Polar Express & Michigan Christmas Trains
There is something magical about trains at Christmas time! Plan now to experience the delight of Christmas trains with this list of train-themed Christmas events and ride-on Christmas trains in Michigan.
Many polar express train tickets are on sale now! The popular North Pole Express train ride tickets go on sale in early August and almost immediately sell out every year.
Bottom line: If you want to go on one of the Michigan Christmas trains this year, plan your tickets ahead.
In This Article
Michigan Ride-On Christmas Trains
Coopersville Santa Train
Coopersville & Marne Railway
306 Main St, Coopersville, MI 49404
Saturdays & Sundays, Nov 25, 2023 – Dec 23, 2023
Tickets on sale now
Elves escort the children to sit with Santa on this 90-minute Christmas Train ride.
Every child passenger gets a present, even the shy ones!
And, as the train chugs down the tracks, the story-telling Princess reads Christmas-themed books to the children.
NEW THIS YEAR: Cab Ride! One lucky rider (age 12+) per train gets to ride up front. This person gets to sit in a jump seat in the Vintage Locomotive. Ticket is $65.
PLUS the Pullman Coach has been renovated for those with mobility challenges! Wheelchair tie downs must be reserved.
The Pullman Coach also has additional premium class seating at tables for general passengers.
All of the decorated railcars are comfortably heated and each has a restroom on board. Online tickets must be purchased in advance
Christmas at CrossRoads Village – Train Ride & Village Experience
6140 Bray Road, Flint, MI 48505
2023 Dates: Nov 24 – 26
Dec 1-3, 8-10, 15-17, 20-23, 28-30
Tickets on sale now
Crossroads Village & Huckleberry Railroad put on one of Michigan’s favorite Christmas trains each year. It’s been a Michigan family tradition for over 30 years!
Chug through the countryside, looking at all of the lights, aboard the Huckleberry Railroad. Enjoy the 40-minute steam train ride in an enclosed and heated train car.
Be sure to dress for the weather, though, because there are many outside components to enjoy here, too.
A combo ticket not only saves your place on the Christmas train, but also grants admission to the historic village where you can watch artisans make vintage crafts. You’re sure to find gifts and treasures for many on your list.
To be sure, this is where to go if you want to experience Christmas in the air. Thousands of sparkling lights fill the streets and shops of Crossroads Village with holiday cheer.
Southern Michigan Railroad Santa Express Train Rides
The train will board at Clinton United Methodist Church.
10990 Tecumseh-Clinton Hwy, Clinton, MI 49236
2023 Dates: November 25, 26, December 2, 3, 9, 10
Tickets on sale now
$15 age 3-15, 65+ or $20 age 16-64, age 2 and under free
This is a simple, small-town event with a kid-friendly price. They keep the event deliberately small, so it goes smoothly without big lines (or a big price.)
The Santa Express Christmas Train Tickets do tend to sell out.
What to expect:
You’ll have a 30-minute train ride, about an hour seeing Santa, and a 30-minute train ride back.
The Christmas Train will pick you up in Tecumseh and take you to a version of the North Pole, where you will meet Santa and give him your list.
Dress for the weather! Seriously! You may be standing outside for a while. While the coach and caboose are fully enclosed, please consider this a Michigan outdoor activity.
Once, you arrive at the village you will either go in and see Santa first or you will enter a warming tent to enjoy some Hot Chocolate and a Christmas video while waiting to see Santa. Make sure to bring your letter to put in Santa’s mailbox.
Finally, board the train for your ride back to Tecumseh.
2023 North Pole Express (Polar Express Train Ride)
405 S Washington St, Owosso, MI 48867
2023 Dates: November 18, 19, 24, 25, 26
December 2, 3, 9, 10, 16, 17
$70+ per person
The North Pole Express is a Christmas journey that will have your family feeling like they’ve entered into the pages of Polar Express.
It’s a four-hour holiday experience that includes a ride in a steam locomotive that winds you through a winter wonderland, delivers you to a Christmas festival in a nearby village where you are dropped off to explore, and then returns you once again by Polar Express train.
All patrons receive complimentary admission to the Village of Ashley Country Christmas, a souvenir ticket and a “Believe” bell.
The North Pole Express includes a ride in the world-famous Pere Marquette 1225 steam locomotive. However, due to the historic nature of our rolling stock and locomotive, the ability to use Pere Marquette 1225 can change quickly.
Little River Railroad Holiday Express Steam-Powered Train Ride
29 W Park Ave, Coldwater, MI 49036
2023 Dates: Dec 2 & 3, 9 & 10
Tickets on sale now
ADULT: $22 / CHILD (3-11): $15
Clinton Township Parks and Recreation and the Michigan Transit Museum recreate the magical Holiday Polar Express train ride for children of all ages.
