However you plan to visit Santa—whether it’s a classic mall lap-sit or another unique sighting throughout the DMV—these meet-and-greets with St. Nick are sure to be memorable

Santa is back in town, and if you missed him IRL last year, now is the time to jump on one (or all) of these photo-worthy events. From a festive breakfast that features Santa and the Grinch to personalized letters from the North Pole hand-delivered by the Big Guy himself, we’ve rounded up some of the best places to mingle with Kris Kringle. After you meet Santa, be sure to explore some holiday light displays! And not to worry if you and your kiddo can’t make it out to meet Santa this year: try giving Santa a call or writing him a letter.

Mall Santa Experiences in and around Washington, DC

Christmas jokes
Jesson Mata on Unsplash

Meet Santa at Tysons Galleria: Beat Tysons Corner Center crowds by ducking into its near-by neighbor, Tysons Galleria. This mall has always offered a convenient reservation system for a hassle-free Santa visit. Santa is located on the lower level near the old Macy's. If you want your pooch in the pic, nab a reservation on a Mon. between the hours of 4-8 p.m.

Dates: Nov. 18-Dec. 24

2001 International Dr.
McLean, VA
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Visit Santa at Westfield Montgomery: If you're looking for a free sit-down with Ol' St. Nick, you'll find that at a pajama party at Macy's at Westfield Montgomery. There will be tons of other festivities like a magic show, balloon art, face painting, a DJ, and more. Your kiddo will enjoy making crafts and devouring treats. And of course, Santa will be joined by Rudolph and a few other friends. Don't miss this exciting event!

Dates: Nov. 26

7101 Democracy Blvd.
Bethesda, MD
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Meet Santa at Dulles Town Center: Visits with Santa are always free at this mall! You don't have to purchase a photo package to chat with the Big guy. Get that perfect picture that's just what you're looking for.

Dates: Now through Dec. 24

21100 Dulles Town Cir.
Dulles, VA
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Get a Picture with Santa at Mall at Prince Georges: Santa comes in all colors and you can head to Prince Georges, which hosts the closest Black Santa to the DMV. The Mall of PG has been celebrating Christmas with a Black Santa for over a decade. Reservations are required, so act fast. Want to include your four-legged friends in the pic? Be sure to visit on a Monday when your pets are part of the picture!

Dates: Nov. 19-Dec. 24

3500 East West Hwy.
Hyattsville, MD
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Related: 9 Places to Cut Down Your Own Tree in DC

Unique Santa Experiences in and around Washington, DC

HIller Aviation Museum

Watch Santa Fly In: See Ol' St. Nick touch down at the historic College Park Airport at 10 a.m. After, kids can participate in hands-on crafts and tour the museum. Take-home crafts are also available. If you want to share your Christmas Wish List with the Big Guy himself (and pose for a photo op), you'll need a separate reservation. 

Dates: Dec. 4

1985 Corporal Frank Scott Dr.
College Park
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Meet Santa at the Captain Wheel: Before you board The Capital Wheel, snap a pic with Ol' St. Nick in a specially themed holiday booth. This special photo op is available on Saturdays and Sundays from 2-4 p.m. 

Date: Select days Nov. 26-Dec. 18

141 American Way
National Harbor, MD
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See Waterskiing Santa: For more than 30 years, Santa has skied the open waters of the Potomac River. This year, Santa, his elves, and Frosty the Snowman will make a special appearance on Christmas Eve (right before they hop in the sleigh!). After the show, mingle with Santa, Mrs. Claus, and his merry helpers by the Christmas tree in Waterfront Park.

Dates: Dec. 24

1A Prince St.
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Related: Magical Santa Train Rides to Book NOW (Before They Sell Out)

black santa in seattle meets kids at the Northwest African American Museum

Visit with Santa at the Children's Museum: A Richmond tradition since 1936, Legendary Santa has been delighting families for many years. You can visit with Santa in person this year and experience that holiday excitement firsthand. But you don't have to make the drive to Richmond to get in on this tradition. Invite up to six of your friends for a magical Zoom where Santa hints that he knows just a little bit more about you and your fam than the run-of-the-mill mall Santa. After all, he is a Legend! 

Dates: Nov. 30 - Dec. 24

1500 Pennsylvania Ave.
Washington, DC
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Receive Letters from Santa: This special annual event lets your child receive a personalized letter from Kris Kringle himself! Have your child write a letter to Santa and pop it in the Red Mailbox on this farm (or email it ahead of the event). On Dec. 18, Santa will make the rounds to guest tables handing each child a letter straight from the North Pole. Cookies and hot chocolate will be served; food and beverage can also be purchased.

Dates: Dec. 18

38506 John Wolford Rd.
Waterford, VA
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Ride the Polar Express: Take a ride on the beloved Polar Express (yes, the one from the book and hit Tom Hanks movie!) and experience the joy of the holiday on a memorable train ride. Oh, and say hello to Santa while you're there! For extra festive fun, arrive in your coziest pajamas! 

Date: Nov. 25-Dec. 19

901 West Pratt St.
Baltimore, MD
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Related: What to Say When Your Kids Ask “Is Santa Real?”

Breakfast with Santa Experiences in and around Washington, DC


Have Breakfast with Santa at Tysons Galleria: What's a better time to meet Santa than over breakfast? Enjoy a delicious meal at the Neiman Marcus Restaurant and have a meet and greet with the big guy. It'll be a day your kiddo won't forget and the breakfast won't be too bad either. Tickets are going fast!

Date: Dec. 3

2255 International Dr.
McLean, VA
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Enjoy Breakfast with Santa & the Grinch: Have you had breakfast with Santa AND the Grinch before? Well, now is your chance at Adventure Park USA in Maryland. About an hour outside of DC, make a day of it and enjoy the park as well. Your family will have a blast at this event!

Date: Dec. 10

11113 W Baldwin Rd.
Monrovia, MD
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