fun with the Merriam, Kansas, community. The Turkey Creek Festival is a great annual tradition for families.
Kansas City Events in June
- Boulevardia: Boulevardia is one of the largest events in Kansas City, Mo. It takes over the whole West Bottoms as beer and food vendors set up hundreds of booths. Concerts cap off the evenings at multiple stages each night. You can spend every minute of the weekend at Boulevardia without running out of new things to try.
- Festa Italiana: Italian heritage is a part of Kansas City’s foundation. Italians set up some of the first successful commercial districts and rose to power politically in the early years of Kansas City. There were some fireworks along the way, but no one can deny the importance of Italy to Kansas City. Festa Italiana is a time to celebrate Italian culture and enjoy the best of Italian Cuisine.
- Tumbleweed Festival: We’re not Music City, but you can still find one of the best country music festivals just southwest of Kansas City. Events like this are great for people of all ages. Tumbleweed is located in La Cynge, Kansas, on a beautiful lake. Camp out for the whole weekend and listen to some great music.
- Jazz Walk of Fame: Jazz music reverberates deep in the soul of Kansas City. Jazz developed here, especially in iconic clubs around the 18th and Vine district. Each year, the Jazz Walk of Fame pays tribute to the legacy of jazz in Kansas City. This event in Kansas City also features a new class of inductions to the Jazz Hall of Fame each year.
- Old Shawnee Days: This Kansas City event lasts four days as people come together to celebrate the history of Shawnee. It’s also a great opportunity to explore restaurants in Johnson County.
- KC PrideFest: The Advocate has ranked KC PrideFest as one of the top ten pride marches in the country. PrideFest is celebrated at the newly-developed Berkley Riverfront Park. This event is great for anyone in the LGTBQIA community, as well as for those who support equal rights for all. Head east from the park and you can explore the historic City Market and all of the restaurants
- Scottish Highland Games: “Come be a Scot, even if you’re not!” The Scottish Highland Games celebrate the many wonderful aspects of Scottish culture in Kansas City, including the delicious food the Scots have created.
- Middle of the Map Fest: The Midwest is much more than flyover country. We have cultivated a unique culture of arts and entertainment. Middle of the Map Fest puts this culture on display with music, film, forum discussions and, of course, food. This festival takes place at venues all over the Kansas City area.
- Fiesta Kansas City: Kansas City’s Hispanic culture is vibrant and delicious. Take part in this Kansas City community event to celebrate all of the things Hispanic influence has brought to KC. There will be music, food, dancing and more.
Kansas City Events in July
- Fourth of July with KC RiverFest: Come on down to the river for Kansas City’s biggest fireworks show. This Fourth of July spectacular is hosted at the Berkley Riverfront Park. There are concerts, games and food booths during the day. It’s all capped off by a fireworks show over the river after the sun goes down. This show is the most popular of all the July events in Kansas City.
- KC Fringe Festival: This visual and performing arts festival spans from north of the river to Westport. For 14 days in July, you can find all kinds of creative expression throughout Kansas City. Along the way, you’ll have a good chance to stop in at great restaurant in the River Market, Crossroads, Westport and Plaza.
- Rockfest: Do you like loud noises? Go to Rockfest. Of the many music events in Kansas City, this one is the best for those of you who jam to hard rock. Rockfest is hosted by 98.9 The Rock, and it’s attended by tens of thousands of people each year.
- Kansas City’s Big Picnic: The historic yard at the Nelson-Atkins is perfect for a picnic on any sunny day, but especially on this day. Kansas City’s Big Picnic is a community gathering around the shuttlecocks. There are activities and performances — and it’s all free.
Kansas City Events in August
- Ethnic Enrichment Festival: The Ethnic Enrichment Commission is a multicultural nonprofit in Kansas City that is dedicated to fostering an understanding and appreciation of cultural diversity. Among the commission’s many programs and events, Kansas City hosts the Ethnic Enrichment Festival each fall. You’ll find food, dancing, music and more representing the many different cultures that are present in KC.
- Heart of America Hot Dog Festival: There aren’t many restaurants around Kansas City that specialize in hot dogs, so the Heart of American Hot Dog Festival is your best bet to find the best hot dog in town. The famous Negro League Baseball Museum hosts this picnic in early August.
Kansas City Events in September
- KC Irish Fest: If you missed the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in the spring, then you can catch KC Irish Fest in the fall. Or, double up on your Irish events! Kansas City has a proud Irish heritage, and there’s plenty of celebrating to do. While you’re at it, make sure to try some of KC’s most popular Irish restaurants.
