50 Awesome Santa Activities in Connecticut

Top 50 Places to Visit with Santa Claus in CT

Shopping mall Santas have been de rigueur since store owner James Edgar donned a red suit and snowy beard to entertain children in 1890. Today the tradition is alive and well in malls across Connecticut, including Stamford Town Center, Danbury Fair, and Westfarms.

If you're looking to mix it up with a Santa outing that's a little bit different, we have rounded up our 50 favorite Santa activities across the state. Some events are free and require no preregistration, but many of those that do require advanced tickets are VERY popular and can sell out early, so you'll want to buy tickets as soon as possible. In a separate post we've also rounded up where to have a yummy breakfast with Santa. Don't forget to check our Holiday Fun Guide and events calendar often for more holiday happenings!

1. Sensory Santa at Danbury Fair Mall—Danbury 
Sun Nov 19, 2017 - Sun Dec 3, 2017
Repeating every week — Sundays through December 3, 2017 - Except November 24, 2017

This event provides families that have children with autism and other special needs an opportunity to meet Santa. Dimmed lighting, no loud music, and smaller crowds aim to make a Santa visit obtainable for all. Reservation are required to reduce the challenge of waiting in long lines. 

2. Greenwich Reindeer Festival and Santa's Workshop— Greenwich
Fri Nov 24, 2017 - Mon Dec 25, 2017​
The day after Thanksgiving, Santa and his reindeer return to Greenwich, but this time at a new venue: the Sam Bridge Nursery and Greenhouse. Check website for daily schedule and photo package pricing.

3. Santa Special on the Essex Steam Train—Essex
Fri Nov 24, 2017 - Sat Dec 23, 2017
All aboard vintage railway cars for a fun time with Santa, Mrs. Claus, Rudolph, and Pablo the Penguin. The hour-long ride gives you plenty of time to get the perfect photo. (Note: First class tickets are sold out for the season. Check the website for limited coach ticket availability).

4. Winter Celebrations on the New Haven Green—New Haven
Fri Nov 24, 2017 - Sat Dec 23, 2017 
Check the full schedule of events to get all the details on this annual celebration at New Haven Green and the Shops at Yale. Highlights include appearances from Mr. and Mrs. Claus. 

5.  Black Friday Weekend with Mr. and Mrs. Claus—Mystic 
Fri Nov 24, 2017 - Sat Nov 25, 2017
Olde Saint Nick comes to Olde Mystick Village on Black Friday.  Bring your cameras and meet Mr. and Mrs. Claus in the Meeting House. 

6. Santa’s Arrival—Fairfield 
Sat Nov 25, 2017
Santa arrives via hook & ladder in this Fairfield celebration on Sherman Green. Activities will include a petting zoo as well as horse and buggy rides. 

7. Santa Arrives by Tugboat & Mystic Lighted Boat Parade—Mystic
Sat Nov 25, 2017
Thousands gather at the Mystic River Park to watch Santa arrive at this day long celebration! Watch decorated ships sail down the Mystic River to be judged in categories including “most festive”.

8. Santa’s Workshop and Gingerbread House—New Fairfield
Sat Nov 25, 2017 
Visit with Santa in his workshop and receive a FREE book courtesy of the New Fairfield Parks and recreation. Make sure to bring your camera! 

9. Pond House Brunch with Santa—West Hartford
Sat Nov 25, 2017
Order your tickets in advance for this special brunch with Santa. Guests will receive a photo with Santa while enjoying a buffet brunch and hot cocoa station. 

10. Reindeer on the River—Middletown 
Sun Nov 26, 2017
Cruise down the river aboard the Mystique. Guests will enjoy a visit from Santa and a magic show. 

11. Santa Sunday—Bristol
November 26
Balloon twisters, crafts, and of course - carousel rides! Santa will be on hand to pose for photos at the New England Carousel Museum. 

12. Sing Along with Santa—Groton
November 29, 2017​
Join the Bill Memorial Library for an evening with Santa Claus that includes old-fashioned Christmas caroling, hot cocoa and cookies, and Santa photos (bring your camera!). Free, but food donations for Groton Social Services are also being accepted. 

13. Munchkin Morning with Santa—Mystic
December 1, 2017
The Mystic Aquarium opens early for this meet-and-greet that includes crafts, light refreshments, and time with Saint Nick. You'll beat the crowds and enjoy the venue before it opens to the public.

14. Breakfast with Santa at Hub & Spoke—Bridgeport
December 1, 2017
Reservations are strongly encouraged for this breakfast with Santa Claus. Cuddle up by the fire - the perfect background for this year’s Santa pic! 

