One of my most favorite Christmas traditions is driving around the city looking at Christmas lights. We pack a supper, everyone gets into their warm PJs and we jump into the car and make a night of it. Now, when I say we make a night of it, I am not kidding! We typically spend 3-4 hours in the car looking at lights. (2 hours of driving and 2 hours of watching) How do we spend this much time in the car and still love each other at the end of the night? Well I am glad you asked 🙂 Here are our tips for making this night a success.
- We leave as soon as Nate gets home from work so that we don’t go too much past the kids’ normal bedtime.
- I pack a supper and we eat it in the car as we are driving from place to place. Our typical meal is meat, cheese and crackers, grapes and chips. We pack water for the drink and bring plenty of milk for the baby. Then I have several rounds of snacks ready and available. One snack is always popcorn and one is normally on the sweeter side.
- We plan our trip very carefully. This website is an excellent resource for light displays in the greater Kansas City metropolitan area. Carefully read the descriptions and comments – they will really help you pick the right houses. Make sure you check this site before you head out…they will update it if there are any changes. Especially if the display is no longer there!! We also pay attention to the houses’ locations to make sure we put them in the right order. We start as close to our house as possible and then gradually make our way south. We have found this works best for our family, we have instant gratification and then the longest part of the trip is at the end. During this time we put in Charlie Brown’s Christmas to help pass the time (which is typically no longer than 20-25 minutes).
- We have our favorite Christmas CDs in the car ready to go.
- We have everyone in their PJs so that they are ready to jump into bed once we get home.
Here is our favorite Kansas City route: (Remember if you do every one and spend time at every one it will take 3-4 hours. This can be split up into a two night event or just go to the top half or bottom half to make the night shorter. #1-3 are together and #5-7 are together. # 4 is on the way to #5 if you want to do back roads. If you don’t want to do #4, continue on 95th to 69 highway and skip #4. If you can only do one group I would do #5-7. These are the best of the group. Directions are in green italics. My comments are in red italics. The paragraph description after the title is from the website. The music light displays has the radio station that you are to tune to, to hear the music. If it doesn’t work, all of them have signs telling you what station the music is on.
To get to #1: We take 75th street east to Mission Rd. Then turn right (south) on Mission road. It will be on your right side soon after you turn.
#1 Dorr Family
“The Dorr Family Christmas sound & light program moved to a new location behind the Prairie Village City Hall and can be viewed from the Shawnee Mission East High School parking lot from 5:30 PM to Midnight from Thanksgiving through New Years Day & heard on 100.5 FM. Donations are accepted to benefit Heartland Habitat for Humanity & the Prairie Village Municipal Foundation.” (The entire show takes just a little over 30 minutes to watch.)
7500 Mission Road, Prairie Village, Kansas 66208
This is the best one if you want the music to go directly with the lights. Total time for show is 20 minutes.
From #1 to #2: We go south on Mission and turn right onto 79th street. Go through Nall and turn left onto Outlook.
#2 Candy Cane Lane
“In 2008 Candy Cane Lane recovered from several years of dwindling displays. It was the 51st year of Candy Cane Lane and every house was attractively decorated. This display of lights was once again worth a special visit. They have continued to put up the new displays and this has become one of the most popular Christmas displays in Kansas City. Longer review with more photos and map.”
7900 block of Outlook Lane, Prairie Village, Kansas 66208
From #2 to #3: We turn right onto 79th street and go back to Nall. We turn right (south) onto Nall. #3 will be on the corner of Nall at 92nd street. You will want to turn onto 92nd Street and stop in front of the house to see the display.
#3 One House
“2011 is the first year that this 92nd Street Holiday Display has been on the Kansas City Christmas Display Tour. It is on the corner of Nall Avenue. Thank you to Tom and Bobbi Meserole for scouting this location and bringing it to our attention. My favorite decorations are the angles and the Charlie Brown and Snoopy snow globe at the far right.”
5500 West 92nd Street, Overland Park, Kansas 66212
House with LOTS in the yard. Not worth driving to alone but nice one to break up the distance between #2 and #4.
