Santa’s Back! Where to Get Your Photos with Santa in LA

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While things are still not pre-pandemic normal, thanks to some creative experiences, safety measures, advance tickets and lots of in-between guest sanitations, getting a photo with Santa is a possibility! Check out all the places you can take a photo with Santa in LA this year—it’s almost feels like its own Christmas miracle.

Fun Experiences with Santa across Los Angeles

Take a Journey to the North Pole

For this extra-special Santa visit, kids will embark on a journey to the North Pole, where they'll discover Santa's Bungalow and go on a mini, interactive adventure to meet in the man in red. The 10-minute experience culminates with snowfall and, of course, a (contactless) photo op with Santa himself.

Good to know:
There won't be a professional photographer on site, but there are plenty of photo-worthy moments throughout the experience that you can capture with your own phone or camera.

When: Nov. 26th-Dec. 24th (closed Mon.-Tue. & special dates); Times vary

Westfield Century City
10250 Santa Monica Blvd.
Century City
Online: westfield.com/centurycity

 

photo: iStock

Take a Hike with Santa (No, Really!)

If the thought of waiting in another long mall line with wiggly wee ones to get a picture with St. Nick isn't a jolly one, try an experience that is a bit more off the beaten path. Join Santa and his helpers on a 2.5-mile family Christmas hike around Ascott Hills Park which is just east of DTLA.

Here you can get some photos of your brood with the big guy against a Los Angeles city backdrop while getting some fresh air and exercise to boot! With free parking, free admission and views for days, this could be that unique holiday event you and the fam have been craving. There are limited spots available so make sure to reserve your spots sooner than later! PS: If you still have energy after the hike, hit up some of our favorite DTLA spots with the kids

When: Dec. 19; 1 p.m.

4371 Multnomah St.
Los Angeles 
Online: eventbrite.com

Ride the Polar Express Train with Santa

All aboard for a vintage train ride via the Polar Express that will whisk your festive family away for a holiday adventure that won't be forgotten. Come in your pajamas (yes, really do it) and be ready for one of the most unique events this side of the North Pole.

Set to the sounds of the Polar Express film soundtrack, you and your pint-size passengers will take a trip through the classic story for a one-hour trip to meet Santa. Once onboard, prepare to show your golden tickets before hot chocolate and cookies are served by dancing chefs. Once Santa and his elves climb onto the train, the merriment continues and they even hand out small gifts to all good boys and girls! 

Don't forget your camera as the photos ops here are endless! Be sure to make your reservations early as seats are assigned and sell out.

When: Various dates through Dec. 31; Times vary

2201 S A St.
Perris
Online: socalthepolarexpressride.com

photo: Underwood Family Farms

Visit Santa on a Farm

If you're searching for a live Christmas tree, why not get a two-for-one by heading to Underwood Family Farms where Santa makes a special appearance over four weekends this year. Not only that, admission includes tractor rides, animal shows and holiday photo ops. Also new this year? Reindeer! They make their special appearance on Dec. 11 & 12.

When: Nov. 27-28; Dec. 4-5, 11-12, 18-19;  11 a.m. - 4 p.m. 

3370 Sunset Valley Rd.
Moorpark
Online: underwoodfamilyfarms.com

Santas for Sensory-Sensitive Kids

photo: iStock

Sensory-Friendly Santa Photos

Autism Speaks invites all children within all spectrums of special needs and their families to gather before the mall opens for our sensory-friendly event to experience the time-honored tradition of a visit and photos with Santa. Reservations recommended.

All Locations: Dec. 5 & Dec. 12; 9:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.

Glendale Galleria
100 West Broadway
Glendale
Online: eventbrite.com/glendale

Stonewood Center
251 Stonewood St.
Downey
Online: eventbrite.com/downey

Westfield Culver City
6000 Sepulveda Blvd.
Culver City
Online: eventbrite.com/culver-city

Westfield Fashion Square
14006 Riverside Dr.
Los Angeles
Online: eventbrite.com/fashion-square

Westfield Topanga
6600 Topanga Canyon Blvd.
Los Angeles
Online: eventbrite.com/topanga

And if these locations don't work, here are even more locations for Sensory Santas around LA.

Santa Spots in LA That Are a Little Extra

 

The Grove LA

Of course The Grove has a gorgeous tree covered with thousands of twinkling lights and a nightly "snowfall" from 7 p.m.-8 p.m., but what this outdoor shopping experience has going for it over the others, is Santa himself can be seen riding and waving to everyone from the top of The Trolley! 

And if a wave isn't enough, you can book an exclusive packages that includes dining and photo ops with Santa himself. 

When: Daily, Nov. 26-Dec.23; 7-8 p.m.; Dec. 24; 5-6 p.m.

189 Grove Dr.
Los Angeles
Online: caruso-winter-staging.com

 

Santa Monica Place

Visiting Santa at the ocean-adjacent Santa Monica Place’s Center Plaza is a great excuse to not just get that priceless photo-op but also the chance to finish some last-minute holiday shopping and hit up one of our favorite museums for kids in LA—Cayton Children's Museum. Photos with the big guy require a reservations but are free—although photo packages are available for purchase. 

When: Nov. 19-Dec. 24; Times vary

395 Santa Monica Place
Santa Monica
Online: santamonicaplace.com

The Best Places to Find Santas in Malls around LA

 

photo: Magnolia Santa Photos

So you want the traditional mall Santa experience? Here are our top picks for where to go. Make advance reservations using the links below.

When: Nov. 19—Dec. 24

Westfield Culver City
6000 Sepulveda Blvd.
Culver City
Online: westfield.com/culvercity

Manhattan Village
1200 Rosecrans Ave.
Manhattan Beach
Online: shopmanhattanvillage.com

Del Amo Fashion Center
3525 Carson St.
Torrance
Online: simon.com/mall/del-amo-fashion-center

When: Nov. 18-Dec. 24

Glendale Galleria
Lower Level of the Macy's Wing
100 W. Broadway
Glendale
Online: glendalegalleria.com

Westfield Fashion Center
14006 Riverside Dr.
Sherman Oaks
Online: westfield.com/fashionsquare

Northridge Fashion Center
9301 Tampa Ave.
Northridge
Online: northridgefashioncenter.com

Westfield Topanga
6600 Topanga Canyon Blvd.
Canoga Park
Online: westfield.com/topanga

—Andie Huber

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