Rhode Island Christmas Train Rides (2023)

Published: April 17, 2023

By: Adam Burns

In spite of the state's small size, Rhode Island is home to an upscale dinner train attraction known as the Newport & Narragansett Bay Railroad.  During the holiday season they offer a number of different Christmas-themed train rides.  More information about their trips may be found further below.

Other Christmas Activities

Rhode Island is a charming state with plenty of holiday cheer to offer. Whether you're looking for Christmas light displays, holiday performances, or festive markets, there are plenty of events and activities to enjoy with your family. If you are interested in enjoying some popular Christmas events in Rhode Island, besides just a train ride at the Newport & Narragansett Bay Railroad here are some of the best known.

Newport Mansions Christmas

The Newport Mansions Christmas is a holiday tradition in Rhode Island that draws visitors from all over the country. The historic Newport Mansions, including The Breakers, The Elms, and Marble House, are decorated with lavish Christmas decorations and themed holiday displays. Visitors can take tours of the mansions and enjoy holiday music, refreshments, and special events.

WaterFire Providence

WaterFire Providence is a unique event that takes place in downtown Providence throughout the year, but particularly during the holiday season. This outdoor art installation features more than 80 bonfires burning on the surface of the Providence River, creating a magical and festive atmosphere. Visitors can stroll along the riverfront, enjoy live music and performances, and visit food vendors and artisanal markets.

Providence Ballet Theatre's The Nutcracker

The Nutcracker ballet is a beloved holiday tradition, and the Providence Ballet Theatre puts on an enchanting performance every year. Visitors can enjoy the classic story of Clara and her Nutcracker Prince as they journey through a magical world of snow and sweets. The performance features stunning sets, beautiful costumes, and a live orchestra.

Christmas at the Zoo

The Roger Williams Park Zoo in Providence hosts an annual Christmas at the Zoo event, where visitors can enjoy holiday lights, music, and decorations throughout the park. The event also features visits from Santa Claus, carolers, and holiday-themed animal enrichment activities.

Bristol Christmas Festival

The Bristol Christmas Festival is a festive market that takes place in downtown Bristol. Visitors can stroll through the charming town center and enjoy local crafts, foods, and holiday treats. The event also features live music, ice carving demonstrations, and visits from Santa Claus.

In conclusion, Rhode Island offers a variety of exciting Christmas events and activities for families to enjoy. Whether you're looking to tour historic mansions, enjoy outdoor art installations, or attend a holiday ballet performance, there's something for everyone to experience during this magical time of the year. So, gather your loved ones and get ready to celebrate the season in Rhode Island.

Guide Information

Newport & Narragansett Bay Railroad

(Portsmouth):  Based in Newport, the Newport & Narragansett Bay Railroad was created in 2014 through the merger of the Newport Dinner Train and Old Colony & Newport Scenic Railway. 

The heritage railroad dates back to 1979 when it acquired 13.4 miles of the old New York, New Haven & Hartford's Newport Branch from Newport to Tiverton.  Today, trains only operate to the western bank of the Sakonnet River as the bridge was removed in 2007 following flood damage.  The short stretch of track is now disconnected from the national rail network.

The line originally ran 19.6 miles to Fall River, Massachusetts.  Even in the New Haven era this corridor was not particularly fruitful; passenger service ended in 1938 and freight customers were sporadic. 

However, it was incredibly scenic providing fantastic coastal views of southern Rhode Island which has continued to draw crowds for over 40 years.  Trains are currently pulled by historic diesel switchers, a pair of 45-ton models built by General Electric. 

For Christmas they host a themed-trip called the "Dickens Holiday Dinner Theatre Train."  Guests will enjoy a meal while enjoying a retelling of Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" by the Marley Bridges Theatre Company. 

They also host a "Jingles On The Rails Holiday Dinner Train.", "PJ's With Santa," and "Breakfast With Santa."  To learn more about all of their events please visit the railroad's website.

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