The Polar Express™ Train Ride

All Aboard to the North Pole

Experience the magic of the holiday season aboard THE POLAR EXPRESS™! Pajama-clad families board the train for a fun-filled evening excursion which includes hot cocoa and cookies. The wonder continues as the train pulls into a glistening North Pole Village filled with caroling elves. There’s even a special visit aboard from Santa himself!

THE POLAR EXPRESS™ will take place every night from November 8 to December 21, excluding November 11 for Veteran’s Day Ride and November 28 for Thanksgiving.

CVSR members at the Brakeman level and above receive early access to tickets on September 4. For more information about purchasing a membership, click here.

THE POLAR EXPRESS™ is presented by

On Sale Dates

Wednesday, September 4
Members only

Wednesday, October 2
General Public

Tickets are online sale only.

Departure Locations and Times

Akron Northside Station
27 Ridge Street, Akron, OH 44308

Departs at 7 p.m. Returns at 8:45 p.m.

Rockside Station
7900 Old Rockside Road, Independence, OH 44131

Departs at 7:15 p.m. Returns at 9 p.m.

Be A Part of the Magic

Want to be a part of the magic? Volunteers are needed to create a festive atmosphere through personal interaction, song and techniques to engage visitors as we transport more than 40,000 passengers to the enchantment that is the North Pole! Volunteers can even get early access to 2020 tickets for THE POLAR EXPRESS™.


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What volunteer opportunities are available?

Volunteers are needed to create a festive atmosphere through personal interaction, song and techniques to engage visitors on board. Groups and Individuals are also invited to volunteer at the North Pole. Refer to our volunteer page for more information.

If my child has an allergy, am I permitted to bring my own cookie/hot chocolate?

Yes. If your child has a food allergy or dietary restriction, you may bring your own cookie or hot chocolate in a sealed container/cup. Please note: no other outside food is permitted on the train.

Cookie contains: eggs, milk, soy, wheat. Made in a facility that processes peanuts and tree nuts.

Can I bring a snack or other food and beverages on board the train?

Outside food or beverages are NOT permitted on board. Passengers with outside foods or beverages will be prohibited from boarding.

Are there restrooms on the train?

There are restrooms on board the train and at each boarding platform.

Are the trains heated?

Yes. All of the train cars are temperature controlled.

If I purchase tickets, and I am unable to take the train for any reason, are my tickets refundable?

All tickets are non-refundable without the purchase of Refund Protection. Refund Protection is available at check out. With Refund Protection, the Customer Service office must be notified at least 3 days in prior to your trip. We cannot guarantee tickets will be switched to a different date if the event is sold out.

The departure I wanted is sold out. Can I be added to a Courtesy List if tickets become available in the future?

In the case that your desired date, location, or car is sold out we will add your name to a courtesy list. Please email with the subject POLAR COURTESY LIST and include the following information:

Date and Time Preferred:
Station Preferred:
Number of People:
Car Preference (type “any” if you do not have a preference):

A confirmation email will be sent back to you upon receipt. When someone enacts their Refund Protection to remove tickets, we will notify all applicable parties by email only. Due to high demand, we cannot guarantee seats will still be available when you attempt to purchase them.

Should my family and I dress in pajamas?

Yes! Children and adults are all encouraged to come dressed in pajamas to ride THE POLAR EXPRESS™

How early should I arrive?

Please arrive at least 1 hour prior to departure to allow enough time for traffic, parking, ticket check-in, and boarding. Please plan your travel time accordingly.

Do I have to check-in when I arrive?

Each passenger in your party must be checked in upon arrival. Please have your tickets in-hand upon entering the ticket booth. Passengers will not be permitted to board without checking in.

Where do we park?

Please arrive at least 1 hour prior to departure to allow enough time for traffic, parking, ticket check-in, and boarding. Please plan your travel time accordingly.

Where can I purchase merchandise?

Merchandise from THE POLAR EXPRESS™ will be available to purchase at the stations prior to the trip.

Do we get off the train?

No. Passengers stay on board for the full round trip. Santa will board in the North Pole and greet passengers in each car.

What restaurants are nearby?

Near Akron Northside Station:
Crave: Near Akron Art Museum along bus route
Dante Boccuzzi: Within walking distance of the station (Does require climbing stairs if walking from the station)
Luigi’s: Within walking distance to the station (Does require climbing stairs if walking from the station)
Spaghetti Warehouse:  Along the bus route

Near Rockside Station:
Lockkeeper’s Tavern: An upscale dining experience that enchants guests with fresh, flavorful Italian cuisine. Within walking distance of Rockside Station.
Yours Truly: Offers a casual, family friendly dining for over three decades. Menus for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Within walking distance of Rockside station.

Is there lodging nearby?

Yes, there’s lodging near both departure locations.

Near Akron Northside Station:

The Courtyard by Marriott:  Located directly across from Akron Northside Station

Hilton Garden Inn Akron: About 20 minute drive from Akron Northside Station

Near Rockside Station:

Doubletree Independence: A suburban hotel in Independence, Ohio. Easy access to downtown Cleveland and Cleveland Hopkins International Airport.

Holiday Inn, Rockside: The hotel’s prime location in Independence, Ohio puts guests at the crossroads of I-77 and I-480 for easy access to Lake Erie, Cleveland Browns Stadium and other exciting attractions in downtown Cleveland

Hyatt Place Cleveland/Independence:  Located seven miles south of downtown Cleveland, and minutes from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Hyatt Place Cleveland/Independence hotel is centrally located to popular attractions including the Quicken Loans Arena, the Cleveland Zoo and the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

How do I purchase tickets?

All tickets are sold online until November 1. Due to the high volume of calls, our ticket office and call center are unable to place phone or walk-up orders for THE POLAR EXPRESS™. If you do not have access to a computer, we suggest visiting your local library or asking a friend.

What are my ticket delivery options?

Print at home: $0.25 fee per ticket is added to the total cost of your order. Please print your tickets upon receiving the email confirmation.

Will call: $1 fee per ticket is added to the total cost of your order. Please arrive at least 1 hour prior to departure and pick up your tickets from inside the ticket booth. You will be asked to present a valid ID before receiving your tickets.

Please be aware that we are unable to print tickets on site, and we cannot accept tickets on phones.

Are there any added fees to my total ticket cost?

At check out, there is a delivery fee of $0.25  or $1 per ticket, depending on how you choose to receive your tickets. There is also an additional preservation fee of $1 to your total cost. This modest fee supports the efforts of CVSR to maintain and ensure that our heritage cars will be able to travel through Cuyahoga Valley National Park for years to come.

Where do I pick up my tickets if I chose to receive them via Will Call?

Will Call is located on-site at the box office inside the ticket booth. The box office opens 2 hours prior to departure. Please plan to arrive at least 1 hour prior to departure to pick up your tickets.

Can you mail my tickets to me?

Tickets are available for print-at-home or will call only. We do not offer a mail delivery option.

Does my infant need a ticket?

No. Children under the age of 2 do not require a ticket, but must sit on a guardian’s lap for the duration of the train ride. Lap children do not receive the items included with a ticket. All ages 2 and above will require a ticket to board.

Do you have group rates?

We do not offer group rates for THE POLAR EXPRESS™. All tickets are priced per person.

Which side of the train car is the North Pole on?

We cannot guarantee which side of the train car will be facing the North Pole. We do allow each child to move to the side facing the North Pole to view it as the train passes.

Is the train wheelchair/walker accessible?

Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad has a handicap accessible car with a lift.  Please call our Customer Service office at 1-800-468-4070 ext. 240 to purchase your tickets. Tickets are based on availability.