Where to See Santa in New York City

USA, Manhattan, New York City, December, 2016: Macy's inc, Herald Square
Javier Parigini / Getty Images

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.

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    Macy's Celebrates The 60th Anniversary Of Operation Happy Children & National Believe Day
    Neilson Barnard / Getty Images

    Visiting Santa in Santaland at Macy's in Herald Square is a tradition. However, as of 2017, you can only see him by making a reservation, which is good because it significantly cuts down wait times. Time slots will be available starting November 20. You'll be able to reserve 30 minutes to five days in advance, depending on availability. Santa will be accepting visitors (and lap-sitters) from November 23 to December 24, 2018 (Christmas Eve) at Macy's Herald Square on the 8th floor.

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    Breakfast With Santa at Macy's

    Stella 34 Trattoria
    Courtesy of Stella 34 Trattoria

    Head to Stella 34 inside of Macy's for a breakfast experience with Santa. Breakfast starts at $60 for adults, $35 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 ($39.95 value at Macy’s Santaland), 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. For the 2018 season, there are three seatings at 8:15 a.m. and 10 a.m. on November 23, 24, 25, and December 1, 2, 8, 9, 15, 16, 21, 22, 23, and 24. Breakfast with Santa is at Macy's Herald Square on the 6th Floor. Note: Spots get sold out quickly, so it's best to book far in advance.

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    Breakfast with Santa Rockefeller Center
    Courtesy of The Rink 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 November 23 to December 24, 2018.

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    Santa at The Plaza

    Santa, Saks Yeti and guests attend The Plaza 3rd Annual Holiday Tree Lighting at The Plaza Hotel on December 2, 2013 in New York City.
    Fernanda Calfat/Getty Images

    Visit Santa on the Concourse Level of The Plaza Hotel Food Hall beginning the day after Thanksgiving, November 23, and continuing through December 24, Christmas Eve. Hours vary by day of the week. An extra-special visit includes tea with Santa.

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    Lunch Cruise With Santa

    Spirit of New York Santa
    Courtesy of Spirit of New York

    Sail around Manhattan with views of Midtown and downtown and cruise under the Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Williamsburg bridges with Spirit Cruises. On December 8, 2018, there will be 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. Tickets start at $75 for adults and $55 for children ages 3-12. Kids under 3 can get in for free. This cruise boards at 11:30 a.m. and departs from  Chelsea Piers (West 22nd Street) between noon and 2 p.m.