Holidays

All Aboard! Where to Find Magical Christmas Train Rides in Houston

If you have a little train lover in your life, taking a real train ride might just be at the top of their list for Santa this year. Help make their dreams come true by celebrating the holiday season with a memorable Christmas-themed train ride at a number of festive venues throughout the greater Houston area. Many of them even feature a visit from the big guy himself! 

Best Neighborhoods to Trick-or-Treat on Halloween Night with Los Angeles Kids

Trick or treat! Los Angeles consistently makes the top 5 cities on Zillow's Halloween list of the country's best spots for trick-or-treating. The real estate website bases its trick-or-treat ranking on criteria like home value and crime rates. That's good, but what about special effects and Halloween decorations? If one figures in the number of film industry creatives living in a given metropolitan area, LA wins first place by a country mile. Speaking of country miles, if you've walked the distance between houses in the most expensive LA neighborhoods, you know that higher home value does not always translate to better trick-or-treating. What does? Well, keep your Halloween hats on, because we've got a list of some of LA and Orange County's most legendary trick-or-treat neighborhoods.

What's New at the NYBG Holiday Train Show in 2019

Manhattan's Central Park is the star of this year's Holiday Train Show at the New York Botanical Garden, opening November 23, 2019 and running through January 26, 2020. We may still be a few weeks from Halloween, but the annual train show is a NYC Christmas tradition worth looking forward to.

The iconic landscape of the park includes architectural treasures like Belvedere Castle, the Dairy, the Old Bandstand, the Angel of the Waters sculpture atop the Bethesda Fountain, and two graceful pedestrian bridges, arrayed in a winter wonderland tableau alongside existing Central Park replicas in NYBG’s collection, including the Swedish Cottage Marionette Theater.

Read on for a peek at what else is new, plus everything you need to know about visiting this popular holiday attraction with kids.

Best Places to Eat with Kids Near Times Square and Rockefeller Center

It's hard not to end up in either Times Square or near Rockefeller Center at some point during the holiday season given the number of seasonal attractions in these Midtown hot spots. But if your family is hungry after a day of shopping, ice skating or taking in the NYC holiday sights, you'll need to find a tasty, kid-friendly restaurant fast before the hangry sets in! 

This is often no easy feat in Midtown, we know. While we've covered dining options near Rockefeller Center and Times Square in the past, we wanted to give you even more suggestions for this time of year, especially those that don't require reservations, meaning you can pop right in. With a full belly, you'll be ready to start again, tackling a holiday show or maybe a tour of the holiday department store windows.

4 Holiday Lantern Shows Coming to NYC This Season

I'm the kind of mom who leaves the decked-out family Christmas tree up until Easter... and I'm Jewish. I just adore anything that lights up, which is why I made the schlep from our East Harlem apartment to Staten Island's Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden last holiday season to check out the inaugural NYC Winter Lantern Festival, a massive installation of illuminated art. Happily, my daughter, her friends, and I all thought it was worth the trip.

Apparently, last year's holiday lantern festival kicked off a trend. This year, there will be four places to see holiday lanterns in the city: There's the return of the Snug Harbor event, as well as the brand-new Hello Panda Festival in Queens, and the LuminoCity Festival on Randall's Island. Plus the Bronx Zoo's Holiday Lights display promises animal-shaped lanterns, too! Read on for a peek at the new holiday lights coming to NYC this year, plus what to know before you take the kids.

9 Polar Express and Christmas Train Rides for Kids Near Boston

What is it about trains and Christmas? The two have become inextricably linked—especially since The Polar Express, Chris Van Allsburg's glorious picture book about the magic of Christmas, captured kids' hearts and imaginations. During the holiday season, train rides complete with hot chocolate and visits from Santa bring Christmas stories like The Polar Express to life..for all who believe, of course.

Lucky for us, we have plenty of delightful train ride options in driving distance from Boston, from cozy, seaside New England journeys to 4-D movie experiences that feel like a real locomotive ride, right down to the sounds, sights, and even smells. Like other hot holiday shows, teas, and events that tend to sell out, seats on most of these trains fill up fast, so we recommend getting your golden tickets now. 

Polar Express and Santa Trains Near NYC This Holiday Season

The magic of Chris Van Allsburg’s popular Christmas picture book The Polar Express comes to life again this winter with festive holiday trains within a whistle's blow of the New York City metro area. A huge hit with kids and parents alike, these trains spark the imagination and holiday spirit with seasonal snacks, stories, even gifts—not to mention a visit from Santa himself.

These old-school cabooses (some harking back to the 1920s) offer a classic holiday ambience. There's a Polar Express just an hour south into New Jersey, as well as the one-day-only Tri-State Santa Train about 50 minutes away. You could also consider a day trip to the Catskills, or a weekend getaway to Pennsylvania Dutch Country for the Santa's Paradise Express. No matter which Santa Train experience you choose, your family can combine the annual Santa Claus photo op with lasting memories of a sweet adventure.

Remember: these train rides sell out quickly, often months in advance, so book now if you want to go.

Polar Express and Christmas Trains for New Jersey Kids

Every year, New Jersey's railroads get decked out in their holiday best to offer special Christmas train rides for the whole family. Wait—Christmas? We know, it's a bit early to start hauling out the holly, but these Christmas trains are a popular holiday tradition, and they sell out fast!

Though these trains don't go all the way to the North Pole, most include a visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus, along with treats, caroling, and stories. The popular Polar Express in Whippany invites kids to wear their pajamas and hear a classic Christmas story read aloud on the rails, while another ferries passengers to a Christmas tree farm.

Read on to find out where to take a Christmas train ride with Santa, and book your tickets as soon as possible. Then you can put Christmas aside for a while and get back to your fall fun.

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