Things to do in Baton Rouge this weekend: Holiday trains, trees, brunches and more

This story has been updated with new information about the CPKC Holiday Train’s location.

Prepare to be greeted by the CPKC Holiday Train on Friday

Get ready for a magical holiday experience as the CPKC Holiday Train makes a festive stop in Baton Rouge this Friday, Dec. 1.

The 2023 Holiday Express train, adorned with holiday cheer, will be bringing Santa Claus and his elves to 20 communities in Louisiana, Texas and Mississippi. As part of its charitable tradition, the six-car train supports The Salvation Army, having raised an impressive $3.1 million over 22 years. Attendees can enjoy free public access to the festively decorated train cars, meet Santa and contribute to the spirit of giving by making donations to support the 2023 campaign.

The train will stop at 1401 Foss St. from 4-8 p.m. Find more information here.

Head downtown Friday for a snowy tree lighting

One of the city’s oldest annual holiday events, the Festival of Lights, transforms downtown into a winter wonderland this Friday, Dec. 1.

This year’s event includes the Snow Village, visits from Santa and Mrs. Claus, performances by The Soul Jukeboxx and friends, a fireworks show and the reveal of downtown’s 25-foot Christmas tree.

The event runs 4-9 p.m. at Galvez Plaza, 222 North Blvd. Find more info here.

Celebrate a worthy cause Saturday at the World AIDS Day Red Gala

Mark your calendars for Baton Rouge Pride’s first-ever gala. “World AIDS Day Red Gala,” with a mission to combat HIV/AIDS, is presented by AIDS Healthcare Foundation on Saturday, Dec. 2, at Capitol Park Museum.

Under the theme “Shine Bright: Illuminating Hope for a HIV-Free World,” the event pledges to bring light and hope to the darkest corners of the crisis. Attire for the event is “jazzy red.”

Tickets are free. The event runs from 7-10 p.m. Capitol Park Museum is at 660 N. Fourth St. Find more information here.

Enjoy Sunday brunch with Santa at Santa’s Jingle Bell Brunch

Join in on a festive celebration at Santa’s Jingle Bell Brunch on Sunday, Dec. 3.

Indulge in a family-friendly brunch buffet complemented by a hot chocolate bar and two included mimosas. Capture the magic with photos with Santa, engage in sugar cookie decorating and spread cheer in the Toys for Tots Drive.

This event will be held from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. at Hilton Baton Rouge Capitol Center, 201 Lafayette St. Find more information here.

Experience a historic holiday Sunday at the LSU Rural Life Museum

Go back in time to celebrate the holidays at Rural Life Christmas this Sunday, Dec. 3.

The day-long event includes live demonstrations, musical performances and more. It all ends with a festive bonfire and a visit from a special guest.

The event runs from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Purchase tickets, ranging from $10-$12, here. Children 3 and under are free. LSU Rural Life Museum is at 4560 Essen Lane. Find more info here.