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Christmas train rides near NYC

Hop on board the best Christmas train rides in NYC for a magical holiday journey

Written by
Allie Early
Danielle Valente
Oliver Strand

Christmas in NYC is a magical time of year, and kid-friendly Christmas events bring joy and holiday cheer to the whole family. While taking the kids to see Santa can be one of the most exciting seasonal activities, you can make it an extra special experience by hopping on a Christmas train ride in NYC. These train rides are festive excursions that include festive treats, caroling, lots of holiday cheer and of course a visit with the big man himself. These express trips to the North Pole are very popular and sell out every year, so be sure to snag your tickets in advance. Once you’ve returned from your journey, keep the holiday spirits high by checking out the city’s holiday light displays and ice skating rinks, and warm up with a steaming mug of hot chocolate.

Christmas train rides near NYC

Catskill Mountain Railroad Polar Express

Kingston, NY

The Polar Express is, in fact, real. Not convinced? All you need is a ticket to the Catskill Mountain Railroad! Cozy up in the train cars as you take a trip to the "North Pole." Expect cookies and hot chocolate set to the sounds of the beloved movie. Once travelers arrive at Santa's spot, they'll be thrilled to see Jolly 'Ol Saint Nick himself.

Danbury, CT

Take a step back in time and grab tickets to board the Danbury Railway Museum's vintage train car. Tots and their parents will be whisked away on a ride through the railyard to meet Kris Kringle in toyland—a Christmas must if ever there was one. Littles will enjoy Christmas crafts, their free toy and the attraction's restored exhibits.

Santa Express and Northern Lights Limited

Thomaston, CT

Looking for a daytime Santa adventure? Book a seat on the Santa Express, where kids will enjoy hot chocolate, elf-led Christmas carols and a chat with Santa. For an evening excursion, hop on the illuminated 1891 Rutland combine car for Northern Lights Limited, where the train is glowing with Christmas lights inside and out. You'll get to visit Santa's workshop to pick up the big man in red and his wife, Mrs. Claus!

Santa's Paradise Express

Ronks, PA

Channel those holiday vibes with steam train ride alongside Kris Kringle. Since 1959, families have visited Strasburg Rail Road to enjoy the holly, jolly festivities. After seeing the sights, kids 11 and under leave the occassion with a special treat from Kris Kringle. Strasburg Railroad offers three more Christmas train experiences including The Night Before Christmas, Santa Claus Limited and Christmas Tree Train.

Santa Train

Wayne, NJ

The Santa Train, Tristate Railroad Historical Society's annual Christmas bash, is a must for all pint-sized passengers who are in a holiday state of mind. Families are invited for a bunch of Christmas-themed projects and meet and greets with Saint Nick. Kiddos even receive small gifts! Here's the rub: It always sells out WAY in advance, but you can put your name on the waitlist and keep your fingers crossed.

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