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 free Santa photo ops are at Christmas festivals and other holiday events featuring an appearance by Santa Claus. Most of these 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 (most of them paid), even underwater (it is the Puget Sound region, after all). The big red guy gets around.
- Finally, there are many places with professional photographers taking your photo with Santa at shopping malls and many other locations in the Seattle-Tacoma metro area. Professional Santa photos start around $25. Lines at the busiest malls are generally shorter “early”…early in December, early in the week (Monday-Wednesday), and early in the day (before 3:00 PM). So, plan accordingly around nap times and mealtimes, especially when young children are in tow.
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2023 Free Santa Photo ops
It’s BYOC (bring your own camera) for these Santa sightings with photo opportunities.
(Listed by city or location)
Everett. Wintertide Celebration. Prepare for the thrill as the one and only Santa Claus arrives at 4:30 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 24, 2023. He’ll show up in style aboard an Everett Fire Truck, heralding the holiday season’s official commencement. Catch a FREE photo with Santa inside the Historic Everett Theatre. Santa will sit for photos on Friday, Nov. 24 from 5:30 – 8 p.m. and Saturday, Nov. 25 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Bring your own camera/phone.
Lacey. Cabela’s, 1600 Gateway Boulevard Northeast, Lacey, WA 98516. November 4 – December 24, 2023. Santas arrival kicks off the Christmas season November 4. Experience the magic of Christmas at Santa’s Wonderland at your local Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s! Free 4×6 studio-quality photo. Additional photo packages available for purchase. Advance reservations are required in all locations beginning October 29 and can go quickly. Reserving is easy and free. Reservations are available up to seven days in advance. More info: Experience Santa’s Wonderland | Cabela’s (cabelas.com)
Marysville. Merrysville for the Holidays (marysvillewa.gov). December 2, 2023. Enjoy a winter wonderland of holiday fun, food, live music, and a parade of lights. Schedule: 4:00 PM: Winter Wonderland Activities, Vendors, Food Trucks, Live Music. 6:30 p.m.: Electric Lights Parade. 7:00 p.m. – Tree Lighting, Santa Photos and Live Music.
Mercer Island Tree Lighting and “Firehouse Munch” December 1, 2023 from 5:45pm-8pm. Music, coffee cart, carolers, Santa photos, and more. More info: Illuminate MI – 2023 | Mercer Island, Washington
Petco and PetSmart. FREE photo of your pet with Santa at participating Petco and PetSmart locations.
- Petco FREE photo with Santa on Dec. 2, 2023 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at select locations only. Contact your local store for full details. More info: Pet Photos with Santa 2023 | Petco
- PetSmart Paws & Claus Photo Event for a FREE photo with the Santa December 16-17, 2023 at participating locations. Snap photos on your personal device or receive a FREE digital file via e-mail. Space is limited. Reservations are required. More info: Santa Photo Days | PetSmart
Poulsbo. Tree Lighting. November 24, 2023 @ 3:30 PM – 6:00 PM. Santa will lead a holiday procession from Poulsbo Parks and Recreation to the Liberty Bay Waterfront Park where he will officially light the tree around 5:00pm. Once the tree is lit, Santa will be available for photographs. There will be live performances to fill the air with holiday cheer, plus cookie & ornament decorating. More info: Event Calendar | Poulsbo
