Explore Lawrence, KS this holiday season. Discover world class art and history museums, locally-owned boutiques and restaurants, and live music and theater.
Mark your calendar for special events, including the Old-Fashioned Christmas Parade, Holiday Art Fair, University of Kansas Vespers, exhibits and performances at the Lawrence Arts Center and a holiday show at Theatre Lawrence.
Ring in the season with friends and family. Visit explorelawrence.com/events to find out more.
Lawrence Arts Center
940 New Hampshire St.
“We Buy White Albums” | Rutherford Chang
thru December 16
The Beatles’ iconic, White Album, was released in 1968. The plain, stark white cover featured serial numbers stamped on the covers, alluding to a limited edition, though ironically, over 3 million copies were produced. For the past decade, Chang has been collecting numbered copies of the White Album. Over time, these albums have become uniform yet unique artifacts. Visitors are invited to browse the albums and listen to the vinyl.
The Nutcracker, A Kansas Ballet – December 8-10
Drunken Christmas Carol – December 14-16
4660 Bauer Farm Dr.
A Christmas Story, The Musical
The perennial Christmas favorite! Set in the 1940’s, the musical follows 9-year-old Ralphie Parker and his quest for the Holy Grail of Christmas gifts—an Official Red Ryder BB gun.
Old-Fashioned Christmas Parade
Massachusetts Street in Downtown Lawrence
The annual Old-Fashioned Christmas Parade is the Midwest’s largest parade of horse-riders and horse-pulled carriages, buggies and wagons.
KU School of Music Vespers
December 3 and December 6
Lied Center, 1600 Steward Dr.
Returning for its 99th year, the School of Music presents performances and seasonal sounds from vocal and instrumental ensembles, including the brass orchestra.
Holiday Art Fair
Cider Gallery, 810 Pennsylvania St.
The Lawrence Art Guild presents the annual Holiday Art Fair featuring works from 25 artists – including painters, photography, woodwork, handmade jewelry, ceramics, windchimes and fabric art. Beverages available for purchase, holiday music and free, on-street parking.
The Robert J. Dole Institute of Politics
2350 Petefish Dr.
The institute features the largest stained-glass American flag, Kansas limestone, Veterans memorial wall, and 9-11 memorial alongside exhibits featuring the leadership legacies of Senator Bob and Elizabeth Dole. Free admission.
“Landmarks in Leadership – Bob Dole’s Legacy at 100 years”
thru February 2024
KU Natural History Museum
1345 Jayhawk Blvd., Dyche Hall
The KU Natural History Museum is home to four floors of public exhibits including the historic Panorama, live snakes and insects, vertebrate and invertebrate fossils, flora and fauna of the Great Plains which dates to the 1893 World’s Fair.
Visit the new Collections & Conservation exhibit on the 5th floor.
Spencer Museum of Art
1301 Mississippi St.
The Spencer Museum of Art offers vibrant exhibitions and programs on site and virtually. Its collection exceeds 48,000 objects in all mediums ranging from ancient to contemporary.
Free parking and admission.
Watkins Museum of History
1047 Massachusetts Street
The Watkins Museum, which is operated by the Douglas County Historical Society, provides programs and public events, educational resources and activities, research support and changing exhibits that explore the heritage of Douglas County and connect the past with issues that affect our communities today. Free admission.
825 Massachusetts St.
A downtown Lawrence mainstay, Phoenix Gallery features the work of more than 500 local, regional and national artists. Buy something for yourself or find the perfect gift.
In the past year, Lawrence has been named:
Best College Town in the US
by Travel & Leisure
Best Lake Destination in Kansas (Clinton Lake)
by Travel Pulse
America’s most iconic and charming streets (Massachusetts Street)
by Media Feed & Chapism
Kansas’ Top Travel Destination
by Travel Pulse
Best Food City in Kansas
by Love Exploring
In the mid-1800s, the founders of Lawrence intentionally chose “Massachusetts Street” as the center of town to honor the city’s ties to Free State and abolitionist groups from Massachusetts. Nearly 175 years later “Mass” remains the center of town.
On the last Friday of every month (all year long!) from 5-9 PM, the streets of Downtown Lawrence, the Warehouse Arts District, and random places city-wide come alive with various arts and cultural events. Storefronts convert into flash spaces, and performances and exhibits spill in and out of galleries and businesses. Final Fridays include activities for kids, exhibitions designed to challenge adults, music, dance, and theater for all ages.