As the weather gets colder, decorations are put up, seasonal food and drink are served, and holiday music begins to fill the airways, there are telltale signs all around that December is just around the corner. It’s also an opportunity to plan wintertime activities and get together with friends and family.

At Keolis, we’re working to make transit the preferred choice for getting around in the communities we serve – not just an alternative to driving. Whether passengers are visiting friends and family or looking for seasonal activities, odds are that there’s something fun close by and accessible with transit. Our wish this holiday season is that people will spend more time making the journey part of the destination. This means more time with loved ones and less time in traffic, at gas stations or looking for parking. 

So, as we look ahead to the holidays, Keolis is proud to support our passengers looking to reach new destinations and experiences conveniently, sustainably, and affordably using public transit. To spotlight the breadth of fun activities available using Keolis’ partners across the U.S. and Canada, we’re highlighting the many possibilities to consider this holiday season. 

In Reno, Nevada, the Regional Transportation Commission of Washoe County (RTC Washoe) operates bus lines that take passengers in and around Reno and Sparks. Reno’s Santa Crawl, an event that brings over 20,000 Santas for a night out in Reno, is one of the largest and longest-running events of its kind. Taking public transit can get you to the Crawl and home safely, a great option for those who don’t have a pre-planned designated driver. Ice skating in Reno isn’t to be missed, either. RTC Washoe can also take you to outdoor ice skating at the Grand Sierra Resort, complete with hot chocolate and smores. Reno is also hosting a Menorah lighting, performances of the Nutcracker, and light shows, among other activities. 

In Virginia and the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, the Virginia Railway Express (VRE) connects mid- and northern Virginia with the nation’s capital. For both Virginians and Washingtonians, there are plenty of holiday adventures to be had by taking the VRE for a day or weekend trip. In D.C., the National Park Service and the National Park Foundation will mark the 101st anniversary of the National Christmas Tree, which serves as a “reminder of the holiday spirit and of the tradition each succeeding President has participated in since 1923.” Elsewhere in the city, the District Holiday Boat Parade will feature over sixty decorated boats parading along up the Washington Channel and the Smithsonian’s ZooLights will illuminate the National Zoo with over a half-million lights. 

In Virginia, there’s plenty more to do – all accessible using the VRE. In Old Town Alexandria, the Christmas Market and Holiday Craft Show will host more than 100 artisans, along with a Christmas carols show and an elves’ shop for children. In Manassas, the Greater Manassas Christmas Parade — one of the largest holiday parades in Northern Virginia — will celebrate its 77th iteration and feature 100 units like marching bands, floats, high-flying balloons, and more. In Fredericksburg, the KrisKringlMarkt in the town’s historic Market Square will be modeled after traditional German-style markets and will feature crafts, foods, and local musicians. 

In greater Boston, skiing is just a train ride away, thanks to the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority’s (MBTA) Wachusett Mountain Ski Train. The train features a specifically modified coach equipped with racks for ski and snowboard equipment and brings skiers and riders to the Wachusett Station, where shuttles are available to the mountain. Wachusett is considered the most accessible ski area in the eastern USA, according to SKI Magazine, and it’s just over an hour and a half from Boston’s North Station. Besides the ski train, the MBTA commuter rail provides access to the many holiday events in Boston and to the winter festivals and holiday events in nearby towns, like Concord, Salem, and Newburyport. 

Just because there’s warm weather in much of California doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of holiday activities to consider. Pomona’s Foothill Transit is the second largest municipal operator in Los Angeles County and brings passengers around San Gabriel and Pomona valleys as well as to downtown LA. This provides convenient transportation for those looking to explore LA’s wintertime offerings, like Lightscape at the Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden, a holiday light experience that merges nature and art. Ice skating in downtown LA gives Angelenos the chance to take part in a classic wintertime activity. Outside of LA, there’s plenty more to explore, like Azusa’s Festival of Lights and other holiday events. 

In Ontario, Grand River Transit’s (GRT) ION Light Rail Transit, operated by Keolis, connects the cities of Waterloo and Kitchener. The annual holiday market in downtown Kitchener, Christkindl, is a popular market with crafts, food, and drink. In nearby Waterloo, the Waterloo Park is located right alongside the ION tracks and hosts Wonders of Winter, a seasonal light display with over 100 displays and 100,000 lights. In nearby St. Jacobs, accessible through the GRT bus network, the St. Jacobs Sparkles fills the town with holiday lights and strolling carolers as businesses often offer special promotions and activities. 

Whether you’re interested in participating in a Santa Crawl in Reno, seeing the National Christmas Tree in Washington, exploring holiday markets in Virginia, skiing in Massachusetts, ice skating in LA, or exploring Ontario’s many wintertime activities, public transit can take you there and back. And since there are too many holiday activities across North America to fully capture, be sure to research events near you and consider whether they’re accessible using public transit. 

In addition to taking transit for a fun day or weekend trip, public transportation can be a great option for a short- or medium-distance trip home for the holidays. With airlines already preparing for the busiest holiday season ever, using rail or bus networks can help avoid delays while reducing your trip’s carbon footprint. Happy holidays!