When I was little, on Christmas Eve my mom would read The Polar Express to me. I remember being so enchanted, and also wishing I could have my very own chance to slip away on a snowy Christmas Eve and take an adventure to the North Pole. Reading the book is a beloved tradition for many families. But you can actually bring the magic to life with your children and grandchildren on the Polar Express Train Ride in North Carolina hosted by Great Smoky Mountains Railroad.

As far as things to do during the holidays, this just may be the most magical Christmas event in North Carolina! For dates, ticket prices and more information, visit the official website.

UNC-TV made this great video about the Polar Express™ Train Ride if you want to see what it’s like to hop on board.

I’d suggest getting your tickets ASAP as popular days tend to sell out. Have you experienced the Polar Express train ride in North Carolina before or plan to this year?

If you find yourself in Bryson City to hop on the Great Smoky Mountain Railroad, read our comprehensive guide to find out more fun activities and make a weekend away out of the adventure.

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Polar Express Train Ride In North Carolina

What other Christmas train rides can I take in North Carolina?

Hopping aboard a Christmas train in North Carolina is an excellent way to create lasting family memories. Luckily, the Tar Heel State is home to a number of these fun, seasonal train rides. The biggest staged production takes place on the Polar Express™ Train Ride on the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad in Bryson City between early November and the end of the year. You can learn more about it in the article above.

Other Christmas-themed train rides can be found at Pullen Park in Raleigh, Tweetsie Railroad in Blowing Rock, the North Carolina Transportation Museum in Spencer, New Hope Valley Railway in New Hill, Denton Farm Park in Denton, and on the Selma Santa Train in Selma.

What are the best holiday events in North Carolina for families?

From holiday expos to Christmas tree farms, Santa trains, and more, there is so much to do during the holidays in North Carolina that you should plan to get an early start so you don't miss out on any of the fun activities!

For starters, you can tour your neighborhood's holiday lights. And for an epic Christmas lights road trip, head to the town of Forest City... this tiny town displays a million twinkling lights on Main Street alone. (More on light displays below...) Other can't-miss events and attractions during the Christmas season include a visit to the magical Christmas Elf Village at Tom Sawyer Tree Farm in Glenville, a visit to Priddy's, an old-fashioned general store found in Danbury that goes all-out with decor and holiday cheer each year. Or, head to the Billy Graham Library in Charlotte to view the annual Live Nativity Scene. Before or after, head to one of the largest holiday expos in the South: the Southern Christmas Show held each year at the Park Expo and Conference Center in Charlotte. And of course, an annual holiday trek to the Biltmore Estate is a must to brighten the season.

Where can I see the best Christmas light displays in North Carolina?

For the best Christmas lights ever, head to McAdenville, North Carolina to witness what happens when an entire town turns into Christmas Town U.S.A. each year. Every residence in the historic district turns their house and yard into a dazzling display with twinkling lights and decor galore. For another epic Christmas lights road trip, head to the Charlotte Motor Speedway, where you'll actually drive on the racetrack to see an epic lights display.

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