Here’s a list of Santa photo opportunities. They include free and paid Santa pictures. We found Santa in locations from Stanwood to Puyallup. All that, and toys, too! We’re indubitably impressed.
Some of the Santa photo ops are at Christmas festivals and other holiday events featuring an appearance by Santa Claus. Most of the free opportunities for pictures with Santa are BYOC: bring your own camera.
You’ll also find a list of unique settings for pictures with Santa, even underwater (it is the Puget Sound region, after all). The big red guy gets around.
There are of course many places with professional photographers taking your photo with Santa at shopping malls and many other locations throughout the Puget Sound region. Professional Santa photos start around $25. Lines at the busiest malls are generally shorter early: early in December, early in the week, and early in the day. So plan accordingly around nap times and mealtimes, especially when young children are in tow.
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2021 Santa Photo Ops in the Puget Sound region
We’ll keep updating this from prior year Santa photo opportunities. Note that for many of the free and candid Santa photo ops, it’s usually BYOC = Bring Your Own Camera.
(Listed alphabetically by city)
Bellevue. Santa Claus is back at the Snowflake Lane Factory! Families can head to the second level of Bellevue Square Center Court to pose for a contactless photo with Santa while he is making his list and checking it twice at this desk. Photo sessions are by appointment only and facemasks are required by all, including Old Saint Nick himself. November 26 – December 24, 2021. More info: BELLEVUE SQUARE – Santa Photos
EverettSanta.com December 1 – December 24, 2021 has the most realistic Santa who will dazzle you with his sleight-of-hand magic tricks and charm you with his original Christmas stories. Santa’s workshop is filled with an array of toys including vintage pedal cars and a one-of-a-kind theme guaranteed to charm the young, as well as the young-at-heart. Make an appointment online or by phone. https://www.everettsanta.com/online-booking-portal/ Everett Santa is located at 2829 Wetmore Ave. Prices: Packages start at $35 per pose. Up to 3 poses for $75.
Everett Wintertide Celebration No photos with Santa for 2021 but Santa will be riding around various neighborhoods on a firetruck! A unique photo opp indeed. See Santa’s schedule and the calendar of Wintertide events on their website.
Issaquah Reindeer Festival at Cougar Mountain Zoo. December 1-23 features Santa at 10:30am – 4:00pm (with breaks throughout the day to check on his Reindeer). Photo prices: not listed on the website, states additional donation required. Zoo admission: General (13+) $17. Seniors (62+) $16. Child (2-12) $14. Under Age 2 FREE. Reservations required https://www.cougarmountainzoo.org/issaquah-reindeer-festival/
Kent Station Santa Photos from Saturday after Thanksgiving through December 23. Santa’s Cottage is in the vacant space next to Gentle Dental. On-leash dogs are welcome in photos too. Reservations are required here https://kssantaphotos.as.me/ Some walk-in space is available if reservations are not held. Photo packages: $20-$50.
Kirkland. Kirkland Urban, 400 Urban Plaza, Kirkland, WA 98033. Get FREE digital photos with Santa! No reservation is required. Saturdays, November 27 – December 18, 2021 from 11AM to 2PM at Frost Fest. More info: Kirkland Urban : Frost Fest.
Lacey. Cabela’s, 1600 Gateway Boulevard Northeast, Lacey, WA 98516. Experience the magic of Christmas at Santa’s Wonderland at your local Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s! Advance reservations are required in all locations and can go quickly. Reserving is easy and free. Reservations are available up to seven days in advance. Receive a free 4×6 studio-quality photo, as well as a free digital video greeting card to share on social media. Additional photo packages are also available for purchase and print instantly in the store. November 6 – December 24, 2021. More info: Experience Santa’s Wonderland 2021 | Cabela’s (cabelas.com)
Lynnwood. Alderwood Mall Santa in Lynnwood at Macy’s Center Court. Daily from mid-November until December 24. Don’t miss the easiest way to visit Santa—just reserve your time and skip the line! Photo prices: $19.99 – $49.99.
