The City’s Best Places for Santa Photos

Mike Arney via Unsplash

Dress the kids in their very best and head to one of our favorite places for Santa photos, Seattle parents

It’s that time of year again, Seattle families. Time to dress the kids in their holiday best (be it a festive dress or plaid jacket) and head out in search of the cutest Seattle Santa pictures around. Here’s how to plan your annual holiday photo shoot at one of our favorite places to snag a Santa photo in Seattle, holiday wish list in hand. Say cheese!


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1. Nordstrom Downtown Santa – Santa Lane

Your annual pilgrimage to see Santa at his ornate shop at the downtown Nordstrom is back on for 2022. That’s right, after three years, Santa will once again return to the Downtown Nordstrom window on 6th and Pine to greet fans and take gift orders from kids of all ages. Photos will be printed on-site, and reservations are not available. 

Good to Know: If waiting in line downtown isn’t your speed, kids can also see Santa over brunch at Nordstrom stores throughout Washington. Make reservations soon for this area favorite.

Insider Tip: Get there early in the season or on a weekday, if you can, to avoid the long lines (you know they’ll be big this year).

Dates: Nov. 25-Dec. 24, 2022
Online: nordstromrsvp.com/festiveexperiences

2. Snowflake Lane Factory – Bellevue Square Santa 

There are more than a few ways to celebrate the holidays on the Eastside this year, and Bellevue Square Santa pictures are just the beginning. Schedule your sit down with the Big Guy at Snowflake Lane Factory on the second level. It’s by appointment only, and you can count on Santa spending QT with the kids while checking his list. Plan your Santa appointment in the evening to enjoy the nightly parade and occasional snow showers that add a touch of magic to the season at Snowflake Lane. If you’re able, stop by the Holiday Wishing Tree in center court to pick up a tag and support a local family in need.

Dates: Nov. 25-Dec. 24, 2022
Event details

3. Magnolia Santa Photos

Get out your grins because the 14th Annual Magnolia Santa photos are back. Families (including your fur babies) can book an appointment on the weekend or Thursdays to have a sit down with Santa. He’ll take the time to figure out whether your kids are on the naughty or nice list before striking his jolliest pose. You can do a few different poses, so you can mix things up a bit here and when all is said and done, you’ll get 10-20 images sent over in matter of days. Don’t forget to stop at the Nutty Squirrel for gelatto when you’re done! Masks are optional here.

Dates: TBD for 2022
Online: magnoliasantaphotos.com

Related: Dazzling Light Displays for Seattle Families

4. Santa at the Space Needle

Jolly St. Nick returns to the Space Needle in his all-glass sleigh! Venture out onto the world’s first and only revolving glass floor to meet Santa and the Needle’s professional photographers will snap your free digital photo for the ultimate holiday photo op. Here’s when Santa will be at the Space Needle.

Dates: Weekends, Nov. 25-Dec. 24, 2022
Online: spaceneedle.com/holidays

5. Magic at the Market

If a chance to shop for great local products and snag a free Santa photo while you’re at it is part of your holiday to-do list, head to Pike Place Market for some holiday Magic. Santa will be under the iconic Market clock taking pictures with visitors before he heads off to help light the tree. Then he’ll be back on Dec. 3 and 4 with Crafty in tow (the magical snow monkey, of course) to take more pictures with his fans.

Date: Nov. 26, 2022
Event details

Related: 10 Can’t-Miss Holiday Attractions in Downtown Seattle

6. University Village

In his own cozy cabin near Room & Board, the University Village Santa is a Seattle favorite for a reason. Not only do families get to visit him in a private, cozy cabin that makes kids feel extra special, but parents can sneak off to do some covert holiday shopping while they’re there. Schedule time to visit online and plan to arrive with about five minutes to spare before your appointment. While you’re there (and if you’re able) families can give a Winter Wish to a child in need. How? Just pull a tag from a Winter Wish tree. Then return your purchased, unwrapped gift to the house. 

Dates: Nov. 25-Dec. 24, 2022
Online: uvillage.com

7. Swanson’s Nursery

Families can find St. Nick at a his cabin in the Cafe building at Swanson’s this year. He’ll be waiting to meet your little elves and have a quick convo with your crew before snapping that holiday photo you came for. Families will need to schedule online before heading over. While you’re there, enjoy watching the train make its rounds (this year’s theme is a Child’s Imagination) and check out the great light displays, including dinosaur Humphrey who looks great in photos. 

Dates: Nov. 12-Dec. 23, 2023
Online: swansonsnursery.com

Related: From Sound to Shore: Where to Watch the Christmas Ship Festival

black santa in seattle meets kids at the Northwest African American Museum
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8. Wing Luke Museum – C-ID Santa

Asian American Santa is back at the Wing Luke Museum for 2021! While he was safe at home last year, he’s happy to make his way back to sit with children and put on his best smile. You’ll need to schedule photos in advance and things will move quickly (time slots are 3 minutes long!) when you get there. Please remember to bring proof of vaccination for anyone over 12 (negative tests will not be accepted) and masks for anyone over the age of 2. Spots are filling up quickly, so grab yours soon!

