Pictures with Santa Claus in NYC in 2023

At the Apollo Theater in Harlem, take pictures with Santa and enjoy live performances. Photo courtesy of the Apollo
At the Apollo Theater in Harlem, take pictures with Santa and enjoy live performances. Photo courtesy of the Apollo
11/26/23 - By Anna Fader

Santa Claus is coming to town and New York City kids have plenty of places to take pictures with Santa this season. From the heartwarming experience at Macy's Santaland to appearances at area malls—Santa is popping up and posing all over town.

Read on for our favorite spots to take pictures with Santa all across the five boroughs, including plenty of venues offering FREE pictures with Santa in NYC. Our rundown of Christmas tree lightings in NYC offers more opportunities to see jolly old St. Nick. We've got even more ways to meet the seasonal celebrity at these brunches, teas, and cruises with Santa, and our Guide to Christmas and the Holidays in NYC offers more holiday fun.


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

Free Pictures with Santa in NYC

1. Winter Fest – Midtown West

Tuesday, November 28
Manhattan West welcomes in the freezing season with this evening-long event that includes live entertainment, FREE ice skating, shopping and food deals from local retailers, and, of course, selfies with Santa on the plaza.

2. Santa in Central Park – Harlem

Thursday, November 30
Meet Santa and pose for pics at the Dana Discovery Center's annual holiday tree lighting. The flotilla of trees on the Harlem Meer makes an awesome seasonal backdrop. Other activities include ice-carving demonstrations, caroling, and more. Bring your own camera.

3. Santa in the Park – Marine Park, Brooklyn

Saturday, December 2
Head to Marine Park for holiday fun and take-your-own photos with the man in red. Meet on the lawn at Filmore Avenue and Madison Place.

4. Winter Wonder at the Queens Botanical Garden – Flushing, Queens

Saturday, December 2
Live music, a Christmas tree and menorah lighting are just part of the fun at this family-friendly celebration at the Queens Botanical Garden. Bring your phone to snap a selfie with Santa while you're there. Dress for the weather, too, as all the holiday fun takes place outdoors.

5. Sinterklaas Day at the Wyckoff Farmhouse Museum – East Flatbush, Brooklyn

Saturday, December 2
Celebrate an old-fashioned Dutch Christmas at NYC's oldest house with a visit from St. Nick, who arrives on a horse rather than a reindeer. Discover how Sinterklaas evolved into the tradition of Santa Claus, and enjoy crafts and a tree lighting.

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

Sunday, December 3
Bring your camera to the historic Dutch stone house's annual holiday celebration. Snap a photo, visit St. Nicholas, and get a goody bag. Timed-entry tickets are available online in advance; kids under 12 enter for FREE.

7. Photos with Santa at City Point Holiday Hub – Downtown Brooklyn

Saturday, December 9, and Saturday, December 16
City Point's in-house photographer will take pics of kids with Santa in front of an Instagram-ready backdrop. Each family receives one FREE digital print with the option to purchase additional photos and holiday card packages. Space is limited: first come, first served, but pre-regsiter online for updates and reminders. While you're there, be sure to enjoy all the other fun at City Point's Holiday Hub, which is programmed by Mommy Poppins and our friends at Brooklyn Bridge Parents.

8. Coca-Cola Winter Wonderland at the Apollo – Harlem

Saturday, December 9
Head uptown to the historic Apollo Theater for an afternoon of holiday fun, picture-taking with Santa, and live performances. Get into the gift-giving spirit by bringing along a donation for the book and toy drive.

RELATEDMacy's Santaland NYC: When and How to See Santa at Herald Square

Photos with Santa in NYC: Meet Santa in In Winter Winter Village at Bryant Park.
Meet Santa in the Winter Village at Bryant Park. Photo courtesy of Bryant Park

9. Santa's Corner at Bank of America Winter Village – Bryant Park

Friday, December 15 through Thursday, December 21
Santa's Corner returns to Bank of America Winter Village giving visitors of all ages the opportunity to tell Santa what they want for Christmas and pose with him for the perfect photo. Head to the rink deck next to The Chalet; guests are welcome to borrow complimentary props for their photos or bring their own. No tickets are required. Photos with Santa are first come, first served.