- American Royal World Series of Barbecue: Kansas City, as you most likely know, is the barbecue capitol of the world. The American Royal World Series of Barbecue is an event in Kansas City for both locals and tourists. It features some of the best smoked meats you’ll ever find, as well as local brewers and other activities.
- Paris of the Plains Cocktail Festival: If you are a purveyor or mixer of world-class cocktails, this is one of the events in Kansas City that you can’t miss. This festival is a mix of seminars for professionals, cocktail competitions and open events.
- Art Westport: Westport was one of the first areas settled in Kansas City, along with the River Market. It is historic and beloved by many. During Art Westport, the streets around the district are closed to traffic. Booths are set up and independent artists show off their work for the crowds. While you’re there, you have plenty of Westport restaurant options.
- Plaza Art Fair: Just down the road, you can find the Plaza Art Fair. As you can tell, our city’s creativity is on full display at some of the best events in Kansas City. Bring the whole family for a day of art, shopping and good food on the Plaza.
Kansas City Events in October
- Boo at the Zoo: A haunted evening for the whole family. Dress up in your spookiest costume and spend the whole day trick-or-treating at the Kansas City Zoo.
- WaterFire Kansas City: WaterFire is a unique spectacle that Kansas City is lucky to host. There are only a handful of cities in the world that WaterFire calls home. It is a live visual arts event in Kansas City on the Plaza. The performance uses Brush Creek as a stage, and it is a truly stunning experience that you can’t miss.
- Weston Applefest: Weston, MO, is Kansas City’s hidden gem. This old town is 35 minutes north of downtown. It is nestled against a bend in the Missouri River where the land turns to rolling hills and beautiful bluffs. There is hiking, a brewery, wineries, great food and, each October, the Weston Applefest. The day kicks off with a parade, followed by crowds exploring the pop-up vendors lining Main Street. This is one of the events in Kansas City that every local should see at least once.
- KC Oktoberfest: There are Oktoberfest events all around the Kansas City metro area. This specific event is a two-day festival at Crown Center, hosted by KC Bier Co. At KC Oktoberfest, you can find great beer and traditional European faire. You’re also only a few blocks from the Crossroads, home to some of the most beloved restaurants in KC.
Kansas City Events in November
- Plaza Lighting Ceremony: This is one of the signature Kansas City, Mo., events. Late on Thanksgiving Night, thousands of people make their ways to the Plaza to watch the lights turn on for the first time of the year. There are miles and miles of Christmas lights pinned to the beautiful Plaza buildings. Each strand highlights the unique architecture of Kansas City’s prettiest district. There’s a concert and ceremony before the lights come on, and plenty of restaurant options before or after the ceremony ends.
- Christmas in the Park: Head south to Longview Lake in Lee’s Summit for Christmas in the Park. This is one of the Kansas City community events for the whole family to enjoy. You can drive through the dazzling light display and then enjoy dinner at one of the many fine restaurants in south KC.
- Dia De Los Muertos: A treasured and beautiful tradition in Hispanic culture. We are lucky to have Kansas City, Missouri, events like this. Even if you are not Hispanic, you can take part to appreciate and welcome the Hispanic community in Kansas City. Dia De Los Muertos is hosted by the Nelson-Atkins and includes art, music, food and more.
Kansas City Events in December
- Christmas in the Park: This Kansas City event is the same as above, and it runs all the way through Christmas. You can enjoy Christmas in the Park in November or December.
- Crown Center Ice Rink: The annual ice rink at Crown Center is a great Saturday event in Kansas City, Mo., for the whole family. Bring the kids (and maybe some helmets and knee pads) down for a fun day of skating. After you’re done, you can head to the Plaza for a nice lunch.
- New Year’s Eve: There are New Year’s Eve events going on in Kansas City in almost every district. Whether you prefer Power & Light, Westport or the Plaza, you can find a fun way to send off the old and ring in the new.
Monthly Kansas-City-Area Events
First Fridays: Every month, the Crossroads and West Bottoms host First Fridays. This street fair is the perfect way to get your month going. There are vendor booths, artists, food trucks and live performances. Thousands of people come to First Fridays, especially when the weather is nice.
Wow, that’s a lot of events, isn’t it? There’s a lot going on in Kansas City. People may not realize it all over America, but we know that we’ve got a good thing going here. These events in Kansas City put our vibrant, diverse culture on display. Hopefully you can pick a couple Kansas City events to enjoy this year!