Pictures with Santa Claus in Los Angeles

Only in LA can you paddle with Santa. Photo courtesy of Ventura Harbor Village
Only in LA can you paddle with Santa. Photo courtesy of Ventura Harbor Village
11/26/23 - By Kylie Williams

Pictures with Santa in Los Angeles aren't your standard snaps: here we have Diving Santa, Shogun Santa, Santa on a train, and so much more.

When it comes to Christmas in Los Angeles, Santa is coming to town in many forms and fashions unique to SoCal. Los Angeles offers some of the best Santas around, including several special versions of Santa you won't find anywhere else. So, snap a few pictures with Santa at one of these fun, funky, and totally LA Santa photo opportunities, from diving Santas to farm Santas, Shogun Santa to the Santa at Disneyland. 

Get our picks for the best holiday activities and Christmas events in Los Angeles, festive Polar Express train rides, and more. Check out tons of festive Christmas fun in our Guide to Holiday and Christmas Activities in Los Angeles


Some of these unique Santa events are time-sensitive and crowded, so if you need more typical pictures with Santa, we've also included the cream of the LA mall and shopping plaza crop at the bottom of our list! 

Unique Pictures with Santa in Los Angeles 

Pictures with Santa in Los Angeles: Underwood Family Farms 
Visit Santa and baby goats at Underwood Family Farms in Moorpark. Photo courtesy of the farm

1. Christmas on the Farm — Moorpark

Weekends from November 24 - December 23, 2023 
Who loves Santa? Who loves baby ducks? Is there anything more lovable than putting the two together? Underwood Farms hosts the man of the hour every weekend at its annual Christmas Tree lot. You may even have the chance to see some reindeer on select weekends in December. Visit one of the best Christmas Tree lots in the county while on-site, as well.  

2. Santa Diver — Long Beach

Saturdays from December 2 - 23, 2023 
Santa dives in among the underwater critters at the Aquarium of the Pacific to bring them some Christmas treats, and guests can pose for photos from the dry side of the glass.

3. A Roaring '20s Holiday — Thousand Oaks

Friday & Saturday from December 8 - 16, 2023 
Take in a classic holiday celebration with live music, crafts, and "the man with the bag" himself at the Stagecoach Inn Museum. This year, the party is getting lively with a Roaring '20s theme that will take guests back in time. 

4. Santa's Circus Cirque Show — Hollywood 

Weekends from December 8 to December 23, 2023 
Santa has been busy this year at a thrilling tumbling show packed with holiday acrobatics. Take your photo with Santa after watching a spectacle at The Montalban Theater in Hollywood featuring Santa and his impressively nimble elves. 

5. Holiday Family Faire at Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum — Topanga

Saturday, December 9, 2023
Head to Topanga's Theatricum Botanicum for a unique, only-in-LA Christmas celebration with food and drink, caroling, and even an aerialist. Santa and Mrs. Claus will be there for family photo ops! 

6. Miracle on Main Street — Santa Monica

Saturday, December 9, 2023 
The Santa Monica Miracle on Main Street is back with carolers, tree lighting, and pictures with Santa. 

7. Songs (and Photos) with Santa — Glassell Park

Saturday, December 16, 2023
Santa will be visiting Minibop Music, and a professional photographer will be on hand to capture family photos as the awesome teachers put on a special holiday-themed musical performance. 

8. Shogun Santa — Little Tokyo 

Saturday & Sunday, December 16 & 17, 2023 
Have you ever seen a traditional Japanese Santa? Head over to the Japanese Village Plaza for a free photo (donations welcome) with possibly the only Santa in LA that is wearing traditional Japanese garb. 

Amazing Pictures with Santa in Orange County 

9. Santa at Disneyland — Anaheim

Daily, November 10 - December 24, 2023
This is a pretty traditional Santa Claus, and the visit is not remotely free, but what could be more SoCal than hanging with the jolliest guy at the happiest place on earth? The King of Christmas sets up at the Redwood Creek Challenge Trail in California Adventure. His elves have some outdoor games, and pictures with Santa are available through Christmas Eve. According to my kids, "the Disneyland Santa is the real(est) Santa." 

10. Once Upon a Christmas: A North Pole Adventure — Newport Beach 

Select dates from November 18 - December 24, 2023 
This may be the most epic Santa experience in SoCal. Once Upon an Island has transformed into the North Pole with an interactive and immersive experience designed specifically for children who wish to find Santa. If you want pictures with Santa that your kids will never forget, this is the experience. 

