Getting aboard a Santa train is one of the fun family things to do during the Christmas holiday season. Fortunately, we have three such trains in the Reno area and more not too far away (except for Ely, which is a long way from Reno).

The big train attraction is the Polar Express, taking passengers from the Eastgate Depot in Carson City to the North Pole (there’s also a Polar Express in Ely). This one requires getting tickets in advance, which tend to sell out every year. Two other Santa trains, one at the Nevada State Railroad Museum in Carson City and the Candy Cane Express in Virginia City, are easier to get on board. The Candy Cane Express, however, is quite popular and getting advance tickets is usually a good idea.

Learn about these train rides and more from “Christmas Holiday Santa Train Rides.” For lots of ideas for fun things to do during the December holiday season, refer to “2018 Christmas Events and Activities around Reno and Sparks.”


Bring the family to Virginia City for a ride with Thomas the Tank Engine. Meet Sir Topham Hatt, have fun in the Imagination Station, see real engines, and enjoy lots of other activities like temporary tattoos, face painting, story telling, Thomas videos and train play tables.

“Day Out With Thomas in Virginia City” will be at the Virginia & Truckee Railroad 1870 Depot, 166 F Street in Virginia City. Thomas will welcome guests on October 19, 20, 21, 26, 27, 28, 2018. Thomas train rides last about 25 minutes and there will be several trips each day starting at 10 a.m. Tickets are $19 and can be purchased online, at the Virginia City Depot, or by calling 866-468-7630. Kids 2 and under are free if sitting on a lap. No dogs (except certified service animals).

You are invited to come an hour before your departure and stay for a while after the train ride. The activities at “Day Out With Thomas in Virginia City” are for you and your children to enjoy for several hours. For more information, call the Virginia & Truckee Railroad at (775) 847-0380.

Halloween in Reno, Nevada
Halloween pumpkin patches and corn mazes are up and running in the Reno region. Many run continuously until Halloween and a few are just at specific times during October. Some of these are pretty elaborate, with lots of activities for both kids and adults. You can even visit the field and search for your own perfect Halloween jack-o-lantern.

Another popular Halloween activity taking place during October are a number of fun and spooky special train rides. In our local area, Halloween trains will be running on the Virginia & Truckee Railroad up in Virginia City and at the Nevada State Railroad Museum in Carson City. There are more ghoulish trains running at other Nevada locations and over in California.

Of course, you need Halloween costumes and supplies to properly participate in the festivities. These are available in abundance at any of several locations around the Reno region. Be sure to consider shopping at some of the locally owned businesses when gearing up for Halloween.