The Best Places to Visit Santa in Los Angeles

Santa Claus at Westfield
Photo courtesy of Westfield

Author:

Jen Hadley

Santa Claus is coming to town, and we’ve got his itinerary. From Grinchmas™ at Universal Studios Hollywood to Cocoa with Santa at Westfield Century City, Santa is making a ton of stops throughout Los Angeles in December. Here are some of the places where you and your family (including pets) can enjoy a meet and greet with Kris Kringle.

Grinchmas™ - Universal Studios Hollywood (Dec. 1, 2, 8, 9 & 14-30)

Grinchmas™ with The Grinch™ and Max at Universal Studios Hollywood
Grinchmas™ with The Grinch™ and Max | Photo courtesy of Universal Studios Hollywood

Green, grumpy, and Who-ville’s resident Santa impostor, The Grinch™ and his one-antler sidekick Max have stolen Santa’s spotlight at Universal Studios Hollywood™! Photo opportunities available at Grinchmas™ with The Grinch, Max and a 65-foot Seuss-inspired Christmas tree. While you’re there, be sure to enjoy the festive nightly snowfall at Christmas in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™. Advance tickets to Holidays at Universal Studios Hollywood are available online.

Westfield Century City - Cocoa with Santa (Dec. 1, 8, 15)

Cocoa with Santa at Westfield Century City
Cocoa with Santa | Photo courtesy of Westfield

Santa and Mrs. Claus will be hosting guests in their winter wonderland at Westfield Century City. Enjoy sweets, crafts, custom photos, and surprise gifts with the first family of Christmas. Cocoa with Santa is a hot-ticket item this holiday season, so be sure to purchase tickets in advance.

Santa’s Workshop at The Grove (through Dec. 24)

Santa's Workshop at The Grove
High five for Santa at The Grove | Instagram by @yvettemachado

The Grove’s iconic Winter Wonderland may be on the “must-see” list for adult Angelenos, but for little visitors, Santa’s Workshop at the Grove is the real “can’t miss” event of the season. Bring your Christmas wish list and your biggest smiles to share with Santa, then capture the moment with a photo. Walk-ins are welcome, but wait times will vary, so reservations are your best bet.

Visit with Santa - The Paley Center for Media (Saturdays & Sundays through Dec. 23)

Visit with Santa at The Paley Center for Media
Photo courtesy of The Paley Center for Media, Facebook

Santa will swing into Beverly Hills at The Paley Center for Media to spend time with families on Saturdays and Sundays through December 23, plus Wednesday-Friday, December 19-21. It’s Holiday Time in PaleyLand features continuous daily screenings of beloved classic holiday TV programs from the Paley Archive. Families can also enjoy special holiday activities like arts and crafts, dreidel games, and free hot cocoa!

Santa's Cottage - Six Flags Magic Mountain (Daily through Dec. 24)

Mrs. Claus at Six Flags Magic Mountain
Mrs. Claus at Six Flags Magic Mountain | Instagram by @asap_teresa221

Santa’s Cottage is open and ready for visitors at Six Flags Magic Mountain. After the souvenir photo with Santa, kids will enjoy making crafts with Mrs. Claus and her elves before taking in the dancing light shows in Merry Lane. Adults will age-appropriate indulgences at Holiday in the Park such as seasonal craft beers and festive holiday drinks.

South Lake Avenue Holidayfest (Dec. 1)

South Lake Avenue Holidayfest in Pasadena
Photo courtesy of South Lake Avenue Holidayfest

Free parking, free admission, scavenger hunts, holiday crafts, live carolers, horse and carriage rides and Santa? Yep. Taking place from noon to 5pm on December 1, the South Lake Avenue Holidayfest in Pasadena has something for everyone. Holidayfest will also boast live music by The Jacks, Maggie Szabo, and La Santa Cecilia. Dozens of local businesses will offer in-store activities and promotions.

Pet Night with Santa - Glendale Galleria (Dec. 3, 10, 17)

Pet Night with Santa at Glendale Galleria
Pet Night with Santa | Photo courtesy of Glendale Galleria

Canines and cats are family too, and Santa is carving out special time just for our four-legged friends at the Glendale Galleria. Pet Night with Santa takes place at Santa's Workshop on Monday nights from 5-8 pm. Not to worry if you don’t have a pet, humans are totally welcome as well. Human photos with Santa are available every day through December 24, reservations are recommended.

Holiday Tree Lighting - Culver City (Dec. 6)

Santa will be on hand to help light the holiday tree in Downtown Culver City, while visitors enjoy hot cider, cookies, cocoa and other treats. The Culver City Downtown Business Association has invited all to celebrate peace, good will, and the holiday season at this free annual event.

"Elf" - Westwood Village Cinema Under the Stars (Dec. 8)

Seeing Santa is exciting enough, but seeing Santa and then watching Buddy the Elf on the big screen? Outside? That’s something to smile about—and smiling is Buddy’s favorite! Presented by the Westwood Village Improvement Association, the Cinema Under the Stars screening of Elf begins at 4pm with free photos with Santa, cocoa, a holiday-themed photo-booth, crafts, live music, and more. The movie starts at sundown (about 6:30pm). "Seating" is on Broxton Avenue - moviegoers are encouraged to bring something comfy to sit on, such as lawn chairs, blankets, or pillows.

Story Time with Holiday Mermaids - Santa Monica Pier (Dec. 7, 14, 21)

Wonderland by the Water at Santa Monica Pier
Photo courtesy of Santa Monica Pier

If seeing Santa isn’t a priority, but you’d still like to indulge in a bit of unique SoCal holiday spirit, pop over to the Santa Monica Pier for Wonderland by the Water and photos at the Merry-Go-Round with Holiday Mermaids. Perfect for young children, Holiday Mermaids will coincide with Story Time, courtesy of the Santa Monica Public Library.