Washington, DC Area Holiday Train Guide


Even with Covid, there are several options 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, Trains to Ride: The Ultimate Guide to Trains in the Washington, DC Area offer special holiday events.  Our favorites are listed below.

COVID update: Virginia Railway Express’ Santa Train, Smithsonian National Zoo Choo ChooU.S. Botanic Gardens, and Gaylord National’s Village Express aren’t happening this year, but there is still fun to be had with the options listed below! Also, ICE at Gaylord National is still happening.

5. 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. 4, 11, & 18 and Sunday, Dec. 19, 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 5pm, and Santa is on the streetcar from 12:30 to 4:30pm.  Tickets include unlimited trolley rides. (Adults $10, Kids 2-17 $8, Under 2 free). Ride the Street Cars, Visit with Santa, and see the Winter Garden Railway.

Enjoy a special Kiddie Conductor Trolley Time for toddlers (12-36 months) on Thursday November 11th and 18th.

Many holiday train opportunities include Santa photo ops. Santa at the National Harbor Christmas Village Express did not disappoint.

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.  B&O offers three distinct holiday train activities: The Polar Express, Roundhouse Breakfast with Santa, and the Magical Holiday Express.

The Polar Express Train Ride (November 19-21, 26-28 & December 2-5, 10-12 from 10:00am-9:30pm) Tickets range from $42-$52.

Roundhouse Breakfast and Train Ride with Santa (Fri-Sun, Dec. 17, 18, & 19 from 8:15am – 10:00am) Join Santa for breakfast in the B&O Roundhouse, then go for a train ride on the Magical Holiday Express.  Advanced tickets available online.  Tickets range from $28-$42.

Holiday Festival of Trains (Dec. 6, 2021 – Jan. 2, 2022 from 10:00am – 4:00pm)

3. The Polar Express at Western Maryland Scenic Railroad (13 Canal Street, Cumberland, MD)

Go on a 1.5 hour Polar Express journey to The North Pole with Western Maryland Scenic Railroad November 26th-28th, December 3rd-5th, December 10th-12th, or December 17th-23rd! 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) required and available online.

4. The North Pole Express at Potomac Eagle (149 Eagle Drive, Romney, WV)

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 19th-21st, 26th-28th, December 3rd-5th, December 10th-12th, or December 17th-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 3pm, 5pm, and 7pm.  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)

Surprise! The inside of the Botanic Garden may be closed, but they have brought the holiday trains outside for all of us to enjoy. The holiday display will run from Wednesday, November 24 through Sunday, January 2, 2022. This is free and open to the public from 10 am to 5 pm outside in the gated garden. There are gobs of gorgeous plants and there will even be a holiday window display beginning November 24th.

You can see the amazing train display now and will see the train display with lights starting the day before Thanksgiving. Thank you for providing us with this free, gorgeous display!

Enjoy these amazing trains with your kids and please tag us @dcmoms on Instagram!


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