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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

Chestnut Hill Circle of Trees

November 17, 5:30—7:30 pm

Woodmere Art Museum, 9201 Germantown Avenue


Family and friends come together to meet Santa and celebrate the beginning of Chestnut Hill’s holiday season with tree lighting, live music, hot chocolate, cookies, and the opening of Woodmere’s holiday exhibit, The Night Before Christmas. Families are encouraged to bring a new, unwrapped toy to donate to a charity for underprivileged children.

Franklin Square

November 23, Saturdays from November 24—December 22, and December 12; 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.

East Passyunk Christmas Tree Lighting

November 29, 5—7 pm

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


Light the tree with live holiday music by local performers, and free sips and samples from East Passyunk bakeries, restaurants, and retailers. Best of all, Santa Claus will be there to take photos with the children, and Mummer string band members and carolers will lead people down the Avenue after the ceremony.

Manayunk Tree Lighting

November 29, 5:30—6 pm

Canal View Park, 4416 Main Street


Celebrate the annual tree lighting at Canal View Park at 5:30 pm, followed by live performances and a visit by Santa.

Roxborough Tree Lighting

November 30, 4—8 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.

Victorian Christmas Bazaar and Open House at Ryerss Museum and Library

December 1, 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.

Holiday Bazaar at Northwestern Stables

December 1, 10 am—3 pm

120 W. Northwestern Ave.


Shop for the holidays, plus for kids there will be a visit from Santa, mini “reindeer” riding lessons, and crafts.

Deck the Alley

December 1, 3—7 pm

Elfreth’s Alley Museum, 124-126 Elfreth’s Alley


Visitors to the historic homes on Elfreth’s Alley will spot Santa Claus, hear the sounds of colonial carolers, and watch traditional loom weaving as the street transforms into a winter wonderland under the glow of holiday lights. Tickets available online.

Family Day at Lemon Hill Mansion

December 2, 10 am—4 pm

Lemon Hill Dr.


Tour this historic Fairmount mansion with a full day of entertainment and activities for children aged 12 and under including a visit from Santa himself. Perhaps even more exciting, there will be a Cabot Cheese sculpture of Gritty! Tickets available online. Free for kids.

Children’s Christmas Party at Ebenezer Maxwell Mansion

December 2, 1:30—4:30 pm

200 W. Tulpehocken Street


Santa will be at this historic mansion for photos! Plus, pastry chef and owner of Frosted Fox Cake Shop in Mt. Airy, Jennifer Lowe, will be there to help children decorate a special Christmas cookie to take home; and there will be traditional Christmas stories for children read in the parlor.

Photograph courtesy of South Street Headhouse District.

South Street Headhouse District Winter Wonderland

December 2, 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. Santa, Rudolph, and Frosty will all be on hand for photo ops!

Mayfair Christmas Village and Tree Lighting

December 2, 2—6 pm (tree lighting at 4:45 pm)

Ryan and Cottman avenues


Craft and gift vendors, live music, a visit from Santa, and more festivities kick off the season. On or about 4:45 pm, the Parade Grand Marshal will “Flip the Switch” on the tree lights.

Laurel Hill Gardens

December 2, 9, 16, and 23; 1—3 pm

8125 Germantown Avenue


Every Sunday, Santa will visit this Chestnut Hill spot for meet-and-greets and photos!

The Holidays at Greensgrow Farms

December 2 and 9, noon—2 pm

2501 E. Cumberland St.


Greensgrow Farms gets festive the first two weekends in December. Get your tree or holiday greens and check out gifts from local makers, too. There will also be live music, and visits from Santa on Sundays at noon.

Santa at the Market

December 8, 15, and 22; 11 am—2 pm

Market at the Fareway, 8221 Germantown Ave.


Stop by the market on Saturdays to visit with Santa and snap a photo! On December 15, come early for the Chestnut Hill Holiday Parade.

Frankford Hall-idays

December 8, 9, 15, 16, 22, and 23; 10 am—3 pm

1210 Frankford Ave.


Frankford Hall gets festive the last three weekends before Christmas with decorations, snow machines, 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 and goodie bags!

Parade of Lights at Independence Seaport Museum

December 8, 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.

Gingerbread House Workshop at Davio’s

December 9, noon—3 pm and 5—8 pm

111 S. 17th Street


Davio’s pastry chef Olisha Sealy will lead the demonstration and workshop, teaching children how to build personalized gingerbread houses fit for the North Pole. The event is $65 per child and adult admission is $50. Each participating child will receive one gingerbread house to decorate with decorations, a buffet lunch, and the chance to meet Santa himself. Call 215-563-4810 to register.

Fitler Square Tree Lighting

December 9, 5 pm

Pine Street, between 23rd and 24th streets


Santa will arrive with treats for children, while carols are sung by The Philadelphia School singers. Santa’s helpers will have hot chocolate and cider for all, and the tree will be lit by the fountain.

Santa Visits the Bustleton Branch of the Free Library

December 10, 6:30—7:30 pm

10199 Bustleton Ave.


Visit with Santa, bring your list, take a picture, sing songs, and hear a story.

Santa Visits Welsh Road Library

December 12, 6:30—7:30 pm

9233 Roosevelt Blvd.


Santa Claus will visit the library for meet-and-greets and photo ops!

Please Touch Museum’s Polar Express Festival

December 15, 9—5 pm (Santa from noon—12:30 pm)

4231 Avenue of the Republic


Relive the magic of this popular children’s story and create special holiday memories to treasure forever. Santa will visit at noon for meet-and-greets in Hamilton Hall. There will also be storytimes, crafts, and more.

