Here's your guide to Polar Express train rides for families around Los Angeles and San Diego. All aboard for a magical Christmas train ride that will remind your kids of one of the best loved holiday books!
If your crew has gone on any holiday train rides around Southern California, please like and review your picks to help fellow parents looking to try a fun Christmas tradition.
The most popular Polar Express trains book up early, and it might be necessary to plan far in advance to avoid a sellout!
Grand Canyon Railway Polar Express
Kelly R.: I know it's not in California, but this Williams Arizona Polar Express train ride is constantly recommended among Southern California families and worth checking out if you have a few days and are looking for an extra-special adventure. The journey takes you to the North Pole, where kids can see Santa and his reindeer and receive a special keepsake. It makes for a perfect weekend trip with time spent in Phoenix, Flagstaff, Sedona or Las Vegas.
North Pole Limited
Kelly R.: Departing from Campo Depot, the North Pole Limited Christmas train ride includes cookies, hot chocolate, carol-singing elves and a Christmas story. The train picks up Santa and Mrs. Claus at Santa's Workshop, and kids can visit with the pair on the way back.
The Southern California Polar Express Train Ride
Kristy Pepping: The Southern California Railway Museum hosts a fun Polar Express event. The soundtrack to "The Polar Express" will be playing as families can imagine they are in the storyline. The train will take a one-hour ride to the North Pole. Everyone will get their golden train ticket punched by the conductor and then enjoy some amazing hot chocolate and a cookie. And of course, there will be visits from Santa himself!
Irvine Park Railroad - Christmas Train
Kelly R.: The Irvine Park Railroad Christmas Train train will depart from the train station and drop passengers off at the North Pole. Children can share their wish list with Santa and have their photo taken with him too. You may take pictures with your personal camera or you may purchase a photo taken by Irvine Park Railroad. After visiting with Santa, hop back aboard the train and enjoy the colorful Christmas lights and decorations, as well as the magical “Tunnel of Lights”, on the ride back to Santa’s Village.
Griffith Park & Southern Railroad - Holiday Light Festival Train Ride
Kelly R.: This holiday train ride brings families on a festive journey along 1 mile of track surrounded by holiday scenes decked out with thousands of lights. Make sure to watch the weather if you plan on checking this out, as the train does not operate in heavy rain.
Primary photo: Xanterra Travel Collection
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