All Aboard The Polar Express!
The Polar Express experience begins as soon as visitors arrive at the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad Depot. Guests are treated to a spectacular light show synchronized to a familiar Christmas song to enjoy while waiting for the train. All train cars have white rope lighting around the exterior edges and light up the landscape as the train travels to pick up Santa at the North Pole Village, which is illuminated by 62,000 colorful lights.
On the train, sing some Christmas carols and watch the chefs dance through the cars, get your golden ticket stamped by the conductor in your car, and enjoy warm cocoa and a treat, while listening to The Polar Express magical children’s story. Santa is waiting at the North Pole, where he’ll board the train, and greet each child on the return trip, giving them their own silver sleigh bell to take home. Don’t forget to wear your pajamas!
The Polar Express is a 1-1/4 hr round trip that runs November 8 – December 31. Steam train on December 1. There are multiple car options available. Schedules vary by the day. For reservations, call 800-872-4681.
Our small town embraces the Christmas spirit of the movie with beautiful decorations, hot cocoa and cookies and letter writing to Santa in the Visitor Center every day. On “Spirit of Christmas” day (Thanksgiving Saturday) enjoy caroling around our 50-foot town Christmas Tree, and on December 7 enjoy “The Biggest Little Christmas Parade in the Smokies.” All holiday activities.
Over 200,000 LED Christmas lights enhance stores, bridges and lamp poles, and the town’s 50-foot Christmas tree. The iconic red caboose on Caboose Corner provides a holiday-themed venue for group photos.
Take time for a visit with the old Appalachian Toymaker, located in the Storytelling Center across the parking lot from the train depot. Watch the toymaker create handcrafted wooden toys and listen to a holiday story or two.
Browse our galleries and shops for one-of-a-kind Christmas gifts, and explore our bookstores and our family-friendly museums. For a small town, we have a surprising variety of restaurants to tempt you with meals from fine dining to pizza and burgers. To satisfy that sweet tooth, save time for a treat at a bakery, a chocolate shop, or ice cream parlor. Try some of our local brews at one of two breweries in town, or visit our winery.
Lodging options run from mom ‘n pop motels, to country inns and B&Bs to mountain cabins and small chain hotels.
Bryson City is one hour west of Asheville, two hours from Knoxville and Greenville/Spartanburg, and three hours from Atlanta, Charlotte and Chattanooga.
Bryson City - Swain County
Chamber of Commerce
210 Main Street
P.O. Box 509
Bryson City, NC 28713
Free 2019 Travel Guide to the Smokies — Includes the Official 2019 All Aboard for the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad.
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All participants receive a pint glass with tickets for tastings at Mountain Layers and other locations throughout downtown.
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