Santa makes his appearance all over Columbus for the holiday season. This list isn’t anywhere near all-inclusive, as he’s hard to keep track of, but here are some options for photos with Santa around Columbus Don’t miss the section at the bottom for pet photos with Santa! Please leave a comment or email email@example.com if you know of other photo opportunities.
Be sure to check out the pages with Holiday Events around Columbus and Cookies and Breakfast with Santa around Columbus. Dining with Santa events typically offer opportunities for photos with Santa, including candid and posed photos.
On-going Photos with Santa through the Season
Photos with Santa at Easton: November 17 – December 24. Your first 5×7 is just $5, or take a candid pic with your own camera for FREE. Monday-Saturdays: 10:00 AM – 9:00 PM (Breaks: 1:00 PM-1:45 PM and 4:45 PM-5:30 PM) and Sundays: 11:00 AM-7:00 PM (Break: 3:00 PM-4:00 PM). Christmas Eve: 9 AM – 5 PM. Virtual line so you don’t have to stand and wait.
Oakland Nursery: Saturdays & Sundays only, November 25 – December 17 from noon to 3:30 p.m. at all Oakland Nursery locations. Take pictures with your own camera. Well-behaved, leashed pets are welcome at the Dublin location. Each store has different holiday events through the season.
Wildlights at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium: November 17 – December 23. Sunday-Thursday: 5:00PM-9:00PM Friday-Saturday: 5:00PM-10:00PM. In Battelle Ice Bear Outpost (through Dec. 23) kids can take a photo with Santa and Mrs. Claus. One commenter complained about getting a bad picture (eyes shut), and it cost $15-$20.
Polaris Mall photo ops
- Polaris Mall: Daily November 10 through December 24. Very real looking Santa. No personal photos allowed, but visits with Santa are free without photo. Packages start at $24.99 for a 5×7, 3×5, and 2 wallets – along with 3 personalized phone calls with Santa. ake reservations to skip the general line with Santa’s Fast Pass. Click here for details.
- Nov 10th – Nov 22nd: Mon – Thur from 10am – 9pmm Fri – Sat from 10am – 9:30pm, Sun from 12pm – 6pm
- Nov 24th – Nov 30th: Fri – Sat from 9am – 9:30pm, Sun from 12pm – 6pm, Mon – Thur from 10am – 9pm
- Dec 1st – Dec 8th: Fri – Sat from 10am – 9:30pm, Sun from 12pm – 6pm, Mon-Thur from 10am – 9pm
- Dec 9th from 9am – 9:30pm and Dec 10th from 11am – 7pm
- Dec 11th – Dec 17th: Mon – Thur from 10am – 9pm, Fri – Sat from 9am – 10pm, Sun from 10am – 9am
- Dec 18th – Dec 23th: Mon – Thur from 9am -10pm and Fri – Sat from 8am – 10pm
- Dec 24th from 8am – 6pm
- Sensitive Santa at Polaris Mall: Sunday, November 26 from 10:30 a.m.-noon. and Sunday, December 3 from 10:30 a.m.- noon Sensitive Santa is an opportunity for families that have children with autism, children on the autism spectrum and children with other special needs to enjoy a special visit with Santa. Lower lighting and quieter. No reservations needed.
- Paws & Claus Pet Photos with Santa: Sunday, December 10 from 7 pm – 8 pm.
Tuttle Mall Photos with Santa
- Tuttle Mall: November 10 through December 24. Sundays are 11 am – 6 pm, Monday – Thursdays hours are 11 am – 8 pm, and Fridays and Saturday hours are 10 am – 8 pm (hours are extended in December). Very real looking Santa. No personal photos without minimum package purchase. Multiple packages are available, starting at $24.99. You can schedule your appointment online to skip the line. Scheduling requires a $10 non-refundable deposit, which will be applied to your photo package.
- Pet Photos with Santa at Tuttle Mall: Not yet scheduled for 2017. Dogs and cats are only permitted in the mall during Pet Photo Nights (with the exception of assistance dogs). The set is located near Macy’s Hayden Run in front of Hallmark. Guests are asked to use the Food Court entrance.
- Storytime with Santa: Not yet scheduled for 2017.
