Tag Archives: Santa in the DMV

Fun Places to Encounter Santa During the Rest of the Holiday Season

So, not all Santa pics go as planned…


A visit or photo with Santa is the thing to make many a kid’s holiday season.  If you’re still looking for the red-robed, white-bearded guy around DC, you can find him at many places — often along with extra fun and treats.  Here’s where he’ll be for the rest of the season, from free gatherings to special brunches to holiday shows to train rides to classic photo stops at the mall.


Where: Nationals Park | Capitol Riverfront, DC
When: Through December 31
Admission: $32+/adult, $24+/age 3-17

The 90,000-square foot Christmas light maze as Nationals Park offers more than just the dazzling lights show on the field.  Along the concourse above it all, there is live entertainment, food and drink, a Play Place just for little ones, a Christmas market,  and photo ops with Santa and Mrs. Claus.  View scenes from last year’s event and read a KFDC review (from the first season it was here in 2019) of this newer-to-DC holiday attraction.

Christmas at Gaylord National
Where: Gaylord National Resort | National Harbor, MD
When: Through December 24
Admission: Starts at $40

The Gaylord National Hotel at National Harbor goes all out during the holidays, offering all kinds of activities for families, including photos with Santa. You have to sign up for a time and purchase for a package.  Plan to enjoy  more activities while you’re there, like Christmas light shows, ice tubing, gingerbread decorating, and ICE!  (Note that most cost extra.) Read more about Christmas at the Gaylord e in this KFDC post from last year by Emily Moise.

Holiday Tree Lighting
Where: Canal Park Ice Rink | Capitol Riverfront, DC
When: December 14, 6-9pm
Admission: Free (but skating require admission fee)
The holiday party will include the tree lighting, ice skating, live entertainment photo ops and a special appearance by  Washington Capitals mascot Slapshot and a certain other white bearded guests.  There will also be a cozy Holiday Lounge above the rink with mulled wine for adults along with a Hot Chocolate Bar and S’mores Station for all ages (while supplies last). Plus, the first 150 attendees to arrive can get free skate rentals at the ice rink and the first 100 will receive an exclusive Capitol Riverfront mug & hot cocoa kit giveaway.

The B&O Polar Express
Where: B&O Railroad Museum | Baltimore, MD
When: December 15-19
Admission: $47-67

Climb aboard The Polar Express to create a Christmas memory that you and your family will cherish forever! Come in your pajamas as a family to watch the live performance of The Polar Express. Once on the train, the classic Christmas tale will be performed and little ones will have the opportunity to meet Santa and receive their first gift of Christmas! Santa’s helpers will greet you upon arrival to the North Pole, where you can take pictures with Santa and have lots of holiday fun.

Brunch with Santa
Where: Pinstripes | Georgetown, DC
When: December 16 & 17
Admission: Cost of your meal

We took the kids to this wehen they were little, and they loved the brunch buffet almost as much as they loved meeting Santa and getting photos with him. It includes a waffle station, an omelet station, and sweets table, plus maple glazed ham, shrimp cocktail, herb roasted Chicken, a chocolate fountain, and more! Champagne will be flowing with Bottomless Mimosas and Aperol Spritzes for Mom and Dad. There is no photographer, but guests are encouraged to take pics when the man of the hour stops by.

Holly Trolley Fest
Where: National Capitol Trolley Museum | Colesville, MD
When: December 16, 17, & 23
Admission: $10/adults, $8/ages 2-17 (includes unlimited rides)
Explore a unique DC area museum this holiday season. Visit with Santa down our mile-long woodland railroad, featuring a holiday ride on our historic street cars. In addition, enjoy a holiday model railroad display in collaboration with the Washington, Virginia & Maryland Garden Railway Society, crafts for children, photo opportunities, and more.

A Family Christmas
Where: Kennedy Center  | Foggy Bottom, DC
When: December 16 & 24
Tickets: $20-45

This holiday concert by the Choral Arts Chorus is targeted to kids as they perform  holiday classics just for them. A visit from Santa, Frosty, and Rudolph is promised, too!

Where: Franklin Park | Downtown DC
When: Through December 17
Admission: Free

Santa and other characters will be making appearances at this winter pop-up at Franklin Park. Other holiday festivities include Ice Sculpture Island, Holiday Lane, the Frosted Maker’s Market, a larger than life Snow Globe Main Stage, and more!  Most of them occur on the weekends — see the website for the schedule.

Mount Pleasant Holiday Market
Where: Mount Pleasant St & Lamont Plaza | Mount Pleasant, DC
When: December 17, 11am – 5pm
Admission: Free

The Mt. Pleasant neighborhood will become the DC’s Holiday Village in the City on Sunday. More than four dozen local artisans will line Mount Pleasant Street and Lamont Plaza, selling home décor, paintings, pottery, candles, vintage goods and other items. The event also includes a special visit from Santa — he’ll be be available for pictures and to hand out free toys to children. While you’re there, stop to create a free card with We Are Artistic, a group of local high school kids hosting a card-making table for Cards For Hospitalized Kids.

Tea, Cookies, and Magic with Santa
Where: Hank’s Old Town | Alexandria, VA
When: December 17 & 23, 11am – 1pm
Admission: $65

Parents and children can gather for a memorable performance by either the hilarious renowned entertainer the Great Zucchini.  Santa Claus himself will make a grand entrance to greet the little ones and spread holiday cheer. After the show, guests will enjoy a holiday spread of tea sandwiches and sweets. Reserve your spot!

Santa Brunch
Where: Surfside | Tenleytown, DC
When: December 23, 11am – 3pm
Admission: Cost of your meal

The Mexican fast casual spot that’s great for a family meal is having a special brunch time with Santa the Saturday before he sets out on his big night. They’ll have hot coco and candy canes for kiddos, and a photographer will be on site to take photos with Santa. Doesn’t hurt to make reservations.

Christmas Market
Where: Schlagel Farm | Waldorf, MD
When: December 23, 9:30-11:30am
Admission: Free

Head to the farm for a visit with Santa and Mrs. They’ll be available for pictures during the Christmas Market, where you cab stock up on all the veggies and centerpieces (rib roasts, briskets, hams, and lamb cuts) you need for a holiday feast. Jams/jellies/ciders will be 10% off to stuff your stockings, too. The market is 9am – 2pm, but Santa will only be there from 9:30-11:30am.

Photos at the Mall
Where: Malls around the DC area
When: Throughout the holiday season
Admission: Varies by place

If you just want to get the classic photo with Santa at a shopping mall, here’s where you can find him:
Pentagon City
Tysons Corner Center
Westfield Montgomery Mall
Westfield Wheaton Mall
Springfield Mall
Prince George’s Mall (w/Black Santa)


Filed under 2023, DC, Holidays, Maryland, Virginia