Santa can be a pretty illusive character. Trying to find when, where, and how can be a tough task when your schedule is crammed with shopping sprees and cookie baking. I have found three of the best places to visit Santa in the Chicago area, read on to find your new favorite!
If your kid has embraced the digital age and is all about interactive displays, this location is for you. Journey through Santa’s HQ and take an Elfie Selfie, use Elf-Ray Vision to find hidden elements through out the tour, and even star in their own video! There is of course a Naughty or Nice list where your child anxiously awaits the determination of their holiday fate. A visit with Santa is at the end of this magical journey, and you can either choose a photo package or snap one yourself.
Location: Fashion Outlets of Rosemont, near the food court; 5520 Fashion Outlets Way, Rosemont
Dates: Now through December 24th; check website for times; varies from 11am or noon start to 7pm or 8pm end (except on the 24th where they close early)
Event Cost: Free
Photos: Packages are $34.99 through December 8, and increase to $39.99 December 9-24th. Includes one 5×7, two 4x6s, 8 wallet-sized photos and digital downloads.
Tip: Don’t want to wait in line? You can reserve a time here!
Want to know where Santa stays when he comes to Chicago? At the Santa Suite, of course! This magical Presidential Suite has been transformed to a winter wonderland, complete with Santa’s spare suit in the closet and hot cocoa on his night stand. Santa and Mrs. Claus are on hand to hear what the children’s wishes are as well as occasional visits from special guests. A dining table is elegantly set for many of our favorite fictional characters such as the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, Father Time and Cupid.
Location: Swissôtel Chicago, 323 E. Wacker Dr. Chicago
Dates: December 10th (11am-4pm) and December 17th (1pm-4pm)
Event Cost: Free
Photos: Take your own
Tip: Post or tweet a pic of yourself/family in the Santa Suite with the hashtag #SwissSantaSuite to be entered for a number of prizes, one of which is a stay at the Swissôtel Chicago!
For the ultimate city-hopping experience without battling traffic and parking, try out the Chicago Trolley Holiday Lights Tour. Board a festively decorated heated trolley in front of the Hancock building and cruise the city, taking in all of the holiday lights and decorations at iconic Chicago locations such as Macy’s windows. This tour makes two stops- one at Daley Plaza for the German holiday village of Christkindlmarket and the second at the Lincoln Park Zoo for the lights, music and interactive experience of ZooLights. A sweet treat from Sprinkles (red velvet cupcake on my tour!) makes this a delicious journey. We stopped for 30 minutes at the market and 45 at the zoo; dependent upon traffic. Santa is at the Zoo through December 23rd, make sure to check the zoo website for dates and times.
Location: Starts and ends at the NW corner John Hancock building; 875 N. Michigan Ave, Chicago
Dates: Now through December 26th; see website for times
Event Cost: Adults- $29, Kids 5-15- $18
Photos: Take your own, purchase on site or order online; starts at $14.99 for 4 wallets
Tip: Santa is in the Primate House, so make sure to head there first when you hop off the trolley!