Where to Take a Photo with Santa in LA

The holidays are here and the best way to get the yuletide party started is with a photo with the big guy in red of course. Thanks to this list, you’ll find the Santa that is just right for you (or closest to your hood). Read on for the best places to get that quintessential picture—crying or smiling allowed.

photo: Underwood Family Farms via Facebook

Underwood Family Farms
For two weekends only, Santa makes a special appearance at the Underwood Family Farm among the Christmas trees from Big Wave Dave. Be sure to bring your camera along for this trip. The best part? Visits with the big guy are free!

But what fun is it to go to Underwood Family Farms and not go to the Farm Center? For $6, you can enter the facilities and visit the animal area, watch the animal shows and go on tractor-drawn wagons to the pick your own fields. California sleigh rides with our draft horses will also take place.

Dates: Dec. 1-2 and De. 8-9
Times: 11 a.m-4 p.m.
Cost: Free photos with Santa, $6 to enter the Farm Center

3370 Sunset Valley Rd.
Online: underwoodfamilyfarms.com

photo: Jenifer Scott

Paley Center For Media
Christmas is in full swing at the Paley Center. Celebrate the joy of the season with complimentary screenings of beloved holiday classics, ornament craft sessions, hot cocoa and (of course) a visit from Santa to round out the merriment.

Bring your camera along because this is a great opportunity for parents to take photos themselves, for free (or purchase their high-end photo with a digital file for only $10 = total bargain!) with Santa who hangs out in his beautifully decked-out surroundings each weekend.

Date: Weekends from Nov. 24-Dec. 23
Time: 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
Cost: Free or $10 for a digital file

465 North Beverly Dr.
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
Online: paleycenter.org

photo: Los Angeles Zoo via Facebook

LA Zoo
Sure, you can see Santa in plenty of places (have fun explaining that to the kids!), but there’s only one place in town where you can see Santa and his reindeer. And that’s the LA Zoo. You can visit with Santa Claus in a whimsical Santa Village and take pics every weekend.

And any time that the zoo is open, you can visit with a reindeer family plus the newest addition to the family, named Nutmeg, in their Reindeer Village home. In addition to Santa on the weekends, there are a host of other activities, like reindeer keeper talks and holiday crafts plus a rotating schedule of animals unwrapping gifts all their own.

Date: Weekends from Nov. 16 -Jan. 6
Time: 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Cost: Varies depending on photo package

5333 Zoo Dr.
Griffith Park
Online: lazoo.org

photo: Fillmore & Western Railway via Facebook

Fillmore & Western Railway: North Pole Express
All aboard for a vintage train ride that kids won’t forget for some time. Hop aboard the North Pole Express where the family can really get into the holiday spirit. Come in your pajamas (yes, really do it) and be ready for a good time.

During your one-hour trip, you’ll be visited by the trains elves for a round of Christmas carols and a holiday story all while your little elves enjoy yummy cookies and chocolate milk. Bring your camera as you will have a chance to take photos with Santa at the end of the ride. Be sure to make your reservations early as seats are assigned and sell out.

Date: Nov. 24-Dec. 23
Time: Departure times vary
Cost: Adults are $32, kids 2-12 are $22 and 2 and under are free

364 Main St.
Online: fwry.com

photo: Malibu Country Mart via Facebook

Malibu Country Mart
You know things are going to be a little bit fancier in the ‘Bu. But if a little fancy helps to rev up your feelings of fa-la-la-la-la, take a trip to the Malibu Country Mart, which is transformed for the holiday season with Mr. and Mrs. Klaus, live carolers, live reindeer, festive arts & crafts and more.

Because of how jolly his visits tend to be, it’s probably a good idea to arrive early so the young ones have lots of time to find out if they are on the nice list (or not). There is also great shopping here (win-win!) so you can finish up some of your holiday gifting all while kids play at the playground…by the beach. The way Christmas was meant to be celebrated.

Date: Dec. 15 & 22
Time: noon-4 p.m.
Cost: Free

3835 Cross Creek Rd.
Online: malibucountrymart.com

photo: The Grove

The Grove
Smack dab in the middle of the city is a winter wonderland dreams are made of complete with an adorable life-sized gingerbread house fit for Mr. Kringle himself. To say Christmas at The Grove is stunning can be a bit of an understatement so naturally, there is a wait to see Santa. Avoid the lines and make advance reservations online for your tiny tots to see the big man or take your chances and grab a number to be called for your special moment (perfect time to grab a meal or do some shopping while you wait!).

And this Santa is worth the wait as many say he’s one of the best in town. He talks with the kids and makes them feel like he is the real deal, commenting on new glasses or how much they’ve grown! Be sure to take a ride on the trolley while you’re there or walk through the Farmers Market to enjoy all the delightful sights and smells (peppermint latte anyone?) the holidays have to offer.

Date: Nov. 19 through Dec. 24
Time: Times vary
Cost: Varies depending on photo package

189 The Grove Dr.
Online: thegrovela.com

photo: The Americana at Brand via Facebook

The Americana at Brand
For more of an East-side feel, this upscale, outdoor shopping center is decked out for the holidays and, like it’s sister establishment The Grove, features a massive tree covered with thousands of twinkling lights.

The Santa House here is nothing short of magical and, in fact, will have your darling dreamers seeing visions of more than just sugar plums (make sure they bring their lists so Santa can check it twice!). Also, reservations to sit with St. Nick are recommended (he books up fast) but not at all required.

Date: Nov. 16-Dec. 24
Time: Times vary
Cost: Varies depending on photo package

889 Americana Way
Online: americanaatbrand.com

photo: Vincent Sandoval

Santa Monica Place
Santa’s work can be stressful so it makes sense he’d be spending some time seaside (in such beautiful surroundings) to relax and meet with his fans before his big night of deliveries. Visit him at the ocean-adjacent Santa Monica Place’s Center Plaza and get that priceless photo-op and even a commemorative gift!

This location also has several fun events like photos with your pet on Dec. 12 and Dec. 19 from 5 – 8 p.m). But if you’re just in the market for a plain old Santa snap, make a reservation although not required.

Dates: Nov. 17-Dec. 24
Time: Times vary
Cost: Varies depending on photo package

395 Santa Monica Place
Santa Monica
Online: santamonicaplace.com

black-santa-3photo: Lucy Nicholson

Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza
If it’s the quintessential mall Santa experience you crave, Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza is just the place. In the center of the mall, a little North Pole is carved out just for Santa who’s in town from Thanksgiving weekend through Christmas Eve.

Word on the street, however, says that he’s also going to make an appearance at their Holiday Winter Wonderland celebration on Dec. 15 (sledding and snow play inside a mall in Los Angeles? Yes please!) When the wait to see the man of the hour works up an appetite (and you want to look beyond the food court), check out the delicious Mexican fare at Mexicano or local food taken to the next level at Post and Beam.

Date: Now through Dec. 24
Time: Times vary
Cost: Varies depending on photo package


3650 W. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
Baldwin Hills
Online: baldwinhillscrenshawplaza.com

To see what Red Tricycle Editors are up to this month, follow us on Instagram!

—LeTania Kirkland Smith, Jenifer Scott & Andie Huber


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