There is something about trains that speaks the holidays to me. Visions of electric trains dancing around the Christmas tree ring much truer to me than any sugar plums. I grew up with a love of trains (real and not so real) that still resonates with me to this day. The Polar Express is a well-loved book and movie every holiday season in our family and I am sure it is in most of yours as well. We have every train event in Lake County and beyond for your little train aficionado, and maybe you as well.
Holiday Train Events in Lake County 2017
November 24 – December 22 from 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
December 23– January 7, 2018 from 10:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Chicago Botanic Garden, 1000 Lake Cook Road, Glencoe | (847) 835-5440
Wonderland Express is one of the Chicago area’s top holiday “must-sees,” and a family-friendly, made-for-memories experience. This indoor model-train exhibition delights children and parents, friends and families. Drop-in activities available on select days.
2017 Christmas Train
November 25-26, December 2-3, 9-10, and 16-17; 9:00 a.m., 10:30 a.m., 12:00 p.m., 1:30 p.m., and 3:00 p.m. departures
East Troy Electric Railroad, 2002 Church St., East Troy, Wisconsin | (262) 642-3263
A magical ride takes you a half hour from the East Troy Depot to Santa’s workshop located at The Elegant Farmer. Here children can visit Santa and get a photo taken with the jolly elf himself! Craft projects and hot chocolate and cookies will be available. Advance reservations are required.
Canadian Pacific Holiday Train 🆓
December 2 , 2:00 – 6:00 p.m.
4374 Old Grand Avenue, near Viking Park
The Holiday Train is nearly 1,000 feet long with 14 rail cars, each decorated with hundreds of thousands of technology-leading LED lights and holiday designs. Parking will be available at Viking Park and Viking Park Middle School, as well as on the street around Old Grand Avenue. Musical entertainment will take place from 4:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. The Holiday Train raises awareness of local hunger issues by encouraging attendees to bring a non-perishable food item for donation to a local food pantry. All donations will benefit the Northern Illinois Food Bank. For more information, visit the Canadian Pacific Railway’s website.
Happy Holiday Railway
November 25, 26, December 2, 3, 9, 10, 16 and 17; Saturdays hourly from 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
7000 Olson Road, Union | (815) 923-4000
Embark on a magical 40-minute train ride through the winter countryside on your way to visit with Santa Claus himself! Treats will be served and gifts will be given to children on Santa’s “good list.” Everyone past their first birthday must have a ticket. Display buildings and museum grounds will not be open for this event. Plan to arrive no earlier than 30 minutes before your scheduled trip.
The Polar Express Train Ride at Chicago Union Station
December 1 – January 1, 2018
500 W. Jackson Blvd., Chicago | (312) 471-2501
Grab a seat on THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride at historic Chicago Union Station this holiday season. The magical story comes to life when the train departs Union Station for a one-hour round-trip journey through downtown Chicago. Deluxe Class tickets are $55 for adults and $43 for children ages 2 to 11. Each ticket includes a souvenir hot chocolate tumbler and keepsake sleigh bell to bring home along with hot chocolate and a cookie. Families are encouraged to wear their pajamas for the ride!
2017 CTA Holiday Train
Schedule varies, through December 23
Santa waves to boarding riders on this festive train wrapped with holiday images and twinkling lights. Santa’s elves greet you with candy canes while the train delivers food baskets to charity organizations throughout the city. Normal CTA fares apply. Visit Transit Chicago website for full details including dates and train lines.
Aren’t able to get to one of the above events? Why not create your own? Jennifer shows us how!
And read Loralie’s guide to all things train in Lake County here!