Santa Claus, Old Saint Nick, Father Christmas – whatever you call him it is obvious that this jolly old soul is a very special part of Christmas. Luckily, living in New York makes it very easy for your children to pay him a visit, take a picture with him and forward him their wish list. From the classic spots such as going to Macys or Bloomingdales or unique ideas such as having a pancake breakfast with Santa — we’ve found something for everyone this holiday season.
Santa and Puppet Show at Macy’s (November 25th through December 24th, 2010 – Open daily from 9 am to 9pm)
This is the most famous Santa in New York and funny enough, I met him (well, one of them) on the subway last year. He said that last weekend they had over 3,000 visitors in a weekend wanting to see Santa and that it took over an hour to get into Santa’s lap. If you are willing to brave the line then the nice backdrop really makes a beautiful photo.
Tips: Though there is nothing like Macy’s Santaland- it’s a beautiful winter wonderland, the wait can make it an unpleasant trip. Go early and on a weekday if possible and you will be in and out in an hour. Make sure to bring your own camera as the photo options that Macy’s offers aren’t cheap with prices starting at $25 for a 5 x 7 pic.
Details: Visit Santa at Macy’s Santaland on the 8th floor of Macy’s Herald Square. Santaland is open daily from 9 am to 9 pm from Friday, November 25th through Saturday, December 24th, 2010.
Macy’s notes: Santa will return to the North Pole promptly at 5:30 P.M. on December 24th so he can load up his sleigh. Admission is free and digital photographs of your child with Santa will be available for purchase. For additional information, please call (212) 494-4495 or visit: Macy’s.com.
Puppet Show: While you’re at Macy’s, be sure to stop by the Puppet Theater on the 8th floor to see the holiday puppet classic A Miracle on 34th Street – a 30-minute musical version of the holiday classic as told by Marionettes from Puppetworks (featuring the voices of Tony Winners Brian Stokes Mitchell & Victoria Clark). Details: Express Elevators @ 35th & Broadway and Show times are all day – starting at 9:30 am and admission is $5 per person and shows run nine times daily from November 25th through December 24th. For more information, call (212) 494-1917. Note: The last performance is December 24th at 3:15 pm.
Santa at ABC Carpet and Home (November 26th – December 12th, 2010)
We love the ABC Santa experience. Everyone joins a civil line that winds through the beautiful store. The kids AND you are totally occupied with all the delicate items that sparkle from all the shelves. Attendants hold your stroller for you as you descend to Santa’s room. You walk down a red carpet to Santa who welcomes you in open arms. His beautiful vintage wine red robe and rosy cheeks are so authentic- it will convince even the oldest. The children get a nicely swirled lolli after the visit and you all can exit behind Santa’s chair to the restaurant/cafe Le Pain Quotodien to dine on their unbelievable oatmeal, quiches and salads.
Tips: The line is shortest at 2 pm on the dot. We went at 12:30 pm on a weekend and waited for 20 minutes. Others report that they went the week before Christmas on a Saturday and had no wait. Bring your own camera.
Details: Hours: Friday, November 26: 10-noon brunch with Santa; 1-3 pm; Saturday, November 27: 10-3 pm; Sunday, November 28: 10-3 pm; Saturday, December 11: 10-3 pm; Sunday December 12: 10-3 pm. ABC Carpet and Home is located at 888 Broadway (and 19th St), New York, NY. For additional information, please call (212) 473-3000 or visit: ABC Santa.
Santa at Bloomingdales (November 26th – December 23rd, 2010)
I have a feeling this Santa won’t be as busy as the Macy’s Santa. So, head to Bloomindales to the Eighth Floor and get your picture taken, and tell him all of your holiday wishes. You’ll also get a chance to meet some of Santa’s elves.
Details: Hours are Saturday/Sunday; 12-6pm and Monday-Friday; 11am-6pm. Eighth Floor at Bloomingdales at 59th Street & Lexington Avenue and 1000 Third Avenue (two entrances) New York, NY 10022. For additional information, please visit: Bloomingdales.com
South Street Seaport Santa (November 26th – December 19th, 2010)
This beautiful tree adorned with bows and thousands of tiny lights feels quaint on the cobblestoned Water Street. Santa is at the Seaport to hear kids’ wish lists, take photos and be jolly. He makes scheduled appearances in the holiday seating area located on the 3rd floor of Pier 17 from 12 pm to 2 pm every Saturday and Sunday.
