Going to see Santa is a holiday tradition beloved by kids and grownups alike. For many children, sitting on Santa's lap and telling him what they want for Christmas is almost as exciting as Christmas Day itself. But for parents, it's the photo they want — and preferably one without too many tears. During the holiday season, spot Santa at any one of these Houston locales.
Seeing a camo-clad St. Nick at Bass Pro is a time-honored Houston tradition. In fact, ask some young locals, and they'll tell you the store is Santa's official address. Both the Pearland and Katy Bass Pro Shop locations host a Winter Wonderland from the day after Thanksgiving through December 24th. A photo op with Santa is not the only holiday fun to be had here. Arts and crafts, games, remote control cars, popcorn and more are all on deck for the little ones to enjoy.
In the weeks leading up to Christmas, Traders Village celebrates the holiday season with the Holiday Market With Santa Claus. Young ones can score a photo with Santa while grown-ups cross a few names off their Christmas lists in this gigantic open-air flea market setting. Entrance and photo are free.
Learn about sea life, witness white tigers, feast on a breakfast buffet and, of course, take a photo with Old Saint Nick at the Downtown Aquarium. Also, expect live musical entertainment and plenty of fun activities for the kids. Breakfast with Santa occurs during select days in December. Tickets are $19 for adults and $13 for kids, and you must call ahead to make reservations.
On Saturdays in December from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m., Santa will ditch his regal chair for a pair of ice skates and stroll along The Ice at Discovery Green with all his adoring fans. Parents are welcome to take photos with Santa and the little ones. Tickets to skate are around $15 per person including skate rental.
Switch things up and take this year's holiday photo with Chick-fil-A's Santa Cow. Several Houston locations offer free Christmas photos, breakfast, cookies and coloring pages. Participation varies, so be sure to swing by your local Chick-fil-A to see if they will be joining in the holiday fun this season.
If you can't make it out to one of the events mentioned above (or you're trying to kill two holiday birds with one shot), you can always visit jolly ol' Mall Santa. While he'll be making his annual appearances at First Colony Mall, Baybrook Mall and Willowbrook Mall, the best place to snag a photo is the Houston Galleria. The lines at can get a little long, so plan to come early in the day and early in the season to avoid hours of antsy waiting — or, better yet, purchase advanced tickets online for a designated time, allowing you to skip the line entirely.
Both the Westheimer and Bissonnet locations offer free photos with Santa himself on Saturdays and Sundays in the weeks leading up to Christmas. The time and place where he'll be isn't always consistent, so be sure to call ahead before visiting to verify he'll be there.
Come December, the mansion and grounds of Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens — a property of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston — converts to a magical winter wonderland. The Christmas Village is a dazzling experience with reindeer, artificial snow, carols, and — naturally — Santa. Tickets are on the pricier side, but it's definitely worth the experience.
This Galveston-area attraction is one of the best places to see holiday lights in Houston, and Santa getting a Santa snapshot is a fun add-on to an already awesome experience. You can snap your own photo or opt for a pricey (but adorable) photo package.
During the holiday season, few Houston suburbs have as much Christmas spirit as Sugar Land. Every year, the city's iconic town square converts is decked out with all kinds of lights and holiday, and businesses open their doors to swarms of holidays shoppers. For the first few Sundays of December, Santa pops by to take some selfies or pose for photos. If you miss him though, don't worry. You can also mail him a letter for $5, and he'll mail you back a reply.
Robyn Correll contributed to this article.