Looking at the calendar, it feels crazy to be thinking about Christmas. But Santa Claus is coming to town – and in some cases, he’s already arrived.
And unlike in our childhoods, when visiting Santa usually amounted to a loooong wait in a crowded shopping mall for a quick pic with the jolly elf, today’s Santa experiences have a lot more to offer.
Here are our favorite places to see Santa in Chicago and the suburbs. Ho ho ho!
Nov. 18-Dec. 23, 2021
- Address: 5700 S. DuSable Lake Shore Drive, Chicago
- Cost: $40 per family (general admission not included)
On select days, families can visit Santa in his festive photo studio inside the Holiday Store. A souvenir photo is included in the purchase. While you there, check out the annual holiday event, Christmas Around the World and Holidays of Lights.
Nov. 26-Dec. 19, 2021
- Address: 3635 N. Clark St., Chicago
- Cost: Free admission
Between ice skating, Christmas movies, Christkindlmarket and the other holiday activities at Gallagher Way, you can also visit Santa on weekends! You can find Santa’s Workshop at the base of the Cubs building, near the Cubs Store at Gallagher Way. Pets are also allowed on Sundays.
Through Dec. 23, 2021
- Address: 2100 N. Clark St., Chicago
- Cost: Included in admission
If you’re attending Lincoln Park Zoo’s holiday light display before Christmas, you might have a chance to see Santa. Socially-distanced photos with Santa are available from 4-9 p.m. at the Helen Branch Primate House.
Through Dec. 24, 2021
- Address: 111 N. State St., Chicago
- Cost: Free admission
On the 5th floor in Macy’s State Street location, go over your wish list with Jolly Old St. Nick. This location is great when enjoying more holiday activities in The Loop. Plus, virtual experiences are available Nov. 26-Dec. 24.
Nov. 20-Dec. 24, 2021
- Address: 900 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago
- Cost: $50
While you’re enjoy holiday activities, reserve a spot to visit Santa at 900 Shops. Don’t worry about waiting in line because this mall is only taking reservations. Guests can spend some time with Santa and quickly take off their masks when they’re ready for their photo.
Nov. 28-Dec. 19, 2021
- Address: 25 E. Washington St., Chicago
- Cost: $25
Spend the holidays at Museum of Illusions with Santa as the special guest. You’ll find him wandering around the museum and who can say no to taking a photo with Santa in the Vortex Tunnel? Plus, kids will receive a special holiday treat at the end of their visit.
Dec. 4-5, 11-12, 2021
- Address: Abbey Farms, 2855 Hart Road, Aurora
- Cost: $20 per person
Enjoy some farm fun in the winter season! Schedule a visit with Santa inside Abbey Farms’ Nagel Farmstand Emporium. Each visit will receive hot chocolate, apple cider doughnuts, coloring books and crayons, and a special gift from Santa.
Dec. 4-19, 2021
- Address: Swissotel Chicago, 323 E. Upper Wacker Drive, Chicago
- Cost: $600 per hour (up to 15 guests)
Do you know where Santa stays while he is in town? At Swissotel Chicago’s Santa Suite, of course! Families are invited to hang out at his home away from the North Pole in this private experience featuring a visit with Santa, hot cocoa bar, holiday treats and champagne, keepsake ornament, cookie decorating and crafts, and more. A $50 donation of the total price will be made to SOS Children’s Villages Illinois.
Virtual bookings available
- Cost: $35
Known as Chicago’s Black Santa, you can book a virtual visit with Dreezy Claus for up to 15 minutes. Kids can chat via video chat to talk about what they want for Christmas and more. Physical visits are also available starting at $50.
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