All aboard! The Polar Express trains, trolleys, and rides are back in many towns for 2021. The Polar Express has been a tradition in my family for years and we are so excited for it to be back. My kids love heading to the North Pole to visit Santa. It is always one of the most magical experiences of the season. Be sure to read the specifics before booking about safety measures, to keep the magic alive! 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!
2021 Polar Express Train Rides, Holiday Express, Santa Train, and Santa Trolley
Chicago Polar Express
December 3, 2021- January 1, 2022
500 W. Jackson Blvd.
Chicago, IL 60661
Set your alarms! Tickets Go On Sale August 17, 2021 at 9:00 am. Ticket prices vary at: Value Departures: $45 Adult, $37 Child │ Standard Departures: $65 Adult, $57 Child │ Premium Departures: $78 Adult, $70 Child. Face coverings will be required. When you select seating, remember the lower numbers are closest to the performers!
Addison Polar Express
Saturday, December 11, 2021 and Sunday, December 19, 2021
Come join the Polar Express train with your family this holiday season. Registration is required. Children age 9 months or younger do not need a ticket.
Frankfort Polar Express
November 20, 2021 | 11:15 am and 1:15 pm
All aboard the Frankfort Polar Express, starting at Tinley 80th Avenue. Registration cost $14 per family.
Franklin Park Polar Express
December 18, 2021 | 2:30 – 4:45 pm
The 20-minute trip to the North Pole (Elgin Train Station) ends with Santa boarding the train, greeting every child and distributing a special treat.
La Grange Holiday Train
December 11, 2021 | 8:45 am – 11:03 am
The Holiday Train will depart from La Grange and head to the North Pole (Naperville). Children will receive a small gift from Santa at the North Pole. Registration starts at $21 per resident, over 1 year old, and $27 per non-resident.
Lombard Polar Express Train and Bus
December 12, 2021
Polar Express Storytime Train
Boarding at the Downers Grove station, head to the North Pole at Two Brothers Roundhouse in Aurora for games, pictures with Santa, and a buffet. Registration opens July 19. Registration cost $60 per person.
Polar Express Storytime Bus
Travel by bus to the North Pole at Two Brothers Roundhouse in Aurora for games, pictures with Santa, and a buffet. Registration opens July 19. Registration cost $55 per person.
Orland Park Santa’s North Pole Express
December 3-4, 2021
Santa will be meeting you at the North Pole with a special treat and activities. Train departs from 143rd Street Metra Station. Registration costs $25 per resident. Register ASAP to try to get a spot or put on the waitlist.
Oswego Holiday Express
December 9-12, 2021
Oswego Holiday Express will leave the Santa Station (Southpoint) for the North Pole on a magical journey. Ticket prices are listed as $20 per resident, $30 for a non-resident.
Happy Holiday Railway at the Illinois Railway Museum in Union
November 27-28; December 4-5, 11-12, and 18-19 | 11:30 am, 12:30 pm, 1:30 pm, 2:30 pm, 3:30 pm, 5:00 pm, 6:00 pm, and 7:00 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. Tickets are $20 per person.
Westmont Holly Jolly Trolley
December 11, 2021 | 12:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Come take a ride around Westmont on the Holly Jolly Trolley to make a cookie with Mrs. Claus, listen to holiday stories, and make an ornament for your tree. Prices for a family of 2 start at $40, family of 4 $80, and a family of 6 $120.
Wheaton Santa Express
December 5, 11, and 12, 2021 | 9:15 and 11:15 departures
Depart from the Wheaton Train Station for a magical experience. Tickets go on sale September 28th at 10:00 am. Tickets are limited and cost $20 per person.
Winfield Polar Express
December 18, 2021 | 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 $36 per resident.
Other Possible Events
The park districts of Bensenville, Blooomingdale, Burr Ridge, Glen Ellyn, and Oak Park usually hold polar express or similar events and announce them in their winter guides, which aren’t out yet. 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!