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Santa sightings in NYC: Best spots to see Santa Claus in 2013

Head to a tree lighting, a department store or a holiday concert for Santa sightings this Christmas in New York.

  • Photograph: John Minchillo

    Santa sightings in New York: Macy's Santaland

     

  • Photograph: Luciana Golcman

    Santa sightings in New York: Bloomingdale's Santaland

  • Santa sightings in New York: Central Park Holiday Lighting

     

  • Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

    Santa sightings in New York: Rawther Fancy Tea with Santa

  • Santa sightings in New York: St. Nicholas Day

  • Photograph: Mimi Ko

    Santa sightings in New York: New York City Fire Museum's Annual Santa Rescue

  • Photograph: Brian Friedman

    Santa sightings in New York: Frolic's Rockin' Holiday Show

     

  • Photograph: Meredith Zinner

    Santa sightings in New York: Hip Tot Music Fest

     

  • Santa sightings in New York: powerHouse Arena Kids Holiday Party

  • Santa sightings in New York: MCNY Children's Holiday Party

     

  • Santa sightings in New York: Washington Square Park Tree Lighting

  • Santa sightings in New York: Santa's Winter Garden: Photos with Old St. Nick

  • Santa sightings in New York: SantaCon

  • Santa sightings in New York: Breakfast with Santa Cruise

  • Santa sightings in New York: HOWL! Christmas Carnival

Photograph: John Minchillo

Santa sightings in New York: Macy's Santaland

 


Got a few Christmas wishes to add to your list? Here’s where little ones can find the best Santa sightings in the city. This Christmas in New York, expect to see the big man in red all over the place, like tree lighting ceremonies, decked-out department stores, holiday concerts and winter festivals. Click through our slide show to see the rest of the most festive Santa sightings in NYC—that is, if your crew has been nice.


RECOMMENDED: Christmas in New York for families

Santa sightings in NYC

Macy's Santaland

  • Price band: 1/4

Head up to the eighth floor of the Herald Square behemoth for 13,000 sqare feet of holiday cheer, igloos, an enchanted forest, ice-skating penguins, a chorus of teddy bears and of course, Santa Claus' abode, where his elves will escort little ones up to the man in red.Though visiting this Christmas wonderland won't cost you much, the trip will be a time commitment. Families can expect to wait 90 minutes or more on a weekend afternoon to visit with old Saint Nick—just enough time for your little one to make his own list and check it twice (or a few more times). All ages.

  1. Macy's Herald Square 151 W 34th St, between Sixth and Seventh Aves
  2. Until Tue Dec 24
More info

Bloomingdale's Santaland

  • Price band: 1/4

Venture to Bloomingdale's this holiday season for a chance to meet Santa and fill him in on every last trinket you're hoping to get for Christmas. While you're there, take part in the great American tradition of getting your kids all dolled up for a picture with the great white beard himself. All ages.

  1. Bloomingdale's 1000 Third Ave, at 59th St, 10022
  2. Until Mon Dec 23
More info

Central Park Holiday Lighting

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Central Park invites families to kick off the holiday season with a holiday lighting extravaganza: The Dana Discovery Center and a flotilla of 17 evergreen trees on the Harlem Meer will remain lit through the holidays. On Dec 5, a lighting ceremony will include activities like caroling, photo ops with Santa and a sleighful of cookies and hot cocoa. All ages.

  1. Central Park, Charles A. Dana Discovery Center enter at E 110th St and Fifth Ave
  2. Until Thu Dec 5
More info

Rawther Fancy Tea with Santa

  • Price band: 3/4

Little ones should don their best tea-time garb for this stylish holiday event. They'll sip tea, sample sweet treats and hear a story from Santa Claus before getting their photo taken with the big man. All ages.

  1. Eloise at the Plaza One W 58th St, at Fifth Ave
  2. Fri Dec 20
More info

Carroll Park Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony

  • Free

Join Brooklyn's friendliest park for a traditional tree lighting ceremony, caroling, hot cocoa and merriment on the Carroll Park ballfield. For the kids: stick around for an appearance from the big jolly man himself. All ages.

  1. Carroll Park President St, between Court and Smith Sts
  2. Until Fri Dec 13
More info

St. Nicholas Day

  • Price band: 1/4

Head to Flatbush to learn about St. Nicholas, the man who inspired North America's Santa Claus. The man in red will arrive on horseback at 2pm. Until then, tots can paint a Dutch clog, play colonial games, sip on hot cider and listen as balladeer Linda Russell performs 18th-century tunes. All ages.

  1. Wyckoff Farmhouse Museum 5816 Clarendon Rd, at Ralph Ave
  2. Sat Dec 7
More info

New York City Fire Museum's Annual Santa Rescue

  • Price band: 1/4

Kris Kringle makes an early appearance—and gets stranded on the roof when his reindeer fly off without him. Happily, New York's Bravest come to the rescue. Viewing the rooftop exploits is free to all, but for the cost of museum admission families can head inside to enjoy quality time and a photo op with Saint Nick, plus hot chocolate, live Christmas carols and…hot dogs? All ages.

