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Ho Ho Ho! Where to Find Santa in Philly this Season

Santa! I know him! And I know where to find him!

Santa Claus is coming to town! Like, all over town. And while your kids have been making their lists, we’ve been making ours. Whether you’re looking for a meal with the big guy, a traditional photo op, or something completely different (Scuba Santa, anyone?), Philly’s got it all! We even have a whole section devoted to where you can get Santa photos with your dog– we really went all out. What can we say, we’re aiming for the Nice List.

Santa Sightings

Franklin Square

November 29, Saturdays through December 21; 5:30—7:30 pm (Milk & Cookies add-on at 4 pm)

Sixth and Race streets

 

Part of Franklin Square’s Holiday Festival, Santa will stroll around the park and take photos for free from 5:30—7:30 pm on Saturday nights. And if you want a more personal (and warmer) Santa experience, buy tickets in advance ($20) for Milk & Cookies with Santa which takes place in the heated Pavilion right before Santa Saturdays from 4—5 pm. Kids can enjoy milk and cookies with Santa as he tells some of his favorite stories and poses for pictures. Kids are also invited to bring their letters to Santa for the special Santa Mailbox in the square for days he’s not there in person.

Roxborough Tree Lighting

November 29, 5 pm

Pocket Park, 6170 Ridge Ave.

 

Enjoy hot chocolate, join in on sing-a-longs with holiday carolers, and get photos with Santa at the tree lighting.

South Street Headhouse District Winter Wonderland

December 1, 4—6 pm

Headhouse Shambles, Second and Lombard streets

 

Santa will make a grand entrance on a firetruck, and then he’ll kick off the holidays with the lighting of the Headhouse Christmas tree and pose for photos!

Photograph courtesy of South Street Headhouse District.

Santa Visits Greater Olney Library

December 4, 5:30–6:30 pm

5501 N. Fifth Street

 

Santa Claus will visit the library for meet-and-greets and photo ops! All children 10 and under are welcome.  The line to talk to Santa will stop at 6:30 p.m. so don’t be late.

East Passyunk Christmas Tree Lighting

December 5, 5—7 pm

The Singing Fountain, S. 11th St. and E. Passyunk Ave.

 

CBS 3 Philly Meteorologist Lauren Casey will countdown and help light the Christmas Tree around the Singing Fountain. Bring an unwrapped new toy for CBS 3’s toy drive. The event will also include live holiday music from Alphabet Academy Child Care, Andrew Jackson School HOME rock band, and more. Best of all, Santa Claus will be there to take photos with the children, and ring in the season!

Photos with Santa at Canal View Park

December 5, 6–8 pm

4420 Main Street

 

Santa will be sitting on a chair made of ice in front of the Manayunk Holiday Tree for some unique photos!

The Logan Holiday Lodge

December 5, 12, and 19; 6 pm

The Logan Hotel, 1 Logan Square

 

Celebrate the holiday season with a Santa letter-writing station (you may even win a free stay at The Logan!), a bar with festive cocktails and hot chocolate, and photo opportunities in front of their winter wonderland backdrop with props and Santa!

Rothe Florists

December 6, 6–8 pm

7148 Germantown Ave.

 

Visit with Santa and take pictures in the greenhouse. Have some warm cider, candy canes, and a cookie or two while you browse and shop.

Campbell Square

December 6, 6:30–8 pm

Belgrade St. and E. Allegheny Ave.

 

Visit with Santa, and enjoy some refreshments with your neighbors.

Christmas at Craft Hall

Sundays in December, 10 am– 2 pm

901 N. Delaware Ave.

 

Take a “Selfie with Santa” as he mingles around the Craft Hall space and hands out candy canes. Stick around to make a free ornament!

Frankford Hall-idays

December 7-8, 14-15, 21-22; 10 am—3 pm

1210 Frankford Ave.

 

Frankford Hall gets festive the last three weekends before Christmas with decorations, cozy fire pits for roasting marshmallows, and more! Take free photos with Santa, as kid-favorite The Lara & Joe Show play Christmas tunes. There will also be free hot cocoa!

Santa in Chestnut Hill

Weekends from December 7–22

Saturdays: Market at the Fareway (8221 Germantown Ave.), 11 am–2 pm

Sundays: Laurel Hill Gardens (8125 Germantown Ave.), noon–3 pm

 

Every December weekend through December 22, Santa will visitChestnut Hill for meet-and-greets and photos! You can find him at the Market at the Fareway on Saturdays, and Laurel Hill Gardens on Sundays. On December 14, come early for the Chestnut Hill Holiday Parade.

