Santa is a busy man: riding his sleigh all over the world, delivering presents, sitting for hours doing photo appearances and tree lightings…he even hosts holiday breakfasts, high tea and dinner train rides! Get into the spirit with these chances to share cookies or sandwiches with Mr. Claus. We also included a few halls that are fully decked for the holidays, where Santa is there in spirit. Because even St. Nick needs a break once in a while.

Breakfast with Santa at Descanso Gardensphoto: Descanso Gardens

Breakfast with Santa at Descanso Gardens
Salute Santa in the Gardens. He’s trading the icy environs of the North Pole for this balmy botanical escape to host a jolly morning featuring a yummy breakfast buffet in the Craftsman-style Van de Kamp Hall. Think homemade buttermilk pancakes with wildflower honey and gingerbread s’mores for your little sweet tooth (there’s also baby kale to balance it out). Cost: $57 adult member, $24 child member; $66 adult non-member, $28 child non-member. Reservations required by Dec. 13. Two seatings: 9:30 a.m. & 11:30 a.m.

1418 Descanso Dr.
La Cañada Flintridge


Mission Inn in Riverside decorated for the holidaysphoto: Mission Inn Riverside Hotel & Spa

High Tea (and Breakfast) with Santa at the Mission Inn in Riverside
As part of the historic hotel’s fabulous Festival of Lights, there are several chances to hang with jolly St. Nick. There’s Santa’s Grand Afternoon Tea featuring yummy tea sandwiches, hot cocoa and gingerbread cookies on Saturday, December 19, 2-4 p.m. Adults: $29. Children: $20 (5-11 yrs.). Children 4 and under are free. There’s also Breakfast with Santa and a chance to whisper wishes into his ear. Saturday, December 19, 8-9:30 a.m. & 10-11:30 a.m. Adults: $28. Children: $20 (5-11 yrs.). Reservations required.  Plus while you’re here you can soak up all the festival feelings of the most brightly decked hall in town.

3649 Mission Inn Ave.

Santa Claus arrives for the holidays at The Langham Huntington, Pasadenaphoto: The Langham Huntington, Pasadena

Teddy Bear Tea at The Langham in Pasadena
Puppet shows, holiday tales, pics with Santa and tea with teddy bears, oh my! Kids will feast on tea sandwiches like PB&J, ham and turkey as well as gingerbread cookies and cupcakes. Hot chocolate, apple cider and juice are there for sipping. Adults get the slightly less sweet Traditional Afternoon Tea. Cost: $46 per person, $38 per child under 12. November 28, 29 & December 5, 6, 12, 13, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23. Seatings at 10 a.m. & 1:30 p.m. December 24 seating at 11 a.m. Reservations are required.

1401 S Oak Knoll Ave.

Santa Dinner and Train Ride in Fillmore, CAphoto: Fillmore & Western Railway Facebook

Santa Train Ride & Dinner with the Fillmore & Western Railway Company
The Man in Red is your host on this jovial evening featuring a slow-paced, cozy ride on a vintage train complete with holiday fare. December 21 & 22, 5:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m. Cost: Adult Menu $47, Youth Menu $26, free under 2 for lap-sitting and no meal. The feast includes a choice of ham or turkey, mashed potatoes, vegetables and dessert. Reservations are required.

351 Santa Clara St.

Miceli's restaurant: an L.A. dining institutionphoto: Miceli’s Restaurant

Make Merry Italian-Style at Twinkly Miceli’s
This famous LA institution, with its old school Italian vibe and comfort food, serves as a festive backdrop for dining during the holidays. Its nostalgic vibe will transport you right into the “Festivus” spirit. Kids and their big people alike love the twinkly lights, kitschy decor and singing waiters. It’s a delightful setting any time of the year, but during the holidays especially, you want a bit of glitz and merry glow, and the waiters mix a hearty dose of Christmas standards in with the usual opera, Broadway and Disney tunes.

3655 Cahuenga Blvd. W.
Universal City


Gingerbread house for the holidays at Terranea Resortphoto: Terranea Resort

Gingerbread Sandcastles at Terranea Resort
Deck the halls with gumdrops and peppermint pinwheels and build a gingerbread sandcastle. This holiday event for elves of all ages takes place December 1-27 from 2-3 p.m. Reservations are required. Cost: $25 per Gingerbread Sandcastle. You can also get cozy by the Lobby Living Room fireplace with Terranea’s own elves telling classic stories December 1-27 from 5 p.m.-6 p.m. Elf tales are complimentary for all ages.

100 Terranea Way
Rancho Palos Verdes

Tam O'Shanter in Atwater Village, Los Angeles, decorated for the holidaysphoto: Jim A. via yelp

Toad in the Hole and Carolers at Cozy Tam O’ Shanter
This cozy Tudor inn has been around since 1922 and offers a festive, snug, old-fashioned pub style ambiance for holiday feasting with decorated fireplaces, a pretty Christmas tree and live Victorian Carolers on December 24! Folks love their prime rib. We suspect that’s what John Wayne tucked into, when he ate in here eons ago. You can also introduce adventurous little palates to the signature Toad in the Hole (let squeamish eaters know that’s just sausages cooked in batter). Meanwhile, you can soak up a little holiday spirits of another sort, if you catch our drift.

2980 Los Feliz Blvd.
Atwater Village


the lobby of Hotel Bel-Air during the holidaysphoto: Hotel Bel-Air

Holiday Cookies at Hotel Bel-Air
Kids at Wolfgang Puck at Hotel Bel-Air can learn to decorate a gingerbread house and holiday cookies at the Cookie Decorating Master Class on December 17. Reservations are required. The hotel will also get holiday carolers and a visit from Santa at Wolfgang Puck at Hotel Bel-Air restaurant on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Call 310-909-1644 or email  This elegant spot is swell for a Christmas outing with visiting relatives.

701 Stone Canyon Rd.

Mickey Elf Popcorn Bucket at Disneylandphoto: Disneyland Resort

Snow-capped Apples and Mickey Elf Popcorn at Disneyland
Santa only makes appearances—minus cookies—at Critter Country Elias & Co., but little elves can find holiday-themed nibbles all over the two parks, such as the classic peppermint bark and “snow-capped” dark chocolate peppermint gourmet apples in the resort’s candy kitchens, along with Mickey Elf Popcorn. Kids can also skate with their favorite ‘lil snowman at “Olaf’s Frozen Ice Rink” in Downtown Disney and then dine at one of the many restaurants there in the splendidly festive setting. Here’s a complete guide to holiday treats and eats at Disneyland Resort.

1313 Disneyland Dr.


Where do you sup with Santa? Let us know in the comments.

—Sylvie Greil