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Where to see Santa Claus in New York City 2012

Forget the North Pole—with our tips on where to see Santa, your kids won't have to look beyond the five boroughs to spot St. Nick.

  • John Minchillo

    Where to see Santa in NYC

    Macy's Santaland

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    Meet Santa at the Sky View Center

     

     

  • Where to see Santa in NYC

    ABC Carpet and Home

  • Where to see Santa in NYC

    Ripley's Believe It or Not! Reverse Santa

     

     

  • Where to see Santa in NYC

    Still Hip

  • Where to see Santa in NYC

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

  • Where to see Santa in NYC

    Santa's Village at Habana Outpost

     

     

  • Where to see Santa in NYC

    Santa Rescue

     

  • Photograph: Jeff Gurwin

    SantaCon

  • Where to see Santa in NYC

    Santa Cruise

     

  • Where to see Santa in NYC

    Puppetry Arts Meet 'N Greet with Santa

  • Where to see Santa in NYC

    Holiday Circus Special Performance and Santa Visit

John Minchillo

Where to see Santa in NYC

Macy's Santaland


He's already come to town and started making his list—now, scroll through our guide to where to see Santa Claus in NYC this year. The classic St. Nick is back at Macy's, but this year your little ones can also share their Christmas wishes with his more offbeat cousins: a hipster Santa, a female Santa and a few seafaring varieties. And if your brood is wondering where to see Santa in the outer boroughs, they're in luck: Plenty of local malls and shopping centers are hosting the jolly red fellow through the end of the holiday season.

RECOMMENDED: Christmas for kids in New York City

Photos with Santa at Macy's

  • Price band: 2/4

Twinkling lights, faux snow and elf helpers fill the shop's Santaland. Of course, St. Nick's there too. Kids gab about gifts and receive a free treat. Visit on a weekday to avoid long waits. All ages.

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

Photos with Santa at the Queens Center Mall

  • Price band: 2/4

The Big Man in the Red Suit grants wishes on level three of the mall's JCPenney wing. All ages.

  1. Queens Center Mall 90-15 Flushing Blvd, at 59th Ave
  2. Until Mon Dec 24
More info

Meet Santa at the Sky View Center

  • Price band: 1/4

Stroll along a bright red carpet in the midst of a candy cane forest before meeting St. Nick in his workshop. As your tot recites her list to Santa, a photographer will snap a photo. On Nov 17, a children's chorus and Sugar Plum Fairy dancers will escort Santa into the mall. All ages.

  1. Sky View Center 40-24 College Point Blvd, at 36th Rd
  2. Until Mon Dec 24
More info

Meet Santa at ABC Carpet & Home

  • Free

Sporting a real beard and belly, this Santa has graced the design store's quirky Christmas cove for almost two decades. All tots who make it onto his nice list (i.e., everyone) receive handmade candy. Insider tip: The lighting here can be dim, so make sure your camera's flash is on.All ages.

  1. ABC Carpet & Home 888 Broadway, at 19th St
  2. Until Sun Dec 23
More info

Ripley's Believe It or Not! Reverse Santa

  • Price band: 2/4

If you're looking to add a touch of the unusual to your holidays, why not start with the family photos? "Reverse Santa" flips around the old standard of sitting on Santa's lap, and puts St. Nick on yours.Individual prints, magnets and key chains can be purchased on-site. Ages 4 and up.

  1. Ripley's Believe It or Not! Odditorium 234 W 42nd St, between Seventh and Eighth Aves
  2. Sat Dec 1 - Sat Dec 15
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 build a natural bird feeder, snack on Dutch ginger cookies and listen as musician Linda Russell performs 18th-century tunes. All ages.

  1. Wyckoff Farmhouse Museum 5816 Clarendon Rd, at Ralph Ave
  2. Sat Dec 5
More info

"The Santa Claus Association"

  • Critics choice

Starting in 1913 and lasting for a little over a decade, the Santa Claus Association intercepted North Pole–bound mail and delivered presents to needy children. This exhibition at the eclectic Williamsburg museum focuses on the work of the charity organization as well as its founder, New York publicist John Duvall Gluck Jr. Kids can browse actual letters to Santa and old photos of the group processing mail. Plus, the bearded fellow himself pays a visit on December 15 (2–4pm), during which time little ones can climb on his lap or, if they're feeling shy, drop a letter in the North Pole Express Mailbox. All ages.