10. NYSoM Holiday Mania – East Harlem

Saturday, December 16
This community event covers all the bases. Trek through Hanukkah Town and visit Kwanzaa Village, before heading upstairs to the Winter Wonderland where Santa Claus awaits. He's surrounded by plenty of other North Pole friends, including Frosty the Snowman and Rudolph, and they're all ready to pose for pictures. FREE, but reserve your spot online in advance.

More Places to Pose for Pictures with Santa in NYC

11. PaleyLand Holiday Extravaganza – Midtown West

Select dates through Sunday, January 7, 2024
The Paley Museum welcomes guests to this holiday extravaganza. Beyond posing for pictures with Santa or a 7-foot-high menorah, visitors can enjoy holiday meet-and-greets with characters like Frosty, Snoopy, and more. Plus, watch holiday classics, see a model train show, and enjoy caroling and more.

12. Santaland at Bloomingdale's – Midtown East

Select dates through Friday, December 15, by appointment only
Bloomingdale's has its own Santaland on the sixth floor, and Santa pictures are available by appointment only this season. The big man greets visitors for intimate 15-minute sessions. There's a $25 fee to hold your reservation slot, but each reservation comes with a $25 gift card, a printed picture to take home, and a gift bag for the kids. 

13. Macy's Santaland – Herald Square

Daily through Sunday, December 24
Fresh off his ride in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, Santa takes up residence at Macy's to hear wishlists. Wander the rainbow road to his workshop, where you'll meet jolly old St. Nick. Share your wishlist before receiving a special gift and posing for a keepsake photo. Advance reservations are required.

14. Santa Photo Experience at Rockefeller Center – Midtown West 

Select dates through Saturday, December 30, by appointment only
Santa got a cozy corner of Rockefeller Center all to himself. Visit him in the concourse where your photo backdrop includes the 80-foot-tall Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree. It's definitely not a budget-friendly option, but the result is an only-in-NYC keepsake that might be worth the splurge!

15. Santa's Winter Wonderland – South Street Seaport

Daily through Saturday, December 30
Step into this whimsical waterfront wonderland to meet jolly old St. Nick seven days a week. When you've declared your wishlist, explore the rest of the attractions including a mini-carousel, Rudolph's game room, and fun photo-ops. If you really want to indulge, make reservations for a meal in one of its enclosed glass houses.

16. North Pole Express – Midtown West

Daily through Sunday, December 31
Climb aboard a TopView Sightseeing Bus for a ride to the North Pole. You'll pass plenty of seasonal photo displays to capture picture-perfect city scenes. Santa climbs aboard, greeting visitors, taking lists, and doling out the first gift of the season—provided you're on the nice list, that is!

17. Santa Claus at The Plaza – Midtown East

Select dates in November and December
Beginning in late November, Santa makes appearances at this iconic NYC hotel. You can enjoy tea time and breakfast with the jolly man. Special story times and meet and greets are available to hotel guests, whether you're staying overnight or have dining reservations.

18. The Santa Clauses Winter Wonderland – South Street Seaport

Open daily through Friday, January 5, 2024; Santa is in residence on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from Friday, December 1-Sunday, December 24
The Rooftop at Pier 17 transforms into the ultimate Santa Clauses’ headquarters, with panoramic views of the NYC skyline and Manhattan’s only rooftop skating rink. The experience includes photo-ops in Santa’s famous sleigh, a not-to-be-missed seasonal slide, and weekend appearances by Santa Claus himself.

19. Frost Fest at Luna Park – Coney Island, Brooklyn

Select dates through Sunday, January 7, 2024
Luna Park gets a snow-dusted makeover for its first season as a winter attraction. Enjoy holiday lights and decor, plus seasonal shopping and food and beverage options before you pose for a picture with Santa Claus himself.

