Big Apple Portraits hosts socially distant outdoor mini-photo sessions with ol’ Saint Nick. Photo courtesy of Big Apple Portraits
Big Apple Portraits hosts socially distant outdoor mini-photo sessions with ol’ Saint Nick. Photo courtesy of Big Apple Portraits

Safe Santa Claus Pictures in NYC for Christmas 2020

Santa Claus is coming to town, and although he'll be social distancing, he’s not camera shy. New York City kids have plenty of options for safe visits with Santa this holiday season. While Macy's is offering a virtual Santaland at Home experience, there are a handful of in-person spots where kids can visit Jolly Old St. Nick.

We’ve rounded our favorite options for photos with Santa all across the five boroughs, including inventive curb-side visits, formal outdoor photoshoots, and traditional mall Santa experiences. As always, find more seasonal fun in our NYC Holiday Guide.

Editor's note: While we are trying to promote safer activities that occur outdoors or with social distancing guidelines in place, please keep your family and others safe by always wearing a mask and maintaining an appropriate distance. If you arrive at an event that appears too crowded, try using the “nearby” search feature on our Event Calendar to find something else to do.

Be sure to click through to each venue's website for prices, location, and any last-minute changes. Remember to sign up for our FREE newsletters to get posts like this delivered to your inbox.

Sinterklass arrives on horseback at the Wyckoff Farmhouse Museum's Dutch Christmas Event
Meet an old-fashioned Santa at the Wyckoff Farmhouse Museum. Photo courtesy of the museum

Safe In-Person Visits With Santa in 2020

Sinterklaas at the Wyckoff Farmhouse Museum – East Flatbush, Brooklyn

5816 Clarendon Road, near East 59th Street
Saturday, December 5
Celebrate an old-fashioned Dutch Christmas at NYC's oldest house with a visit from St. Nick, who arrives on a horse rather than reindeer. Discover how Sinterklaas evolved into the tradition of Santa Claus, and enjoy crafts and a tree lighting. To respect social distancing guidelines, individual photos with St. Nicholas will not be available this year, but families are encouraged to use the holiday-themed photo booth. FREE

St. Nicholas Day at the Vander Ende-Onderdonk House – Ridgewood, Queens

18-20 Flushing Avenue, between Onderdonk and Seneca Avenues
Sunday, December 6
Bring your camera to the historic Dutch stone house's annual holiday celebration. Snap a photo, visit with Santa, and stick around for period crafts and goody bags.

RELATED: Must-do Christmas Events for NYC Families in 2020

Santa Claus delivers rainbow-colored baked goods
Get your pic snapped with Santa and his groovy as Baked in Color car. Photo courtesy of Baked in Color

Santa Cookie Car – City Wide

Thursday, December 10-Friday, December 25, by appointment
The big guy gets creative with his visits this year as he travels around NYC in his very own rainbow-hued cookie car. Each stop includes a chance to snap your own DIY photos with Santa plus a stocking filled with Baked in Color treats. To ensure safety, Santa remains masked and inside the cookie car during his visit. Reserve ahead of time online.

Big Apple Portraits Mini Sessions – Upper West Side

Saturday, December 12
Photos at this Upper West Side studio are a splurge, but if you want a keepsake, one-of-a-kind picture with St. Nick, it could be your best bet. Outdoor-only Santa sessions last 10 minutes and yield high-quality prints and a copyright release. Book now for a 10-minute window on Saturday, December 12.

Santa Claus is Coming to Estuary – Brooklyn Bridge Park

Saturday, December 12
This Brooklyn Bridge Park gastropub hosts Jolly Old St. Nick for an afternoon of socially distant photos on its outdoor patio. Share your wishlists and pose for photos while sipping on complimentary hot chocolate. Raffle ticket purchase, to benefit the charity Friends of Karen, is required for entry, but prizes include brunch for two, a bakery gift basket, or a $100 gift card to the restaurant.

RELATED: Holiday Windows Walk: See Midtown Manhattan's Stunning Displays

Enjoy a contact-free Santa visit at the Queens Center Mall
Santa and his elves are making every effort to provide a memorable and contact-free experience at the Queens Center Mall. Photo courtesy of the Mall

Local Mall Santas to Visit in 2020

Queens Center Mall – Elmhurst, Queens

90-15 Queens Boulevard, between 57th and 59th Avenues, level 3
Daily through Thursday, December 24, times vary.
Santa meets his young fans near Champs on the second level at an immersive North Pole experience. This year, masks are worn by Santa and his elves. Guests enjoy a socially distant visit and photo op. Reservations to visit Santa are strongly encouraged, though walk-up visits are available as space allows throughout the day.

Kings Plaza – Mill Basin, Brooklyn

5100 Kings Plaza, at Flatbush Avenue, located on the second level near Zara
Daily through Thursday, December 24. Visit the website for the complete schedule.
This Brooklyn Santa sticks around all season. Just like other mall Santas, expect masks and social distancing. Walk-up visits will be available only as space allows throughout the day.

Staten Island Mall – Heartland Village, Staten Island

2655 Richmond Avenue
Daily through Thursday, December 24, times vary. Visit the website for the complete schedule.
This Staten Island Santa welcomes kids every day through Christmas Eve in the Lower Level JC Penney Wing. Masks are required for visitors and Santa in compliance with NY state law. Reservations are required.

RELATED: Safe Online Santa Visits: Zoom with Santa Claus and Virtual Santa Photos for Kids

Macy's Santaland at Home brings its traditional experience to your living room. Photo by Jody Mercier

Virtual Santa Visits For 2020

First Presbyterian Church

Saturday, December 5
Usually, photos with Santa Claus are part of a larger Tartan Fair held by this local church, but this year visits with Santa take place over Zoom. Families are invited to share some personal details with Santa and his elves ahead of the session to personalize the visit. The private sessions can be recorded for prosperity's sake.

Macy's Santaland at Home

Through Thursday, December 24
This year, the famed store presents a virtual North Pole experience. Log on to tour Santaland, play interactive games, and view a pre-recorded visit with Jolly Old St. Nick. Close out the experience with a Santa selfie. You do not need a reservation for this brand new, interactive, personalized, on-demand virtual experience. One great feature this year: Adults get to choose from a diverse lineup of Santas. No reservations are required. FREE

This article, originally published in November 2009, is updated annually. Rosalind Muggeridge provided additional reporting.

Kids' PopAction Class with STREB Extreme Action
Manhattan West Plaza - 9:00 AM Pick
Family Art Project: Sun Turning
Wave Hill - 10:00 AM Pick
Flatbush Frolic
Cortelyou Road - 11:00 AM Pick
Sunday Social on Montague Street
Montague Street - 12:00 PM Pick
Neighborhood Guides
Activity Guides