Seattle. Pike Place Market kicks of the holiday season with their annual Magic in the Market celebration Thanksgiving weekend on Saturday, November 25, 2023 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. Photo prices: BYOC. More info: 28th Annual Magic in the Market – Pike Place Market
Snohomish. Santa loves Snohomish so much he will be visiting local shops all season long! Find him Saturday or Sunday at various locations November 26 – December 23, 2023. Check out the schedule for where to find him: Tree Lighting and Santa | HDSA Website (historicdowntownsnohomish.org)
Tacoma. Bass Pro Shops, 7905 S Hosmer St, Tacoma, WA 98408. November 4 – December 24, 2023. Santas arrival kicks off the Christmas season November 4. Experience the magic of Christmas at Santa’s Wonderland at your local Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s! Free 4×6 studio-quality photo. Additional photo packages available for purchase. Advance reservations are required in all locations beginning October 29 and can go quickly. Reserving is easy and free. Reservations are available up to seven days in advance. More info: Experience Santa’s Wonderland | Cabela’s (cabelas.com)
Tacoma. Fort Nisqually, 5519 Five Mile Dr, Tacoma, WA 98407. Saturday, December 2, 2023 from 11 am-4 pm. Take a break from the hustle and bustle of modern holidays and experience a real old-fashioned Christmas. Everyone can join in greeting the arrival of the yule log with toasts and Christmas Carols. Guests will have a chance to take home a piece of the log for their own holiday fire. Throughout the day, guests of all ages can join in parlor games, make ornaments, and create pomanders. Father Christmas will be visiting the Fort and available for photos. Photo prices: BYOC. More info: Christmas Regale – Metro Parks Tacoma
Tulalip. Cabela’s, 9810 Quil Ceda Boulevard, Tulalip, WA 98271. November 4 – December 24, 2023. Santas arrival kicks off the Christmas season November 4. Experience the magic of Christmas at Santa’s Wonderland at your local Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s! Free 4×6 studio-quality photo. Additional photo packages available for purchase. Advance reservations are required in all locations beginning October 29 and can go quickly. Reserving is easy and free. Reservations are available up to seven days in advance. More info: Experience Santa’s Wonderland | Cabela’s (cabelas.com)
Whidbey Island. Light up your Holiday – Admiralty Head Lighthouse – Fort Casey State Park (whidbeycamanoislands.com) December 9 @ 4:00 pm – 7:00 pm. “Light up your Holidays” at Ft. Casey and the Admiralty Head Lighthouse with a spectacular view of Puget Sound. Enjoy Pictures with Santa, along with Christmas Carolers, Children’s Activities, and Roasted Marshmallows. A Discover Pass or $10 day parking fee is required for parking.
2023 Santa Photos in the Puget Sound region
We’ll keep updating this list 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 or location.)
Bellevue. Nordstrom Santa Lane at Bellevue Square. November 24 – December 24, 2023. Visit Santa, share your list, and get a picture with the jolly fellow. Package prices: $15-$50. More info: Festive Events | Nordstrom
Everett. The ORIGINAL Everett Santa Photos Friday-Sunday, November 25 – December 10. 2023. 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. Photo prices: $75-$245.
Everett. Santa Photos at Everett Mall! | Everett Mall (shopeverettmall.com). November 18 – December 24, 2023 from 11:00 am – 7:00 pm. Reserve your spot online. Walk-ins are accepted too. On November 18th, enjoy first-come-first-serve holiday cookies from Midnight Cookie Co (while supplies last). Early bird pricing through December 14. Santa Hours: Monday-Saturday: 11AM-7PM, Sunday: 11AM-6PM. Closed: 11/20, 11/21, 11/23, 11/27, 11/28. Close early Christmas Eve: 12/24: 11AM-4PM. Extended hours: 12/15-12/16: 10AM-8PM, 12/17: 11AM-7PM, 12/18-12/23: 10AM-8PM. Photo prices: $42-$75.