- Caring Santa at Tuttle Mall: : Not yet scheduled for 2017. Caring Santa provides a subdued and welcoming environment for children with special needs and their families to visit Santa. They’ll have sensory bins, activities, and refreshments too.
Eastland Mall Photos with Santa
- Photos with Santa: November 17-December 24 Hours vary. Regular photo package prices apply (but aren’t listed).
- Pet Photos with Santa: November 29, December 6, and December 13 from 5-8 pm No registration necessary. Regular photo package rates apply.
- Caring Santa: December 10 from 8 am – 10 am Quiet atmosphere and dimmed lighting for children with autism or other sensory-sensitive needs. Each family who attends the Caring Santa Claus event will receive a free photo with Santa! No registration necessary.
- Breakfast with Santa: December 9 from 9 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. Includes breakfast, holiday craft, entertainment, and special visit from Santa Claus. FREE for the first 50 children to sign up, and $5 per child after 50 registrants. To register your children for this event, call the Eastland Mall Management Office at (614) 861-3234 or email Nikki Stacy at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Shoppes at Worthington Place
- Photos with Santa at The Shoppes at Worthington Place: November 24 – December 24, 2017 Hours vary, see here. For more information, email email@example.com
- Pet Photos with Santa: December 1 from 5 pm to 8 pm
- PJ NIGHT with Santa: December 12 from 5 pm to 8 pm
Ohio Herb Education Center in Gahanna (110 Mill St.): December 9 and 16 from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. Pictures, shopping, and homemade gift-making. Cost: $5 per craft/photo or 3 items for $12. Sensory-friendly visits with Santa on December 10 from 3pm – 5pm. Santa and his elves are ready to meet your child however you child is most comfortable during the sensory-friendly hours. The Herb Center has accessibility for wheelchairs or those with mobility issues. A limited number of appointments are available and the price includes a photo. Preregistration is required. Open registration for Gahanna residents or students of a Gahanna school until Friday, November 10. *Specify time options at registration. For more information contact 614-342-4250.
Cabelas at Polaris: November 24 (Black Friday) 2am – 5am Santa and his reindeer will be ready to take some late night or early morning photos. November 25 from 10am-2 pm, November 26 from 12pm-4pm, plus December 9, 10, 16, 17 from 10am-2pm on Saturdays, and noon-4pm on Sundays. Free photo with Santa in front of the fireplace. Each family gets a complimentary picture and can use their own camera for additional photos.
Lowes stores: Dates vary, so contact your local store. (pets may be welcome; varies per store). Sawmill location had a nice setup with Santa and Mrs. Claus last year. Take your own photos.
Santa in Marysville
- Uptown Christmas Walk & Tree Lighting: Santa makes his first appearance in Marysville on November 27 from 5-8 pm,
- Santa’s Village in Marysville on Thursdays November 30-December 21 (5-7 pm), and Saturdays December 9-23 (10 am-12 pm) at Partners Park in Marysville. Free coloring and crafts are available during the hours.
- Santa Claus at The Houston House: December 2 from 11:30am – 1:30pm. Visit with Santa at the Marysville Art League Houston House.
- Santa Claus at The Merrysville Library: December 9 from 10am – 12pm at the Marysville Public Library
Santa’s House in Downtown Delaware: Fridays and Saturdays, December 2 through December 22 at the Strand Theatre. Fridays from 6 – 8 p.m., Saturdays from 1 – 3 p.m.
Santa Train at Nelsonville Depot: Saturdays and Sunday November 25 – December 17. Each train departs Nelsonville round trip for about 20 miles and lasts approximately two hours. Reservations are strongly suggested as trains often sell out. Santa visits each child as the train rolls along the valley. Each child also gets to enjoy a candy cane treat after Santa’s visit. Each coach is decorated, heated, and plays Christmas music. Adult: $17, Child: $13, Senior: $15
Santa’s House during Fantasy of Lights at Alum Creek: Each night through December 23 during the drive through light show at Butch Bando’s Holiday Fantasy of Lights. Take your own photos for $5, or pay $5 to have one taken and emailed, or $10 to have a 4×6 printed before you leave.