Please Touch Museum

December 7, 14, and 21

4231 Avenue of the Republic

 

Enjoy a seasonal storytime and a visit with Santa in Hamilton Hall on Saturday afternoons.

Victorian Christmas Bazaar and Open House at Ryerss Museum and Library

December 7, 10 am—2:30 pm

7370 Central Ave., Burholme Park

 

Santa will be there along with craft vendors, live music, treats, and a tea room.

Tacony Library Winterfest

December 7, noon–4 pm

6742 Torresdale Avenue

 

This annual Tacony tradition features crafts, puppets, music, games, virtual reality, historic trolley tours, a used book sale, firepits, science activities, and of course, a visit from  Santa!

Holiday Crafts with Santa and His Elf

December 7, 1—4 pm

UPS Store, 6024 Ridge Avenue

 

Swing by the UPS Store on Ridge for complimentary portraits with Santa or Elsa from Frozen. Be sure to bring your letters to Santa, too!

Parade of Lights at Independence Seaport Museum

December 7, 1—6:30 pm (Santa arrive at 2 pm)

211 S. Columbus Blvd.

 

A parade of local working boats will be illuminated in holiday lights for all to see on the Delaware River at 5:30 pm, and you can watch from the museum’s terrace with warm beverages and food for sale at Holiday Hut. Santa’s Workshop on the Water will be merry and bright with tons of activities and handmade crafts (for an extra $5, make a gingerbread boat!). Santa and Jingle Jack will be spreading holiday cheer around the museum throughout the day—be on the lookout to snap a photo when Santa arrives at 2 pm. Tickets available online.

Santa Visits Holmesburg Library

December 11, 5—7:30 pm

7810 Frankford Avenue

 

Visit with Santa, enjoy cookies, and make and take holiday crafts while you wait. Don’t forget your camera!

Coffee and Cookies with Santa at Ebenezer Maxwell Mansion

December 14, 10 am—12:30 pm

200 W. Tulpehocken Street

 

Ebenezer Maxwell Mansion welcomes neighbors for complimentary Christmas cookies, hot chocolate, and coffee. Santa Claus will visit the Mansion to hear your Christmas requests and take pictures.

Visit with Santa at Cavanaugh’s Headhouse

December 14, 11 am–3 pm

421 S. Second St.

 

Get photos with Santa; plus make your own Reindeer food, decorate cookies, and enjoy free hot cocoa.

Holiday Storytime at East Passyunk Holiday Headquarters

December 14, 3 pm (Santa at 4 pm)

1904 East Passyunk Avenue

 

Get in the holiday spirit with a festive storytime led by the Free Library! Stay after storytime for free photos with Santa starting at 4 pm.

Crafts of the Season, Lemon Hill Mansion

December 15, 10 am—4 pm

Lemon Hill Dr.

 

Tour the historic Fairmount mansions with a full day of crafts and activities, and stop by Lemon Hill Mansion for a visit from Santa himself! Tickets available online. Free for kids 12 and under.

Reading Terminal Market

December 21, 11 am–3 pm

51 N. 12th St.

 

Visit Santa and get your picture taken with him in Piano Court!

Dine with Santa

Photograph by Albert Yee for Fairmount Park Conservancy.

Breakfast with Santa at Momo’s Treehouse

December 8; 9:30—11:30 am; 2207 South St.

December 15, 9:30—11:30 am; 205 Arch St.

 

Both locations of Momo’s are hosting brunch with Santa! Tickets are required for these events.

Brunch with Santa at Chick’s

December 8, 10 am—2 pm

1805 Washington Ave.

 

Chick’s will have a special kids’ menu, plus face painting and balloon art. They will be offering an opportunity to take a picture with Santa for a $10 donation to CHOP. Reservations are recommended.

Breakfast with Santa at Thirsty Dice

December 8, 10 am

1642 Fairmount Ave.

 

Enjoy a brunch buffet, hot chocolate bar, and of course board games! Santa will be available for photos in the lounge area throughout the event and will be giving out candy canes to all good girls and boys! Tickets available online.

Brunch with Santa at The Olde Bar

December 8, 11 am—2:30 pm

125 Walnut St.

 

Dine on waffles, a milk and cookie bar, and even a create-your-own hot chocolate station. Santa will arrive at noon and will be making rounds for photos and handing out treats. Santa will also have a slot for posed lap photos with the kids. Tickets available online. Children 5 and under are free.