Mill Creek. Mill Creek Town Center, 15324 Main St, Mill Creek, WA 98012. NWSantaPortraits offers socially distant Santa photos by Appointment Only. Thanksgiving Weekend and Saturdays-Sundays in December. More info: NW Santa Portraits (nwsantaphotos.com) and Mill Creek Santa Photos – NW Santa Portraits
Puyallup Watson’s Greenhouse No Santa photos for 2021. Santa’s reindeer are on display until December 24th, 2021.
Puyallup. North Pole in Puyallup at the Washington State Fairgrounds No Santa & event is SOLD OUT for 2021 is an immersion experience for kids (and parents) that will stimulate excitement, create learning experiences, and instill the sense of magic into the Christmas season.
Santa Photos are taken by Reservation only in a private studio free from distraction and the chaos that accompany shopping centers. So come and see Santa or just play in the beautiful North Pole at the Fair – A Christmas Paradise for Kids! North Pole Admission: $5.00 Ages 2-99, free for Children under 2. Santa photo packages begin at $24.95 and require a $35-$40 reservation that comes with a $20 credit towards your picture purchase.
Renton, The Landing, 828 N 10th Pl, Renton, WA 98057. The Landing invites the community to a Christmas tree lighting extravaganza featuring a dramatic laser light show with falling snow, a selfie-worthy meet-and-greet with Santa, singing Mrs. Claus, Frosty, Rudolph, and festive stilt walkers. There will also be a giant walk-through ornament offering a beautiful photo opportunity! November 20, 2021 from 6-8PM. This event is FREE and open to the public. The event will take place in the plaza area across from Regal Cinemas. More info: Christmas Tree Lighting & Laser Light Show | The Landing in Renton
Renton. Auburn Community & Events Center, 910 9th ST SE, Auburn, WA 98002. Pre-register for an outdoor visit and photo with Santa! Saturday, December 11, 2021, 8:30 am-12:30 pm. Be sure to bring your camera or phone for Santa’s Elves to snap your picture. To allow for social distancing and to keep everyone safe, time slots will be available upon registration. There will be a table with refreshments and drinks while you wait for your visit with Santa. Kids under 16 will also receive a goodie bag that includes fun prizes and a holiday craft. Cost: 1 – 6 people $20/$25 per group (resident/non-resident), 7+ people in your party 30/$38 per group (resident/non-resident). Pre-registration is required. Space is limited. Call 253-931-3043 for photo reservation. More info: Calendar – Special Events – City of Auburn (auburnwa.gov)
Seattle. Museum of Flight. No event for 2021. Santa Claus is making a special visit to the Museum to meet with children and families and hear their wishes for the holiday season (from a safe, social distance, of course!) Spaces are limited! Reservations are required. More info: https://www.museumofflight.org/Plan-Your-Visit/Calendar-of-Events/6305/santa-visits-the-museum
Seattle. Pike Place Market kicks of the holiday season with their annual Magic in the Market celebration on Saturday, November 27, 2021 from 11am-5:30pm with plenty of holiday spirit across all 9-acres of the historic neighborhood. Bring the whole family to meet Santa, listen to caroling, sip some eggnog, and shop for loved ones, all leading up to the famous Market lighting ceremony at 5pm. More info: 26th Annual Magic in the Market | Pike Place Market
Seattle. Swansons Nursery selected dates December 1 – December 23, 2021. A wonderland of holiday delights including reindeer, holiday shopping, model train village, and holiday yurt photo-op. ” Bonjour photography will be offering Santa photo appointments on specific dates. Appointments fill up fast, so schedule early! Photo prices begin at $44 + tax. Visit the Santa Photo Scheduler to make your appointment.
Snohomish. Historic Downtown Snohomish welcomes Santa on Thanksgiving weekend. Santa rides into town at 10:30am on Saturday 11/27 and again on Sunday 11/28 led by one of his elves and local llamas. Kids make sure to wave as he cruises through town! Be sure to dress for the weather and bring your camera for these safely distanced photo ops:
- On SATURDAY, November 27, 2021 from 11:00am – 1:00pm at Riverfront Gazebo.