Tips: All visits with Santa are free, but bring your own camera. 4 choruses perform classic holiday songs, including their jovial rendition of The 12 Days of Christmas, every Friday, Saturday and Sunday through December 19th. If you go on a Saturday or Sunday to see Santa, stick around for the choruses performing beneath the large tree at 3 pm and 4 pm. Please click here to view the performance schedules. There are some big box shops down at the Seaport too- so you can get your shopping in too. The public restrooms are plentiful and nice and the whole area has a nice holiday feel.
Details: For additional information, please visit: South Street Seaport.com. By Subway: 2, 3, 4, 5, J, Z, or M to Fulton Street A or C trains to Broadway-Nassau; or E train towards Fulton Street. Walk East on Fulton Street to Water Street.
Breakfast with Santa at Rockefeller Center (November 27th – December 24th, 2010)
This is the most expensive way to see Santa, but it is a special event that maybe you do once (or twice!) in your kid’s lifetime. Have a breakfast at Rock Center Cafe where Santa and his elves will stop by for a visit and photo. Two breakfast seatings will be offered on Saturdays and Sundays, as well as on Wednesday, December 22nd, Thursday, December 23rd and Friday, December 24th at 7:30 am and 9:15 am. Only one breakfast seating will be offered December 20-21, at 8:30 am.
Details: Prices range from $42 to $54 for children and from $47 to $59 for adults, which includes breakfast, a skating session and a small gift for each child. You can also ice skate at the famous Rockefeller Ice Rink after your meal. Some dates on the weekends are already sold out, so be sure to make reservations on their website or you can call (212) 332 – 7620. Rock Center Cafe is located at Rockefeller Center at 20 West 50th Street.
Santa at Kings Plaza (November 18th- December 24, 2010)
Santa will arrive at Kings Plaza where you can say “hello” and share your Holiday “wish list”. Santa will be available for Photos Monday-Saturday 11am to 9:00pm and Sunday 11am to 7pm.
Tips: Easy parking and the Santa and photos are reportedly good. Reports have come back that the wait has been nothing to 20 minutes. You can get some of your holiday shopping done too while you are here. My favorite H & M is there.
Details: Kings Plaza Shopping Center is at the intersection of Flatbush Avenue and Avenue U; just one mile from Exit 11N off the Belt Parkway. Parking at Kings Plaza is easily accessible from Flatbush Avenue, Avenue U or East 55th Street. There is a flat rate of $3.00 to park.
Santa at the Brooklyn Children’s Museum (December 18th, 2010)
Join the Brooklyn Children’s Museum as they celebrate the season with special events and an appearance by Santa.
Details: Santa will be at the museum from December 11th (12-4pm) and December 18th, 2010 (1-4pm). For additional information, please visit: The Brooklyn Children’s Museum.org
Brunch with Santa (December 18, 2010)
The Altar Servers of Sacred Hearts & St. Stephen’s Church are sponsoring “Brunch with Santa” where you can get a photo with Santa, do face painting, hear story time and eat a hot buffet.
Details: Santa arrives at 11:00am on Saturday, December 18th at Cabrini Hall located at 125 Summit Street. Tickets for children are $15 and $10 for adults. If you are interested in purchasing tickets, please contact the Rectory at (718)246-8342.
Gumbo Pet Adoption with Santa (December 19, 2010)
Gumbo, the children’s store is hosting a pet adoption on Sunday, December 19 from noon to 6 pm. Santa will also be hand from 1-4 p.m (photos will be at 2:00pm in Gumbo!)
Details: Gumbo is located at 493 Atlantic Avenue (bet. Nevins & Third) Brooklyn 11217. For additional information, please call (718) 855-7808
Santa is coming to Flatbush Avenue (December 19, 2010)
Santa will be visiting Flatbush avenue to meet and greet Prospect Heights and Park Slope children and families. Santa will be strolling along Flatbush Avenue from St. Marks Avenue to Sterling Place with his Elves. They will be handing out FREE candy canes, FREE photos with Santa, The BID’s new Shopping & Services Guide 2011 and there will be merchant discounts and special offers. Santa will aso be stoppinig along the way to make holiday balloon hats for the kiddies.
Details: Sunday, December 19 from 12pm to 3pm. To find Santa, just listen for his sleigh bells. For more info: 718-783-1685 or visit www.nfbid.com
Belvedere Castle Santa (December 23 and December 24th, 2010)
Taking a walk through the park to get to Santa just feels right somehow. Imagine how magical it will feel to arrive at Belvedere Castle to see Santa inside! The event is free just bring your camera.
Details: Hours are 11am-2pm (rain or shine) and the event is for all ages. The Belvedere Castle is located at mid-part at 79th Street. For additional information, please call (212) 772-0210. or visit: Central Park NYC.