Date: Dec. 3, 2022
Online: wingluke.org

9. Northwest African American Museum

Black Santa is back and will be safely chatting with kids on December 19 and 20 at the Northwest African American Museum. Reservations will be part of the safety protocols in place, so make yours as soon as information is available. While you’re there, be sure to check out this holiday market too. Keep up the joyful tradition this year!

Date & Time: TBD for 2022 (usually the first week in Dec.)

10. Kirkland Urban – Frostival

All those in favor of pictures with Santa in a snow globe raise your hand. Then head to Kirkland Urban on a Saturday afternoon to snap one starting the weekend after Thanksgiving. That’s when families will find Santa ready to take pictures with your best-dressed kiddos. Our favorite part? The lifesize Gingerbread Suite kids get to walk through to get to the Big Guy in Red.

Dates: Saturdays, Nov. 26-Dec. 17, 2022
Event details

Related: Merry, Merry! 10 Eastside Holiday Happenings for Families

11. Redmond Town Center

Your mask won’t hide your smile when your kids get to meet Santa at this favorite spot on the Eastside. You’ll find this jolly old elf at Redmond Town Center where he sets up shop in the Center Street Plaza. There are five Santas to choose from this year, each with a belly that shakes like a bowl full of jelly and a twinkle in his eyes. So pick the Santa (and day) that works best for your family and make your reservation soon.

Insider Tip: Psst.. schedule later at night and catch the Redmond Lights while you’re there.

Dates: Nov. 25-Dec. 24, 2022
Online:
redmondtowncenter.com

12. Holiday Magic Village at Pacific Place

Two Christmas icons will be waiting to greet your kids at this new-this-year interactive display at Pacific Place downtown. Jolly Old St. Nick will be there to greet kids with open arms and a joyful laugh. But so will reformed Christmas bad guy, the Grinch. Schedule your photo online with one of these icons for the perfect holiday remembrance. They take the picture, you find the frame.

Dates: TBD for 2022

13. Alderwood Mall

According to local parents, the Alderwood Mall Santa wins for “most authentic” and we couldn’t agree more. They’ve had the same Santa here year after year, which is really convenient for taking those holiday photos as the kids get older (and wiser). And who can resist Santa’s awesome and adorable outfits? Book time with this popular Santa online (recommended). They also have a pet night and sensory-friendly Santa experiences here. 

Dates: Nov. 11-Dec. 24, 2022
Online: alderwoodmall.com

Mike Arney via unsplash

14. Issaquah Reindeer Festival

If meeting Santa and seeing his reindeer sounds good to you, reserve your spot to do both at the annual Issaquah Reindeer Festival at Cougar Mountain Zoo. Picture this: Santa sitting atop his festive sleigh while your cute kiddos, dressed in their holiday best, perfect that winning smile. Sounds like a holiday card in the making to us. Be sure to visit with the other animals while you’re there too. Although the Reindeer Festival goes through the end of December, Santa will only be there for photos through December 23.

Good to Know: You can still visit with Santa’s reindeer at the zoo from Dec. 26-30, 2022.

Dates: Dec. 1-23, 2022
Online: cougarmountainzoo.org

15. A Victorian Country Christmas

Santa isn’t the only thing you’ll see when you head south to the Victorian Country Christmas at the state fair grounds. In fact, you and the kids can enjoy more than 500 exhibits decorated to look like Victorian shops with thousands of unique holiday gifts, handcrafted items and great specialty foods items. Professional entertainment is featured on two stages, and kids will flock to Santa’s Village. Why? Because it’s where they can have their photos taken with Mr. Claus and send wishes in the Magical Mailbox.

Dates: Dec. 1-4, 2022
Online: thefair.com

Related: Where to Find Seattle’s Coolest Ice Skating Rinks This Winter

16. More Mall Santas 

Arthur & Associates, the local photographers behind santaphotos.com are working hard to make Santa photos safe this year. In addition to spots listed above, you can find them at the Commons at Federal Way, Lake Forest Park Town Center, Renton Landing and the Everett Mall. The best part? You can check out photos and schedules of all of the Santas online. Just like online dating, but better! So if you really like the look of Santa Bob, you can book accordingly. And here’s a special note for nostalgic natives: the original Frederick & Nelson Santa displays can be found at Town Center at Lake Forest Park, so if you were one of those kids who had a series of F&N photos lined up at Grandma’s house, here’s your shot at keeping that holiday tradition alive.

Dates: Nov.-Dec. 2022
Online: santaphotos.com

17. Special Santa Experiences

Kids can also climb aboard a vintage train car to visit with Old St. Nick. It’s a clickety-clack excursion they won’t soon forget. Book your ticket on the Yuletide Express that departs weekends from Snoqualmie. It’s an abbreviated train ride (just 25 minutes), but kids will get to see Santa and receive a little gift too. It’s ho ho ho awesome. For a real adventure, we’re talking overnight, put Leavenworth on your winter travel list.  can’t go wrong visiting Santa at the Leavenworth Reindeer Farm, where kids can meet his friendly reindeer (and feed them by hand, too!). Reserve your Farm Tour with a side of Santa starting in December to get that picture. 

Related: The Unforgettable Reindeer Experience You Need to Book Now

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