There's just something magical about the idea of boarding a festive train as part of a holiday experience. Even if you don't have any memories of boarding a train for the holidays, the idea just feels nostalgic.

While there are some festive holiday train opportunities around the region, it's hard to beat the offerings along Minnesota's North Shore every holiday season.

Duluth's North Shore Scenic Railroad offers a handful of fun train experiences for the holiday season each year that are sure to make for some incredible memories - whether it's a family adventure or holiday date night - it's sure to become an annual tradition once you've enjoyed one of these experiences.

For the 2023 holiday season, the North Shore Scenic Railroad has three different opportunities to mix the magic of the Christmas season with a train ride in the beautiful Duluth area. Here's a look at the three options for this year:

Christmas City Express Performance & Train Ride

North Shore Scenic Railroad on Facebook
North Shore Scenic Railroad on Facebook

One of the most popular experiences the North Shore Scenic Railroad offers each year is a two-part activity that includes the telling of a classic Christmas story and a festive train ride that makes for a magical evening for people of all ages!

The Christmas City Express experience starts with the storytelling of the Christmas City Express story at the Lake Superior Railroad Museum, followed by carolers and a visit from Santa! Then, you board the train for a 30-minute train ride along the Lake Superior shoreline with complimentary hot chocolate, cookies, and holiday music.

For 2023, the Christmas City Express experience will be Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays starting November 24 and running through December 17.

READ MORE: Brand New Northern Minnesota Drive-Through Holiday Lights Attraction Calling Itself 'Largest In The Region'

The full experience takes about 90 minutes, with multiple times each of the days the experience is available. Tickets for the Christmas City Express do sell out fast, though! So be sure to check out the event's website to buy your tickets in advance.

Bentleyville Shuttle Train

North Shore Scenic Railroad on Facebook
North Shore Scenic Railroad on Facebook

Why not take a holiday train to the region's most iconic holiday attraction? You can do just that with the North Shore Scenic Railroad's Bentleyville Shuttle Train!

This train boards at the historic Fitger's Complex along Duluth's Lake Superior shoreline, offering lodging, great restaurants & bars, and shopping for before or after you board the train.

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The Bentleyville Shuttle Train runs a few different times on Thursdays and Saturdays, departing from Fitger's and bringing riders right to the train stop next to the Bentleyville Tour of Lights. You can take a stroll around Bentleyville, then catch the train back to Fitger's to continue your evening.

You can see the schedules and get your tickets in advance via the NSSR's Bentleyville Shuttle Train webpage.

North Shore Scenic Railroad Christmas Tree Train

North Shore Scenic Railroad on Facebook
North Shore Scenic Railroad on Facebook

This is a one-day-only experience each holiday season, giving you the opportunity to enjoy a fun train ride and get yourself a Christmas tree all at the same time!

The 2023 date is scheduled for Saturday, November 25. Visitors will board the Christmas Tree Train at the Duluth Depot, departing the station at 9 am. From there, you'll ride the train up the North Shore to Knife River. Once you've arrived, you'll be able to pick out a tree and/or wreath while enjoying the holiday cheer and live music at this festive and charming location on the NSSR rail line.

Around 11:30 am, you'll re-board the train and be given a luggage tag-style ticket to claim your tree or wreath cargo, which has been baled for transportation and ready to take home once you arrive back in Duluth around 1 pm.

You can learn more about tickets for this train and the tree/wreath offerings on the Christmas Tree Train webpage.

Must-See Walk-Through + Drive-Through Holiday Light Displays In Minnesota + Wisconsin For 2023

Whether it is a holiday date night or family adventure, these walk through and drive through light displays won't disappoint!

Gallery Credit: Nick Cooper

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