The Best Place To See Santa This Season


This is a sponsored post but all thoughts are my own.

Seeing Santa is a yearly holiday tradition that many families partake in. The first couple years of my boys’ lives I enjoyed taking them to see the jolly man in the red suit but then, as the years went on, it was one holiday task I started to dread. Seeing Santa meant standing in a long line, especially if you went on a weekend, and by the time you got to the front of the line the kids were always cranky. The folks at HGTV and Macerich saw this problem and came up with a better experience for families. This year I took my boys to Santa HQ and I can honestly say that I enjoyed the experience and now will actually look forward to this little ritual every holiday season.

Located inside Macerich Shopping Centers in California, Arizona, Chicago, Metro New York, and the Washington, D.C. corridor, Santa HQ is different than other places where you can see Santa. The biggest difference was that there was no line to wait in even though we went mid-day on a Saturday. They offer reservation times but also accept walkups (which is what we did). Guests can register online and select and pre-pay for their photo package which gives them the opportunity to upgrade their package by making their family photo session days or even weeks in advance. The online reservation systems even has an opt-in text functionality to provide reminders about their Santa photo session reservation.

The other big difference is that HGTV’s Santa HQ adds a whole new dimension to the traditional family Santa Claus visit by guiding visitors through an immersive, interactive holiday extravaganza that uses state-of-the-art digital technology. Each Santa HQ location is set with a dazzling array of holiday experiences, including:

  • The traditional photo-op with Santa Claus
  • Elfie Selfie: Where visitors take a selfie and star in their own holiday video
  • Elf-Ray Vision: Guests can explore Santa’s Observatory through the use of special goggles that trigger a series of augmented reality experiences at multiple locations throughout Santa HQ
  • Naughty or Nice Meters: Where visitors can stand next to an interactive board to find out which list of Santa’s they made
  • Light Show: With more than 10,000 individual holiday lights synchronized to the tune of “Carol of the Bells” to create an illuminated orchestra

My boys loved the Naughty or Nice O’Meter the most I think. It was funny to watch their faces as they waited to see if they were on the “naughty” or “nice” list. Luckily both of them made the nice list this year ;)

Once we enjoyed all of the interactive experiences we got to see Santa. The boys took a picture with him and then told him what they wanted for Christmas. Jacob asked for a video game and Lucas asked for LOL surprise balls.

At the end of their visit, Santa let them each pick out a coloring book and crayons. Overall we had an awesome experience at HGTV’s Santa HQ. It really is the best place to see Santa this holiday season!

Have your kids visited Santa yet this year?

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  1. Brandy says:

    This is really cool! I never had a kid who was into seeing Santa, but I went and saw Santa locally this year. It’s a fun experience and a great childhood memory to make with kids who enjoy it :) I love that you shared the best place to see Santa this season!

  2. Scott says:

    My kids are teens now, and when we see a Santa I still ask them if they want to talk to him. They’re ‘too cool’ to do it…

  3. Sapana V says:

    My kids will love to see Santa. Thanks for sharing the details.

  4. Jenny says:

    We visited the Santa HQ in Portland, OR! We loved everything that there was to do, was so much fun for the kids!

  5. Jeanette says:

    This looks like a dream come true for all children. I remember my parents taking me to a place kind of like this as a child and I was in love! I would love to take my kids here to help them make fun memories as well!

  6. Kristi says:

    it really does look like the perfect place to visit Santa! Hopefully the kids had their lists ready.

  7. janis says:

    I know kids celebrating Christmas live for visiting Santa and getting that iconic photo with him. The Santa HQ looks like so much fun and it’s so cool they have these in so many different cities for the holidays.

  8. I always enjoyed taking my kids to see Santa when they were younger. This sounds like a fun experience.

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