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Best Places for Pictures with Santa

The holidays are often a time when parents will get everyone dressed up and take their children to see Santa Claus to capture the memories of the season. The great news is that there’s plenty of places in Orange County to get photos that will be cherished memories for many Christmases to come.

You’ll find all the best places to take Santa photos and activities to enjoy with your family afterwards below!

Note: reservations or tickets are required for some of these experiences while some are free experiences.

Best Places For Photos With Santa

South Coast Plaza

Address: 3333 Bristol St, Costa Mesa, CA 92626

Located at South Coast Plaza, Santa’s Village is one of the most popular places to take pictures with Santa since there is so much to see and do there. There are multiple packages for pictures that include both digital files and prints.

What To Do At South Coast Plaza

After pictures, there are plenty of things you can do at the mall. While the kids ride the reindeer carousel or create their very own Christmas craft in the craft shop, you can get the last bit of holiday shopping done at one of the many stores.

Additionally, the Segerstrom Center for the Arts is also located near South Coast Plaza and often hosts a variety of Christmas programs throughout the holiday season for the whole family to enjoy.

Where To Eat At South Coast Plaza

Whether you’re looking for a fine dining experience or something casual, there are plenty of places to eat at South Coast Plaza. One highlight that I recommend to everyone is Din Tai Fung – an elevated take on authentic dumplings and potstickers, including their signature soup dumplings.

Knott’s Berry Farm

Address: 8039 Beach Blvd, Buena Park, CA 90620

Knott’s Berry Farm offers an excellent place to spend the day and take pictures with Santa Claus as part of their Knott’s Merry Farm event. Located in Santa’s Christmas Cabin, you can take your pictures before spending the rest of the day at the park. Don’t forget to visit Camp Snoopy to get pictures with your favorite Peanuts characters dressed in their holiday best!

What To Do At Knott’s Berry Farm

Once you get your pictures with Santa, you can spend the day riding some of the many rides at Knott’s Berry Farm, or indulge yourself in one of the many Christmas shows or attractions they have for Knott’s Merry Farm, like their Christmas craft village.

Where To Eat At Knott’s Berry Farm

While Knott’s has a restaurant right near the entrance and many walk-ups throughout the park, their Christmas offerings cannot be missed out on, which include turkey, bacon, and alfredo bites, a happy tidings turkey burger, and a delicious pot pie stromboli! (Seasonal offerings may vary.)

Brea Mall

Address: 1065 Brea Mall, Brea, CA 92821

The Brea Mall offers a wonderful mall Santa experience for the whole family to enjoy during the holiday season. As a matter of fact, one of the most memorable experiences here is their Caring Santa program, which provides a more calm and sensory-friendly environment for kids with special needs.

What To Do At Brea Mall

There are a number of fun places to shop for both kids and adults in the area, including Build-A-Bear Workshop where you can get one of the many holiday releases they have on hand after Santa Pictures are taken.

Where To Eat At Brea Mall

Brea Mall is home to many incredible restaurants, but I would like to highlight one in particular, Kura Revolving Sushi Bar, which offers a truly futuristic dining experience where the food comes by on a conveyor belt right to your table.

Pacific City

Address: 21010 E Pacific Coast Hwy, Huntington Beach, CA 92648

Santa has brought his airstream from The North Pole to Pacific City to stop by for pictures! As you will be located directly across from the ocean, you will be able to take some amazing pictures for your christmas cards that everyone will envy.

What To Do At Pacific City

A highlight of Pacific City is Open Market OC – a curated selection of many local businesses in a single location. Whether you’re looking for some stylish winter wear, or a truly unique gift, Open Market OC is the ideal place to find them!

Where To Eat At Pacific City

The wonderful thing about Christmas in Orange County is that the weather is still perfect for ice cream! ​​Hans’ Homemade Ice Cream offers delicious ice cream that is slow churned on site, along with shakes, sundaes, and more! Beyond that, Lot 579 offers a variety of food vendors for any mealtime option.