  1. City Reliquary Museum 370 Metropolitan Ave, at Havemeyer St
  2. Sat Dec 1 - Sat Feb 10
More info

Santa at Mini Jake

  • Price band: 2/4

This isn't your garden variety Santa Claus—Erica Goepel (yep, Santa's a woman!) will be wearing a handmade costume inspired by classic images of St. Nick. Tots can recite their wish lists and get their picture taken with a Santa unlike any other. The first 15 families will receive a Mini Jake gift and goodie bag. RSVP required. All ages.

  1. Mini Jake 178 North 9th St, between Bedford and Driggs Aves
  2. Until Sun Dec 2
More info

Photos with Santa

  • Price band: 1/4

Youngsters can rattle off their Christmas list to St. Nick as professional photographers snap a picture. Ages 2 to 10.

  1. Rochdale Park Baisley Blvd, at Merrick Blvd
  2. Fri Dec 7 - Sun Dec 16
More info

Santa's Winter Garden

  • 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. World Financial Center Winter Garden 200 Vesey St, at West St
  2. Fri Dec 7 - Sun Dec 9
More info

Santa Brunch & Parade

  • Price band: 1/4

Spend the morning munching on pancakes, bacon and sausage with Santa. Then, assemble for a parade with St. Nick and the Hungry March Band leading the way, and finish off the day with some traditional caroling at McCarren Park. Parade will assemble at 424 Leonard St and finish at McCarren Park. All ages.

  1. M.S. 126 424 Leonard St, at Bayard St
  2. Sat Dec 12
More info

Bark the Herald Angels Sing

If your four-legged friend is missing out on all the holiday cheer, head over to Prospect Park for a morning of treats, dog-themed sing-a-longs, and pictures with Santa. Dress in festive attire and sip coffee or hot chocolate while your pup munches on chew bones and other treats. Song books with dog-centric lyrics will be handed out for the holiday caroling, so make sure Fido is comfortable singing in public! All ages.

  1. Prospect Park Long Meadow 9th St, at Prospect Park West
  2. Sat Dec 12
More info

Family Photo Booth with Santa

  • Price band: 2/4

Kids can hop in the huge photo booth (it fits 6-9 people) with their family, friends and even pets! The booth contains fun props like a Santa beard and hat and lets participants choose their own wacky background. 10% of all proceeds will go to Hurricane Sandy relief. All ages.

  1. Hank & JoJo 218 DeKalb Ave, 11205
  2. Sat Dec 12
More info

Santa's Village at Habana Outpost

  • Price band: 2/4

If the North Pole isn't in your travel plans this season, check out Santa's Brooklyn-based home. Tots can rub elbows with Mrs. Claus and then get their picture taken with her husband before getting creative at the family craft table. All participants will leave with a gift bag from My Brooklyn Baby. Ages 1 to 8.

  1. Habana Outpost 757 Fulton St, at South Portland Ave
  2. Sat Dec 8 - Sun Dec 9
More info

Photos with Santa at J&R Jr.

  • Free

Little ones can share their Christmas lists with Kris Kringle and pose for a gratis snapshot, courtesy of Panasonic and HP. All ages.

  1. J&R Jr. 1 Ann St, at Park Row, second floor
  2. Sat Dec 8 - Sun Dec 9
More info

Photos with Santa at Petco

  • Price band: 1/4

Every Saturday through Christmas, kids (and their pets, too!) are invited to stop by the Union Square Petco to meet St. Nick. This isn't your typical mall Santa, though: All proceeds from photographs will be donated to the Petco Foundation's Tree of Hope campaign, benefitting local animal welfare groups. Plus, on December 8 families and their furry friends can attend a Holiday Pawty featuring treats, prizes for Best Dressed and onsite adoptions by the Long Island Bulldog Rescue. All ages.