Breakfast with Santa at Hard Rock Cafe

December 14 and 15; 8—10 am

1113 Market St.

 

A fun festive morning with jingle bells, holiday music, candy canes, arts and crafts, and donut decorating. Ticket price includes a full breakfast buffet and a photo with Santa. On behalf of the Philadelphia Ronald McDonald House, Hard Rock Cafe is asking all parents to bring a ‘Wish List’ item to be donated to the charity. Tickets available online.

Breakfast with Santa at DiSilvestro Playground

December 14, 10 am—noon

1701 S. 15th St.

 

This breakfast with Santa event is free and open to the public, no registration needed.

Brunch with Santa on the Moshulu

December 14, 11 am—2:30 pm

Penn’s Landing, 401 S. Columbus Blvd.

 

Bring your letter to Santa and pose for a picture. $25 for kids age 2 – 12 includes brunch, Christmas cookies, hot cocoa, and activities. The regular brunch menu is available for adults. Reservations are suggested.

Lunch with Santa Cruises on the Spirit of Philadelphia

December 14, 11:30 am—1:30 pm; and December 15, 1—3 pm

Penn’s Landing, 401 S. Columbus Blvd.

 

Take a two-hour cruise along the Delaware River with Santa! Everyone will love holiday music, kid-friendly treats, and on-board entertainment to get you in the holiday spirit. Plus, a lunch buffet with plenty of kids’ options. Reservations required.

Loews Winter Wonderland

December 15, 10 am–2 pm

1200 Market St.

 

Savor a special holiday-themed brunch buffet including a children’s pancake making station, carving stations, and homemade desserts. Enjoy crafts, bouncy castle, play area, and more activities. And of course, capture moments with Santa Claus, the abominable snowman, and a life-size snow globe! Tickets available online.

Brunch with Santa at City Tap

December 21 and 22, 11 am—3 pm

3925 Walnut St., Fl. 2

 

A $5 ticket acts as a donation to the Valley Youth House.  Kids under 10 eat free. The day includes pictures with Santa, holiday movies, Santa pancake making station, and a balloon artist. Reservations are highly recommended: email rbaker@table95.com.

Traditional Photos

Photograph courtesy of Christmas Village.

Santa’s House at Christmas Village

Daily from Thanksgiving to Christmas Eve

Love Park, 1500 Arch St.

 

While you’re shopping and taking in the merriness at Christmas Village, stop in Santa’s House for some photos—you can buy them on site.

Macy’s Santaland

November 29—December 24, 10 am—7 pm

1300 Market St.

 

Walk through Macy’s Dickens Village, a vintage animatronic display of Dickens characters telling the story of A Christmas Carol. This is a true Philadelphia tradition, and culminates in a private visit with Santa and photos. Warning: the lines get really long on weekends, especially on weekends and after light shows.

Santa and Friends at Liberty Place

Saturdays in December, noon–6 pm

1625 Chestnut St.

 

Take (free) selfies with Santa at the base of the stunning 45-foot tall Christmas tree in the Rotunda, mingle with holiday characters (like Elsa and the Grinch!), enjoy roaming carolers, face painting, and more.

Fashion District Philadelphia

November 27–December 24

901 Market St.

 

Customize your Philly backdrop, smile and say cheese. You can even reserve a Fast Pass online to make sure you see Santa exactly when you want to!

Old City Santa Photo Sessions

Fridays—Sundays, 11 am—8:45 pm (must book in advance)

Phil Kramer Photographers, 227 Quarry Street

 

Take your family on an immersive tour of Santa’s Workshop while photographers chronicle the entire experience. Hear a story in the courtyard, sip some cocoa, and more for some old-timey picture-perfect scenes.

Philadelphia Mills Mall

November 15—December 24 (Sensory Friendly on December 8)

1455 Franklin Mills Cir.

 

If you’re looking for a mall Santa experience, Philadelphia Mills is holding it down all season and you can even schedule your time with a Fast Pass online! On December 8, Philadelphia Mills will make adjustments to the environment to support the sensory, physical, and other developmental needs of children of all abilities for a special Caring Santa event (reservations required).

Fireman’s Hall Museum

Saturdays in December, 2—4 pm

147 N. Second Street

 

Santa Claus will frequent the museum for photo opportunities on Saturday afternoons.

Santa Paws

Photograph courtesy of South Street Headhouse District.

Bone Appetit

November 30, noon–3 pm

8517 Germantown Ave.

 

Get your pet’s picture taken with Santa. $10 per photo, and all proceeds go back to Noah’s Ark Rescue Project and Sanctuary.