15. New Canaan Holiday Stroll—New Canaan
Fri Dec 1, 2017 - Sat Dec 2, 2017
Downtown New Canaan transforms into something out of a Dickens’ story book, with the arrival of Santa Claus and the lighting of the trees on Friday night and pictures with Santa and special events throughout the day on Saturday. Free.

16. Ridgefield Holiday Stroll—Ridgefield
Fri Dec 1, 2017 - Sat Dec 2, 2017​
This magical weekend includes horse drawn carriage rides, ice sculpting demonstrations, jewelry making workshops, a pancake breakfast, and Santa's workshop drop off activities for kids. Free admission (some activities involve additional fees, including the pancake breakfast).

17. The North Pole Comes to Stepping Stones—Norwalk
Fri Dec 1, 2017 - Sun Dec 24, 2017
Repeating every week — Sundays, Fridays, and Saturdays through December 24, 2017​

Santa and his friends Frosty, Reindeer and Penguin will be flying in to spread holiday cheer! Bring your camera to capture the magic.

18. Breakfast With Santa at the Killingly Community Center—Killingly 
Sat Dec 2, 2017
If you enjoy your pancakes with a side of carolers, then this is the event for you. This Santa photo op comes complete with caroling and coffee. Make sure to grab your tickets two weeks prior- this one tends to sell out. 

19. Shark-Diving Santa—Norwalk 
Sat Dec 2, 2017 - Sun Dec 24, 2017
Repeating every week — Sundays, Thursdays, and Saturdays through December 24, 2017
Did you know Santa can also swim with sharks? This is one you have to see for yourself at the Maritime Aquarium. 

20. Winterfest!—Hartford 
Saturdays & Sundays from December 2 - Saturday, December 23, 2017
Free ice skating and skates at this Hartford tradition! Make sure you stop by the carousel to take a FREE photo with Santa.  Each family receives a 5x7 print to take home. 

21. Fairview Tree Farm—Shelton
Sat Dec 2, 2017 - Sun Dec 17, 2017
Repeating every week — Sundays, and Saturdays through December 17, 2017
Take a tractor ride around the farm with Santa.  Money raised in this event will be donated to local deserving charities. 

22. Breakfast with Santa and Jingle Bell Run—Old Saybrook
Sat Dec 2, 2017
After breakfast, visit Santa’s Workshop filled with children’s activities: ornament making, face painting, cookie decorating, and holiday cards for soldiers. This annual event starts with a Jingle Bell Run:  a fun run (2-6 y/o), a 1 Mile Run (7-14 y/o), or a 5K Run.

23. Santa's Trolley Winter Wonderland—East Haven 
Repeating every week — Sundays and Saturdays through December 17, 2017
Grab your complementary cookies and hot chocolate, and head off to meet Santa in the comfort of a trolley car all dressed up for the holidays. Cookies and hot chocolate included. All children will receive a small gift from Santa.

24. Santa Express and Northern Lights Limited at the Naugatuck Railroad- Thomaston 
Repeating every week — Sundays, Fridays, and Saturdays through December 23, 2017.
Cookies (check). Hot Chocolate (check). Magical experience on a decked out holiday trolley with Santa (check, check, and check)!

25. Breakfast with Santa—Torrington
Sat Dec 2, 2017
Make some new memories while enjoying a breakfast with Old St. Nick. 

26. Breakfast With Santa—Windsor Locks 
Sat Dec 2, 2017
Come meet Santa - New England Air Museum style - in a North Pole helicopter!  This event also includes learning about aviation from the Elves, along with arts and crafts. 

27. Winter Welcome—Storrs
Sat Dec 2, 2017
This fun day in downtown Storrs includes music, crafts, a puppet show, and visits with Santa at Barnes and Noble. Free (some activities involve an extra fee).

28. Santa Visit and Fireworks—Seymour
December 2, 2017
Bundle up for an outdoor visit from Santa and some celebratory fireworks at the Seymour Land Trust. Free, but food donations are welcome.

29. Breakfast with Santa and Friends at Flamig Farm—Simsbury
December 2 & 3, 2017
​Join the Junior Woman's Club and come have breakfast with Santa. Enjoy pancakes, hot chocolate, crafts, caroling, face painting and take your own picture with Santa.

30. Brunch With Santa—Milford
Dec 3, 2017
Like a good host, Santa will stroll from table to table greeting all his guests.  There are lots of brunches on this list, but this one also fills you with the real spirit of Christmas.  Brunch with Santa  benefits Citizens for Quality Sickle Cell Care. 10. Rowayton Santa Run—Rowayton

31. Santa's Railyard—Danbury
December 3, 2017 
Ride a vintage train to Santa's Toyland.  Event includes a train ride in the railyard, a free gift for each child, a visit with Santa in Toyland, exhibits in a restored 1903 station and railyard including operating layouts and displays and a coloring station. 

