Christmas is here! The Polar Express Holiday train ride is nearly booked up for 2022, but there are still dates available if you’re flexible.
There is nothing like the wonder of Christmas and Santa Claus to your little ones. The joy they experience (and give us) during this season is immeasurable. Here are a few of the holiday train rides available near Las Vegas. Whether you plan a quick trip, or make a weekend out of the experience, these train rides will bring a little extra holiday wonder to your Christmas season.
The Polar Express Train Ride
The Grand Canyon Railway and Hotel Located in Williams, AZ, which is about a 3 hour drive from Las Vegas. No, this is not local, but it’s the nearest Polar Express experience to Las Vegas. You and your family can experience the wonder of this magical train ride, as you fill up on cookies and hot chocolate on your way to Santa’s Village. Watch the joy on the children’s faces when the train arrives at the North Pole, where Santa Claus and his reindeer are waiting! Santa will board The Polar Express and hand each child their own special gift.
You need to book early for weekend dates, most of the weekend dates for 2022 are already sold out. There are open dates on weekends still in November and Fridays and Sundays are booking up. Since it’s quite a drive, you can also book packages and stay at the hotel there. The package includes:
- Overnight stay at the Grand Canyon Railway Hotel in Williams
- Polar Express train travel from Williams to the North Pole for each guest
- Dinner and breakfast per guest at the Railway’s Grand Depot Cafe located adjacent to the hotel
Keep in mind that adding the overnight stay can cost as much as $350 on a weekend, but includes dinner and breakfast for everyone as well. (I priced out a room and 2 adults plus 2 children train tickets on a Saturday early in November and it was $580. Just the train ride was $267 for the family of four on that same date.) This might be a little bit pricey for my free and cheap peeps, but I know people that have done it and say it’s worth every penny and the drive. Kids absolutely love it, and the reviews and comments are amazing.
There is a 5:30 and a 7:30 departure daily, and the train ride lasts a little over an hour. Ticket prices start at $38 for children 2 -15 and $57 for adults(16+) for the value day rate, and are higher for Standard and Holiday rates. For more information, schedule, open dates or to book reservations, click the link above. Check out their Facebook page to keep up on any new information as well.
As of now, I don’t see reservations available for the 2023 Polar Express. If you are planning ahead for next year, you may want to sign up for deals with your email.
They also offer a Polar Express Charity Train. If you represent a non-profit organization that serves disadvantaged or disabled children in Arizona, please click here to request an application for up to 25 complimentary tickets to The Polar Express, departing at 7:30pm on Friday, November 6, 2020.
We have been there, done that! It was an amazing trip to Williams for the Polar Express. My kids loved it and they also loved all the snow they had there. It was beautiful! A few tips for those that have booked or may be planning to book:
Arizona is it’s own little time warp, and while we did know about the time difference, it totally slipped both my and my husband’s mind to leave an extra hour to get there during the drive. So, we ended up arriving a full hour later than we wanted and with the craziness there, we cut it really close. So, leave early!
Check the weather and bring what you need. It was 18 degrees the night we rode the train, but we dressed for it and it was fine. Besides, check-in and parking being chaos, we had a nice little time with the kiddos and would go back!
*We booked late in the fall for 2021 and got a Monday night, which we are fine with. It booked up quickly the rest of this year, so look ahead to next year and get the dates you want. Another side note, this trip we did not stay at the Grand Canyon Hotel and it was still great- though it didn’t snow. Free breakfast, an indoor swimming pool, very close and better price within walking distance the train.
Another cool part of Williams is that historic Route 66 winds right through this cute little town. Plus, a bonus on our second visit, we went to Bearizona Wildlife Park, just 10 minutes away and it was absolutely amazing. There’s plenty to do for a whole weekend.
For a little bit closer experience, check out these nearby holiday train rides. We are currently updating these train rides below for 2022, so check back often!
Nevada Southern Railway– Come experience the magic of riding the train at night on the Boulder City Santa Express! Take a ride on the new BC Santa Express 2021 where guests will experience the magic of the holidays onboard and in our Santa’s Railyard event center, pajamas optional. Each event is a 90-minute experience with a train ride in a vintage, restored railcar with storytime on the train, including time at our event center to visit Santa and enjoy hot chocolate and a cookie, by Chilly Jilly’z.
There will be three ride times each evening that the trains roll: 5:15pm, 6:45pm, and 8:15pm and run on these dates: Nov. 26 & 27, Dec. 3&4, 10&11, 17&18, 21&22, 2021. Tickets start at $30, First Class (VIP) are $50 and can be purchased here. Seats required for all passengers over 1 year old. Buy your tickets today, this event will sell out!
Nevada Southern Railway is offering a Halloween themed Train of Terror this year. Check it out at the link and book your tickets now.
Springs Preserve Holiday Express– Has not yet posted dates for their 2022 Holiday Express.
The train departs 14 times per day on magical journey to Santa’s Village. You must make a reservation at the website. Spaces are limited for each departure time. They strongly encourage you to purchase your tickets in advance to guarantee admittance. Tickets usually run from $10-12, children 2 and under are free. Santa will be there but photos will not be provided, so have your phone or camera ready.
You want to book your Holiday Train Rides soon. You can get daily email updates of all the free and cheap events, plus deals and discounts on entertainment and dining, by subscribing to our daily newsletter. For even more cheap fun, “like” us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
Check out our Halloween Happenings for loads of fall events around town…