It’s the time of the year for your little train engineer to enjoy holiday trains in and around Washington, DC, this holiday season. Many of the trains featured in the DC Area Moms’ Trains to See and Trains to Ride: The Ultimate Guide to Trains in the Washington, DC Area offer special holiday events. Our favorites are listed below.
9 Amazing Holiday Train Experiences
1. Holly TrolleyFest at the National Capital Trolley Museum
1313 Bonifant Rd., Colesville, MD
Take a streetcar ride with Santa at the National Capital Trolley Museum’s Holly TrolleyFest (Saturdays, Dec. 3, 10, & 17 and Sundays, Dec. 4, 11, & 18 from Noon to 5 p.m.) Reservations are required for ticketed admissions every 30 minutes from 12 Noon through 4 p.m.
The Museum is open for the Holly TrolleyFest from noon to 5 pm, and Santa is on the streetcar from 12:30 to 4:30 pm. Tickets include unlimited trolley rides. (Adults $10, Kids 2-17 $8, Under 2 free). Ride the Street Cars, Visit Santa, and see the Winter Garden Railway.
2. B&O Railroad Museum
901 West Pratt St., Baltimore, MD
A true gem year-round, the B&O Railroad Museum is also the Grand Dame of holiday trains. The Polar Express Train Ride (November 25-26 & December 2-4, 9-11, 16-19 from 10:00 am-9:30 pm) Tickets range from $47-$67.
3. The Polar Express at Western Maryland Scenic Railroad
13 Canal Street, Cumberland, MD
Go on a 1-hour Polar Express journey to The North Pole with Western Maryland Scenic Railroad November 25th- 27th, December 2nd-4th, December 9th- 11th, or December 16th-24rd! Inspired by the classic children’s book The Polar Express, get your golden ticket punched by the conductor, sip hot chocolate and cookies in your pajamas on your way to The North Pole, and go home with a silver sleigh bell from Santa. Advanced tickets (starting at $35) are required and available online.
4. The North Pole Express at Potomac Eagle
Join Mrs. Claus for milk, cookies, and caroling on a journey to meet Santa on The North Pole Express at Potomac Eagle, where every child receives a gift. Book November 18th-20th, 25th-27th, December 2nd-4th, December 9th-11th, or December 16th-23rd. Experience the magic of the Christmas season as Potomac Eagle Scenic Railroad presents a Country Classic Christmas.
Availability varies by date but generally is at 3 pm, 5 pm, and 7 pm. Daytime tickets are Adults $45, Kids (2-12) $35, and lap children under 2 are free—but need a ticket. Nighttime tickets are Adults $57, Kids (2-12) $47, and lap children under 2 are free—but need a ticket.
5. U.S. Botanic Garden
100 Maryland Ave SW, Washington, DC
The U.S. Botanic Garden brought the holiday trains outside for all of us to enjoy and they are doing it again this year, but with a twist! The train display will be outside again, but the display featuring the monuments will be inside. The holiday display will run from Wednesday, November 24, through Monday, January 2, 2023. This is FREE and open to the public from 10 am to 5 pm indoors or outside in the garden.
6. Virginia Railway Express
1500 King Street, Suite 200, Alexandria, VA
Back this year, the VRE’s Santa Train is an incredible trip for just $5 you won’t want to miss! Tickets go on sale on Monday, November 28th at 10 am for the one-day excursion on December 10th, you won’t want to miss it!
7. Northern Central Railway of York
2 West Main Street, New Freedom, PA
The Northern Central Railway offers several experiences this fall and winter. Hop aboard the Santa Express at various times during the first three weekends of December. Tickets are $39 for adults age 13 years and older and $26 for children ages 2-12. Or enjoy the Elf on the Engine on November 25th only at 4 or 6 pm. Or enjoy Fall Foliage Excursions NOW!
8. Walkersville Southern Santa Train
34 West Pennsylvania Ave., Walkersville, MD 21793
The Walkersville Southern Railroad offers an adorable Santa Train Experience during the weekends in December. Tickets are requried and must be purchased in advance. Note that on December 3, there is a Beauty & Beast theme and on December 17, there is an Ice Queen & Ice Princess theme.
9. Christmas at Strasburg Railroad
The Strasburg Railroad creates several train experiences for families to enjoy this holiday season. Santa Claus Limited runs Wednesday, Thursday, and Fridays in November and December. Santa Paradise Express is on weekends only and offers a visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus, a gift from Santa, a cookie, hot chocolate, and an atmosphere of fun with decor and musicians. The Night Before Christmas experience recreates “The Night Before Christmas” Poem. Santa is not aboard, but everyone gets milk and a cookie! With the Christmas Tree Train, travel to Leaman Place Grove to choose and buy a Fraser Fir Tree (which they will deliver back to the station). Santa is not aboard, but enjoy hot cocoa and a cookie! Prices vary according to car chosen, ages, and other experiences like meals.
Enjoy these fantastic trains with your kids and please tag us @dcmoms on Instagram!