MainPlace Mall

Address: 2800 N Main St, Santa Ana, CA 92705

MainPlace Mall is offering a truly unique experience for pictures with Santa. Hosted by Elf On A Shelf, this experience lets you walk through a winter wonderland with plenty of spots for photos on your way to meet Santa. It’s an experience that will delight both the young and young at heart!

What To Do At MainPlace Mall

Whether you’re looking to spend some quality time with family at an attraction like Galactic Challenge, an interactive airsoft target experience, or getting Christmas shopping done at one of their many shops while the kids head to the movie theater, there’s plenty to do and see at MainPlace Mall.

Where To Eat At MainPlace Mall

There are some great restaurants to choose from at MainPlace Mall, including 3 Roots Mexican Cocina. The menu includes appetizers such as fresh guacamole, bacon wrapped jalapenos, and ahi tostadas, as well as entrees like a delicious seafood rellenos stuffed with lobster and shrimp.

Disneyland Resort

Address: 1313 Disneyland Dr, Anaheim, CA 92802

You can get a picture with Santa Claus at Disneyland at a variety of places, both in the parks and in the three hotels on property. While the parks still require reservations alongside your ticket, the resorts give you an opportunity to get pictures with Santa and explore the gorgeous decorations and gingerbread displays without a ticket.

Things To Do At Disneyland Resort

If you’re meeting Santa in Disneyland Park or California Adventure, there’s plenty of rides and shows to enjoy, but I want to highlight what to do if you opt for the hotel meet and greet. Whether you spend some time at Downtown Disney and shop, or make your way over to the Anaheim Garden Walk, you’re sure to find some incredible activities.

Where To Eat At Disneyland Resort

There are some incredible restaurants at the Disneyland Resort, but I want to highlight Black Tap – a restaurant that first gained fame in New York City, before opening its Disneyland Resort location, Black Tap is well known for their incredible burgers and deliciously indulgent milkshakes! And it is located in Downtown Disney, so you won’t need tickets to the park to try it.

Irvine Spectrum

Address: 670 Spectrum Center Dr, Irvine, CA 92618

During the Christmas season, Irvine Spectrum plays host to many Christmas activities, including photos with Santa! Like Brea mall, they also offer the opportunity for special needs Santa photos, and pet photos as well!

Things To Do At Irvine Spectrum

There are many fun things to do at Irvine Spectrum, but one of the highlights is the giant wheel at the center of everything! Once you’re at the top, you can get a fantastic view of all the decorations and the tree right across the way.

Where To Eat At Irvine Spectrum

At Irvine Spectrum, there are an endless amount of restaurants to choose from, but Silverlake Ramen takes the cake as one of the best. The classic ramen with a creamy pork broth is one of the most popular dishes at their restaurant and there’s no question as to why! Silverlake cannot be missed.

Bonus: Aquarium of the Pacific

Address: 100 Aquarium Way, Long Beach, CA 90802

Aquarium Holidays at Aquarium of the Pacific offers a unique opportunity to see and take pictures with submerged Santa. On weekends, December 3 through 18 the Aquarium has photo opportunities with diver Santa, a real snow play area on the front lawn, plus festive décor, shopping and snowfall in the Great Hall.

More Photos With Santa

Malls & Shopping Centers Offering Photos With Santa

Most malls and shopping centers offer photos with Santa during the holiday season. Some have ongoing photo opportunities, while others will have select dates to celebrate with a special visit with the man from the North Pole.

Events Featuring Photos With Santa

Keep an eye on your community calendar! Lots of cities host holiday festivals, tree lightings, and other seasonal celebrations with a visit from Santa.

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Morgan Mulac
Morgan is an avid writer about her journeys and enjoys sharing the beauty California has to offer. She is dedicated to using her writing skills to share her passion for travel with others and to help them discover the best places to eat while on vacation, no matter where she is.