Holiday train show displays NYC families will love

We'll help you find the best holiday train show displays throughout the NYC area that require a visit (or two)

Photograph: Marc A. Hermann

The Christmas season is upon us, and the best holiday train show displays in the NYC area are great ways to indulge in the festivities. From the beloved tradition at the New York Botanical Garden to vintage train rides at the Catskill Mountain Railroad Polar Express, our roundup of events are going to make kids' Christmases all the merrier. 

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to Christmas for kids in New York City

Which holiday train shows will you hop aboard first? After you enjoy the locomotive fun, make sure to grab a cup of the best hot chocolate in NYC, explore fun indoor activities for kids in your neighborhood or book a trip to these adventurous family ski resorts near NYC.  

Holiday train shows

Photograph: Courtesy Mike Coppola
News, City Life

Macy's Santaland

Attention New Yorkers: Christmas is arriving earlier than ever this year! Macy's Santaland will open for the season on Friday November 23, 2018 and remain open through Monday, December 24, 2018! Yippee! The famous Macy's Santaland display—complete with Santa, his elves and a full floor of sparkling winter wonderland—will open at Macy's Herald Square with a bang. This year, you'll see elves at the Welcome Station, a Kinder Sweet Shoppe, The Aflac Ducks, The Enchanted Forest (igloos, ice sculptures, Christmas trees, etc), The Rainbow Bridge and even the Lionel Trains Industrial City (tons of model trains zip around a six-foot-tall Christmas tree and other decorations). Shortly before meeting Mr. Claus, you'll get a peek at Santa's Workshop and see his sleigh being prepped for the big night (reindeer and all)!

Photograph: Courtesy Catskill Mountain RR

Catskill Mountain Railroad Polar Express

The Polar Express certainly isn't a work of fiction, and if you're still skeptical, just hop onboard the Catskill Mountain Railroad! The cherised tale comes to life in the train cars as passengers are transported to the North Pole, all while cookies and cocoa are served and scenes from the movie play. Once travelers reach the North Pole, they'll be greeted by none other than Saint Nick himself! Kingston, NY ( Nov 16–Dec 23 at various times. $32–$49.


The New Jersey Museum of Transportation Christmas Express

The Pine Creek Railroad certainly knows how to get into the holiday spirit. Travelers are encouraged to join the man in the red suit for a ride on the Christmas Express, where they're guaranteed to snag a little one-on-one time with Santa to discuss their wishlist! Wall Township, NJ ( Nov 23–25, Dec 1, 2, 8, 9, 15 and 16 from 11am–4pm, Dec 1, 8 and 15 from 6–8:30pm. $6.

Danbury Railway Museum Holiday Train Rides

Step back in time on an old-school train car from 1903 as you make your way to see Santa! Along the way, passengers will get to participate in holiday crafts, receive a free gift, check out exhibits and, of course, spend time with Saint Nick. Danbury, CT ( Dec 2, 8, 9 and 16 at various times. $12, under 2 free.