20. Cookies with Santa – Greenpoint, Brooklyn

Saturday, December 2
This festive event includes hot chocolate, homemade cookies to decorate, music, and, of course, photo-ops with Santa. Take your own photos for FREE or purchase digital photos taken by a professional photographer. Reservations are required.

21. Christmas in Historic Richmond Town – Richmond, Staten Island

Weekends from Saturday, December 2-Sunday, December 10
Jolly old St. Nick joins the fun at this old-time, Dickens-style Christmas village. Historical interpreters put on a show, and visitors can shop for handmade gifts and crafts and then enjoy carriage rides, caroling, and snapping pictures with Santa.

22. Annual Santa Rescue – Soho

Sunday, December 3
Free to watch Santa Rescue; party is $20/person
Watch FDNY firefighters rescue Santa from the New York City Fire Museum roof at 12 noon. Viewing the rescue from the sidewalk on Spring Street is free but there's an entrance fee if you want to head inside, where Santa takes gift requests and poses for photos until 2pm. Tickets must be purchased in advance for museum entry.

23. Kids Skate Hour: Santa and Friends – Sunset Park, Brooklyn

Sundays, December 3-December 24
Take a Sunday morning skate with Santa and friends. Grab a photo with skating Santa, but watch out for his grouchy green friend, who just might pop up on the ice.

24. Santa at the NY Irish Center – Long Island City, Queens

Sunday, December 10
Snap your own photos when the New York Irish Center opens its doors to kids for a special meet and greet with Santa. Tea, coffee, and snacks will be served and each child will receive a free gift. Register online in advance.

Photos with Santa in NYC photo with Santa at Kings Plaza Shopping Center
Take a photo with Santa at Kings Plaza Shopping Center in Brooklyn. Photo courtesy of Kings Plaza

Pictures with Santa at NYC Malls

25. Holidays at Hudson Yards: Photos with Santa – Midtown West

Level 4
Daily through Friday, December 22
Santa is flying his sleigh to The Shops & Restaurants to meet with children, friends, and families from across the world. Take your own complimentary photos with Santa in a winter wonderland. First come, first serve. No RSVP is required. FREE

26. Selfies with Santa at Brookfield Place – Battery Park City

Winter Garden
Wednesdays-Sundays from Thursday, December 7-Sunday, December 24
Santa's ready to show his best selfie smile at this FREE setup at Brookfield Place. While you're there, enjoy plenty of holiday magic throughout the mall and consider lacing up some skates for a session on the waterfront ice skating rink.

27. Queens Center Mall – Elmhurst, Queens

Level 3
Daily through Sunday, December 24, times vary
Santa meets his young fans near Champs on the third level at an immersive North Pole experience. Reservations to visit Santa are strongly encouraged, though walk-up visits are available as space allows throughout the day. All guests who pre-book their visit can add on FREE 5x7 with select packages and receive a personalized call from Santa courtesy of Portable North Pole. Visits are FREE, and photo packages can be purchased.

28. Kings Plaza – Mill Basin, Brooklyn

Upper level near Best Buy
Daily through Sunday, December 24. Visit the website for the complete schedule.
This Brooklyn Santa sticks around all season. Walk-up visits will be available as space allows throughout the day. All guests who pre-book their visit can add on a personalized call from Santa courtesy of Portable North Pole.

29. Staten Island Mall – Heartland Village, Staten Island

Lower Level
Visit the website for the complete schedule.
This Staten Island Santa welcomes kids daily through Christmas Eve in the Lower Level JC Penney Wing. Snap a picture with Santa and your furry friends during Pet Nights on Monday, December 4, and Tuesday, December 5. Reservations are strongly recommended. All guests who pre-book their visit can add on a personalized call from Santa courtesy of Portable North Pole.

30. The Mall at Bay Plaza – the Bronx

Daily through Sunday, December 24; times vary. Visit the website for the complete schedule.
Santa sets up shop at the center court of this Bronx mall. All guests who pre-book their visit can add on a personalized call from Santa courtesy of Portable North Pole.

Originally published in November 2009; Rosalind Muggeridge provided additional reporting.

Places featured in this article:

Vander Ende-Onderdonk House

East Harlem Tutorial Program