One-time events and festivals with Santa Photo Ops
- Annual Holiday Gift Fest & Craft Show for Linworth Children’s Center: November 10-11. 60 vendors and crafters, plus bake sale, lunch, and more on November 10 from 3pm – 7pm and November 11 from 9am – 2pm. Games and activities from 5pm-7pm Friday and a visit from Santa from 10am-12pm Saturday
- Easton Holiday Lighting Ceremony: November 17 at 6 p.m. Carriage rides, photos with Santa, and holidays sales and activities
- Short North Deck the District Holiday Tree Lighting Celebration: November 17 from 6 – 8 p.m. in Poplar Park festive tunes with Columbus Chorus Sweet Adelines, photos with Santa, the official tree lighting.
- Picture an Old-Fashioned Christmas at Hanby House: November 18 from noon-4:30 pm (No Santa, just holiday photos) Create a holiday keepsake by having your family photo taken in the decorated parlor of Hanby House, the family home of Benjamin Hanby, who later wrote the holiday favorite Up on the Housetop. Wear your own holiday finery or use available Civil War period costumes. Sitting fee of $30/group (up to eight people) ($27/Ohio History Connection member group of up to eight people). Photos are saved to a souvenir flash drive included in the price. Photos can be made into greeting cards or framed photos. Reservations are recommended; walk-ins will be accommodated. Make reservations starting Oct. 1 at 614.891.6289 or 800.600.6843 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- The Magical Santa Experience with Darryl Walters Photography: Appointments available November 18 From the website: “Santa focuses on your children, interacting with them so we can capture magical images that will last a lifetime. We do not pose your child, the magic just happens as they interact with Santa one-on-one. It is a Magical Experience that will bring you back to your inner child. We do not use a manufactured set, we use a real world authentic location for the Experience. This year Santa will be in a Historical One Room School House”. Cost is $80-$200, as this is a photography session, rather than just photos with Santa.
- Christmas at Lynd Fruit Farm: November 19 from 11a.m. – 4 p.m. we will have S’more wagon rides, FREE kids craft, and SANTA will be making a special appearance! Local food trucks will be there, including Tortilla Street Food, Poppy’s Roadside Diner, The Bouncin’ Bean Coffee & Tea Co., & Waffle Joy!
- Gahanna Holiday Lights Celebration: November 19 starting at 2 p.m. with family fun, Santa, and more
- Worthington Holiday Open House and Tree Lighting: November 26 from noon – 7 p.m.
- Swim with Santa at Westerville Community Center: November 26 from 6-7:15 pm. Get your photo taken with Santa as he swims in the pool with the lifeguard elves! Photo and Santa time is included in this fun annual event for ages 0-11 and parents. Parents with children under 6 years old must be in the water with their children. Please include your email address when registering, all photos will be emailed. Pre-registration required. $7.50 to swim, $5 for residents.
- Marysville Uptown Christmas Walk: November 27 from 5-8 p.m. Free, family-friendly festival featuring Santa, carriage rides, live nativity, holiday dancers, and the Christmas Tree Lighting at 6 pm. Shops will be open and many will be offering refreshment and discounts.
- Winter Festival and Tree Lighting Ceremony in Upper Arlington: Friday, December 1, from 6 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. Caroling, carriage rides, bonfire with s’mores, visits with Santa and UA’s tree lighting ceremony.
- Old Pickerington Village Holiday: December 1 from 5-8 pm. Strolling carolers, cookie decorating, storytelling, crafts, horse-drawn carriage rides, indoor Holiday gift market, hop on/off trolley, Gingerbread House contest, visit with Santa, lighting of the pantry lights at 6:00 pm and lighting of Pickerington’s Christmas Tree at 7:00 pm.
- Westerville Tree Lighting Ceremony: Friday, December 1 from 7-8 pm in the new Civic Green at Westerville City Hall with live holiday music, a candle lighting celebration and much more in Uptown Westerville. Attendees can stay warm with hot chocolate provided by the Westerville Noon Rotary Club and enjoy musical performances from MileStone Lane, the Westerville Community Band and the Westerville Community Choir. Santa Claus will also be available for photos after the official ceremony outside the Westerville Division of Police.
