Wichita, Kan. (Nov. 20, 2017) – From fun, old-fashioned, family-friendly experiences to shopping and big-time shows, Wichita is a great place to celebrate Christmas.
A number of events start in November and continue into December, like Illuminations at Botanica and carriage rides in two of the city’s most festive neighborhoods. Illuminations is an award-winning, family-friendly event, which boasts more than 1 million lights, and showcases Botanica’s 17 acres of beautiful gardens in a completely different light. It opens Friday, Nov. 24, and runs through Dec. 31.
Wichita is a regional shopping hub, and Bradley Fair, a shopping and dining center in northeast Wichita, is known for its upscale shopping and dining scene. During the holidays, it’s a chance to celebrate the season with a horse-drawn carriage ride as you shop and enjoy the beautiful holiday lights. Carriage rides are available Friday and Saturday nights through Dec. 23, from 6 to 10 p.m.
Carriage Rides are also available Dec. 2, 9 and 16 during Holidays in Old Town, three Saturdays of holiday fun in one of Wichita’s most popular districts, Old Town, which features brick-lined streets and converted brick warehouses dating back to the late 1800s. Riders can take in the ambiance along the brick-lined streets of Old Town, a historic and lively district known for its shopping, dining and entertainment. Additionally, the Mayor’s Tree Lighting will take place at 6 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 3.
Also on Dec. 3 and tied to Holidays in Old Town, is Lights on the River at the Wichita Boathouse. This free family-friendly event highlights Wichita’s best natural asset each holiday season – the Arkansas River. Trolleys will be available from 4 to 7 p.m. to take you to Old Town from the Wichita Boathouse to see the lighting ceremony in Old Town Square at 6 p.m. Attendees can purchase floating lights for the floating light launch, enjoy wagon rides, visit with Santa, listen to holiday music, partake in yummy food from local food trucks and more.
For more than three decades, Bob Scott and his family have turned their 20-acre Christmas tree farm into an old-fashioned Christmas wonderland, Prairie Pines Old-Fashioned Christmas. The experience centers around the rustic log barn that becomes the Christmas Shop, filled with fresh trees decorated with ornaments. Visitors can cut your own tree, purchase a pre-cut tree or just enjoy the old-fashioned atmosphere. A free children’s train runs on the weekends, pulled by a small tractor, and horse-drawn and tractor-drawn hayrack rides are available. Also on the weekends, fresh wreaths are made and children can visit with Santa in his 100-year-old sleigh. It is open to the public through Dec. 17 and available by reservation after Dec. 17.
Another farm, Fulton Valley Farms, provides the opportunity for guests to see live reindeer and get a photo taken with them while sitting in Santa’s sleigh. Reserve your spot now for a home-cooked Christmas dinner on either Dec. 8, 15 or 22, followed by visiting with Santa and real reindeer or strolling through the farm’s holiday light display.
Wichita also has its own “The Polar Express Experience” on select days in December at O.J. Watson Park. The fun starts with a reading of “The Polar Express” with milk and cookies. Enjoy crafts and activities, then take a ride on the miniature train to see Santa at the North Pole, where you’ll have s’mores and hot chocolate. This family activity is geared toward children 2 and up. Kids are encouraged to wear pajamas and an adult must also attend and register.
Big-Time Holiday Shows:
A Cirque de la Symphonie Holiday Spectacular: Dec. 2-3, 2017 at Century II
* Prepare to be amazed as the magic of the Cirque du Soleil meets the classical renderings of the Wichita Symphony Orchestra.
* This holiday show is perfect for the whole family and comes equipped with acrobats, aerial flyers, contortionists, dances, jugglers, balancers and some of the strongest men and women you will ever see. These gravity-defying stunts are professionally-choreographed and set to classical masterpieces recognizable for all ages.
Trans-Siberian Orchestra: Dec. 8 at INTRUST Bank Arena
* INTRUST Bank Arena lights up for the holidays with this incredible performance.
* The band has been traveling for more than two decades bringing unforgettable holiday shows full of energy and special effects.
Chris Mann: Home for Christmas: Dec. 9 at Century II
* Wichita native and opera superstar Chris Mann comes Home for Christmas in an enthusiastic performance with Wichita Grand Opera.
* Mann rose to fame on NBC’s “The Voice,” and is most well-known for his Broadway Tour as the Phantom in “Phantom of the Opera,” where he was hand-selected for the part by the author who wrote the production.
Ballet Wichita’s “The Nutcracker”: Dec. 15-17 at Century II
* In its 44th season, Ballet Wichita is debuting an all-new “The Nutcracker,” directed and choreographed by Sean McCloud (pronounced McCloud); It’s unlike any other Nutcracker you’ve seen before.
* Still portrays the beloved timeless tale and takes you back to a simpler time with the lovely sounds of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky.
* This story has lasted through the ages and is the perfect addition to your holiday tradition in Wichita.
For more information on any of these holiday experiences, holiday light displays, Santa sightings and the dozens of other seasonal events in Wichita, go to VisitWichita.com.