Cities around the world go all out for Christmas, and New York is no exception. Manhattan twinkles with lights and festive cheer that offer holiday experiences for visitors and locals alike. Check out the huge Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center, ooh and ahh at the Fifth Ave shop windows decorated for Christmas, and make your annual visit to Santa Claus. You can get your picture taken or even have breakfast with Santa at many stores, restaurants, and events in New York City.
Santa at Macy's in Herald Square
Going to see St. Nicolas himself in Santaland at the New York Macy's is a timeless tradition. Children have been able to visit Santa at the Herald Square store since 1862, which came to be known as "The Home of Santa Claus" as far back as the turn of the 20th century. When the movie "Miracle on 34th Street" premiered in 1947, the Macy's Santa Claus turned into the most famous Santa in the world.
Since Santa has been arriving in New York City via the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade since 1926, Santaland opens every year on the day after Thanksgiving and stays open until Christmas Eve. In order to cut down on long waiting times, you must make a reservation to sit with Santa and have your picture taken. You can begin to make reservations starting on November 25, 2019. It is free to make the reservation and visit Santa, and purchasing photos is optional.
Once you arrive at Macy's, Santaland is located on the eighth floor.
Breakfast With Santa at Macy's
Head to Stella 34 inside of Macy's for a breakfast experience with Santa. Breakfast starts at $60 for adults or $40 for children and includes an Italian breakfast feast, table visits from Santa and his elves, treats to bring home, a keepsake “on Santa’s knee” photograph with a digital download, and a complimentary prosecco bellini (for adults), all in a festive atmosphere complete with music and a gingerbread and confections display. Reservations are required and you can book online.
Breakfast with Santa is at Macy's Herald Square on the sixth floor. Spots get sold out quickly, so it's best to book far in advance.
For the 2019 season, the seating times are:
- At 8 a.m. and 10 a.m.: November 30 and December 1, 7, 8, 14, 15, 20, 21, 22, 23, and 24
- At 9 a.m.: November 29 and December 6 and 13
Breakfast With Santa at Rockefeller Center
Breakfast at the Rock Center Cafe or Sea Grill at Rockefeller Center includes carolers, a candy or chocolate station, presents, and a visit with Santa and his elves, followed by an ice skating session at the Rink at Rock Center. Reservations are essential. Tickets begin at $65 for adults and $45 for children at the Rock Center Cafe, which offers three seatings (7:15, 8:45, and 9:15 a.m.) and $110 for adults and $70 for children at Sea Grill, which offers a more extensive breakfast at 8:15 a.m. Choose from select dates from the day after Thanksgiving all the way through Christmas Eve.
Santa at The Plaza
Visit Santa at the Plaza hotel beginning the day after Thanksgiving, November 29, 2019, and continuing through December 24, Christmas Eve. Hours vary by day of the week, but reservations are recommended.
Another holiday Plaza event is Eloise's Tea With Santa. Kids can sip on pink hot chocolate, eat tea sandwiches, write Eloise a letter, and hear stories from "Eloise at the Plaza" read by Santa himself. Little ones also get the chance to take a photo with Santa. Tea With Santa begins the day after Thanksgiving and is held daily from Tuesday through Sunday. Reservations are recommended.
Lunch Cruise With Santa
Sail around Manhattan with views of Midtown and downtown and cruise under the Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Williamsburg bridges with Spirit Cruises. Choose a special two-hour Lunch With Santa Cruise, where you'll float by Lady Liberty and the Brooklyn Bridge while dancing to live DJs, feasting on an extravagant buffet, and taking selfies with Santa.
The Lunch With Santa Cruise sails on December 7 or December 14, 2019. This cruise boards at 11:30 a.m. and departs from Chelsea Piers (West 22nd Street) at noon and returns at 2 p.m.