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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2022 Santa Photo Ops 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.)
Issaquah. Cougar Mountain Zoo in Issaquah WA | Zoological Society of Washington. Santa photo op at Issaquah Reindeer Festival, December 1-23, 2022. Take part in the most unique annual holiday celebration in the Northwest, offering excitement and fun for everyone! Come take a safe, distanced photo (minimum donation required) with the Big Guy and his sleigh! Note: Santa takes a nap from 1-1:30 each day. Reindeer photo op, December 26-30, 2022. one of Santa’s Reindeer has gleefully agreed to remain behind (Santa has gone back to the North Pole) for additional photo opportunities (attendance is limited, minimum donation required). Reservations required; admission includes Zoo Admission. More info: Issaquah Reindeer Festival – Cougar Mountain Zoo
Kent. Kent Station | kentstation. Santa Photos happen in Santa’s Cozy Cottage (in front of AMC). Photos are by appointment. Walk-ins IF TIME ALLOWS; appointments strongly suggested. Package prices: $20-$50. More info: Kent Station Santa Photos and Events & Specials | kentstation
Kirkland. Heston Photography in Kirkland Highlands. November 21 – December 27, 2022. 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. Package prices: $65-$350. Private session in your home: $775 and up. More info: Holiday Photos (holiday-photos.com)
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 2022 Frostival and Winter Market Series and Kirkland Urban : Events
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! 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. Advance reservations are required in all locations beginning October 30 and can go quickly. Reserving is easy and free. Reservations are available up to seven days in advance. November 5 – December 24, 2022. A festive Santa parade kick offs the Christmas season November 5, 2022, as Santa returns to open Santa’s Wonderland! More info: Experience Santa’s Wonderland 2022 | Cabela’s (cabelas.com)
Puyallup. Washington State Fairgrounds. Selected dates November 12 – December 23, 2022. Read the detailed Santa Photos Reservation process. All 5,500+ reservation openings will sell out! Prices: $24.95-$43.95 and up. More info: North Pole at the Fair – Puyallup Santa Photos
Seattle. Nordstrom Santa Lane in Downtown Seattle. November 25–December 24, 2022. Visit Santa, share your list, and get a picture with the jolly fellow at Nordstrom Downtown Seattle. More info: Festive Experiences (nordstromrsvp.com)
Seattle. Pike Place Market kicks of the holiday season with their annual Magic in the Market celebration Thanksgiving weekend on Saturday, November 26, 2022 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: 27th Annual Magic in the Market – Pike Place Market
Seattle. Swansons Nursery selected dates November 12 – December 23, 2022. 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 packages begin at $54. More info: Online Scheduler for Santa Pictures by Bonjour Photo (schedulista.com)
Snohomish. Historic Downtown Snohomish, Saturday-Sunday, November 26 – December 18,2022. Bring your camera or smartphone to snap a free Santa photo every Saturday and Sunday at locations around Snohomish. For a schedule of locations, visit: Tree Lighting and Santa | HDSA Website (historicdowntownsnohomish.org)
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! 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. Advance reservations are required in all locations beginning October 30 and can go quickly. Reserving is easy and free. Reservations are available up to seven days in advance. November 5 – December 24, 2022. A festive Santa parade kick offs the Christmas season November 5, 2022, as Santa returns to open Santa’s Wonderland! More info: Experience Santa’s Wonderland 2022 | Cabela’s (cabelas.com)
Tacoma. Fort Nisqually, 5519 Five Mile Dr, Tacoma, WA 98407. Saturday, December 3, 2022 from 11 am-4 pm. Take a break from the hustle and bustle of modern holidays and experience a real old-fashioned Christmas at Fort Nisqually Living History Museum. A highlight of the event is the arrival of the yule log, towed in by young visitors. Everyone can join in greeting 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 throughout the day! More info: Christmas Regale – Metro Parks Tacoma
Tacoma. Tacoma Mall – A Simon Property, 4502 S Steele St, Tacoma, WA 98409. November 18 – December 24, 2022. In JCPenney Court. Photo prices: $20-50. 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: Tacoma Mall Santa Photo 2022
Tacoma Mall will also host a special event with Santa this season for children with special needs: Caring Santa® – December 4th from 9:00 AM – 10:30 AM
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! 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. Advance reservations are required in all locations beginning October 30 and can go quickly. Reserving is easy and free. Reservations are available up to seven days in advance. November 5 – December 24, 2022. A festive Santa parade kick offs the Christmas season November 5, 2022, as Santa returns to open Santa’s Wonderland! More info: Experience Santa’s Wonderland 2022 | Cabela’s (cabelas.com)
Whidbey Island. Light up your Holiday – Admiralty Head Lighthouse – Fort Casey State Park (whidbeycamanoislands.com) December 10 @ 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.
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. More info: Greenbank Farm Holiday Market – Dec. 3-4 & 10-11 | 11 am to 4 pm (whidbeycamanoislands.com)
Multiple locations. PetSmart FREE Santa Photos. 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.
2021 Santa Photo Ops in the Puget Sound region
(As we verify these 2021 photo ops, we’ll move them to the above list. We expect to have completed our review before Thanksgiving.)
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
Everett. 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.
Lynnwood. Alderwood Shopping Mall. Santa photos at Macy’s 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.
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
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. 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: Santa Photos | Waterfront Market at Ruston via NW Santa Portraits (nwsantaphotos.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. 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
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.
Thursday, December 8, 2022
Friday, December 9, 2022
Saturday, December 10, 2022
Sunday, December 11, 2022
Monday, December 12, 2022
Tuesday, December 13, 2022
Wednesday, December 14, 2022
Thursday, December 15, 2022
Friday, December 16, 2022
Saturday, December 17, 2022
Sunday, December 18, 2022
Monday, December 19, 2022
Tuesday, December 20, 2022
Wednesday, December 21, 2022
Thursday, December 22, 2022
Friday, December 23, 2022
Saturday, December 24, 2022
Sunday, December 25, 2022
Monday, December 26, 2022
Tuesday, December 27, 2022
Wednesday, December 28, 2022
Thursday, December 29, 2022
Friday, December 30, 2022
Saturday, December 31, 2022
Sunday, January 1, 2023
Monday, January 2, 2023
Tuesday, January 3, 2023
Wednesday, January 4, 2023
Thursday, January 5, 2023
Friday, January 6, 2023
Saturday, January 7, 2023
Sunday, January 8, 2023