- German Village Garten Club Tree Lighting: December 1 from 7-9 pm. The traditional lighting of the trees in Frank Fetch Park complete with Santa and hot chocolate.
- Santa at the Lazarus department store in Downtown Columbus: December 2 from 2-5 pm. Take photos with Santa in the original sleigh from the former Lazarus building, do crafts with OSU Urban Arts Space, complimentary refreshments, and free carousel rides in Columbus Commons from 11 am – 6 pm. Holiday lights come on in the park at 5 pm.
- Holiday Open House in Delaware: December 2 from 12 – 4 p.m. Downtown businesses will offer treats and treasures, ice skating will be available, and Santa’s Village is open from 1-3 for photos with Santa.
- Holly Days in Dublin: December 2 from 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. in Historic Dublin. Family activities including Irish elf pictures, Irish holiday momentos, a Holiday photobooth, and Irish Christmas in Dublin at Ha’Penny Bridge Imports of Ireland. 12 Elves of Dublin Hunt, Touch-a-Truck, Photos with Mr. and Mrs. Claus at Our Cupcakery, Free Hot Chocolate from Starbucks, and more.
- New Albany Holiday Market & Tree Lighting Celebration: December 2 from 2 – 5:30 pm. Shop the New Albany Indoor Farmers Market at the Philip Heit Center for Healthy New Albany from 9 am – 12 pm. Healthy New Albany is hosting a Kids Only Holiday Shop from 1:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. where kids can shop (with adult supervision). Santa arrives on a fire truck at 2 pm for photos while you enjoy entertainment, caroling, crafts, snacks, hot chocolate & more before the lighting ceremony begins at 5:00 p.m. in Market Square. The Plain Township Fire Department will also be collecting unwrapped toys for children.
- Santa Celebration at Hilltop Library: Join the Columbus Metropolitan Library Hilltop Branch for a Santa Celebration on December 2 from 3-4 pm. Join us for stories and fun celebrating the world’s jolliest elf. After the program, stick around for free pictures with Santa!
- Bexley Holiday Hop: December 2 from 12 – 4 pm. Hop on the Holiday Hop Express and enjoy shopping and special promotions and events through the district. Catch live entertainment, a visit from Mr. & Mrs. Claus, and a snowman hunt to win prizes. The Jeffrey Mansion hosts a pre-Hop PJ Party with Princesses; tickets required.
- Granville Christmas Candlelight Walking Tour: Saturday, December 2 from 1 – 9 p.m. All day activities, plus Santa
- Holidays in Powell: December 2, from 2 – 6 p.m. at the Village Green Park; carriage rides, crafts, Santa, and more
- Grove City Christmas Celebration and Mistletoe Market: December 2 from 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.; This family-friendly festival features photos with Santa, live reindeer, Mistletoe Market and Secret Santa shop, carols, a parade, Grove City tree lighting and more.
- Christmas Under the Clock in Plain City: December 2 from 5-8 p.m. At the Clock Tower. Wagon rides, pics with Santa, business open houses, ice sculpting, craft vendors, etc.
- Downtown Lancaster Winter Fest: December 2 from 12-5 pm. Free carriage rides, photos with Santa at the Santa House, kids crafts in the businesses, elf scavenger hunt, holiday music, and much more! The downtown tree lighting is at 5 pm.
- Santa Parade and Home for the Holidays in Johnstown: December 2 The parade will start at 5 pm with tree lighting and downtown activities until 8 pm.
- Holiday Hop and Hilliard Tree Lighting: December 3 from 5-7:30 p.m. Lighting of the tree in Hilliard’s Station Park with music, visit by Santa, ice sculpting demonstrations, reindeer, cookie decorating, face painting, wagon rides and hot chocolate!
- Washington Township Meet Mr. and Mrs. Claus: Wednesday, December 6 from 6 – 8 p.m. Sit in a 1937 REO Speedwagon Fire Truck, make a craft, and chat with Santa over some tasty refreshments. Bring your own camera. Accepting new, unwrapped toys and monetary donations to benefit the Firefighters for Kids Toy Drive. 6200 Eiterman Road.
