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Massachusetts Polar Express Train Rides (2024): A Complete Guide

Last revised: December 31, 2023

By: Adam Burns

There is currently one location in Massachusetts offering officially licensed "The Polar Express" events, the Cape Cod Central Railroad in Hyannis.

The Polar Express train rides typically take place on vintage steam or diesel locomotives that are decorated with holiday lights and decorations. Passengers are encouraged to wear their pajamas and bring their favorite stuffed animal as they board the train for a magical journey to the North Pole.

During the ride, passengers are treated to hot chocolate and cookies while they listen to a reading of "The Polar Express" and sing along to holiday carols. They may also encounter characters from the book, such as the conductor and the hobo, as well as Santa Claus himself.

Other Activities

Bright Nights at Forest Park

Bright Nights is a spectacular holiday light display that takes place in Springfield's Forest Park. Drive through the park and enjoy the beautiful light displays, animated scenes, and holiday music.

Boston Pops Holiday Concert

The Boston Pops Holiday Concert is a beloved tradition in Massachusetts. The concert features holiday classics performed by the Boston Pops Orchestra, along with special guests and sing-alongs.

Edaville Family Theme Park "Christmas Festival of Lights"

The Christmas Festival of Lights at Edaville Family Theme Park in Carver is a magical holiday experience that features thousands of holiday lights, train rides, and holiday-themed attractions.

Enchanted Village

The Enchanted Village at Jordan's Furniture in Avon is a magical holiday attraction featuring animatronic holiday scenes and Christmas lights.

Revere Beach Holiday Fireworks

The Revere Beach Holiday Fireworks is an annual event that takes place on the Saturday before Christmas. The event features a spectacular fireworks display over Revere Beach, along with holiday music and food vendors.

Tower Hill Botanic Garden

The Tower Hill Botanic Garden in Boylston transforms into a winter wonderland during the holiday season, with thousands of twinkling lights, decorated trees, and a fire pit for roasting marshmallows.

Christmas at the Newport Mansions

While not technically in Massachusetts, the Newport Mansions in Rhode Island are just a short drive away and offer a stunning holiday experience. The mansions are decorated with thousands of poinsettias, fresh flowers, evergreens, and wreaths.

Bright Nights at Forest Park

This is a popular holiday lights display in Springfield, MA, featuring over 675,000 lights and more than 200 animated displays throughout the park. Visitors can drive through the park or take a horse-drawn carriage ride to enjoy the lights.

Boston Common Tree Lighting

This annual event marks the beginning of the holiday season in Boston. The lighting ceremony features a 53-foot-tall Christmas tree decorated with thousands of lights and ornaments, and includes performances by local musicians and singers.

The Nutcracker

Boston Ballet's production of The Nutcracker is a beloved holiday tradition in Massachusetts. The production features enchanting music, stunning costumes, and beautiful choreography, and is a must-see for families during the holiday season.

Plimoth Plantation's Christmas Day Dinner

Plimoth Plantation, a living history museum in Plymouth, MA, offers a unique holiday experience with its Christmas Day Dinner. Visitors can enjoy a traditional New England holiday feast while learning about the history of the Pilgrims and the first Thanksgiving.

Festival of Trees at the Berkshire Museum

This annual event in Pittsfield, MA, features more than 100 decorated trees and wreaths, as well as holiday music and crafts for kids.

Christmas in Salem

This annual event in Salem, features a variety of holiday-themed activities, including historic home tours, caroling, and a holiday market.

2024 Dates Will Be Included As They Become Available!

Overview

Cape Cod Central Railroad

(Hyannis):  The Cape Cod Central Railroad is a very popular tourist attraction due not only to the great scenery but also its many different dinner trains and specials.

Running over a former New Haven Railroad line, the Cape Cod Central Railroad was formed in 1999 and through dedicated service and determination has become a popular venue. 

Today, the railroad offers upscale accommodations along with traditional excursions, all of which are offered within climate-controlled cars.  During the holiday season the railroad hosts official "The Polar Express" train rides.


Every version of the trip is a little bit different, depending on which railroad is hosting the event and the Cape Cod Central is no different.  Their top-notch equipment allows guests to choose from three different classes of services for the experience including Standard Class, First Class, and Premium Class.

The Polar Express Dates: 


SteamLocomotive.com

Wes Barris's SteamLocomotive.com is simply the best web resource on the study of steam locomotives. 

It is difficult to truly articulate just how much material can be found at this website. 

It is quite staggering and a must visit!