By Alex Eisenhart, @AlexOnTransit


There’s a whole sleigh slew of events surrounding the start of the holiday season this year, many of which are well within reach of local Caltrain stations.

Holiday Train @ Peninsula & South Bay
Holiday Train 2017

On Saturday, December 1, and Sunday, December 2, Caltrain and the Silicon Valley Community Foundation will hold the annual Holiday Train toy drive event for Bay Area residents from San Francisco to the South Bay.

Decorated with more than 75,000 lights, the Holiday Train will visit nine Caltrain stations over the weekend. At each of the train’s 20-minute station stops, people can join in singing with onboard carolers and the Salvation Army Christmas Brass Ensemble. Santa, Mrs. Claus and their extended family – including Frosty the Snowman and Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer – will get off the train to greet kids and pose for pictures. Prior to the arrival of the train, families can enjoy free entertainment at each of the Holiday Train station stops.

See the official announcement for a complete schedule of Holiday train festivities & scheduled stops.

Night of Holiday Lights @ Downtown San Carlos

The City San Carlos is holding its annual Night of Holiday Lights event on Friday, November 30, from 5 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. at Laurel Avenue & Cherry Street in Downtown San Carlos. Fortunately for our riders, this is a mere five minute walk from the San Carlos Caltrain Station. Nearby bus stations serve several SamTrans routes, including the ECR, ECR Rapid, 295, 397 and 398. This free, family-friendly community event, sponsored by San Carlos Parks and Recreation, features kids’ carnival rides, arts & crafts, live entertainment and more. Check out the Facebook event here.

Hometown Holidays @ Downtown Redwood City

On Saturday, December 1, a custom-decorated SamTrans holiday bus will once again roll down Broadway in Downtown Redwood City for the annual Hometown Holidays Parade. Festivities will take place, rain or shine, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. at Courthouse Square. This is SamTrans’ eighth consecutive year of participating in the event.

In addition to a parade, this free, family-friendly holiday event will include live entertainment, carnival rides, photos with Santa in the History Museum, and a newly added children’s play area with inflatable jump houses.

Attendees will also have a chance to enjoy Caltrain’s annual Holiday Train, which is scheduled to roll in to the nearby Redwood City station at 6:10 p.m. that same evening.

Winter Wonderland @ San Mateo Central Park

San Mateo is pulling out all the stops this holiday season. In addition to the previously mentioned San Mateo On Ice, the city’s Parks and Recreation department is holding a Winter Wonderland weekend holiday event at San Mateo Central Park. Festivities will be taking place Friday and Saturday night (November 30 and December 1) from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Activities include live music, horse-drawn carriage rides, the Central Park Mini Train and more. Same-day reservations for carriage rides can be made at the event. Central Park is about a 10 minute walk from the San Mateo Caltrain station. You can take SamTrans’ ECR, ECR Rapid, or 397 routes to the El Camino & E. 5th Ave bus stop.


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