Holiday Train Experiences in Chicagoland

Photo Credit: freestocks.org from Pexels

Trains in Chicago and the suburbs are a great place to see holiday lights and spend some time with Santa. This year brings some changes due to COVID-19 as well as a few trains that bring the holiday fun home.

Note: We’re updating our website as quickly as we can, but changes may occur due to COVID-19. Please double check before heading out for the most updated information on safety precautions and any last-minute cancellations. Stay safe! 

CTA Holiday Train 

It’s an annual favorite tradition for many Chicagoland parents to kick off the holidays, trying to catch a ride on the bedazzled CTA Holiday Train. While you won’t be able to get on this year due to coronavirus, the CTA elves don’t want to disappoint. The train will be running through the stations Nov. 27-Dec. 21. Santa will be there, waving to families from his special flatbed car in the middle of the train (while his reindeer get a break from flying, too).

Here’s the schedule:

  • Green Line: Nov. 27-28, Dec. 1
  • Brown Line: Dec. 2-5
  • Orange Line: Dec. 2-5
  • Red Line: Dec. 8, 10, 12
  • Purple Line: Dec. 9, 11, 12
  • Pink Line: Dec. 15, 16, 19
  • Blue Line: Dec. 17-19
  • Yellow Line: Dec. 21

As part of the CTA’s holiday spirit, the Holiday Bus also rolls out this year. The 60-foot winter wonderland also features Santa waving from a roof-hatch with holiday music blasting, while the exterior features Chicago’s snowy skyline with Ralphie the Reindeer leading the way. Find the schedule here.

North Pole Express in a Box

Dec. 5

  • Hosted by: Skokie Park District
  • Cost: $35

The North Pole Express is not running in 2020, but families can enjoy the winter wonderland at home with a magical box from Skokie Park District. Inside, the box includes three activity books, three packets of hot chocolate, one treat and one craft.

Holiday Train Ride in a Box

Dec. 18

  • Hosted By: Village of Villa Park
  • Cost: $25

While we’ll miss the holiday tradition at Villa Park, the village is offering a Holiday Train Ride in a Box for families. Each box is filled with holiday train-themed activities, supplies, a craft and a few more surprises.


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This article originally published Nov. 1, 2018 and has been updated with the most recent information.

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