Issaquah. Cougar Mountain Zoo in Issaquah WA | Zoological Society of Washington. Santa photo op at Issaquah Reindeer Festival, December 1-23, 2023. Take part in the most unique annual holiday celebration in the Northwest, offering excitement and fun for everyone! Zoo admission plus additional minimum donation for Santa photos. More info: Issaquah Reindeer Festival – Cougar Mountain Zoo
Kent. Kent Station | kentstation. Santa will be at Kent Station from November 25 – December 23, 2023. Santa photos are by appointment. Walk-ins will be accommodated if time allows. Package prices: $20-$50. More info: Santa Photos — Kent Station
Kirkland. Heston Photography in Kirkland Highlands. By appointment. Santa is coming to Kirkland! Heston Photography offers a variety of Santa Photo sessions by appointment only. So, no waiting in line! “Family photos” means something different to everyone, Heston offers classic fun photos with Santa, holiday photos without Santa, and a limited number of special family pet days with a professional dog trainer onsite. Photo prices: $75-$350. Private session in your home: $775 and up. More info: Holiday Photos (holiday-photos.com)
Kitsap Peninsula. Kitsap Humane Society’s Annual Santa Paws pet and family portraits includes one family photo with Santa that will be emailed to participants digitally after the event. Animals aren’t required! All dogs must be on a leash and all other animals safely contained. All proceeds benefit animals in need at KHS! Cost: 20 per family. First come first served. Locations and schedule:
- Sunday, Nov. 19 from 12 pm – 4 pm. Santa Paws at Olmsted Tree Farm | VISIT Poulsbo (17526 Clear Creek Road NW, Poulsbo, WA 98370)
- Saturday, Dec. 2 from 12 pm – 4 pm. Santa Paws at Bay Hay & Feed (10355 NE Valley Rd, Bainbridge Island, WA 98110)
- Sunday, Dec. 10 from 12 pm – 4 pm. Santa Paws at West Hills Kia (515 W Hills Blvd, Bremerton, WA 98312)
- Saturday, Dec 16 from 12 pm – 4pm, Santa Paws at Kitsap Humane Society (9167 Dickey Rd NW, Silverdale, WA 98383)
- More info: Evens Calendar of Poulsbo | VISIT Poulsbo
Puyallup. Washington State Fairgrounds. Selected dates November 18 – December 23, 2023. Read the detailed Santa Photos Reservation process. All 5,500+ reservation openings will sell out! Photo prices: $27.50-$49.95 and up. More info: North Pole at the Fair – Puyallup Santa Photos
Redmond. Redmond Town Center. Santa photos November 24, 2023 – Christmas Eve. Closed November 27-28. Reservation Strongly Recommended. Photo prices: Santa’s secret, apparently. We went through the booking process and they still don’t tell you. More info: Visit Santa 2023 – Redmond Town Center
Renton. Holiday Breakfast with Santa! – Special Events – City of Auburn (auburnwa.gov). December 2, 2023 at 8:30am or 11am. Auburn Community & Events Center, 910 9th ST SE, Auburn, WA 98002. Breakfast will be served by Santa elves. You will also enjoy special entertainment. All Ages. Pre-registration is required. Space is limited. Admission: $12-$16 per person.
Seattle. Nordstrom Santa Lane in Downtown Seattle. November 24 – December 24, 2023. Visit Santa, share your list, and get a picture with the jolly fellow. Package prices: $15-$50. More info: Festive Events | Nordstrom
Seattle. Swansons Nursery selected dates November 11 – December 23, 2023. A wonderland of holiday delights including holiday shopping, model train village, and more, including professional Santa photos by Bonjour Photography in November & December. Appointments fill up fast, so schedule early! Photo prices: TBA. More info: Online Scheduler for Santa Pictures by Bonjour Photo (schedulista.com)
Tacoma. Tacoma Mall – A Simon Property, 4502 S Steele St, Tacoma, WA 98409. November 17 – December 24, 2023. In JCPenney Court. Photo prices: TBA. Tacoma Mall invites Pierce County residents and visitors to bring the family down to meet the man in a red suit. Children of all ages can pose with the big red guy for a holiday memory. Reservations recommended: Santa Photo Experience at Tacoma Mall
- Caring Santa: Children with special needs will get an exclusive experience to sit on Santa’s lap and smile for the camera on December 3. Reservations are required. More info:Caring Santa Is On His Way (splashthat.com)
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. Photo prices: TBA. Open daily from Black Friday through Christmas Eve. More info: http://www.santaphotos.com/.
