Phoenix With Kids

The Ultimate Holiday Fun Guide in Phoenix With Kids: Santa Edition

You can't forget the big guy in red during the holidays!  Whether it's your kids first awkward picture with him or another year where the kids whisper to him all the toys on their list, here's where you can find him when he's not busy bossing those elves around in the North Pole.

Kim Gudykunst Ollerhead

The Ultimate Holiday Fun Guide in Phoenix With Kids: Santa Edition

For a current list of 2020 Santa sightings, please visit this blog post

You can’t forget the big guy in red during the holidays!  Whether it’s your kids first awkward picture with him or another year where the kids whisper to him all the toys on their list, here’s where you can find Santa in Phoenix when he’s not busy bossing those elves around in the North Pole.

Santa Claus is Coming to Town

December 14 Family Fun @ Odysea in the Desert

Santa pictures at Vertuccio Farms – December 7, 8 and 14th – 23rd pictures with Santa are available at the farm.

Bass Pro & Cabella – Follow the simple steps on their website for a free photo opp with Santa between November 16th and December 24th. Plus while you are there it’s a great place for cold-weather gear. We love to run around and see the different animals, and fish, and take glass elevator rides!

City of Chandler – December 7, 12 and 14th photos at Santa’s house

Merry Main Street – From ice skating to selfies with Santa check out the calendar of events for times that Santa will be there.

Odysea Aquarium – Not only photos with Santa, but also a live penguin ONLY on the following dates: December 7, 8,14, 15, 20- 23. You must buy a ticket and register ahead of time for this event. It will take place before the Odysea opens to the public at 8am on the dates available. Photos are limited to groups of four people.

ZooLights at Phoenix Zoo – ZooLights also offers nightly visits with Santa. Dec. 1 – Jan. 8, 5:30 – 10:30 p.m.

Santa at Westgate – Westgate Entertainment District really gets into the season with an outdoor ice rink, holiday decorations and visits with Santa through Christmas Eve. Dec. 9-24, see website for times. Every family gets a free downloadable photo with Santa. Westgate also allows dogs to visit, if you want a special holiday picture of your pup with Santa. Fountain Park at Westgate Entertainment District, 6770 N. Sunrise Blvd., Glendale

McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park – The McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park decks out for the holidays with more than 50,000 Christmas lights, and a train ride through a winter wonderland. Through Christmas, you can also visit Santa: Friday, November 29 – Sunday, December 1, Fridays, December 6-23

Scottsdale Quarter – Santa will make special appearances, and there are light displays for photo ops.

HGTV Presents Santa’s Headquarters – Reservations available online for this interactive Santa visit. You can check to see if you are on the naughty or nice list, look in Santa’s Magic Mirror, and create your own Elf id card.  Available at the Scottsdale Fashion Square and Chandler Fashion Center.

Breakfast with Santa

There are places in the Valley where you can enjoy breakfast with Santa, here are some of them!

Wigwam Arizona, 300 East Wigwam Blvd., Litchfield Park – Saturdays Dec. 3-17 from 9 a.m.-11 a.m. Cost: $22 for adults, $10 for kids 3-12

Mesa Convention Center – Saturday, December 17 it’s a pancake breakfast with Santa. Picture opportunities will be available, along with other fun activities. Cost: $7 per person over 1

Carefree Breakfast With Santa – Buffet style breakfast for donations that go to Foothills Food Bank

Keeping Santa’s Spirit Alive

Are your kids starting to doubt? Older kids or kids at school dropping suggestions that Santa might not be real? Personally, we still believe, but some kids have their doubts! Here is little advice….

Starting December 1st you can track him here. Did you know he has his own Instagram and Facebook? Download the app and keep your kids up to date.

Need some written proof? How about an email? Click here here to sign up for personalized letters.

Phone call from Santa – change a friend or family member’s name in your phone to Santa Claus and have them call or text you with updates. This is a great way to have a personalized message from Santa. Have all your friends practice saying “Ho Ho Ho”.

Here are a few more tips to keep the joy going through the season:

  • Wrap Santa’s packages in special wrapping paper . . . and then destroy the evidence.
  • Use different handwriting for Santa’s presents.
  • Be as excited to see Santa as they are.
  • Assume kids are always listening
  • Hide gifts as if your life depended on it because it does.
  • Pay attention to details and make sure you do the same as last year. Don’t use anything from your house for last-minute gifts.
  • Assemble presents so they are ready to play with Christmas morning.. Why does Santa have so many elves after all?
  • Be sure to spare no expense on visiting Santa.
  • Get gifts that they wouldn’t think are from you. You don’t normally let your kids play video games? Why not make that new one he has been asking about from Santa.
  • Footpaths from Santa coming out of your chimney.
  • Assume your kids are light sleepers. Be sure loud wrapping and building of toys is done ahead of time. Maybe add a little white noise or turn on a fan when sneaking them over from your neighbors.
  • Eat the snacks they leave out! Even if it means nibbling on that carrot they left for the reindeer.


Looking for other holiday guides in Phoenix beyond Santa? Check out this list of light shows, and this list of our favorite events!


  • Kim Gudykunst Ollerhead

    Kim is a chef, dishwasher, dry cleaner, housekeeper, landscaper, snack fetcher, photographer and personal assistant to toddler twins. Curently homeschooling her three year olds and loving teaching preschool. She loves exploring everything with her kids and photographing every minute of it. Follow her on Instagram @phoenixwithtwins.

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