Christmas Outings Worth Planning Ahead For

Tickets go fast for these festive train rides, local Nutcracker performances, and live holiday musicals! We’ve gathered the biggest outings that are either in Boston’s Metrowest or worth a drive.

Later in the season we’ll be listing local events like tree lightings, holiday strolls and Santa visits. We also post a map of neighborhoods around the MetroWest with the best light displays and maps of the best sledding hills. Don’t miss a thing; subscribe for our helpful newsletter today!

Christmas Train Rides

The Christmas Express, Needham
Sunday, December 3 Only
45-60 minute train ride from Needham Center Train Station to West Roxbury (“North Pole”) with Santa visit, silver bell, cookies, chocolate milk, and holiday reading.  Saint Joseph’s School will be decorated with a Festival of Trees and Santa’s Village. $40 per rider. Four departure times (4pm was sold out as of mid-October)

Blackstone Valley Polar Express, Woonsocket RI
Weekends Nov 17 – Dec 23
90 minute train ride with stories, songs, cookies, and hot chocolate in a souvenir mug. Santa visits to give each child a silver bell. While waiting for your ride, there are photo ops beside Polar Express backdrops, letter-writing to Santa, and gift shop. $60 to $82

Ecotarium: A Christmas Journey, Worcester
Dec 2-3 & 9-10
Hear a reading of “The Polar Express”, take a ride on the Explorer Express Train, enjoy hot cocoa and cookies, have a visit with Santa, and bring home a bell. $25/person, includes museum admission. (Tickets go on sale Oct 30)

The Train to Christmas Town: Cape Cod Central Railroad, Buzzards Bay
Select dates Nov 18 – Dec 27 (Every Weekend & Most December weekdays)
Enjoy cookies and hot chocolate and dance with the elves to the song “Takin’ the Train to Christmas Town”. Santa and his elves come on board to give out gifts to each child. Games and songs with special guests along the way. $44 to $80

Edaville: Santa Train Ride at Festival of Lights, Carver
Nov 17 – Jan 1
45 minute interactive train ride with chocolate milk, egg nog and cookies served by costumed characters. Train ride passes through a wilderness of lights. The train stops to find Santa in his toy shop, and he joins the train on the return journey, giving each child a Edaville train whistle. $44/person admission ($15 under age 2 to receive a gift) includes access to the Festival of Lights, Thomas Land and Edaville proper. [Or ride the train, see the lights, and enjoy the parks without the on-board extras with regular admission price of $34]

Journey to the North Pole, North Conway, NH or Lincoln, NH
Fri-Sun Nov 24 – Dec 23 (plus Thurs Dec 14)
2-hour train ride experience. Hot chocolate and treats while you ride to the North Pole, then leave Santa letters at the Post Office. Visit with elves and hear dramatic “Night Before Christmas” poem at the North Pole Theater. Visit with Santa and receive a special gift. $47 – $67. All proceeds to literacy charity.

Santa’s Holiday Express, Conway, NH
Select dates Nov 24 – Dec 23
1-hour train ride with Santa and his elves to share hot chocolate and cookies. Photo ops. Starting at $17 adult, $12 child, under 4 free.

Drama Performances

Disney on Ice: Frozen, Dunkin’ Donuts Center, Providence RI
Dec 27-31
“Join royal sisters Anna and Elsa, the hilarious snowman Olaf, Kristoff, and Sven as they journey to discover that true love is the most magical power of all! Hosted by Mickey and Minnie, with special appearances by beloved Disney Princesses and characters” $TBA (Tickets on sale starting Oct. 24)

“A Christmas Carol”, Stadium Theatre, Woonsocket RI
Dec 8-17
“Experience Charles Dickens’ holiday classic in the Stadium’s beautiful Grand Hall! Join the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future as they lead the miserly Ebenezer Scrooge on a journey of transformation and redemption.” $21 to $26

“Elf: The Musical”, Boch Center Wang Theatre, Boston
Nov 28 – Dec 10
“George Wendt will star as Santa in ELF The Musical! Wendt is best known for his role in the successful television sitcom Cheers, where he played Norm Peterson throughout the eleven-year run of the series.” $27 to $125

