Santa Season is here!
‘Tis the season to bring the kids to visit jolly old Saint Claus. I recently visited two Montgomery County shopping malls to check out their Santas.
While there are plenty of places to visit Santa in the Washington, DC Metro area, often they are for a short period of time or even a one time appearance.
Shopping malls provide an opportunity to visit Santa 7 days a week for 4 or more weeks prior to Christmas. Convenience is the biggest advantage to visiting a shopping mall Santa, but the high cost of pictures, packages ranging in price from $21 to $45, can be a disadvantage.
None of the malls I visited seemed to offer a single picture option. Your child can visit Santa for free but personal cameras are not allowed past a certain point.
#1 Westfield Montgomery Mall
From Nov 19 to Dec 24
7101 Democracy Blvd.
Bethesda, MD 20817
My three youngest children, ages 2 through 5 years old, and I checked out Montgomery Mall’s Santa in Bethesda early one Tuesday afternoon.
The mall was far more crowded than I imagined it would be. Santa had a large green chair surrounded by decorated Christmas trees and over-sized Christmas ornaments on the floor.
We highly recommend making the booking in advance.
Families are encouraged to make a reservation.
The Santa set is in a very central and busy location in the mall. Almost directly above the Santa set was a very large electronic screen hanging from the ceiling. It distracted my children.
I was disappointed that the mall was playing somewhat loud popular music rather than holiday tunes. I often had to stoop down to hear my son speak to me.
- Santa will be at Westfield Montgomery through Christmas Eve. He is available Monday through Sunday from 11am to 7pm with reindeer feeding breaks.
- Santa will be done by 6pm on Christmas Eve.
Pet Photos with Santa
- Here’s your chance to take your pet’s pictures with Santa. This special event runs from Nov 19th till Dec 24th.
- Make sure that you have reserved your spot.
RELATED: Christmas Activities in Washington DC (+ Events)
#2 Westfield Wheaton Mall
Dec 1 to Dec 24
11160 Veirs Mill Road
Wheaton, MD 20902
I stopped by to see Santa on a Tuesday, November 30th around 2pm and found no Santa.
I assumed he must be on a break but the web site posted a break time from 3 to 4pm. The Santa display here is probably the most decorated of the three I visited.
Kids sit with Santa in a massive sled with wrapped gifts coming out the back and surrounded by several decorated trees including 4 by local non-profit organizations for a Festival of Trees.
All 4 trees are on display by the Santa set through Christmas Eve. Voting boxes and ballots are available at the Santa set.
There is also a very large snowman toy soldier in the Santa set. Santa is located at Lower Level Macys Court of the mall where there is not much foot traffic and plenty of open space.
Santa Sighting at the Mall
- Santa will be at Westfield Wheaton through Christmas Eve.
- On Monday through Saturday, he is available from 11am until 7pm with a break from 3-4pm.
- Sunday hours are 11am until 6pm with a break from 3-3:30pm. Christmas Eve hours are 10am until 4pm.
- While at the mall, you can also get the kids on the Westfield Wheaton Express, located on the lower level near Macy’s.
Here are Some Useful Tips Before Going:
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- Please see each mall’s website for Santa hours and break times.
- Weekends are busier than weekdays. Be prepared with snacks and activities for long waits.
- Photo packages at all malls are also available. Enquire for each at the respective malls. Cash and major credit cards are accepted.
- Sitting on Santa’s lap is free, but personal cameras are prohibited after a certain point.
- Keep in mind that some children, especially younger ones, might not want to visit Santa.