All aboard! The Polar Express trains, trolleys, and rides are back in many towns for 2022. Unfortunately the Polar Express at the Chicago Union Station will not be happening in 2022, but we have you covered with more options. My kids are finally at the age of wanting to head to the North Pole to visit Santa, so I hope you enjoy and find a magical experience for you and your family. These events tend to fill up very quickly, so if you want a spot, make sure to sign up as soon as tickets become available!
2022 Polar Express Train Rides, Holiday Express, Santa Train, and Santa Trolley
Addison Polar Express
Saturday, December 10, 2022 and Sunday, December 18, 2022
Location: Itasca Metra Station
A storyteller reads The Polar Express as pajama-clad children and adults enjoy cookies. Once the train reaches the North Pole, kids will meet Santa and bring him back to Addison. Children age 9 months or younger do not need a ticket. $18/resident, $22/non-resident. Registration open.
Lombard Polar Express
December 4, 2022
Options for the day include:
- Polar Express North Pole VIP Excursion: Three separate options for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The day starts at Two Brother’s Roundhouse for a meal and a special visit from Santa. $60/person.
- Polar Express Storytime Train: Morning and afternoon options available. Boarding at the Downers Grove station, head to the North Pole at Two Brothers Roundhouse for either a breakfast or lunch buffet in Aurora for games, pictures with Santa. Registration opens September 19. $60–65/person.
- Polar Express Storytime Bus: Morning and afternoon options available. Travel by a decorated bus to the North Pole at Two Brothers Roundhouse in Aurora for games, pictures with Santa, and a buffet. Registration opens September 19. $55/person.
Orland Park Santa’s North Pole Adventure
December 9-10, 2022
Santa will meet you at the North Pole with a special treat and activities. Participants build their own toy at the toy workshop. The program for 2022 does not include a Metra ride; however, participants will ride a trackless train around the civic Center Holiday Lights. Registration opens August 11. Under 3 free; $35/non-resident children with discounts for residents and adults.
Happy Holiday Railway at the Illinois Railway Museum in Union
November 25-27 ; December 3-4, 10-11, and 17-18, 2022 | 11:30 am, 12:30 pm, 1:30 pm, 2:30 pm, 3:30 pm, 5:00 pm and 6:00 pm
Join the 40 minute train ride with treats, hot chocolate, a small gift, and Santa! Also, see the holiday lights at the boarding area and historic trains displayed in the barns. $22/person.
Wheaton Santa Express
December 9-11, 2022 | 9:15 and 11:15 departures
Depart from the Wheaton Train Station for a magical experience which includes a story, holiday music, and treats. Each registered child receives a small gift from Santa and a goody bag.. Tickets go on sale October 4 at 8:00 am. $20/person.
Winfield Polar Express
December 17, 2022 | 5:05 pm
Hop aboard the train, departing at the Jon Duerr Forest Preserve for cookies, hot chocolate, and the re-telling of the famous Polar Express. Train tickets cost $41/residents or $42/non-residents. Online registrations start August 3 for residents and August 10 for non-residents.
Fox River Trolley Museum Polar Express
November 26 & 27, December 3, 4, 10, 11, 17, and 18, 2022 | 3:00pm, 4:15pm, 5:30pm, and 6:45pm.
This experience will see you on a train ride to the North Pole where Santa will surprise the kids by boarding the train. There will be caroling and sing-alongs with professional musicians to add more excitement. $44/person; all riders require a ticket, regardless of age
Not scheduled for 2022
Chicago Polar Express
Unfortunately it was recently announced that due to a shortage of railroad personnel, this annual event will not happen in 2022.
Check back in with us
We will keep updating this article for you. As of August 5th, the park districts of Frankfort, Oak Park, Bensenville, Bloomingdale, Burr Ridge, Glen Ellyn have not announced information around their 2022 events. Check back in on October 21st for an updated version of this list. Check the website links above as the fall goes on to see if the guides have arrived with details.
Check out our Kidlist Winter Guide for more family fun during the holidays!