There’s no stopping him: Whether you’ve been naughty or nice, Santa Claus is coming to town! From wineries to railways, the jolly jettsetter will be taking gift requests and posing for family photos across the DMV. If you’re looking to mix and mingle with Ol’ Kris Kringle, read on.
Photo: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Old Town Alexandria
For over thirty years, Santa has skied the open waters of the Potomac River. Santa’s elves, Frosty the Snowman, and even the Grinch get in on the Christmas fun. For a good view, head to the Old Town’s waterfront directly in front of the Torpedo Factory. Following the performance, enjoy a holiday sing-along and some hot chocolate with Ol’ Nick himself.
When: December 24, 1 p.m.
Hillsborough Vineyards and Brewery
There is nothing wrong with cozying up to a mall Santa, but if you’re looking for a total immersion experience, head an hour west to this hillside winery. Santa isn’t the only one coming to town. Elsa, Anna and Olaf also make special guest appearances at this annual fundraiser. The entrance fee is a new, unwrapped toy donation to Toys for Tots. Guests are free to snap pictures with their Frozen favorites and the jolly old man himself; professional images are being offered for $10.
When: December 2, 11 a.m. — 6 p.m.
36716 Charles Town Pike (Purcellville, VA)
When a simple Santa meet-and-greet with won’t due, check out the Christmas Village at the Gaylord National. In addition to photo opps with the guy in the red suit, you’l find an indoor carousel, a miniature train, gingerbread decorating, story time with Mrs. Clause and more. The Gaylord is also host to the Charlie Brown-themed ice sculpture exhibit, ICE! (tickets start at $24) and a complimentary holiday-themed Cirque Dreams show in the atrium.
201 Waterfront Street (National Harbor, MD)
Broadland Village Center
Dash through the snow in a horse-drawn carriage with Kris Kringle himself! Kids can cozy up to the jolly gift giver while enjoying an old-fashioned drive. This free event also features holiday music, food, crafts and door prizes. Boarding will take place in front of Parallel Wine and Whiskey Bar.
When: November 24, 6 p.m — 8 p.m.
43150 Broadlands Center Plaza (Ashburn, VA)
Sterling, Virginia’s Sensory Santa
Hosted by Loudoun’s We Rock the Spectrum, this event offers one-on-one time with Santa in a sensory-safe environment. There will be cookie decorating, hot chocolate, crafts and more. Tickets are $25 per child.
When: December 9, 2 p.m — 4 p.m
22446 Davis Drive (Sterling, VA)
College Park Aviation Museum
If your child happens to prefer planes over trains, we’ve got you covered: head over to the historic College Park Airport to watch Santa fly in with some help from the Prince George’s County Police Aviation Unit! All ages are welcome to make holiday arts and crafts before having their picture taken with Santa. Admission is $5 and includes admission to the museum.
1985 Corporal Frank Scott Dr. (College Park, Md)
When: Dec. 1, 12 p.m. – 4 p.m. EDITED DATES
1985 Corporal Frank Scott Dr (College Park, MD)
The great thing about visiting Santa at Tyson’s II (aside from indulging your window shopping at Neiman Marcus, Gucci, and Ferragamo) is that you can reserve your space in line…online! Now your little ones will shine bright like the Christmas star instead of acting like wild stallions who’ve been waiting for hours. When you book your spot to see Santa, you can also save up to 30% off your photo package. Reserve before December 9th and save an extra $5! It’s a Merry Christmas indeed.
2001 International Dr. (McLean, Va)
Breakfast with Santa
Families looking for an extra special visit with Santa should check out Breakfast with Santa at the Del Ray United Methodist Church in Alexandria. The whole fam can munch on French toast casserole and a delicious egg bake (this church has amazing cooks) with friends and neighbors while waiting on the big guy himself. Candy canes, Christmas carols, and a few surprises or two await little ones anxious to tell Santa their hopes and dreams (or maybe just about their favorite toys!). When you hear the reindeer tap, tap, tap on the roof you’ll know Santa’s about to light up the room. Tip: The event is free, but a canned good donation for Rising Hope Food Bank is encouraged.
When: December 1, 9 a.m EDITED DATE
100 E. Windsor Ave. (Alexandria, Va)
Mini-fashionistas will adore Mazza’s own version of a Winter Wonderland with its fancy Santa chair, perfect for holding multiple siblings who’ve waited patiently for their turn to whisper their dreams into Santa’s ear, oodles of snow (!) and Santa’s elves who busy themselves entertaining kiddos and working hard making toys for the big day.
5300 Wisconsin Ave., NW
Train crazy kids will go bananas for the National Capital Trolley Museum’s annual Holly TrolleyFest where they can ride the rails with Santa Claus, and check out a trolley themed holiday village. Mini-conductors will get a charge out of the marriage between Christmas and trains, and will probably beg to go ‘round and ‘round again.
When: Dec. 1-2, 8-9, 15-16, 22-23 from 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m EDITED DATES
1313 Bonifant Rd. (Colesville, Md)
The fun at Cox Farms doesn’t end in the fall—Santa visits Cox Farms’ Corner Market a few times a year. The staff (or “friendly elves”) will even take photos and email them to you, free of charge! While you’re there, make sure to pick up a live tree.
When: November 24, 25, December 1, 2, 8, 9 from 11 a.m — 1 p.m
15621 Braddock Rd. (Centreville, Va)
Mall at Prince Georges
If you’re eager for a traditional visit with Santa at the mall, but you want every member of the family in the shot – woof, woof – the Mall at Prince Georges is perfect for you. Every Monday the big guy himself will wrap your family in his arms – with your furbaby on his lap – and smile for the camera. You can reserve the perfect time slot, so Rufus doesn’t have to interrupt his midday snooze. And, who knows, maybe the guy with a bowl full of jelly in a red suit will put an extra large bone in Rufus’ stocking.
3500 East West Hwy (Hyattsville, Md)
–Meghan Meyers and Katie Brown