  1. Petco Union Square 860 Broadway, at 17th St, 10003
  2. Sat Dec 8 - Sat Dec 22
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 7
More info

Santa’s Pic Stop

  • Free

Forget those exorbitant prices for a picture with Santa at the local department store. Little ones can get photographed with Kris Kringle for free in Sunnyside, Queens. Families get three free pics each, but additional pictures are available for purchase. All ages.

  1. Sunnyside Shines 45-56 43rd Street , 47th Ave
  2. Sun Dec 9 - Sun Dec 16
More info

Hip Tot Music Fest: Sesame Street's Bob McGrath and Jeremy Plays Guitar

  • Price band: 1/4

Bob McGrath, best known for playing Bob on Sesame Street, will headline the show, playing a variety of kiddie jams. Jeremy Zmuda, a local musician and early childhood music teacher, will perform material from his latest album, Rock-Ucation. Aimed at preschoolers, the high-energy tunes are sure to get audiences rocking out. Also joining Jeremy and Bob on stage will be Jete Dance, The Cool Beans, Melanie Hope Greenberg, and Santa! All ages.

  1. Littlefield 622 DeGraw St, between Third and Fourth Aves
  2. Sun Dec 13
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. Sat Dec 19
More info

Santa Cruise

Santa usually travels by sleigh, but today he'll be getting in touch with his nautical side. During this holiday cruise, kids can have their photos taken with Santa, snack on milk and cookies, and revel in the holiday spirit. Families are asked to bring a new unwrapped toy as a donation to Toys for Tots. All ages.

  1. Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises Pier 83, W 42nd St, at the Hudson River
  2. Sat Dec 19
More info

Beastly Breakfast with Santa

Start your morning by sharing a little holiday cheer with the zoo's inhabitants. Pose for a complimentary photo with Santa and fill up on breakfast foods before embarking on a guided tour of the grounds. Preregistration required. All ages.

  1. Staten Island Zoo 614 Broadway, between Clove Rd and Forest Ave
  2. Until Sat Dec 15
More info

Santa Concert Cruise

  • Price band: 2/4

Santa usually travels by sleigh, but today he'll be getting in touch with his nautical side. During this sea-bound concert, kids can rock out to the music of Racer Steve and Princess Katie, have their photos taken with Santa, snack on milk and cookies, and revel in the holiday spirit. All ages.

  1. Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises Pier 83, W 42nd St, at the Hudson River
  2. Until Sat Dec 15
More info

Puppetry Arts Meet 'N Greet with Santa Claus

  • Free

Santa and the puppet cast of the family musical FuzzBucket will be on hand to pose for pictures and chat to tots. Kids can talk to St. Nick and fuzzy friends Grizzel, Vierde and Tuffy Tiger about their holiday wishlists while they guzzle hot chocolate. Puppetry Arts asks that you invest in their community outreach program by bringing containers of loose change to the event. A donation will automatically enter you to win a $50 7 Eleven gift card and a free puppet-making workshop for the school or your choice. Toys for Tots will also be there collecting new, unwrapped toys. All ages.

  1. 7 Eleven of Park Slope 520 5th Ave, at 12th St
  2. Until Sun Dec 16
More info

Cookies for Santa

  • Price band: 3/4

Youngsters can get in the giving spirit by decorating gingerbread men and women to give to Santa—or someone else. Kids will be able taste a few of their cookies before the rest go in a cute tin for safekeeping. All ages.

  1. Eloise at the Plaza One W 58th St, at Fifth Ave
  2. Until Thu Dec 18
More info

Holiday Circus Special Performance and Santa Visit

  • Free

Before the Holiday Circus show even arrives at its intended destination (Brighton Beach's Millennium Theatre), it will put on two previews at the Brooklyn Children's Museum. The performance features an array of acts from circuses across the country, who are bound to enchant with magic, clowns and other circus artistry. Santa will be on hand for the evening as well. As this special event take places during the museum's free hours, it is cost-free. Just get here early enough to snag seats. All ages.

  1. Brooklyn Children’s Museum 145 Brooklyn Ave, at St. Marks Ave
  2. Until Thu Dec 20
More info


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