Where to Take Pictures With Santa in Chicago

This morning I came across a headline on the Wall Street Journal that read – Sad Santas Confront Empty Malls: ‘Do I Have Something in My Beard?’ and laughed a little. But then I read the article and felt a little sad for some of these Santas in these malls that don’t have a lot of foot traffic.

It got me thinking how there are now so many places for kids in Chicago to see and take pictures with Santa, not just in malls. Although, our tradition since Luke’s first Christmas is to take pictures with Santa at 900 North Michigan Shops, which is mall. We took Luke and the twins there last night and it was so nice to know that Santa remembered us…well, at least he said he did. I’m gonna believe he did. He was very surprised and happy to see our new additions – Cruz and Levi. He wasn’t even mad that Levi pulled on his real beard. In my opinion, he’s the coolest Santa in Chicago.

Selfies with Santa at the Skydeck

Speaking of cool….we went to the Skydeck at the Willis Tower to take pictures or “Selfies with Santa” this past weekend. All I can say is that we took pictures with Santa to a new level…to the 103rd floor (on the Ledge) to be exact! I have to say, it’s one of my favorites of Luke with Santa (well, besides his first photo with Santa). It was a thrill for me to snap the picture of Luke on the ledge with Santa and I think I will have to frame this one.

I know there’s only a week until Christmas and if you haven’t taken your child(ren) to take pictures with Santa yet, here is my roundup on where to take them in Chicago.

Unique Places To Go to Take Pictures With Santa in Chicago

  • Skydeck Chicago – Selfies with Santa are available on certain dates.
  • Christkindlmarket Chicago – This popular Christmas market not only has popular German food and drinks but also has a little house for Santa.
  • Navy Pier’s Winter Wonderfest – We’ve been to Winter Wonderfest for the past two years and Luke absolutely loves it. Santa is only available at certain times so call and check before you go.
  • Lincoln Park Zoo – If your child loves the zoo, it’s great to get and zoo adventure in and photos with Santa in one spot.
  • Spirit of Chicago – Santa Lunch Cruise – This is only offered on a specific date. So plan early.
  • Heritage Bicycles & Coffee – Take a few selfies with Santa and drink some coffee (for the adults) or hot chocolate. Check website for specific dates.


  • The Langham Chicago Hotel – check with hotel for specific dates for Santa’s visit.
  • The Peninsula Hotel – Children’s afternoon tea with Mrs. Claus (and a surprise visit from Santa Claus.
  • The Swissotel Chicago – Check out the Santa Suite to see where Santa sleeps when he’s in town, decked out with a room where kids can take pictures with Santa.

Malls / Shopping Centers / Department Stores

  • 900 North Michigan Shops – You will need to check in on the 3rd floor and have your name on the list. They will text you when it’s your time to take pictures with Santa. In the meantime, enjoy a meal at the new food hall – Aster Hall .
  • Water Tower Place – You can reserve your spot online. When you’re there, you can take an interactive sleigh ride to the North Pole.
  • Macy’s on State Street – Santaland is located on the 5th floor.

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