32. Heights and Lights Rappelling Santa and Holiday Tree Lighting in Stamford—Stamford
December 3, 2017
Daredevil St. Nick makes his grand entrance from 22 stories high above the city. Afterwards, head over to Latham Square for a night of live music and the annual tree lighting. Free. 

33. Old-Fashioned Christmas—Coventry
December 3, 2017
This historic town turns into a holiday wonderland with horse and wagon rides, shopping, live animal exhibits, crafts, live music, and then Santa's arrival on Main Street. You'll be able to visit with him throughout the day. Free. 

34. Brunch with Santa and Mrs. Claus at Lyman Orchards—Middlefield
December 3, 10, and 17, 2017
Full buffet including breakfast and lunch specialties at this family-style brunch at the Lyman Homestead. Have a private meeting with Santa in the library while a professional photographer takes complimentary photos with the man in red. (Note: Many brunch times are already sold out so if this is on your Santa bucket list, make reservations ASAP.)

35. Santa Visits and Christmas Parade—Madison
December 4, 2016 
Santa arrives downtown on a horse-drawn wagon followed by a holiday street festival and Christmas concert. Free. 

36. Festival of Lights—Mystic
December 8, 2017
Olde Mistick Village will be decorated with over 6,000 luminaries for a magical evening that includes music, decorations, and visits with Santa and Mrs. Claus. Right across the street, Mystic Aquarium will be offering free admission with a non-perishable food donation and will offer special holiday-themed activities.  Free.

37. Holiday in Washington Depot—Washington
December 8, 2017
The 25th annual Holiday in the Depot kicks off with Santa's arrival at 6:00pm. Free.

38. Pancake Breakfast with Woodland Santa—Mystic
December 9, 2017
Have a delicious breakfast at the Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center that includes local hickory syrup, hot cocoa, coffee, and, of course, Woodland Santa who will join the group around the cozy fireplace.

39. Annual Santa’s Farm at Indian Rock—Bristol
Sat Dec 9, 2017 - Sun Dec 10, 2017
Have a letter that needs to make it to Santa? Then hop aboard the holiday hay wagon, get off at the indoor Winter Wonderland hall and enjoy some Christmas magic at Indian Rock.  

40. Breakfast with Santa at the Mystic Aquarium—Mystic
Sat Dec 9, 2017 - Sun Dec 17, 2017
A breakfast buffet will be served inside Mystic Aquarium and then you'll have a chance to sit with Santa. Advanced reservations required.

41. Annual Santa's Farm at Indian Rock—Bristol
December 9 - December 10 2017
Enjoy the splendor of Indian Rock’s indoor Winter Wonderland hall of decorated Christmas trees, an indoor waterfall, and a post office for letters to Santa. Hop aboard the Holiday Hay Wagon for a visit to Santa's house to have a photo taken with Santa.

42. Santa's Railyard—Danbury 
Saturday December 9 & 16 and Sunday December 3, 10 & 17​
Hop on a vintage train at the Danbury Railyard to Santa's toyland where he'll be waiting with a free gift.

43. Brunch with Santa and Carolers—Westbrook 
Sunday Dec 10, 2017
Gaze at out the Sound while enjoying the festive sounds of carolers at the Water’s Edge in Old Saybrook. 

44. Brunch with Santa at Saint Clements Castle—Portland
Sun Dec 10, 2017
Enjoy breakfast at beautiful  Saint Clements Castle and Marina with a giant brunch buffet and visit from Santa. All children will receive candy canes from Santa. Reservations required.

45. Brunch with Santa—Bolton
Sun Dec 10, 2017​
The lovely A Villa Louisa is home to this fun family event benefiting Channel 3 Kids Camp. The all-you-can-eat brunch will include an appearance by Santa who will be passing out goody bags to all children in attendance. Advanced reservations required.

46. Santa's Workshop at Wickham Park—Manchester
Wed Dec 13, 2017 - Sat Dec 23, 2017​
Children of all ages can enjoy this beautifully-decorated workshop with busy elves and the main man in the red suit. The line can be very long and outdoors, so arrive early and dress accordingly. The event is free, but donations of non-perishable food items are welcome.

47. Mom's Morning In Christmas Party—Darien
December 15, 2017
The Moms' Morning In group hosts this annual event which is geared towards preschoolers but open to all. Bring your camera to take photos with Santa and enjoy juice, cookies, and holiday activities.

48. Winter Wonderland—New Canaan
December 16, 2017
The New Canaan Nature Center is transforms into a Winter Wonderland that includes a scavenger hunt, chestnuts (and marshmallows!) roasting on a open fire, carriage rides, and of course, photos with Santa.

