Kansas City Connection: New Year’s options and a last-minute gift guide
Is New Year’s overrated? It depends who you ask. All the same, a memorable night out on the town on the last/first day of the year can provide you with a snapshot in time that you’ll remember long after the hangover wears off.
If you want the "ball drop" experience without flying to New York, go to the Power & Light District, where a Times Square-style ball drop will take place at midnight CST, along with fireworks, live music and all the food-and-drink specials 10 different bars and clubs can offer. All-inclusive ticket packages start at just $60 each. Visit nye-live.com/kansas-city for more information.
If you're in the mood to swing dance and revel in some jazz-age decadence, consider Union Station’s New Year’s Swingin’ Eve, which features swing dance lessons, appetizers, a balloon drop, a champagne toast and a concert by the Dave Stephens band. Tickets start at $60 for regular admission and go all the way up to $350 for premium VIP packages. Visit unionstation.org for more information.
For the little ones, Union Station’s Science City is offering a “Noon Year’s Eve,” which includes science demos, stage shows, robotics displays and a 3,000-balloon drop, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Admission is the same as usual Science City rates ($13.50 for adults, $11.50 for children 2 through 12).
Live music options abound as well. At Knuckleheads Saloon (2715 Rochester), Samantha Fish, the Rainmakers, the Nace Brothers and Katy Guillen and the Girls will all perform at a NYE party that includes food and champagne at midnight. Tickets are $90 in advance at knuckleheadskc.com. Doors open at 7 p.m.
At recordBar, the Conquerors, Various Blonde and Jaenki play an 18-and-over show, and local groups Sundiver, Sharp Weapons and Bummer will play at Davey’s Uptown Rambler’s Club. Both concerts are $10. The band Beautiful Bodies will headline the big New Year’s party at the Uptown Theater, which includes five party rooms, DJs, lasers and a craft-beer garden. Tickets are available starting at $50 for an early bird special.
At Stanford’s Comedy Club in Overland Park, dinner and show packages are available to see comedian Steve Hytner, who played annoying comedian Kenny Bania on "Seinfeld." He’ll be performing sets at 8 p.m. and 9:45 p.m. More info at stanfordscomedyclub.com.
Golf fans looking to shave a few strokes off their game in the new year can get a jump start on practicing at Topgolf in Overland Park, which offers reservations for four to size people for $75, and an all-inclusive special including food, champagne and non-alcoholic drinks for $450. Find more info at topgolf.com.
Whether you’re searching for a unique last-minute gift or just planning on some leisurely shopping on your next trip to Kansas City, the following places are fun to visit any time of year.
At Hammerpress, at 500 Southwest Blvd., a talented team of letterpress operators and designers sells a wide variety of cards, stationery, prints and show posters, as well as many other writing utensils, artwork and gift items made by other vendors. Hammerpress is open every day but Sunday and Monday (closed this Friday for Christmas), and can be found online at hammerpress.net.
For those looking for a fix of Kansas City-themed apparel (aside from the usual suspects of Normal Human, Charlie Hustle and The Bunker), check out Raygun at 1803 Baltimore in the Crossroads. Raygun sells an enormous amount of sassy screen-printed T-shirts, promoting states and cities all across the Midwest. Most of the tees are $21, and the store carries drinkware, postcards and gift items as well. Check out the inventory at Raygunsite.com.
Just a block away at 1733 Main, Gallup Map Company has been selling high-resolution maps and posters with custom framing options since 1875. It’s a neat spot for history buffs and armchair cartographers alike. Gallup Map Co. is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
If you’re down in the East Crossroads grabbing a bite at Local Pig, don’t forget to pop next door to Urban Provisions, an artsy/craftsy general store that specializes in home decoration materials, vintage items, candles, cocktail sauces and more. Urban Provisions is open every day starting at 11 a.m. and is located at 2616 Guinotte Ave. and online at urbanprovisionskc.com.
Finally, the unique workshop and retail space at Bonfire, in downtown Mission at 6104 Johnson Drive, offer an interesting variety of crafts and prints curated by the .POP! shop. It’s the only place in town I know of where you can buy a gilded morel mushroom for less than $50. Check out store hours and vendor information at bonfirespace.com/retail.
Happy holidays, and see you next week.
— Lucas Wetzel is a writer and editor from Kansas City, Mo.