Seattle's Child

Your guide to a kid-friendly city

Pictures with Santa

Best places around Seattle to get your kids’ photo with Santa

We've included Santa sessions tailored to kids with special needs.

Pictures with Santa, updated for 2022:

The Santa photo session is a beloved holiday tradition. What fun to look back through the years to see how your kids (and maybe the Santas, too) have changed.

We know of at least two families who have told their skeptical teenagers, “As long as you’re living under our roof, you’re sitting for a Santa photo!” (That way their chronological displays can range from scared baby to eye-rolling adolescent.)

Do you have a favorite, year-after-year spot, or do you go when the mood strikes and the lines aren’t too long?

If you’re open to suggestions, here are a bunch. We don’t claim that this is an exhaustive list. However, scroll down for a good selection of both diverse Santas and Santa sessions tailored for kids with special needs.

Pro tip: If you want to avoid lines, go early in the season. Going early in the day is also a good idea.

More holiday fun: Family holiday events around Seattle, 2022

Old-school Santa

Arthur & Associates
If nostalgia is what drives you to seek Santa, then Arthur & Associates is the company for you. According to company lore, a Seattle Post-Intelligencer photographer named Art French invented Santa portrait photography. He set up a photography studio in the window of Seattle’s Frederick & Nelson department store in 1943. Arthur & Associates carry on his style of a tradition that is now global. And if you are really a stickler for originals, you can go to the Town Center at Lake Forest Park and have your kid’s picture taken on the original Frederick & Nelson set.

Locations (Click to check hours and individual Santa schedules): University Village, Bellevue Square, The Commons at Federal Way, Everett Mall, Town Center at Lake Forest Park, Redmond Town Center, The Landing in Renton.


2022 Magnolia Santa Photos 

This year the neighborhood of Magnolia offers an experience with Santa at the North Pole. Take family photos with Santa, and capture the happiness of the holidays. Booking is currently unavailable, but check the website for updated information as the holidays approach. The location of these photo sessions are to be determined soon. For more detailed information call Steve at 206-406-7119.


Pictures with Santa: All around the Seattle-area

Given Santa’s legendary powers of swift travel, it’s not surprising he pops up in some unusual places. Here are some notable spots around the Seattle-area where you can get a picture with the man in the red suit.

Space Needle Santa
Venture out onto the world’s first and only revolving glass floor to meet Santa in his all-glass sleigh. Professional photographers will be there to capture the moment along with Santa’s elves to help set you up for the ultimate holiday photo op! All guests will receive a free digital photo with Santa, included with every visit. Price of visit with Santa included in admission ticket.

Issaquah Commons

Santa is in town! Grab a picture with the big guy November 25-December 24. Packages start at $42.

Issaquah Reindeer Festival
Dec. 1 through Dec. 23, and Dec. 26-30, the Cougar Mountain Zoo hosts Santa and his reindeer. View the reindeer and other animals, visit Santa in his home and listen to stories read by elves. Kids may feed some of the animals as well. Attendance is limited; advance ticket purchase required.

Kent Station Santa Photos

Shop, dine and get your photos done, just in time to send your holiday cards! Choose from dates in November and December. Be sure to read all the rules about cancellations, rescheduling and walk-ins.

Kirkland Urban: Frostville and Winter Markets

Snap a photo with Santa in his magical snowglobe then participate in other holiday activities around the shopping area. November-December 10 a.m. – 2 p.m..

Nordstrom Festive Experiences

Have breakfast with Santa or meet his virtually. Whatever you choose to do Nordstrom’s got you covered. Be sure to find your nearest store and book your reservations early.

North Pole at the Fair

Make your reservations at the Fair and visit with Santa in his North Pole workshop. Play at the lego table while you wait and explore the imaginative play stations all for kids to have a magical experience for the holidays. November 18-December 23, days and times vary.

Pike Place Market

Get your free photos at Pike Place Market from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. on November 26. Hang out and get crafty with kids activities and lots of shopping, sipping cocoa and more!

Santa at the Ridge

Reserve your private 5-10 min mini photo session for children or pet with Santa. This includes a private time slot with a photographer to capture photos. Dates available to book: December 10 1 p.m.-5 p.m., December 11 11:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. and December 17 10 a.m-2 p.m..

Swansons Nursery

Come to the gardens and admire all the festive lighting right before your scheduled photo with Santa. Stop by during the weekdays, November 21-December 23.

Tulalip: Santa’s Wonderland at Cabela’s

Make your free Santa photo reservation and head over to Cabela’s for a free 4×6 photo. Availability: November 5-December 24.

Black Santa photo opportunities

Free, fun, family event at the Rainier Valley Leadership Academy. Reserve your ticket for a spot on Saturday December 10. See website for more details and other locations throughout December.

Black Santa at Black Coffee Northwest

Drop in to see Santa on 12/10, 12/17 or 12/24 from 12 p.m.-3 p.m. Have your child ready for a photo- one printed 5×7 framed photo will be provided for $15. Proceeds will benefit the step team program as they will be traveling to Oakland in 2023 to attend the Urban Heat Academy Youth Step Show and Leadership Conference. Location is Black Coffee Northwest in Shoreline.

Black Santa Photo Op at NAAM

  Meredith Matthews East Madison YMCA (map)

Visit the YMCA and get your FREE photo with Black Santa. The event is first come-first served with lines opening at 2:30 p.m.. Monetary donations are encouraged.

Pictures with Santa: sensory-friendly

Going to a dazzling public place and parking in the lap of a costumed stranger for a chat and a photo is not something that all children take to. For kids on the autism spectrum or with sensory processing issues, it can be very hard indeed. Which is why a few places cater to kids who need a more controlled situation, with less stimuli, and a Santa trained in connecting with kids with their needs. Note: Reservations are required for these Santas.

Alderwood Mall: Santa Cares invites children with special needs to visit the mall between 9:00 and 10:00 a.m. on December 4.

The Outlet Collection Seattle: Sensitive Santa is for everyone and will be there for two special sessions on December 4 and 11. Book your spot for a time between 10:00 a.m. and 11:30 a.m..

Tacoma Mall: Caring Santa is coming to town on December 4, 9:00 a.m.- 10:30 a.m.. Be sure to book tickets in advance.


Read More

Holiday Light all around

2022 Holiday events – see them all!

Shop for that special gift at a local market

Need more ideas? Visit our calendar