49. Santa & Me with Special Guest Belle—West Hartford
December 16, 2017
Dress in your holiday best - because this event is going to be a ball!  Be sure to bring your camera to snap shots of Santa handing out gifts. 

50. Candlelight at the Bush-Holley House—Greenwich
December 17, 2017
This free event includes a 45 minute tour of the early 20th century Bush-Holley House by costumed guides. There will be crafts for kids and visits with Santa. Free.

 

Photo by Mike Arney on Unsplash. Post originally published November 11, 2013.

Area/Neighborhood: 
location: 
Sam Bridge Nursery
437 North Street
06830 Greenwich , CT
Phone: (203) 869-3418
41° 3' 53.4348" N, 73° 37' 26.544" W
Connecticut
Essex Steam Train
One Railroad Avenue
06426 Essex , CT
Phone: (860) 767-0103
41° 21' 0.5292" N, 72° 24' 17.352" W
Connecticut
Mystic Aquarium
55 Coogan Blvd
06355 Mystic , CT
Phone: 860-572-5955
41° 22' 23.7576" N, 71° 57' 11.3724" W
Connecticut
Flamig Farm
7 Shingle Mill Road
06092-2311 West Simsbury , CT
Phone: 860.658.5070
41° 52' 12.2988" N, 72° 51' 52.9848" W
Connecticut
Downtown Madison
725 Boston Post Road
06443 Madison , CT 41° 16' 47.0712" N, 72° 35' 45.3444" W
Connecticut
Rowayton Fire Department
299 Rowayton Ave.
06853 Rowayton , CT 41° 4' 37.7004" N, 73° 26' 44.2176" W
Connecticut
Landmark Square
1 Landmark Square
06901 Stamford , CT 41° 3' 16.8732" N, 73° 32' 16.9368" W
Connecticut
Coventry Village
1195 Main Street
06238 Coventry , CT 41° 46' 6.2004" N, 72° 18' 6.156" W
Connecticut
Lyman Orchards
32 Reeds Gap Road
06455 Middlefield , CT
Phone: 860.349.6043
41° 29' 50.3808" N, 72° 42' 53.028" W
Connecticut
Danbury Railway Museum
120 White Street
06810 Danbury , CT 41° 23' 52.9584" N, 73° 27' 2.1888" W
Connecticut
Washington Depot
Washington Depot Green
06794 Washington Depot , CT 41° 38' 26.0988" N, 73° 19' 4.9944" W
Connecticut
Wickham Park
1329 West Middle Turnpike
06040 Manchester , CT 41° 47' 1.7556" N, 72° 34' 41.3292" W
Connecticut
Stepping Stones
303 West Aveue
06850 Norwalk , CT
Phone: 203-899-0606
41° 6' 35.6436" N, 73° 24' 57.1104" W
Connecticut
Downtown New Canaan
161 Elm Street
06840 New Canaan , CT 41° 8' 48.39" N, 73° 29' 42.9" W
Connecticut
Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center
109 Pequotsepos Rd
06355 Mystic , CT
Phone: 860-536-1216
41° 21' 44.7552" N, 71° 56' 48.4224" W
Connecticut
A Villa Louisa
60 Villa Louisa Rd
06043 Bolton , CT
Phone: 860-646-3161
41° 44' 28.3848" N, 72° 27' 43.6284" W
Connecticut
Darien Community Association
274 Middlesex Rd
06820 Darien , CT
Phone: 203-655-9050
41° 4' 44.4792" N, 73° 29' 12.3108" W
Connecticut
Boys and Girls Club of Ridgefield
41 Governor St
06877 Ridgefield , CT
Phone: (203) 438-8821
41° 16' 53.3784" N, 73° 29' 40.2252" W
Connecticut
Bill Memorial Library
240 Monument St
06340 Groton , CT
Phone: 860-445-0392
41° 21' 20.4336" N, 72° 4' 47.5788" W
Connecticut
Downtown Storrs
1 Royce Circle
06268 Storrs , CT 41° 48' 17.1468" N, 72° 14' 33.7056" W
Connecticut
Seymour Land Trust
13 Chatfield St
06483 Seymour , CT
Phone: (203) 645-4672
41° 24' 3.942" N, 73° 3' 13.3632" W
Connecticut
Bush-Holley House
39 Strickland Rd
06807 Cos Cob , CT
Phone: (203) 869-6899
41° 2' 3.498" N, 73° 35' 52.5696" W
Connecticut
New Canaan Nature Center
144 Oenoke Ridge
06840 New Canaan , CT
Phone: (203) 966-9577
41° 9' 11.9088" N, 73° 29' 57.3468" W
Connecticut