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A Very 2021 Christmas: Santa – and Friends – Around Philly

Santa is busy, but not too busy to visit with the children of Philadelphia this year! See where you can find him!

We thought we’d be saying goodbye to COVID protocols by now but instead we’re saying hello to Omicron. Happily, that’s not dampening holiday spirits, and, luckily, it’s not keeping Santa from visiting, either. In order to keep the virus from spreading and to keep everyone safe, visits are a little different than they used to be — reservations are required at many locations, as are masks, and there are more outdoor options — so check the rules and regs before you go to ensure a safe, healthy, and fun visit for everyone.


Christmas Village in Philadelphia

Through Thursday, December 24

Santa’s hours: Friday &  Saturday from 12 – 8 pm; Sunday 12 – 7 pm

Love Park 1600 JFK Blvd, and City Hall North Apron and Courtyard 

Many wait awhile for a chance to meet and take photos with the Love Park Santa, so lines can be long, but, fortunately, there’s a lot to do at this open-air German Christmas market. Holiday sights and sounds include thousands of twinkling lights, decorations, theme weekends and live music PLUS a ferris wheel, kid’s train and double-decker carousel. Storytimes, wine tasting, a Make-A-Wish wall, and more an 100 stalls round out this ho-ho-holiday experience. 


Fashion District Philadelphia 

Through Thursday, December 24; hours vary

9th and Market Streets, Philadelphia

St. Nick will make an appearance at this Center City shopping hub, and take COVID precautions necessary to make you feel safe: You can have a socially-distanced visit or sit on his lap; Santa is vaccinated and tested daily; sanitizer is available; and masks must be worn (unless you choose to remove them briefly for a photo). Reservations are required. Hours vary by day and change on Christmas eve so check the site before you go. 


Macy’s Santaland

Through December 31 in person, through December 24 online

1300 Market Street, Philadelphia

Santa isn’t in person this year, but Macy’s is such a big Philly Family tradition that we wanted to keep their other activities here anyway! Families who look forward to their annual holiday visit to Macy’s Center City can enjoy a 6,000 square foot walk-through Dickens’ Village lights experience sans Santa, though it’s by reservation only. Those who want to (also) visit the big guy, can do so virtually by logging onto Macy’s site for a free online hub of holiday magic featuring an interactive Santaland where kids can meet elves, play games, interact with a Black, White, or Spanish-speaking Santa and take a selfie with him. 


Philadelphia Mills

Though December 24, daily except 3 – 4 pm when Santa feeds his reindeer

1455 Franklin Mills Circle, Philadelphia

Santa and his helpers will be wearing masks throughout the duration of your visit, and guests are required to wear masks, as well. You can reserve your spot online and walk-ups will be offered as available. 


Visits with Santa

Saturdays, December 11 & 18, 11 am – 2 pm

The Market at the Fareway
8221 Germantown Ave, Philadelphia

Give Santa your wish list, take a picture, and enjoy the local food stalls and restaurants – or a beer from Chestnut Hill Brewing Co – along with a warm outdoor fire and waterfall feature that entrances kids. 


Mrs. Claus Holiday Markets + Sisterly Love Food Fair

Saturdays, December 11 & 18, 11 am – 3 pm

2oo Pine Street, Philadelphia

More than 40 local, women-owned businesses are coming to the Headhouse Shambles for an extra special Mrs. Claus Holiday Market featuring food, beverages, home goods, and other holiday gifts for anyone on your gift list. Note: the big guy himself stopped by earlier this month so we have it on good authority he might make an appearance again!


Northern Liberties Pop-Up Market 

Saturday, December 11, 11 am – 4 pm

North Bowl
909 N 2nd St, Philadelphia

This pop-up shopping experience features 50 vendors plus you can take photos with Krampus, the counterpart to Saint Nicolas in Alpine folklore. Bring your wish list … then crumple it up so you can tell him what you don’t want for Christmas. Shopping festivities followed by the 11th Annual Parade of Spirits in Liberty Lands Park starting at 4 pm. Masks required.


Conversations with Santa

Saturday, December 11 beginning at 1 pm

Ebenezer Maxwell Mansion
200 W Tulpehocken Street, Philadelphia

Want to have a full-on chat with Santa? Book a 15-minute time slot at historic Ebenezer Mansion in Germantown, bring your wish list, and talk to him about whether you’ve been naughty or nice … or anything else you please! Each time slot is for one family and the cost is $10, unless you live in the 19144 zip code, and then it’s free! Buy tickets online or call 215-438-1861.


Santa in The Square

Saturday, December 11 & 18  5:30 – 7:30 pm

Franklin Square
6th and Race Streets
, Philadelphia

Presented in partnership with the African American Museum, kids get to meet the big guy and while they wait, create inspirational cards for the non-profit Cradles to Crayons, which provides kids with the essentials they need to succeed.


Brunch with Santa at Craft Hall

Sundays, December 12 & 19, 11 am – 3pm

901 N Delaware Ave, Philadelphia

Everyone loves brunch and Santa is no exception. He’ll be making an appearance at Craft Hall’s Bubbles ’n Brunch event and pose for free photos with the kiddos while adults enjoy bottomless drinks and a brunch buffet. And for those with fur-babies, bring them along, as St. Nick will head out to the ‘puppy porch’ for photos with four-legged friends, too!


Brunch with Santa at Figo

Saturday, December 18 and Sunday, December 19, 10 am – 2:30 pm

Figo Ristorante 
1033 N. 2nd Street, 19123 

This is no ordinary experience – it’s like eating in a snow globe! Diners can opt for tables indoors or outdoors, OR in unique igloos seating up to eight people, featuring table top fire pits, all just steps away from the 16-foot Christmas Tree. During brunch, take a DIY photo with Santa, and kiddos can enjoy a cookie decorating station and make-your-own hot chocolate station.

Virtual Santa Visits

Santa’s Club

This site offers three options: a virtual video message for your child ($39); live video conversation with keepsake video ($54); and a pricier option ($74) with more personalization and bells and whistles, including an invitation, letter, and wristband. In the virtual packages, you can chose from a black or white Santa.


A virtual experience with diverse options, including black and white Santa and Mrs. Claus, Spanish-speaking Clauses, ASL- and special needs-friendly visits and a faith-based Santa who will talk about the Christian origins of Christmas. Packages range from $24-49, and Zuhoo offers a military discount.

Santa Zoom Visit

Also offers bi-lingual and diverse options, digital “goodies” like a ‘nice’ certificate, as well as corporate, school and business packages.

Macy’s Santa

Those who want to visit the big guy, can do so virtually by logging onto Macy’s for a free online hub of holiday magic featuring an interactive Santaland where kids can meet elves, play games, interact with a Black, White, or Spanish-speaking Santa and take a selfie with him. 


Santa at The Olde Bar image courtesy of Aversa PR.

Philly born-and-raised (go Lancers!), Stef is a toddler and dog mom, nonprofit communications professional, and co-owner of 2StreetSammies food truck. As a freelance writer, she covers what she knows -- the trials and tribulations of parenting, as well as offers resources to help moms feel supported and hopefully, a little more sane! She also mentors young women, and volunteers for mission-driven causes to help make the city where she grew up a kinder and better place. Follow me on twitter @stefarck for parenting humor. You can also reach out with story ideas, comments, or just to say hi @ stef@familyfocus.org.