This holiday season, hop on a holiday train ride or polar express train in New York City or nearby and head into a magical winter wonderland of snow, garland, reindeer and Christmas cheer, all arranged by Santa himself. These whimsical train or trolley rides are the perfect Christmas events to put your family into the spirit of the holiday season. There are many Christmas- and Polar Express-inspired train and trolley rides planned in New York City and nearby this winter. Most feature an hour-long journey complete with live entertainment, hot cocoa, festive snacks and more, all en route to meet Santa at the North Pole.
While many holiday train rides are heavily inspired by “The Polar Express,” a classic Christmas tale written by Chris Van Allsburg, other excursions have added their own unique elements of holiday fun. Either way, a holiday ride to the North Pole is sure to delight kids – and adults! – of all ages. So book your ticket, get on board for fun and immerse yourself in the holiday season! Finish out the day skating in Rockefeller Center, stop by New York Botanical Garden’s Train Show, or heading back to Staten Island to do some holiday shopping.
Also, be sure to call or check each train’s website for specific on-boarding instructions.
Polar Express and Christmas Train Rides in NYC
Where: 42 Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues, Manhattan
When: Nov. 12-Jan. 1, various times
Price: Tickets start at $69, adult; $65 child
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Ready for a festive NYC holiday adventure? Top View Sightseeing is back with a festive spin on its sight-seeing tours. Take the North Pole Express to re-live a magical childhood Christmas experience. This double-decker trolley travels through the city as passengers enjoy caroling, meeting Santa, storytelling and lots of holiday-themed activities for kids. Ride through the city to see beautiful light displays that are the signature of the season. Standard and enhanced packages available.
Polar Express and Christmas Train Rides in Ulster County
When: 55 Kingston Plaza Rd., Kingston, NY
When: Call for information.
Price: Call for information.
Did you know that there’s a route through the Catskills to get to the North Pole? Check it out during a 60-minute train adventure through the majestic Catskill Forest to Santa’s Workshop up north. Passengers will enjoy live entertainment and receive a free cookie and small gift.
Polar Express and Christmas Train Rides in Long Island
Where: 96 Main Rd., Riverhead, NY
When: Nov. 25-Dec. 23 on select dates. Hours vary. Check the website for the full schedule.
Price: Check the website.
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Hop on a vintage trolley and enjoy the magic and beauty of Christmas as you relive the enchanting tale of The Polar Express. Santa and his helpers are on board the whole time to greet passengers and give them the first gift of Christmas before characters lead festive onboard entertainment. Lots of activities for kids are part of the fun, and each child will receive a keepsake sleigh bell to take home (reminiscent of the classic tale). Visit the online gift shop where you can purchase gifts after booking your tickets. Staff will have the gifts ready for you when boarding.
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Polar Express and Christmas Train Rides in New Jersey
Where: 1 Railroad Plaza Whippany, NJ
When: Nov. 4-Dec. 30; various times.
Price: Tickets start at $50; $43, children ages 2-11
Get whisked away to a magical land on a one-hour train ride to the North Pole. The fun begins as soon as you board. Car hosts work their way through the cars to punch your golden ticket before serving delicious hot chocolate and shortbread cookies. Throughout the trip, there’s a reading of the classic story, caroling and other festive onboard entertainment. Passengers take home a keepsake sleigh bell reminiscent of the story. Value, standard and premium packages are available.
Where: Route 23 Transit Center, Wayne, NJ
When: Saturday, Dec. 10 (times vary)
Price: $31; $26 children ages 11 and younger
The Tri-State Railway Historical Society, Inc., returns in 2022 with its annual Ride with Santa in Wayne, NJ. Set in a modern, climate-controlled train, the excursion is an hour long holiday-themed ride where passengers are treated to on-board entertainment including caroling, music, a cast of costumed characters and more holiday fun.
Where: 99 Elizabeth St., Phillipsburg, NJ
When: Check the schedule online.
Price: $42; $32 children ages 2-12
Board the Polar Express at the Delaware River Railroad Excursions, operated by the New York Susquehanna and Western Technical and Historical Society. The experience is set to the music of the motion picture version of The Polar Express. Passengers will be treated to hot chocolate, cookies, live entertainment and more. Santa boards the train and visits with children along with his elves. Each child receives a bell from Santa.
Where: 80 Stangl Rd., Flemington
When: Nov. 20-Dec. 4, various times
Price: $31.99; $29.99 ages 3-11
The Santa Express features lots of holiday fun. New this year, passengers can take a photo with a 6-foot-tall wreath at North Pole Station. Passengers will meet Santa and Mrs. Claus on board the train. Kids receive a sleigh bell gift to take home. Various ticket packages are available.
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