Safe St. Nick: The Best Places to See Santa

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Santa is taking extra safety precautions this year, and checking them twice. In an effort to keep himself and the elves healthy, you may not find him in all of his usual holiday hang-outs. But despite his low-2020-profile, kids can still mingle with Kris Kringle —both in person and online. Let the kids read off their Christmas wish list at a safe six-feet from Santa or sip tea with Ol’ St. Nick from the comfort of your living room. From mall Santas to virtual visits, here are the best places to have a no contact visit with the Jolly Guy himself.


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; this year it is mandatory, so be sure to reserve your spot before you head to the mall for pics. Santa is located on the lower level near the old Macy's. Before you leave, be sure to do some window shopping at uber-luxe stores like Neiman Marcus, Saks and Gucci. 

Dates: Now-Dec. 25, Mon.-Sat., 11 a.m.-7 p.m., Sun., 12-6 p.m., Dec. 24., 9 a.m.-5 p.m. 
Cost: $19.99 & up
Safety guidelines: Masks are required indoors due to current state regulations.  

Location: Tysons Galleria 
2001 International Dr., McLean, VA

Westfield Montgomery

A visit to Santa looks a little different these days and most require an upfront payment. If you're looking for a free sit-down with Ol' St. Nick, you'll find that here. But if you rather not roll the dice, you can secure a 15 minute slot with Father Christmas for $19.99; this fee is non-refundable, but you can apply it towards the photo package of your choice. Get ready to say "cheese!"

Dates: Now-Dec. 24, Mon.-Sat., 10 a.m.-8 p.m., Sun., 11 a.m.-7 p.m.
Cost: FREE
Safety guidelines: Masks are required for guests 2 & up and socially-distancing of 6 ft. is maintained at all times. For more info, go here.

Location: Westfield Montgomery
7101 Democracy Blvd.
Bethesda, MD 20817

Mall at Prince Georges

Santa comes in all colors. Having trouble finding one that looks like your family? Check out this app. Or you can simply 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; people travel 100's of miles to visit with this St. Nick and there are limited spots available this season. 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! Want to keep your visit 100% contactless? You can also reserve a Zoom photo session. 

Dates: Now-Dec. 24, Mon.-Sat., 11 a.m.-8 p.m., Sun. noon-6 p.m. 
Cost: $19.99 & up 
Safety guidelines: Temperatures will be taken before you visit Santa. Masks must be worn, but can be removed for pictures. For more safety regulations, go here

Location: Mall at Prince Georges 
3500 East West Hwy., Hyattsville, MD

Dulles Town Center

This mall has professionally staged their socially-distant pics so that your kids don't look like they're 6 feet from the Big Guy. Dulles Town Center is one of the only places where you don't have to pre-register for your visit. In fact, at this mall, you don't even have to purchase a photo package. Visits with Santa are always free! Children will maintain a safe distance from St. Nick, but if you'd rather wave from afar, you can drop your Christmas Wish List off in the onsite mailbox. Dates: Now-Dec. 24, Mon.-Sat. 11 a.m.-8 p.m., Sun., 11 a.m.- 7 p.m., Dec. 24 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Cost: FREE Safety guidelines: Guests are required to wear masks, even in pictures. It should be noted, Santa also wears a mask. For more updates on safety measures, head here. Location: Dulles Town Center 21100 Dulles Town Cir., Dulles, VA 703-404-7120 Online:e:


photo: Children's Museum of Richmond

Virtual Tea with Santa

As Richmond legends since 1936, Legendary Santa and the lovely Snow Queen have been delighting families for 84 years. You don't have to make the drive to Richmond to hang out with the Legend. Sip tea from the comfort of your own home as you enjoy a holiday tea party with Santa himself. 

Dates: Dec. 12, 13, 19, 20
Cost: $10

Skiing Santa Online

For over thirty years, Santa has skied the open waters of the Potomac River. This year, Santa, his elves, and Frosty the Snowman are playing it safe and taking a break from the open waters, but you can still enjoy the thrill of Santa on skis during a special live performance online on Dec. 20. 

Date: Dec. 20
Cost: FREE

photo: HIller Aviation Museum

Fly-In Santa Online

You can't stop this annual tradition! This year's winter fly in will take place virtually online. Watch Ol' St. Nick touch down at the historic College Park Airport at 10:30 a.m. on Facebook Live. If you want to see Santa in-person, you can head over for take-your-own pictures starting at noon. Be sure to grab your holiday-themed craft kit to take-and-make at home. 

Date: Dec. 5, 10:30-11 a.m./online; noon-4:30 p.m./in-person
Cost: Free/online; $5/in-person
Safety guidelines: The museum is still closed. Santa pictures are taken outside at a distance of 6 ft. with masks. 

Location: College Park Airport
1985 Corporal Frank Scott Dr., College Park, MD

—Meghan Meyers


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