Being allowed to sit on Santa’s lap prior to Christmas is one mission promising parents sometimes find to be a tall order, if only for lack of knowing where to find Saint Nick. No problem. The Southland offers plenty of opportunity for visits with the jolly fat man with the long white beard in 2015. Not only will you encounter Mister Claus, but you will find that picture taking is also part of this venture, with the following five places topping the list as being among the most festive of all during this particular holiday season, some of which were written about here in 2013.
189 The Grove Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90036
Through Dec. 24, Santa Claus is on the spot at The Grove, Los Angeles’ premiere outdoor shopping arena. St. Nick commands his own little cottage in the winding, fun filled courtyard where little tykes can sit on Nick’s ample lap to whisper Christmas wish lists into his ear. While this happens, photos of this memorable scene are being taken which, after the visit, can be purchased and treasured for years to come.
Los Angeles Zoo
5333 Zoo Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90027
Santa occupies a new village at the Los Angles Zoo, a premier landmark in Griffith Park. The fresh venue gets an alpine setting that’s quite out of the ordinary given the nature of Los Angeles’ mild climate. Not only that, this special place is ripe for all who want to sit on Father Christmas’ lap and get their picture taken both at the same time. No fuss, but lots of magic.
1126 Queens Highway
Long Beach, CA 90602
A really dazzling ice kingdom in the shape of a giant igloo and aptly called Chill takes up some 15,000 square feet of this moored marvel located in Long Beach, created with the help of more than two million pounds of ice. Talk about getting in the spirit of the season where kids not only get to know the meaning of Christmas through the eyes of Ebenezer Scrooge and the rest of the “A Christmas Carol” gang, but they’ll also be able to seize the opportunity to be snapped sitting on Santa’s lap. How great is that?
Universal City Walk
100 Universal City Place
Universal City, CA 91608
Ready to rock out with Santa? Mister Claus sets up shop in City Walk’s Cinema Plaza for way cool photo opportunities every weekend until Christmas, from Friday through Sunday. The fun begins at noon for those who not only want to get a word in with the big guy but who also want to create the perfect scene by choosing from among a variety of guitars to use as props while sitting with Santa in his rock star sleigh. This free-wheeling transportation experience includes a riot of moving lights and Claus’ snazzy ride is packed with all kinds of instruments of a musical nature.
8500 Beverly Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90048
The Beverly Center is a stellar place to meet Saint Nick while also getting in some secret Santa shopping of your own. Your kids can cuddle up with the man with the long white beard — you know, the guy who is in charge of a fleet of reindeers led by red-nosed Rudolph — before the whole lot need to saddle up for their yearly run. Note that Santa does take a milk and cookies break around 4 p.m. every day (hey, nearly everyone needs a little pick-me-up in the late afternoon) so plan accordingly, right up until Christmas Eve when Claus closes shop at 6pm.