Riding the Union Depot North Pole Express

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In an attempt to winter as hard as we fall’ed, we did our first ticketed holiday event of the season. We’re working our way through a to-do list of Minneapolis and St Paul holiday festivities to get us through winter. Back in October (way to plan ahead, self! High fives!), I purchased tickets to the Union Depot North Pole Express. When we were discussing dates, we opted for a Friday afternoon, thinking that 1. the kids would be less of a hot mess and 2. it wouldn’t be as busy.  

Minneapolis Mom Blogger Union Depot 1



In hindsight, I was a little right, but what else is new. Wilson woke up a hot mess, it wasn’t busy (we did upgrade to the First Class option, though), but looking at the schedule of events today, I really wish we’d done the mid-afternoon option so we could hit up the European Christmas Market and the Tree Lighting. Most of the Union Depot was blocked off for the movie night, so space to run and play was limited. We did appreciate the train tables by Choo Choo Bob’s to play with while we waited. We’re definitely adding a stop to that shop in the very near future.



The event was fun. Staff was really, really wonderful and friendly. The train ride was slow and pretty quick. Wilson was a little angry that we did not go to the North Pole, as promised by the conductor. Matilda enjoyed the entertainment from Choo Choo Bob’s Engineer Paul, and the free face painting. We sipped hot cocoa and snacked on cookies.


If we did it again next year, I’d definitely consult calendars a little closer. I’m not sure if tree lighting and movie nights and European Markets are planned in October, when tickets go on sale, but I’m hoping I’ll remember to book the mid-afternoon outing instead of the early afternoon.

Next weekend, we’re checking out the Minnesota Transportation Museum’s Santa Train. We went last year, but forgot until about an hour before it ended, so it was a bit rushed. At roughly a third of the price of the Union Depot event, I have high hopes that this one will be our favorite of the two.

Have you done both Santa Trains? What are your thoughts? I’ll compare my favorites of each next week!


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