Pet Friendly Dog Bakery

December 1, 10 am—6 pm

4324 Main Street

 

All proceeds will benefit a local animal charity. There will also be fun raffles and free coffee for humans all day!

Hotel Palomar

December 7, 1—3 pm

117 S. 17th St.

 

Bring your pup down to Hotel Palomar’s living room to have his photo taken with jolly Santa Paws! People and pets alike will enjoy treats like hot cocoa and cookies. Photos are free, but donations are accepted and appreciated for Lulu’s Rescue, who will be on-site with adoptable pups. New this year – choose a festive outfit for your dog’s photo from the holiday sweater bar!

Society Hill Veterinary Hospital

December 7, 2—5 pm

501 S. Second St.

 

Free with a suggested donation, which benefits the Millenia Fund. Bring your own camera for a digital copy of your picture.

World of Animals

December 8, noon

408 S. 20th St. and 6503 Frankford Ave.

 

Bring in your dog for some treats and a photo with Santa. They’ll email you a photo to remember the occasion.

Seger Dog Park

December 8, 1—4 pm

1098 Rodman St.

 

The dog park will have holiday treats to eat and a Christmas “studio” set-up for pictures with Santa. The park is asking for $10 donations for photos.

Franklin Square

December 21, 5:30—7:30 pm

Sixth and Race streets

 

Santa will pose for pictures with pets (and kids) at Franklin Square!

Special Santas

Photograph by Laura Swartz.

Santa Express—SEPTA to Rothman Rink

November 29, 10:30—noon

Dilworth Park, 1 S. 15th St.

 

SEPTA’s trains and stations will be specially decorated for the occasion and helpers will be there to hand out holiday gift bags. Riders will arrive in Dilworth Park in time for a festive parade that will welcome Santa, Mrs. Claus, and the elves to the Rothman Rink around 10:45 am. Santa will stay and skate on Rothman Rink, and you can skate with him, play games, and win prizes. There will also be a hot chocolate station and a cookie decorating station.

Scuba Santa at Adventure Aquarium

November 29—December 25 (Milk & Cookies events on December 14 and 21)

1 Riverside Dr., Camden, NJ

 

Scuba Santa is back and ready to make the most underwater appearances in aquarium history! Visit him in Ocean Realm as he spreads the magic of Christmas and takes selfies through the glass. The aquarium will also have the World’s Tallest Underwater Christmas Tree, and more decorations throughout. On special weekend dates, you can register for Milk & Cookies with Santa for a more private (and dry) Santa encounter.

LumiNature at the Philadelphia Zoo (Members Only)

December 6-8, 13-15, 18, and 19; 5-7 pm

3400 W. Girard Avenue

 

Take sELFies with Santa at LumiNature when he stops in from the North Pole to visit The Treehouse on select nights. Don’t forget: Supporting Members get 15 percent off membership at the Philadelphia Zoo (along with many other discounts around town!)

The Phillie Phanatic as Phanta Claus

December 7, 10 am—1 pm (tree lighting at 5 pm)

1 Citizens Bank Way

 

Visit CBP for holiday sales, festivities, fun surprises, and of course Phanta Claus (the Phanatic dressed as Santa)! There will be holiday crafts and activities presented by the Phillies Kids Club from 10 am—2 pm, photos with Phanta Claus from 11 am—1 pm, reindeer on the concourse, and more! Then at 5 pm, stay for the Phillies’ Christmas tree and ballpark lighting outside the ballpark at the First Base Gate.

Holiday PJ Party with Santa

December 8 and 15, 10 am–2 pm

Dilworth Park, 1 S. 15th St.

 

Dress in festive PJs for a fun-filled morning spent with Santa. A la carte breakfast and treats will be offered, along with fun activities like crafts and caroling to keep kids entertained before a special skating session with Santa Claus himself.

Bowling with Santa at South Bowl

December 8, 1—4 pm

South Bowl, 19 E. Oregon Ave.

 

Step up to the lanes and join Santa for a holiday photo. Choose between a classic Santa photo, or a photo on the lanes while bowling with Santa! Plus food and drink specials, face painting, and other festiveness. Email requests@southbowlphilly.com to reserve a lane.

A Pirate’s Holiday at Fort Mifflin

December 14, 11 am–3 pm

Fort Mifflin and Hog Island roads

 

Enjoy a visit from Pirate Santa and a reading of “The Pirate’s 12 Days of Christmas,” make a holiday craft to take home or a greeting card for a local veteran, plus more surprises. Tickets available online.

 

Lead photograph by Kory Aversa.

 

Philadelphia Assistant Editor | Email tips to laura@familyfocus.org

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