From spectacular Santa experiences to low-key Santas in a mall, we’ve got all the details on the best places to take photos with Santa in LA all month long
Your holidays are in full swing: You’ve picked out the perfect Christmas tree nearby, gone to see the best holiday lights in Los Angeles, and you’ve started shopping for presents at the best toy stores in LA. What’s left to do but take some photos with Santa? Ok, yes, you can still catch a showing of The Nutcracker or start some holiday cooking, but before you hit the theater or the kitchen, check out these memory-making spots to take photos with Santa in LA. While a snowy holiday isn’t likely here, having a cool picture with the big guy himself will certainly get you in the Christmas spirit.
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The Best Places to Take Photos with Santa near LA
Christmas Celebrations at Santa’s Village
For an all-out festive affair, head up to SkyPark at Santa's Village where the whole village comes into its own and lights up for a jolly good time. From breakfast with Santa to tea with Mrs. Claus, you can get as little or as much Santa in your life as you want. For photo-ops, make a reservation online to save your spot and prevent disappointments. Of course, that's not all—there's ice skating and a dazzling light show that takes place at the park as well.
Dates: Nov. 17-Jan. 8
28950 California 18
Photos with Santa
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 reservations but are free—although photo packages are available for purchase.
Dates: Nov. 19-Dec. 23 & Dec. 24; Times vary
395 Santa Monica Place
Santa's North Pole Experience
For this extra-special Santa visit, kids will embark on a journey to the North Pole, where they'll help Santa plan his big trip, check out Santa's carriage, head to Mrs. Claus' bakery (sweet treat included) and then finally, over to Santa's Bungalow for a private, one-on-one photo session in his living room.
Dates: Nov. 25-Dec. 24 (Fri.-Sun. until Dec. 18, and then daily Dec. 19-24); Times vary
Westfield Century City
10250 Santa Monica Blvd.
Related: Hotels with the Best Holiday Decor near Los Angeles
Christmas on the 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. Plus, they've added reindeer to the mix and make their special appearances on Dec. 10, 11, 17 and 18.
Dates: Nov. 26 & 27; Dec. 3 & 4, Dec. 10 & 11, Dec. 17 & 18; 11 a.m. - 4 p.m.
3370 Sunset Valley Rd.
Meet Santa at the Grove LA
Of course The Grove has a gorgeous tree covered with thousands of twinkling lights and a nightly "snowfall" at 7 p.m. and 8 p.m., but you can also book a meet-and-great with Santa (and get those professional photos to boot). Don't miss some of the fun shopping pop-ups happening here as well—The Netflix Store is a must for superfans of Stranger Things, Bridgerton, Emily Goes to Paris, Enola Holmes 2, and more.
Dates: Nov. 21-Dec. 23; Times vary
189 Grove Dr.
Breakfast with Santa Benefitting St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital
Head to the Food Court in Santa Monica place for a special, family-fun event filled with kid-friendly activities including crafts, face-painting, special musical performances, and snacks along with an appearance by Santa Claus. A reservation will be required for this event.
Good to Know: In lieu of ticket sales they are asking for a $5 donation to St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital per child (over the age of 1) for attendance.
Date: Dec. 3; 9-10 a.m.
395 Santa Monica Pl
Did you know that Santa is a avid scuba diver? When the holiday season rolls around, he can be seen swimming with the sea life (and feeding them treats) inside exhibits at the Aquarium of the Pacific. That's right: Jolly Old Saint Nick puts on his flippers and gets aquatic for Christmas, and you can pose for pictures with him while he's underwater. Check with the aquarium about the times he's expected to appear.
Dates: Dec. 3-18; Times vary
100 Aquarium Way
Breakfast with Santa at Loews Santa Monica
This breakfast buffet is full of jolly good times thanks to Santa and his elves creating a festive atmosphere that's hard to beat. In addition getting your photo with the big guy, you'll feast on a breakfast buffet that will leave you as puffed as the big guy, plus a reindeer antler making station for a fun takeaway. Check out why our editor's love spending a weekend here during their Holiday Happenings!
Dates: Dec. 4, 11 & 18
1700 Ocean Ave.
Holiday Family Faire
Make a fun day out getting your yearly Santa photo in LA at an outdoor party where carolers and singing madrigals roam the grounds and people tell winter holiday stories from a variety of traditions including Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanza. In the midst of the holiday festivities at Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum's second annual Holiday Family Faire, Santa and Mrs. Claus will appear for family photo ops. Enjoy Yuletide entertainment and shop for holiday gift and crafts at the artisan marketplace while you wait your turn to pose.
Date: Dec. 10; 11-5 p.m.
1419 N. Topanga Canyon Blvd.
Related: Where to Find Your Perfect Christmas Tree in LA
Breakfast with Santa at Terranea
Have your pictures with Santa and eat with him, too. He'll visit from the North Pole to enjoy a magical breakfast in the ballroom of the Terranea Resort offering a kids buffet, various hot food, bakery and waffle stations. If that's not enough, there's also festive crafts to keep your hands busy while you wait for your photo.
Date: Dec. 17; seatings at 9 a.m., 9:30 a.m., and 10 a.m.
100 Terranea Way
Rancho Palos Verdes
Hiking with Santa: Family Christmas Hike
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.
Date: Dec. 18; 1 p.m.
4371 Multnomah St.
Where to Find & Take Photos with Sensory-Sensitive Santas
Autism Speaks invites all children within all spectrums of special needs and their families to gather before the mall opens for a sensory-friendly event to experience the time-honored tradition of a visit and photos with Santa. Reservations recommended.
Date: Dec. 4; Times vary but most start at 9 or 9:30 a.m.
100 West Broadway
251 Stonewood St.
Del Amo Fashion Center
3525 Carson St.
500 Lakewood Center Mall
Los Cerritos Center
239 Los Cerritos Center
And if these locations don't work, here are even more locations for Sensory Santas around LA.
Where to Find the Best Santas in Malls around LA
So you want the traditional mall Santa experience? Here are our top picks for where to go. Make advance reservations using the links below.
Dates: Nov. 18—Dec. 24; Times vary
1200 Rosecrans Ave.
Lower Level of the Macy's Wing
100 W. Broadway
Northridge Fashion Center
9301 Tampa Ave.
Del Amo Fashion Center
3525 Carson St.