Holidays: Santa

You better watch out…in NYC, Santa brunches, ice skates, improvs, chills with Yogi Bear and, of course, poses for photos. Here’s info on finding him in a range of milieus, many of them free, some of them fancy, all of them jolly.

Get discount tickets to Radio City Christmas Spectacular to see him sing, dance, and share his secret for being so many places at once.

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ABC Carpet & Home Santa

ABC Carpet & Home
888 Broadway at 18th Street

Through Dec 17
Saturday 10 am–3 pm
Sunday 11 am–3 pm
ABC Santa

This may be the best-looking Santa in the city. Take a photo amidst ABC Carpet’s gorgeous decorations. The wait sometimes extends out the door, so come early and bundle up. Enjoy a delicious brunch at Jean-Georges’ ABC Kitchen post-photo. Bring your own camera, ideally one that works well in the not-great lighting

Santa at Brookfield Place

Brookfield Place
220 Vesey Street

$28.99+ for photos; proceeds benefit Dancing Classrooms
Through Dec 24
Monday–Friday 12–8 pm
Saturday 10 am–8pm
Sunday 10 am–6 pm
Dec 24 10 am–4 pm

Visit Santa in Winter Garden with nearby shopping, ice skating, and dining (including our fave French Market Le District). Even dogs can meet Santa during select hours on Dec 3 & 10. Not much surrounding Santaland besides a festive children’s activity center, but usually no line and you can book a time with the Ritual app or on-site for same-day. Also check out the lovely Luminaries and disco ball decorated trees.

Santa at the Plaza

The Plaza Hotel
Fifth Avenue & Central Park South (stroller entrance on 58th Street)

Photos $28.99+
Through Dec 24
Monday 1 pm – 8 pm
Tuesday–Friday 2 pm - 8 pm
Saturday 12 pm – 8 pm
Sunday 12 pm – 6 pm

This Santa photo op is classy, uncrowded, and next to the delightful Eloise shop on the concourse level in The Plaza Food Hall. Also visit the sumptuous holiday tree and decor upstairs in the grand lobby. Santa will also attend and read a story at Eloise’s Rawther Fancy Teas ($100/child, $50/adult).

Macy's Santaland

Macy’s Herald Square
151 West 34th Street

Photos $20.99 - $59.99
Through Dec 24
9:00 am–9:00 pm

Crowded, cheesy but still a magical must for city kids. The often-long line moves quickly through a North Pole village with animatronic toys and train displays. African-American Santa available upon request. Check out the interactive store windows on Broadway and the forest wonderland on the first floor. Advance reservations now required but don’t necessarily mean anything, but wait can still be 2+ hours. Try to go on weekends and/or mornings to avoid crowds.

Bloomingdale's Santaland

59th Street & Lexington Ave,

Photos $22-$47, no charge to take own photos
Through Dec 24
Monday-Saturday 10:00 am–6:00pm
Sunday 11:00 am–6:00 pm

Less elaborate and famous but also much less crowded than the Macy’s original. We’ve heard there is almost no line, even on weekends. And you can take your own photo, buying the pro ones are optional. Good starting point for checking out fabulous store holiday windows.

Santa at the Minus 5 Experience

Minus5 Ice Bar
1335 Avenue of the Americas

Wednesday–Sunday 4 pm & 6 pm

Meet Santa at Minus5 Ice Experience, a lounge tempered at minus five degrees Celsius where everything is made of ice. The wintry experience begins with donning Minus5 parkas, gloves and boots and entering Santa’s wintry wonderland complete with ice walls, an ice bar, ice seating covered with faux fur pelts, ice tables, and a variety of ice sculptures, all rounded out with a state-of-the-art sound and LED light show. Reservations highly recommended.

It’s Holiday Time in PaleyLand

The Paley Center for Media
25 West 52 Street

Through Jan 7
Wednesday–Sunday 12 - 6 pm
Check website for Santa times

Enjoy daily screenings of beloved classic holiday TV programs from the Paley Archive, along with family activities including ornament and puppet making, visits with Santa and free hot cocoa.

Winter ONEderland at One World Observatory

One World Trade Center
285 Fulton Street

Weekends 11 am–7 pm

The already stunning One World Observatory at the top of the Freedom Tower is transformed into a winter wonderland with immersive, multi-media experiences. Follow animated Ollie the snow owl through a hallway featuring 144 individual screens of world landmarks in winter, then wander through a magical glacier cave to Snowy SkyPods, some of the fastest elevators in the world. Zoom to floor 102 while watching a 47 second video show about the evolution of New York City. Admire the dramatic view at the top and take a photo through a giant snow globe showcasing NYC’s skyline. On weekends from 11 am–7 pm, visit Santa and get an included professionally captured 8×6 photo and surprise gift.


Santa's Corner

Bryant Park (42nd Street & Fifth Avenue)

Dec 16-23 1:00 pm–3:00 pm

Take free photos with Santa with your own camera or with the help of elves rinkside at the festive Winter Village. Free holiday-themed postcards and coloring supplies are available for making notes for Santa.

Deck the Halls: Ornament Making

Museum of the City of New York (1220 Fifth Avenue at 105th Street)
Free with museum admission
Sunday, Dec 17
11:00 am–2:00 pm

Explore stories of Saint Nicholas that date back more than a millennium, plus discover images from the museum’s collections to get in the Christmas spirit. Design a personalized ornament to deck your home or tree for the holiday. Special holiday snack included.

Breakfast With Santa & ELFPROV

Broadway Comedy Club (318 West 53rd Street)
Through Dec 23
Saturday 9:30 am

Enjoy a continental breakfast, caroling and photo-ops with Santa and his elves. At 10 am see ELFPROV, an interactive musical comedy.

Required Reading

How Santa Really Works In this imaginative picture book, Santa oversees a vast operation with elves as toy designers, testers, makers, wrappers, and packers, not to mention spies (naughty or nice? asleep or awake?). Clever and entertaining for older kids (and grown-ups) and fun to peruse for the younger set, with sprawling, detailed illustrations.

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