- On SUNDAY, November 28, 2021 from 11am – 3:45pm at Randolph Cellars.
Tacoma. Bass Pro Shops, 7905 S Hosmer St, Tacoma, WA 98408. Experience the magic of Christmas at Santa’s Wonderland at your local Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s! Advance reservations are required in all locations and can go quickly. Reserving is easy and free. Reservations are available up to seven days in advance. Receive a free 4×6 studio-quality photo, as well as a free digital video greeting card to share on social media. Additional photo packages are also available for purchase and print instantly in the store. November 6 – December 24, 2021. More info: Experience Santa’s Wonderland 2021 | Cabela’s (cabelas.com)
Tulalip. Cabela’s, 9810 Quil Ceda Boulevard, Tulalip, WA 98271. Experience the magic of Christmas at Santa’s Wonderland at your local Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s! Advance reservations are required in all locations and can go quickly. Reserving is easy and free. Reservations are available up to seven days in advance. Receive a free 4×6 studio-quality photo, as well as a free digital video greeting card to share on social media. Additional photo packages are also available for purchase and print instantly in the store. November 6 – December 24, 2021. More info: Experience Santa’s Wonderland 2021 | Cabela’s (cabelas.com)
Tacoma. Waterfront Market at Ruston, 5101 Ruston Way, Ruston, WA 98407. NWSantaPortraits offers socially distant Santa photos by Appointment Only. Thanksgiving Weekend and Saturdays-Sundays in December. More info: NW Santa Portraits (nwsantaphotos.com) and Tacoma Point Ruston Public Market – NW Santa Portraits
Multiple locations. Nordstrom Festive experiences. October 18 through December. Snap a holiday pics in their free immersive photosets. Backdrops vary by location. No appointment is needed. At Bellevue, Seattle, and other selected stores across the nation.
Multiple Locations. Arthur & Associates Santa Photos is the reincarnation of the former Frederick & Nelson department stores program. Now serving third and fourth-generation visitors, A&A provides both Santa and Easter Bunny photography for the Seattle area locations listed below. Photo times vary at each location. 2020 photo packages were priced from $42-$75 (not updated for 2021 last time we checked). Open daily from Black Friday through Christmas Eve. More info: http://www.santaphotos.com/.
- BELLEVUE SQUARE – Santa Photos
- EVERETT MALL – Santa Photos
- LAKE FOREST PARK TOWN CENTER – Santa Photos
- FEDERAL WAY COMMONS – Santa Photos
- REDMOND TOWN CENTER – Santa Photos
- SEATTLE UNIVERSITY VILLAGE – Santa Photos
2021 Special events for a photo with Santa
These are special limited events for Santa photos ops. We’ve listed prices where available last time we checked their website.
Asian American Santa at Wing Luke Museum in Seattle. December 4, 2021 SOLD OUT. Requires reservation. Arrive early for your photos with Santa and spend time meeting local artists. You’re sure to find the most unique gifts. Santa photo, $6 for Members, $12 for non-members.
Greenbank, Whidbey Island. Greenbank Farm Holiday Market, Saturday November 27 AND December 4, 2021. There will be Santa for the kids (on opposite sides of the Christmas tree for safety, but still pictures!) and of course, lots of local, handmade gifts! Free admission. More info: Greenbank Farm Holiday Market (brownpapertickets.com)
Father Christmas at Fort Nisqually Museum in Tacoma. December 4, 2021 SOLD OUT. Take a break from the hustle and bustle of modern holidays and experience a real old-fashioned Christmas. Father Christmas (aka Santa, but not Santa) will be available for visits and photos throughout the day. Everyone can join in greeting the yule log with toasts and Christmas carols. Saw off a piece of log to take home for a holiday fire. Join in parlor games, make ornaments, enjoy 19th century Christmas stories around a campfire and learn traditional dances. Tickets available online and at the door:
Adult – $10.50, Senior/Military – $9.50, Youth (4-17) – $8.50, Child (3 and under) – FREE. Discounts: Family (2 Adults and up to 6 Youth) – $35. Fort Nisqually Members – FREE.