- Ohio Statehouse Tree Lighting and Holiday Festival: December 7 from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.; Free, family-friendly holiday festival including Santa and Mrs. Claus, the lighting of the Statehouse and trees, and more! Free photo station and Santa and Mrs. Claus after the Tree Lighting.
- Winter Wonderland and Secret Santa Shopping: Thomas Elementary (Dublin); Friday, December 8 from 5:30 – 8:30 p.m. and Saturday, December 9 from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. This is a fun event to allow children to secretly shop for reasonably priced gifts for their family, listen to holiday music, make holiday crafts, and get pictures with Santa. Free to attend.
- Gingerbread Jam Holiday Party: December 8 from 6:30 – 8:30 pm at Worthington Community Center. Annual Holiday Party with family friendly DJ, crafts, games and a visit from Santa.
- Santa at Grandview Heights Library: December 9 from 11 a.m. – 12 p.m. Photos with Santa and holiday activities. Tickets are required, but are free and must be picked up beginning 12/2.
- Winter Wonderland and Secret Santa Shopping: Thomas Elementary (Dublin); Saturday, December 9 from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. This is a fun event to allow children to secretly shop for reasonably priced gifts for their family, listen to holiday music, make holiday crafts, and get pictures with Santa. Free to attend.
- Santa’s Workshop at Studio J: Sing Paint Play: December 9 at 9:30, 10:30 or 11:30 Children paint a large wooden tree and decorate it. The elves help them and Santa appears. Bring your own camera to take pictures with Santa. $20.00 per child; registration is required.
- Discovery District Holiday Trolley Hop: December 9 from 1 – 4 p.m. with shopping, festive lights, live performances, treats, Santa, historic sites and more.
- Santa and holiday fun at the North Market: December 10 from noon – 1 p.m. and December 16 from 11 am – 2 pm
- Santa in the Caboose: December 10 from 3-6 pm. Get your photo taken with 1800s Santa in red caboose, free hot chocolate and doughnuts, wagon rides, petting zoo, tours of the historic village, live entertainment and more at Historical Village at Weaver Park.
- Polar Express Nights at Studio J: Sing Paint Play: Wednesday, December 13 at 6:30 p.m. and 7:45 p.m. Kids jump aboard a stationary train and watch and listen as some of the Polar Express Story is shared through song, words and sound effects. Next, they arrive to paint their own Polar Express train car and to visit with Santa. Bring your own camera. $15.00 per person; registration is required.
- Santa and holiday fun at the North Market: December 10 from noon – 1 p.m. and December 16 from 11 am – 2 pm
- Santa’s Workshop at Studio J: Sing Paint Play: December 16 at 10:00, 11:30 , 12:30, 1:30 Children paint a wooden elephant toy and decorate it. The elves help them and Santa appears. Bring your own camera to take pictures with Santa. $20.00 per child; registration is required.
Pet Photos with Santa
- Howliday Bazaar and Pet Photos with Santa: November 18 from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. at Franklin County Dog Shelter
- Oakland Nursery Dublin: November 25 – December 17 from noon to 3:30 p.m. on Saturdays & Sundays. Take pictures with your own camera. Well-behaved, leashed pets are welcome at the Dublin location.
- Pet Photos with Santa at Eastland Mall: November 29, December 6, and December 13 from 5-8 pm No registration necessary. Regular photo package rates apply.
- Paws & Claus Pet Photos with Santa at Polaris: Sunday December 10, 7-8 pm. See details here.
Looking for other Christmas events in Columbus? Check out these links.
- Your Guide to Christmas and Holiday Events in Columbus
- Over 30 Holiday Art and Craft Festivals
- Christmas Tree Farms and Lots in Columbus
- Breakfasts with Santa
- Photos with Santa
- Locations of Mailboxes for Letters to Santa
- Community Tree Lightings and Holiday Celebrations in Columbus
- Holiday Train Rides in Ohio: Santa Trains and Polar Express
- CBS Holiday Special Schedule
- Holiday Gift Card Bonus Offers
- Buy Local: Columbus Gift Guide
- Kitchen Gift Guide
- White Elephant Gift ideas
- Stocking Stuffer ideas