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All Aboard for the Holiday Trolley!

Chippewa River Trolley Co. will offer Christmastime magic for kids and adults

V1 Staff |

The Chippewa River Trolley cruises through downtown Eau Claire last summer. Not it will embark on yuletide tours. (Photo by Andrea Paulseth)
The Chippewa River Trolley cruises through downtown Eau Claire last summer. Not it will embark on yuletide tours. (Photo by Andrea Paulseth)

The Chippewa River Trolley Co. will offer patrons a chance to hit the road to the holiday spirit in vintage style through several seasonally themed trolley tours in the coming weeks.

Hundreds of Chippewa Valley residents and visitors alike have ridden the trolley – a venture of Volume One – since it made its debut this summer, taking part in the Signature Trolley Tour, which offered a 90-minute ride through Eau Claire’s past and present; the sold-old Dark History Tour, which offered a drive through the Valley’s shadowy tales; as well as tours of local breweries, wineries, and cocktail hotspots.

Now, as the days grow shorter and Christmas and other winter holidays approach, the trolley will steer toward holly jolly territory. Here are some details on the upcoming holiday-themed tours. Find schedules and tickets – which will go on sale Wednesday, Nov. 22 – at

Schoolhouse Christmas Trolley Express

Among the season’s highlights will be the Schoolhouse Christmas Trolley Express, a 50-minute tour running multiple times throughout December. The Schoolhouse Christmas Trolley Express is geared at kids ages 2 to 9 and their accompanying grown-ups (or for anyone else who is young at heart).

Sunnyview School in Carson Park.
Sunnyview School in Carson Park.

The tour promises to provide lasting memories for little ones. Beginning from The Local Store (205 N. Dewey St., Eau Claire) the festively decorated trolley will carry kiddos on a ride through downtown Eau Claire as its Victorian-clad conductor shares kid-focused holiday stories, songs, and more. The trolley will arrive in the woods of Carson Park to pay a visit to the charming and historic Sunnyview School, where participants will experience a historic schoolhouse Christmas complete with hot chocolate, cookies, music, and activities – not to mention a visit from St. Nick himself! Santa and Mrs. Claus will be there, and children will have an opportunity to pose for photos with them.

Afterward, travelers will board the trolley again for the return trip to The Local Store where they’ll be able to ring the vintage trolley bell, pose for photos with the trolley and its driver, and take home a free trolley coloring page which they can enter in a drawing to win a basket full of Local Store kid goodies! The visit to the Sunnyview School is made possible through a partnership with the Chippewa Valley Museum, and participating in the tour will help support both the museum and the Eau Claire County Humane Association.

A couple that needs no introduction!
A couple that needs no introduction!

The Holly Jolly Christmas Trolley

It’s “all aboard!” as we ring the bell for the Holly Jolly Christmas Trolley, a seasonal tour for riders of all ages. From the seasonal warmth of The Local Store, we’ll depart on our festively decorated (and heated!) vintage trolley to explore the shimmering holiday lights of downtown Eau Claire, the Irvine Park Christmas Village, and some cheerful points between.

After basking in the glow of downtown, en route through the countryside to Chippewa Falls we’ll hear not only music but a bit of community holiday history, as well as facts about the incredible display at the Irvine Park Christmas Village. Once there, we’ll slowly roll through the park to soak in the season, see the site of the Historic Chippewa Valley Electric Railway Line, and cruise down charming Bridge Street in Chippewa Falls. From there passengers will return to downtown Eau Claire to enjoy a crackling fire, free hot chocolate, cookies, and maybe even a family holiday photo with the trolley! With your trolley ticket, you’ll also receive 10% off any item in The Local Store on the night of your ride, as well as a buy-one-get-one-free drink ticket for The Lakely next door, usable through the end of the year!

The tour will last approximately 90 minutes and is open to all ages, however, we do ask that any small infants or children typically requiring rear-facing car seats do not ride. Also consider the length of the tour when including small children.

The Holiday Cocktail and Chocolate Tour

The old-time wonders of the Chippewa River Trolley aren’t just for kiddos, of course: The upcoming Holiday Cocktail and Chocolate Tour will be designed for the 21-plus crowd. The tour, which will run from 5-8pm on Fridays and Saturdays, will give riders a chance to immerse themselves in holiday nostalgia on the festively decorated trolley. Along the way, passengers will enjoy two expertly crafted vintage cocktails at two local establishments: Helix Wine, Craft Bar & Cafe in Altoona’s River Prairie, and The Lakely inside the Oxbow Hotel in downtown Eau Claire. In between, they’ll sample some delicious treats from Sweet Driver Cafe inside The 1106 (formerly Artisan Forge Studios) in Eau Claire. (In addition to the included food and beverages, patrons will be welcome to order a bite or two to eat at an additional charge at any of the establishments.)

For the full schedule of holiday trolley tours and to purchase tickets and find other details, visit and click on “Tours.”