From #3 to #4: Continue on Nall to 95th Street. Turn right onto 95th Street. Continue to Metcalf and turn left (south) onto Metcalf. Next lights display will be at 101st street Office Building. This one is HUGE. You will want to park at Emanuel Baptist Church, which is on the hill directly across from the display. (If want to skip #4, take Metcalf all of the way to 69 highway and follow directions to #5.)
#4 Office Lights/music Display: Vince & Associates Animated Lights
“Vince & Associates Clinical Research (101st & Metcalf, Overland Park, KS). Nov. 15 – Christmas
This Christmas light display is beautifully choreographed to music for an animated light show your children will love! Turn your radio to the station listed on their sign and watch the show! Tip: Park at Emanuel Baptist Church (directly across the street) for the best view! Tune your radio to 96.9 FM.”
This is a crazy, huge lights display! Definitely worth going to: This one might even be a good option if you can only go to one location.
From #4 to #5: Go south on Metcalf and turn right (west) onto 103rd Street. Get onto 69 highway going south. Continue on 69 highway until 135th Street. Go West (right) onto 135th street to Antioch. Turn right (north) onto Antioch. The entrance to the subdivision is on the left but you will be unable to turn into the subdivision from Antioch if you are heading north. You will have to go past 131st street and turn left into the next subdivision to turn around and go south on Antioch. Then you can enter the subdivision at 131st Place.
#5 Christmas Place
“For 20 years, the 23 homes of these two streets in the Terrace Place subdivision have been creating Christmas Place. These homes are coordinated with all keeping the same theme, rather than individually standing out. Pulling into the subdivision is like walking through an enchanted forest. There is a feeling of being inside this display that adds to the wonder and isn’t captured in the photo. Cindy Lou Corley started the tradition by providing lighted candy canes to every home. Cindy died about 4 years ago from breast cancer but the celebration continues.”
131st Place west of Antioch Road, Overland Park, KS 66213
This is one of Nate’s favorites. The neighborhood is completely lit up and it all coordinates.
From #5 to #6 head south on Antioch back to 135th street. Turn right (west) onto 135th street. Turn Left (south) onto Switzer. The Ultimate Tree is located at Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead at 13800 Switzer Road. After you turn onto Switzer the Farmstead will be on your right just after the ball fields.
#6 Ultimate Tree
“If you are in the Kansas City area, we’d like you to drop by and see the Ultimate Holiday Tree in person. It is definitely a unique holiday light display. The Ultimate Holiday Tree is a tree shaped flat panel holiday lighting display with thousands of solid state LED bulbs. Created by Mark Callegari, it was featured on HGTV’s “All Out Christmas” show….The Ultimate Holiday Tree is supplemented by LED house wash lights, an 8′ LED wreath and eight smaller LED trees. Tune your car radio to 98.5 FM to listen to the program. The Callegari family does a nicer job on their broadcast than most displays broadcasting on the radio.” This has moved from a home to the Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead in 2013.
13800 Switzer Road, Overland Park, KS
From #6 to #7 go north on Antioch back to 135th street. Turn left (West) onto 135th street. Go all the way to Mur-Len Rd and turn right (north) onto Mur-Len. Turn right onto Indian Creek Parkway. The display will be on the corner and parking is tricky but this is one you will want to walk through. You can park on the street or in the business parking lot north of the display on Indian Creek Parkway.
#7 Penguin Display!
“The Craig family Christmas display started off in 2004 with 15 penguins and a few Christmas lights, but has grown to nearly 150 lighted figures which fill most of his yard at Mur-Len Road & Indian Creek Parkway in Olathe, Kansas. In 2007 it took a crew six days to set up the Christmas display. Many of the figures move, some play music, and there are even penguin videos playing on the roof. This is the largest single display in Johnson County, and one of the largest Christmas Displays in metropolitan Kansas City. Longer review.”
16617 Indian Creek Parkway, Olathe, Kansas 66062
This one will leave you speechless. There is a crazy amount of Penguin blow-up displays!! You will have to get out of your car and walk around the yard. Parking can be tricky but there are businesses across the street that you can park at after hours. My kids look forward to this one each year.
Then head home 🙂 If you take Mur-Len south to 135th street and take a right onto 135th street it will take you to I-435.
Hope you have fun!!!! What are your favorite lights displays?