(Photo: Christkindl Market)

There’s nothing like the perfect holiday event to get you in the spirit of giving and memory making. There’s plenty of family-friendly holiday events happening throughout the Kitchener-Waterloo region this year. Cozy up with a warm blanket and cup of hot cocoa and get your calendar out for these festive events!

The Polar Express Train Ride

Waterloo Central Railway offers an unforgettable experience for kids with the Polar Express Train Ride. Families board the magical Polar Express from St. Jacobs Village Station platform and offers an hour-long adventure to the North Pole. Onboard, the classic book is read while guests enjoy hot chocolate and refreshments. Wearing your PJs is encouraged!

Date: Various dates and times throughout November and December
Price: Tickets start at $50 for ages 2–10 and $60 for adults
Location: 50 Isabella St., St Jacobs

The Santa Trains

Get tickets ASAP for this popular train ride with Santa aboard the Waterloo Central Railway’s historic train that sells out every year. The one-hour train ride includes storytime with Santa, lively “rockin'” holiday music, hot chocolate, and cookies. Kids get colouring books and crayons. Bring your letters to Santa to hand to the man himself.

Date: November 17–18, 24–25 and December 1–2, 8–9, 15–16, 22–23; three departures daily, at 10 am, noon, and 2 pm
Price: $25 per person, $28 for adult with infant on lap
Location: Waterloo Central Railway, 50 Isabella St., St. Jacobs

Kids’ Hop at the Kitchener Market

The Kitchener Market is bustling over the holiday season, but Kids’ Hop, a weekly free music performance that happens every Tuesday, is the perfect place to bring your kids to get their wiggles out. A special Kids’ Hop event is happening with an appearance by Santa Claus and a musical performance by Erick Traplin.

Date: Tuesday, December 18, 5–9 pm
Price: Free
Location: 300 King St. E., Kitchener

Gift of Lights

Bingemans’ annual Gift of Lights offers a stunning Christmas lights display that brings magic and wonder to kids of all ages. Families can drive through the lights display starting on November 16, but there’s a special one-day walk-through event for families that wish to get up close to the lights.

Date: Sunday, December 2 for the walk-through
Price: $15 per single family, up to 8 people
Location: 425 Bingemans Centre Dr., Kitchener

Santa Claus Parade

The Kitchener Santa Claus Parade is a staple event for many KW families. The Lions Club of Kitchener creates a safe and fun community experience for kids and adults. The one-and-a-half-hour event brings many families together to watch and celebrate the holiday season.

Date: Saturday, November 17 at 10:30 am
Price: Free
Location: Begins at Frederick Street, heads north on Weber Street, and ends at Erb Street East

Kitchener Christkindl Market

Rated one of the best events or festivals in Ontario, the Christkindl Market is celebrating its 22nd year in 2018. Decorated huts and eating stands dot King Street in Kitchener, as people shop inside and outside the 100 vendors offering unique items for the holiday season. Christkindl is a celebration of German Christmas, and a perfect weekend event for the family.

Date: December 6–9 (Thursday–Sunday)
Price: Free
Location: Along King Street in Kitchener and Kitchener City Hall (200 King St. W.)

Christmas Fantasy

A fun-filled event for families with children of all ages! Victoria Park hosts Christmas Fantasy, an evening with a Christmas lights display, live music, crafts, free hot chocolate, and a visit from Santa and his reindeer!

Date: December 8, 5:30–8 pm
Price: Free
Location: Victoria Park, 32 Dill St., Kitchener

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