The Polar Express story will be read as the train begins its journey, while families feast on hot chocolate and cookies, sing carols, and more!
Train cars are enclosed but not heated – warm clothing is advised – please dress for the weather.
Children over 12 months old and all adults must register and pay the fee. Under 12 months must sit in a lap – if you would prefer your infant to sit in their car seat, a ticket must be purchased. A child under 12 months may be registered if you would like them to receive the goodies, but it is not required.
~Souvenirs and concessions will be available.
The Peacock Express Christmas Train
11854 Peacock Road, Laingsburg, MI 48848
2023 Dates: Nov 18 & 19, 24-30
Dec 2 & 3, 6-10, 13-24
Tickets on sale now
$85 for one train car, up to 7 people
$170 for a party wagon for up to 16 people
Take the Peacock Express to see Santa and Mrs. Claus! The train leaves the station every half hour. You will travel past our Animal Park, go over the river, and through the woods to reach Santa’s cabin. Watch carefully, Santa will be waiting for you as you come around the bend!
The train has an Engine, a Tender, and 4 Passenger Cars.
Visit Santa and Mrs. Claus and enjoy hot cocoa and roasted marshmallows at their cabin.
Continue the magic at any of several other spots on the farm. Visitors can make a caramel apple with Chrissy the Elf at the Sugar Shack and visit the Christmas Shoppe. You can even cut down your own Christmas tree or pick one from the pre-cut lot.
The Santa Experience sells out every year so be sure to get your tickets early. Tickets typically go on sale beginning August 1.
Instead of selling individual tickets, each group will have a private train car. One ticket ($85) is valid for up to 7 people to ride in the train car.
For larger groups, we do have the party wagon available. One ticket ($170) is valid for up to 16 people to ride the wagon.
Northern Star Railroad
Downtown Midland Michigan
2023 Dates: Nov 29 – Dec 23 (no train 11/30)
FREE, but not guaranteed
Christmas trains powered by holiday spirit? That’s what you get when volunteers come together like they do in Midland to pull off Santa’s House & the Northern Star Railroad, an epic community holiday event.
When operational, The Northern Star Train provides tours of downtown Midland during the Santa House season. The train takes from the Midland County Courthouse (Main St.) and takes a 10-15 minute trip before safely bringing passengers back to the courthouse.
The Santa House, built in 1987 with stucco and fieldstone exterior to match area historical homes, has been a staple in the community for decades. Families trek to the Santa House, throughout the holiday season to visit with the jolly old elf, and sometimes, Santa’s reindeer are able to visit as well.
West Michigan Christmas Train Displays
Railway Garden at Christmas and Holiday Traditions Around the World
Frederik Meijer Gardens
1000 East Beltline Avenue NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49525
2023 Dates: November 21, 2023 – January 7, 2024
Free with admission
At Meijer Gardens, model trains and trolleys run through an incredible miniature Grand Rapids village that spans several indoor gardens.
Each village piece is crafted from natural materials and features many popular Grand Rapids area buildings and spaces.
Holiday Train Show – Zeeland & South Haven
Howard Miller Community Center, 14 South Church St, Zeeland, MI 49464
Woodhams Lincoln Showroom, 1111 LaGrange St, South Haven, MI 49090
Zeeland 2023 Dates: Nov 27 – 30, Dec 4 – 7 & 11 – 14: 5:30 PM – 7:30 PM
December 2, 9, 16: 10 AM – 1 PM
South Haven 2023 Dates: Dec 1 – 3, 8 – 10, 15 – 17
Fridays & Sundays: 3 PM – 6 PM, Saturdays 12 PM – 6 PM
The Holland Modular Railroad Club, fondly called ‘a traveling railroad club,’ takes their train all over West Michigan.
This holiday season, their holiday-themed models return to the Howard Miller Community Center in Zeeland AND at the Woodhams Lincoln Showroom in South Haven. These are two totally different layouts!
Closed Fridays and Sundays.
The Gerald R. Ford Presidential Express (formerly the “Breton Village Train”)
Gerald R. Ford Museum
303 Pearl Street NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49504
2023 Dates: November 22 – January 1
For nearly thirty years a whimsical miniature train display brought families and train enthusiasts alike to the Breton Village Mall each holiday season.
Since the remodel of Breton Village, their famed train has found a new home at the Gerald R. Ford Museum.
In November of 2021, it was renamed The Gerald R. Ford Presidential Express.
The updated train display now includes places of significance to Gerald R. Ford such as South High School, Bill’s Place Diner and a replica of the Ford Museum.
Visitors can view the train in the lobby for free; admission is required to visit the exhibit galleries on the second floor.