Multiple Locations. “Where is Santa” photos: free phone call, 5×7 photo, visits at area malls (greaterseattleonthecheap.com). “Where is Santa” can be found at the following malls (listed north to sound in the Puget Sound region). There’s one farther north in Bellingham, and Vancouver, B.C., too!
- Alderwood Mall, 3000 184th Street SW, Lynnwood, WA 98037
- Westfield Southcenter, 2800 Southcenter Mall, Tukwila, WA 98188
- The Outlet Collection Seattle, 1101 Outlet Collection Way, Auburn, WA 98001
- Tacoma Mall, 4502 S Steele St, Tacoma, WA 98409
2022 Santa Photo Ops in the Puget Sound region
As we verify prior year Santa Photo ops, we’ll move them to the above list.
Last updated November 13, 2023.
Kirkland. Kirkland Urban, 400 Urban Plaza, Kirkland, WA 98033. Frostival Market, every Saturday between Thanksgiving and Christmas from 10AM TO 2PM. Snaps with Santa in his magical snow globe. Plus the life size walkthrough Gingerbread Suite, Festive Kids Crafts for the tiniest visitors, Holiday Pop Carolers, more Photo Moments at larger-than-life holiday installations and dazzling light structures, complimentary treats and giveaways while supplies last, and more. More info: Kirkland Urban : Events
Puyallup Watson’s Greenhouse Santa’s reindeer are on display until December 24.
Renton. Christmas tree lighting extravaganza. 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. This event is FREE and open to the public. More info: Christmas Tree Lighting & Laser Light Show | The Landing in Renton
Seattle. Museum of Flight. (Cancelled 2020-2022) Santa Claus is making a special visit to the Museum to meet with children and families and hear their wishes for the holiday season. Spaces are limited. Reservations are required.
Seattle. Northwest African American Museum. December 23, 2022. 3-7pm. Black Santa pop-up at Meredith Matthews YMCA (1700 23rd Ave). First come, first served. Donations appreciated.
Tacoma. Santa Photos | Waterfront Market at Ruston via NW Santa Portraits (nwsantaphotos.com) 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.
Whidbey Island. Whidbey Island Markets. December 3-4 and 10-11, 2022 @ 11:00 am – 4:00 pm. Come to the Greenbank Farm Holiday Market and get pictures with Santa or his elves, shop from local artists and craftspeople for your holiday gifts, and enjoy the wine, cheese and art at the farm.
Multiple locations. PetSmart. December 10-11 and 7-18, 2022. In-store FREE photo of your pet with Santa! After Black Friday, you can Book a Free appointment online at your nearest location.
But wait, there’s more!
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- 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, December 1, 2023
Saturday, December 2, 2023
Sunday, December 3, 2023
Monday, December 4, 2023
Tuesday, December 5, 2023
Wednesday, December 6, 2023
Thursday, December 7, 2023
Friday, December 8, 2023
Saturday, December 9, 2023
Sunday, December 10, 2023
Monday, December 11, 2023
Tuesday, December 12, 2023
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Thursday, December 14, 2023
Friday, December 15, 2023
Saturday, December 16, 2023
Sunday, December 17, 2023
Monday, December 18, 2023
Tuesday, December 19, 2023
Wednesday, December 20, 2023
Thursday, December 21, 2023
Friday, December 22, 2023
Saturday, December 23, 2023
Sunday, December 24, 2023
Monday, December 25, 2023
Tuesday, December 26, 2023
Wednesday, December 27, 2023
Thursday, December 28, 2023
Friday, December 29, 2023
Saturday, December 30, 2023
Sunday, December 31, 2023
Monday, January 1, 2024
Tuesday, January 2, 2024
Wednesday, January 3, 2024
Thursday, January 4, 2024
Friday, January 5, 2024
Saturday, January 6, 2024
Sunday, January 7, 2024
Monday, January 8, 2024
Everett Mall, 1402 SE Everett Mall Way, Everett, WA 98208
Tacoma Mall, 4502 S Steele St, Tacoma, WA 98409