Holiday Crafts with Santa and His Elf

December 15, 11 am—3 pm

UPS Store, 6024 Ridge Avenue


Santa and his guitar-playing elf help decorate a holiday ornament or picture frame at the UPS Store in Roxborough.

Art Star Market at Cherry Street Pier

December 15—16

121 N. Christopher Columbus Boulevard


This fantastic holiday market at the new Cherry Street Pier will feature 30 arts and crafts vendors, and will also include photos with Santa, a gift wrapping station, and make-and-takes.

Dine with Santa

Photograph by Albert Yee for Fairmount Park Conservancy.

Breakfast with Santa at Momo’s Treehouse

December 2, 10 am—noon; 205 Arch St.

December 9; 10 am—noon; 2207 South St.


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

Brunch with Santa at City Tap

December 2 and 16, 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.

Pizza Neapolitan with Santa

December 6, 4—8 pm

A Tutti Ristorante Italiano, 5154 Ridge Avenue


Santa invites you to experience Neapolitan style pizza and homemade Italian meals at A Tutti Ristorante Italiano.

Breakfast with Santa at the Philadelphia Zoo

December 8, 9, 15, 16, 22, and 23; seatings at 8:30 am and 9:30 am

3400 W. Girard Ave.


Enjoy a delicious breakfast buffet with Santa Claus at the zoo! He’ll mingle with guests during breakfast for informal photos, then post for formal photos in the Atrium after breakfast. Space is limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis, so reserve your tickets early. Members get discounted tickets—and Philly Family Supporting Members get discounted zoo membership!

Brunch with Santa on the Moshulu

December 8 and 15, 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 8, noon—2 pm; December 9, 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.

Breakfast with Santa at Hard Rock Cafe

December 8, 9, 15, and 16; 8:30—10 am

1113 Market St.


Ticket includes breakfast buffet, storytime with Santa, and a picture with Santa. Hard Rock Cafe will also be accepting donations of new or lightly used winter gear, toiletries, and bedding for Prevention Point. Tickets available online.

Brunch with Santa at Camden Children’s Garden

December 8, 15, and 22; seatings at 10 am and 12:30 pm

3 Riverside Drive, Camden, NJ


Brunch with Santa (including hot chocolate bar), a train ride around the garden, and a holiday craft! Email guestservices@camdenchildrensgarden.org to reserve your spot.

Brunch with Santa at the Mummers Museum

December 8, 11 am—2 pm

1100 S. Second St.


Enjoy a fun holiday meal with Santa! $12 for adults, $10 for kids.

Brunch with Santa at Chick’s

December 9, 11 am—3 pm

1805 Washington Ave.


Chick’s will have a special kids’ menu, and an opportunity to take a picture with Santa for a $10 donation to CHOP.

Brunch with Santa at The Olde Bar

December 15, 11:30 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.

Breakfast with Santa at DiSilvestro Playground

December 15, 10 am—noon

1701 S. 15th St.


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

Traditional Photos

Photograph courtesy of Christmas Village.


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 16—December 24 (Sensory Friendly on December 2, 9—11 am)

1455 Franklin Mills Cir.


If you’re looking for a mall Santa experience, Philadelphia Mills is holding it down all season and your can even schedule your time with a Fast Pass online! On December 2, 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).

Santa’s House at Christmas Village

November 22—25, November 30, December 1—2, December 7—24

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 23—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.

Fireman’s Hall Museum

Fridays and Saturdays in December (through December 26), 10 am—4 pm

147 N. Second Street


Santa Claus will frequent the museum for photo opportunities Friday and Saturday until December 26.

Santa Paws

Photograph courtesy of South Street Headhouse District.

Hotel Palomar

December 1, 1—4 pm

117 S. 17th St.


Get a professional photo of your pet with Santa to benefit local shelter Saved Me! Photos are free but donations will be accepted. Saved me will be bringing by some adoptable friends, so everyone, even non-pet owners are encouraged to attend! There will also be treats and fun surprises.

Pet Friendly Dog Bakery

December 2, 10 am—6 pm

4324 Main Street


All proceeds will benefit The National Canine Cancer Foundation. There will also be fun raffles and free coffee for humans all day!

Seger Dog Park

December 9, 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.

Society Hill Veterinary Hospital

December 8, 2—5 pm

501 S. Second St.


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

World of Animals

December 9, 10 am—1 pm

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.

Franklin Square

December 15, 5:30—7:30 pm

Sixth and Race streets


Santa will pose for pictures with pets at Franklin Square! Not only that, PAFA students will be available to draw free holiday pet portraits that night.

Special Santas

Photograph by Laura Swartz.

Santa Express—SEPTA to Rothman Rink

November 23, 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 23—December 25 (Milk & Cookies events on November 24 and 30; December 8,9, and 15)

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.

Skates with Santa at Blue Cross RiverRink

Sundays through December 23, 2–5 pm

Winterfest, 101 S. Columbus Blvd.


On special weekends in December, Santa will visit the RiverRink and skate—making for a very unique photo op!

The Phillie Phanatic as Phanta Claus

November 23, 11:30 am—12:30 pm; and December 1, 11 am—1 pm

Citizens Bank Park, 1 Citizens Bank Way


Does the Phanatic dressed as Santa count? We say yes! And it’s the most unique Santa around! Visit CBP for holiday sales, festivities, fun surprises, and of course Phanta Claus!


Lead photograph by Kory Aversa.


Contributing Writer