11. Irvine Park Railroad Christmas Train — Orange

Daily, November 24 - December 23, 2023
Irvine Park Railroad is one of our favorite holiday trains, and it's a great place to get your Santa photo. The ride travels through Irvine Park before arriving at the North Pole, where kids can show Santa their wishlist and take pictures. 

12. Hikari - A Festival of Lights at Tanaka Farms — Irvine

Wednesday - Sunday, November 24 - December 30, 2023
Tanaka Farms in Irvine holds a festive outing that includes much more than pictures with Santa. At the event, you'll also be able to ride a holiday wagon ride, walk through the Gingerbread Forest of Lights, and much more.

13. Boat Rides with Santa — Dana Point

Saturday & Sunday, December 2 & 3, 2023
An afternoon boat ride aboard the Dana Pride is a fine chance to get the full attention of the man in red. You might even see some dolphins along the way; what could be more SoCal? 

14. Dana Point Harbor — Newport Beach 

Friday, December 8 & 15, 2023
Photos with Santa in front of a classic VW van? What could be more SoCal than that? Pictures with Santa at Dana Point Harbor are free. 

15. Pretend City — Irvine

Wednesday, December 20, 2023
Kids can meet jolly ol' Saint Nick, tell him their holiday wishes, and pose for a photo. Be sure to bring a camera and plenty of energy to enjoy one of our favorite indoor play spaces

Pictures with Santa Worth A Drive

RELATED: Best Holiday Lights Drive-Thrus and Christmas Light Shows in LA

Pictures with Santa the Los Angeles Way: Skypark Santa 
Take tea with Mrs. Claus, and have breakfast with Santa. Photo courtesy of Skypark at Santa's Village

16. Skypark at Santa's Village — Skyforest

Wednesday - Sunday, November 16, 2023 - January 7, 2024
One of the quintessential Southern California pictures with Santa, Skypark at Santa's Village has several unique experiences where you can snap a picture with the big guy in red. This is his village, after all. Reservations to meet Santa are encouraged to be made ahead of time. From Breakfast with Santa to Tea with Mrs. Claus, you'll be able to get a one-of-a-kind photo, though note that these are separate ticketed events. 

17. Santa Paddle — Ventura 

Saturday, December 9, 2023
It doesn't get more Christmas in Southern California than pictures with Santa on the water. Don your festive apparel for a paddle at the Ventura Harbor on Saturday, December 9, 2023, from 11:30am to 12:30pm. Bring your own vessel or rent one from Ventura Boat Rentals. Santa returns to the Ventura Harbor Village for Winter Wonderland on Saturday, December 16, 2023. Get free pictures with Santa and live reindeer! 

18. Mission Inn Festival of Lights — Riverside

Thursday - Sunday, November 18 - December 24, 2023 
As you wander through festive vendors to see the iconic holiday lights at the Mission Inn Hotel, stop at Main Street and Ninth Street. Santa's house is located on the pedestrian walkway outside of City Hall in Riverside. Photos with Santa are free, and you can use your own camera.  

19. Santa Ski Sunday — Wrightwood 

Sunday, December 17, 2023
Mountain High's annual Santa Sunday offers two equally great options: come to the resort dressed as Santa Claus and get a free lift ticket (with a $25 donation to charity), or just come to the resort to ski with 100 or so Santas all day. Either way, it's a great photo op, with the bonus of a great day on the slopes.

Best Pictures with Santa at LA Shopping Plazas and Malls 

20. Westfield Topanga — Canoga Park

Daily, November 16 - December 24, 2023 
Santa will be in the Valley in November and December for pictures at the Westfield Topanga! Every Tuesday is PJ party day, Wednesday is baby's first Christmas, and Thursday is ugly sweater day. Multiple photo packages are available. 

21. Del Amo Fashion Center — Torrance

Daily, November 16 - December 24, 2023
Del Amo has a classic Santa photo experience this November and December until Christmas Eve. Book your reservation in advance. 

22. The Shops at Santa Anita — Arcadia

Daily, November 17 - December 24, 2023
Take a classic picture with Santa Claus at The Shops at Santa Anita! Every reservation includes a complimentary phone call from Santa, courtesy of Portable North Pole. Visiting Santa is entirely free, with optional photo packages available for purchase. Secure your spot for this cherished Christmas tradition. 

23. Manhattan Village — Manhattan Beach

Daily, November 17 - December 24, 2023
Santa's Back at the Manhattan Village Mall, where everyone can reserve time to take photos with the jolly fellow! Does your pup want to meet Santa, too? On Mondays, furry friends are welcome to join in the fun. 