“Rudolph: The Musical”, Boch Center Wang Theatre, Boston
Dec 14-17
“Come see all of your favorite characters from the special including Santa and Mrs. Claus, Hermey the Elf, Bumble the Abominable Snow Monster, Clarice, Yukon Cornelius and, of course, Rudolph, as they come to life” $38+

“A Christmas Story: The Musical”, Hanover Theatre, Worcester
Nov 9-12
A Christmas Story, The Musical chronicles young and bespectacled Ralphie Parker as he schemes his way toward the holiday gift of his dreams.” $40 – $75

“A Christmas Carol”, Hanover Theatre, Worcester
Dec 15-23
Sensory-Friendly Performance Dec 17, 50% off.
“The show is refined and revised each year, and the 10th Anniversary production will feature more magic than ever before.  The show includes an array of spectacles from different kinds of smoke and fog to spectacular flying stunts.” $28 – $55

“Dickens’ Christmas Carol” Dramatic Reading, Martha Mary Chapel, Sudbury
Dec 8-9
In this one-man show, Al LePage single-handedly brings 26 characters to life through voice, facial expressions, and gestures. Best appreciated by ages 7+. $15

Free Movie Nights, Stadium Theatre, Woonsocket RI
“Home Alone”, December 20
“The Polar Express”, December 21
Free, no tickets or registration required. Space may be limited.

Nutcracker Performances

Boston Opera House, Nov 24-Dec 31
by Boston Ballet, with full orchestra
$45 – $190

Hanover Theatre, Worcester, Nov 24-26
Features full orchestra and two principal dancers of Boston Ballet
$25 – $40

Regis College, Weston, Nov 24-26 & Dec 8-10
by Commonwealth Ballet
$20 – 39
Sensory-Friendly Nov 25 ($20)

Keiter Center, Natick, Dec 6-17
by Walnut Hill Arts
Price TBA, generally $25 – $30

Norwood Theatre, Dec 16-17
by Dancing Arts Center
$25 – $33

Stadium Theatre, Woonsocket RI, Nov 25-26
by Heritage Ballet

Franklin High School, Dec 2-3
by Franklin School for the Performing Arts
$32 – $36

King Philip HS, Wrentham, Dec 16-17
by Greater Milford Ballet Company
Approx. $15 – $25

Lincoln-Sudbury HS, Dec 3
by Dance Prism
$20 – $26

Mechanics Hall, Worcester, Dec 10
by Dance Prism
$20 – $26

Wilson Middle School, Natick, Dec 16
by Miss Michelle’s Performing Arts
$20 – $25

Bellingham HS, Dec 9 – 10
by Patti Eisenhauer Dance Center
$18 (Tickets go on sale Oct 21)

Wellesley HS, Dec 8-9
by Kathy McCrohon Dance Center

Dedham HS, Dec 16
by Greater Boston School of Dance

Hopkinton Center for the Arts, Dec 2
by Dancing Arts Center
$15 – $20

Greater Boston School of Dance, Natick, Dec 3
Nutcracker Tea Party

Millis High School, Dec 1-3
by Terpsichore: Millis School Dance Club
[A small local performance; great option for a low-key first Nutcracker experience]

$6-$8 at the door (under 5 free)

Santa Visits, Light Displays, and More

We here at Community Kangaroo are a team of 8 moms scattered between Boston and Worcester. We track down all the best events near us to help you find everything within a short drive of your house!

We’ll be adding every local tree lighting, pancakes with Santa, etc on our jam-packed calendar, and will post our maps of sledding hills and holiday light displays (including the very best neighborhoods to check out). There’s much more to come, but you can find what we have so far near your town by choosing your region from our homepage map, or sign up for our newsletter for the very best updates!

Of course we also post Hanukkah events and other winter happenings as we find them, but they are hard to dig up sometimes! Unfortunately we can only post about what already exists, and December can be pretty Santa-centric. Please help us diversify our listings by letting us know what’s coming up! We’re happy to add to our calendars any local event that is open to the public.