  1. New York City Fire Museum 278 Spring St, between Hudson and Varick Sts
  2. Until Sun Dec 8
More info

Frolic's Rockin' Holiday Show

  • Price band: 2/4

Listen to seasonal tunes from the Little Rock-Its by Frolic, the Pop Ups, Tim Kubart and the Screaming Keys, made up of 4-to-6-year-olds in the Little Rock-its music class. Folks from Baby DJ School will also be spinning tunes. Meanwhile, revelers can experiment with glitter tattoos and snap pictures in a holiday photo booth with Santa Claus. Ages 1 to 6.

  1. Brooklyn Bowl 61 Wythe Ave, at North 11th St, 11211
  2. Sun Dec 8
More info

Hip Tot Music Fest

  • Price band: 2/4

Especially cool Brooklyn families can jam in December for a holiday set by Suzi Shelton and an appearance by Santa Claus. Ages 2 to 5.

  1. ShapeShifter Lab 18 Whitwell Pl, between Carroll and 1st Sts, 11215
  2. Sun Apr 13
More info

powerHouse Arena Kids Holiday Party 2013

  • Free

At this year's annual holiday party, kids will meet the authors and illustrators behind two wintry books, Ladybug Girl and the Big Snow and Santa Claus and the Three Bears. A visit from Santa, complete with photo ops, seals the deal. Ages 3 to 9.

  1. The powerHouse Arena 37 Main St, at Water St
  2. Sun Dec 8
More info

MCNY Children's Holiday Party

  • Price band: 3/4

The Museum of the City of New York has been hosting this annual fundraising holiday party for over 40 years, so you can expect a well-planned extravaganza. Tots can play arcade and carnival games, decorate cookies, make crafts to take home, meet Santa, and more. Proceeds from the party will benefit the museum's Frederick A. O. Schwarz Children's Center.Ages 3 to 8.

  1. Museum of the City of New York 1220 Fifth Ave, between 103rd and 104th Sts
  2. Mon Dec 9
More info

Washington Square Park Tree Lighting

  • Critics choice
  • Free

If your tots can't get enough of caroling, take them to this year's lighting of the 45-foot fir under the Washington Square Arch, where they can fa-la-la with the Rob Susman Quartet and meet Santa. All ages.

  1. Washington Square Park W 4th St to Waverly Pl, between MacDougal St and University Pl
  2. Until Wed Dec 11
More info

Santa's Winter Garden: Photos with Old St. Nick

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

Get ready to hear a few "ho ho ho"s as you and your youngsters enter this downtown winter wonderland. Santa, his reindeer and some elves will be on hand for photos available for purchase. Proceeds will benefit the New York Theatre Ballet. All ages.

  1. Brookfield Place Winter Garden 220 Vesey St, at West St, 10281
  2. Until Sun Dec 15
More info

SantaCon

  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

Per its online mission statement, SantaCon is a "not-for-profit, non-political, non-religious and non-sensical Santa Claus convention." But really, it's a raucous, R-rated pub crawl—which doesn't stop some parents from participating with toddlers in tow. Holiday apparel is mandatory, whether you're a fully suited Santa (no hats-only tagalongs), Santa-saurus, Candy Cane, Hanukkah Chicken or Latke. But your best bet is to gape at the passing spectacle from a safe distance. Although Santas are instructed to treat children nicely—with some kind and sober souls handing out candy and small toys—the guidelines also winkingly condone parade-goer urination on parents and tourists. You have been warned. Ages 5 and up.

  1. Location TBA
  2. Until Sat Dec 14
More info

Breakfast with Santa Cruise

  • Price band: 3/4

What better way to ring in the holiday season than with Santa and a tasty breakfast at sea? Tots can play festive games, dance with St. Nick and gape at the wintry city skyline from the comfort of a heated cabin. Then, when they're ready to refuel, Santa's will serve a breakfast buffet extravaganza with something to please even the pickiest eaters. Plus, castmembers from A Christmas Story: The Musical will be onboard to say hello! All ages.

  1. South Street Seaport, Pier 16 Fulton St, at South St
  2. Until Sat Dec 14
More info

Breakfast with Santa

  • Price band: 2/4

Pose with the big man after filling up on a continental breakfast, then join in as Santa and his Elves lead a few rounds of Christmas carols. Proceeds benefit "27 Santas and an Elf Called Kevin," a holiday production for kids that's set to premiere next year. On Dec 7, there'll be a special performance of Improv 4 Kids, and on Dec 15, a workshop and performance of "27 Elves." Ages 1 to 7.

  1. Broadway Comedy Club 318 W 53rd St, between Eighth and Ninth Aves
  2. Until Sun Dec 15
More info

Howl! Arts Christmas Carnival

  • Free

Howl!'s annual summer festival gets a Christmassy counterpart for the first time ever—at this two-day extravaganza, expect performers from Rosie's Theater Kids, shadow puppeteers and local dance troupes, as well as activites like caroling, carnival games with a holiday twist, a visit with Santa and even a 40-horse carousel. All ages.

  1. Tompkins Square Park Ave A, between 7th and 10th Sts
  2. Until Sun Dec 22
More info


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