Caring Santa at Tacoma Mall. December 12, 2021. Reservation required. Caring Santa supports the sensory, physical and other developmental needs of children of all abilities for this special event.
PetSmart Santa photos (multiple Puget Sound locations). December 4-5, 11-12 & 18-19 from 12 – 3 p.m. Availability by location is subject to change without notice. Photos can be taken on personal device or on store device.
2019 Santa photo ops
Last time we checked (12/15/2021), the following Santa photo opportunities did not have updated information for 2021.
Ivar’s Acres of Clams in Seattle at Pier 54. Strike a pose with Ivar’s beloved Dancing Clam is getting a jolly new look as “Santa” Clam, adorned with festive holiday garb for children and families to take a holiday photo. The following Monday, Ivar’s posts all photos on Ivars.com for free digital download – perfect for holiday cards – and kids will receive a free holiday treat. Reservations recommended: https://www.ivars.com/ivarsreservations or call 206-624-6852 or reserve here.
Evergreen Beauty College Santa photos at Evergreen Beauty College. Get your FREE professional Santa Photos, with warm drinks, the first 25 families in line will also receive some fun giveaways. Where: Evergreen Beauty College Renton Campus (1222 Bronson Way N, Renton, WA 98057) & Everett Campus (802 SE Everett Mall Way, Everett, WA 98208).
Xfinity Store Free Santa Photos at Bellevue Square. Visit Santa and his helper elf and take free photos.
Holiday Open House with Santa at Alderwood Manor Heritage Museum, 19903 Poplar Way, Lynnwood WA. An afternoon of friendship, coffee, hot cider and cookies. Bring the whole family for BYOC photos with Santa. Donations of canned food will go to the Lynnwood Food Bank.
Admiralty Head Lighthouse open house on Whidbey Island. Get your photo taken with Santa, listen to local live music, take a tour of the lighthouse before it closes for an exciting eight-month renovation.
Free Holiday Photo & Canned food Drive at Rainier Beach. Join Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., Lambda Alpha Zeta Chapter and take a free photo with Black Santa! Bring the kids, bring the adults, and a selection of canned goods. You will have a holiday keepsake at no charge and together we’ll help stock King County Food Banks.
Santa Saturday at Hotel Sorrento in Seattle. The jolliest man in red will be visiting the hotel to hear all of your holiday wishes! Stop by for a photo with Saint Nick , BYOC (bring your own camera) and your Christmas list!
Bowman Bay, Deception Pass State Park Fundraiser. Enjoy complimentary hot chocolate and delicious baked goods. Get your photo taken with Santa. Experience the lighted park cabins. Write letters to military service men and women and warm up by the roaring bonfire. Drop off unwrapped toys to a donation box. Get creative and make tree ornaments and other crafts. Local carolers and choirs will serenade you with holiday songs. This family-friendly event supports and promotes the Deception Pass Park Foundation’s mission of resource protection through education. A $5 suggested per car donation will be appreciated. All money raised directly benefits and enhances educational programs in the park. Parking is limited, and carpooling is encouraged.
Seattle Aquarium features Diving Santa Come see Santa diving in the 120,000-gallon Window on Washington Waters exhibit. Bring your camera, take your picture with Diving Santa and stay perfectly dry! Donations will be accepted to help fund Seattle Aquarium DreamNights—evenings dedicated to bringing children who have disabilities, chronic illnesses or special needs to the Aquarium to explore exhibits at their own pace. Or have your photo taken by their professional photographer so the whole family can be in the picture.
But wait, there’s more!
- Christmas lights around the Puget Sound region
- U-cut, fresh cut Christmas trees around the Sound
- Best retailers for gifts, party supplies, holiday decor
- FREE Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, and holiday events
- December events and entertainment
- Find more Christmas and holiday events
- Here’s a list of 101+ always free things to do for fun.
- More free and cheap things to do every day: Greater Seattle on the Cheap event calendar.
- Still more ideas for frugal fun: Greater Seattle on the Cheap home page.
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Upcoming Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa & Holiday Events
The following events on our calendar include holiday events of all kinds.
Friday, September 30, 2022