24. Lakewood Center — Lakewood

Daily, November 17 - December 24, 2023 
If you're in the South Bay, make an appointment at the Lakewood Center for your Santa pictures. He'll be set up at the Center Court near Macy's. If you book in advance, you'll get a complimentary phone call from the North Pole before your visit, confirming your appointment. Kids will also receive a complimentary photo from the North Pole after they talk with Santa. 

25. Glendale Galleria — Glendale

Daily, November 17 - December 24, 2023 
The Glendale Galleria has photos with Santa from November 17 until Christmas Eve. With the reservation system here, you don't have to spend an hour in line to get a photo, and special photo days, like pet nights and Santa Cares (a sensory-friendly visit and pictures with Santa), are available on select dates. Santa gives complimentary confirmation phone calls, so make sure to have the kids nearby when the phone starts ringing. 

26. Santa Monica Place — Santa Monica

November 17 - December 24, 2023
Santa Monica Place brings back this fantastic Santa experience at the Center Plaza. Photo packages are available for purchase. Just like Lakewood Center above, families that pre-book will receive a personalized phone call from Santa before their visit and a North Pole photo afterward. 

27. The Americana — Glendale 

Daily, November 17 - December 24, 2023 
Pre-book your visit with Santa online and check out his house at the Winter Wonderland on the Green at the Americana. While you're there, wait around for the magical snowfall, which occurs nightly during the holiday season. 

28. Selfies with Santa at 2nd & PCH - Long Beach

Tuesday & Wednesday and Saturday & Sunday, November 18, 2023 - December 23, 2023 
If you're hoping to see the King of Christmas without purchasing a photo package, Santa will be hanging out at 2nd & PCH on Tuesdays and Wednesdays for free family photos (no photographer present). This Santa sits in front of a sailboat for a quintessential California photo op. Professional pictures with Santa are available on the weekends. 

RELATED: Must Do Christmas Events and Holiday Activities in Los Angeles for Kids

Pictures with Santa in Los Angeles: The Grove 
The Grove has one of the most classic Santas in town, and you can see the giant tree! Photo courtesy of The Grove LA

29. The Grove — Mid-Wilshire

Daily, November 20 - December 24, 2023 
The Grove is a magical place at Christmastime, and Santa must agree because he's available for pictures throughout the holiday season. Walk-ins are welcome, but wait times may vary. You can also reserve a spot online. Santa's massive toy shop, set in the middle of the road, is hard to miss! 

30. Santa's North Pole Experience at the Westfield Century City — Century City

Select dates from November 24 - December 24, 2023 
When you take a photo with Santa at the Westfield Century City, it's more than a simple "say cheese" moment. The journey starts with a visit to Santa's backyard, where kids can help map out his Christmas Eve travels. Next, kids can check out Santa's magical carriage and learn how he hits so many houses in one night. Mrs. Claus is in her bakery and is happy to pose for selfies as she whips up some Christmas treats (visitors get to take home a treat after their photo with Santa). Last, visit Santa's bungalow for a quick chat and a private photo opportunity. All visitors receive a postcard to send to the North Pole. 

31. Runway — Playa Vista 

Saturday & Sunday, November 25 - December 17, 2023 
Runway Playa Vista has a Christmas gift for SoCal families—free Santa photos! Pre-book your chance for a free pictures with Santa during a time slot from 10am - 3pm. Make sure to bring a toy for the Runway Toy Drive, as this donation secures your complimentary photos. Santa may also make an appearance at Runway Kids Club on Wednesday, December 20, 2023. 

32. Santa Sing-Along — Mission Viejo 

Saturdays, December 1 - 15, 2023
Santa's leading carols at The Shops at Mission Viejo on Friday mornings leading up to Christmas. The sing-along is free, though parents will have to pay if they want to snap a formal photo with the King of Christmas Cheer. If you'd rather listen to a Christmas story than sing a holiday tune, The Shops at Mission Viejo also offers a Santa Storytime on select Wednesdays. 

33. Santa Visits Winter Wonderland at the Beverly Center — Mid-City

Select dates from December 1 - 24, 2023 
Santa photos are free here, but a reservation is required. Now that's a Christmas miracle! A diverse selection of different Santas are available at various times at the Beverly Center. 

34. Selfies with Santa at The Marketplace - Irvine 

Saturdays, December 2 - December 16, 2023 
Bring your phone for a true selfie and a quick visit with Santa at The Marketplace in Irvine. While you're there, you may just get some great ideas for what to put on your wishlist for the holidays. No photographer is present for these pictures with Santa, but the photo op is completely free. 

Originally published November 28, 2013

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