Polar Express-themed train trips are so popular that many of them sell out as soon as details are announced in the summer. (Also, Warner Brothers Entertainment has been cracking down on the use of the "Polar Express" name, according to this newspaper article.)
But there are several options available that either still have tickets for sale or don't require a ticket in advance. Also, if you're looking for a town not listed here, or a different type of Polar Express event, make sure to check out the site Santa in Chicago and its "Santa on the Train" page. It's about as comprehensive as you could get.
AURORA, NAPERVILLE & CHICAGO: CANDY CANE EXPRESS
- The "Candy Cane Express" is a new option in the area this year. (Or at least new to me.) It involves a ride on the Metra, accompanied by Santa and his elves, along with milk and cookies and carolers. I don't see a mention of "The Polar Express" on the website.
- Dates: Saturday, Dec. 7. Times vary, depending on which train location you are leaving from. (Options include Aurora, Naperville Downtown or Chicago Union Station; you return to the same station you leave from.)
- Tickets: $25 per rider. Children under 1 ride free.
- Details: This ride is 50 minutes long. You buy your tickets online for a specific train car. It does not look to include a reading of "The Polar Express." Candy Cane Express has partnered with St. Jude Children's Research Hospital; 20 percent of all profits from the event will benefit the hospital.
- More info: thecandycaneexpress.com, check out its Facebook page or write firstname.lastname@example.org.