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  • Writer's pictureThe West End Mom

The Best Places to See Santa in Richmond

I've rounded up the best spots around Richmond to snap a picture with Santa this November and December. From paid experiences at our shopping malls and our restaurants to locations with free Santa meet-and-greets, my guide has something that will work for every family! Some of these locations even offer brunch or treats with Santa, and, at the time of making this guide, all restaurants still had availability.

The best places around Richmond to take pictures with Santa:

Art Factory Play Place: Located in Brandermill, Art Factory is a play space for kids ages 0-5. It’s open Monday through Friday from 9-3 and Saturday 9-12. The cafe sells hot & cold beverages, baked goods and snacks. They also host Preschool

Santa and Mrs. Claus will be available for photos with children on the mornings of December 19 and 20. They are also hosting an evening experience where children can interact with both Santa and Mrs. Claus, listen to them tell stories, sign songs and chat about the North Pole. For ticket information, visit The Art Factory's website.

*Check here for my full review.

Bass Pro: Located in Ashland, Bass Pro is a fishing, hunting & outdoor store. We love to visit it because the entire store is themed for the outdoors: there a giant tree, a massive aquarium, a stream, pretend animals & an old fashion store. It reminds me of Walt Disney's Wilderness Lodge, too.

Santa's Winter Wonderland is open from November 5 – December 24, 2022, and it's free to visit. Your free visit with Santa also includes a free picture with Santa. You have the opportunity to purchase digitals or more pictures if you want. Sign up on Bass Pro's website here. We visited on a week night, and we signed up on the spot. My littles got to spend at least 10 minutes with Santa because there was no one else there, too. This was a great experience for us!

*Check here for my full review.

Brambly Park's Santa in the Park: Located in Scott's Addition, this urban winery hosts Santa each year, and you can join in the festive fun on Saturday, December 17 from 12-3:30pm. You can make Santa Brunch reservations online, or you can call (804)406-5611 and note "Santa Brunch" when making reservations.

You can have your photo taken for $25 (one digital image) by the resident photographer Mike Guyer, and children can bring notes to place in Santa's bag, too!

*Check here for my full review.

Cabelas: This is one of our favorite spots to greet Santa - this was our third year! Cabela's Santa’s Wonderland has free visits & pictures with Santa until December 24. My little ones enjoyed being able to look at Santa before going to meet him, they didn’t mind the separation from Santa on the bench, and they loved playing with the linking logs! We always visit the giant fish tank, and check out the "animals," the ATVs and boats around the store when we visit, too.

Similar to Bass Pro, Cabela's Winter Wonderland is open from November 5– December 24, 2022, and it's free to visit. Your free visit with Santa also includes a free picture with Santa. You have the opportunity to purchase digitals or more pictures if you want. Sign up on Cabela's website here.

*Check here for my full review.

Coco and Hazel: This locally owned treat spot has two locations, one in Tuckahoe and one in Bon Air. Coco and Hazel serves over the top milkshakes and loaded hot chocolate, as well as breakfast options.

While "Cookies with Santa" has sold out, Santa -- and the Grinch! -- will be dropping in to the Tuckahoe location for 2 nights in December (dates not released yet). It costs $10 per family, and you can take your own pictures. You can't purchase tickets until the day of the event at the register.

*Check here for my review.

Children's Museum of Richmond: This museum has been a favorite of families in Richmond since 1981. The Children's Museum is designed for children 0-8 & it has exhibits for interactive & imaginative play, learning & creating. Children can play in the dairy barn, a service station, ride a carousel & more.

Legendary Santa will be at the museum from Friday, November 25 to Saturday, December 24. You need to make your reservations ahead of time, and it costs $30 for a family of up to 6. The ticket includes a digital photo, with additional photo package purchases available. Tickets do not include a visit to the museum.

Sensitive Legendary Santa will be on Wednesday, November 30, Friday, December 2, and Thursday, December 8. This event is for families with sensory or other special needs. Registrations opens November 15.

*Check here for my review.

The Great Big Green House: This locally owned nursery is in Huguenot Village Shopping Center. We love Great Big Green House because they are so family-family & host many events throughout the year.

Santa will be at The Great Big Greenhouse on Friday, November 18 (5-8pm), Saturday, November 19 (10am-2pm), Sunday, November 20 (noon-4pm), Saturday, December 3 (10am-2pm), Sunday, December 4 (noon-4pm), Saturday, December 10 (10am-2pm), Sunday, December 11 (noon-4pm), Saturday, December 17 (10am-2pm), and Sunday, December 18 (noon-4pm). Bring your own camera to take pictures! This is a free activity. No reservations or tickets required. Pets are welcome too!

River City 3 Railers sets up an elaborate model train display, and the trains will be there starting Friday, December 3. Usually, you can watch it in operation from 4-7pm during the week and 11-2 on weekends (these times sometimes change).

*Check here for my review.

Hardywood West Creek's Smile With Santa: This family friendly brewery has 24 acres next to the peaceful Tuckahoe Creek, and the outdoor space has a lawn, a large concrete patio, a natural play area with swings, a see saw and hammocks, plus there are two regulation-sized bocce courts!

Santa will be at Hardywood West Creek on December 11 and December 17. Tickets usually cost around $30. Tickets include two drink tickets (you can get nonalcoholic too), the chance to sit and talk with Santa, and a digital picture with Santa. There will also be food trucks on property too!

*Santa will also be at the Richmond location on December 3.

Santa Brunch & Santa Dinner at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden: While Lewis Ginter is best known for GardenFest each winter, it also hosts Santa Brunch and Santa Dinner. These meals are served family-style and on a buffet. Bring your camera to snap pictures with Santa!

The breakfast experiences are on Saturdays and Sundays in December. Brunch costs $53 per person, $36 for children (3-12), and children 2 & under eat free. The dinner experiences are on December 18-20. Dinner costs $68 per person, $43 for children (3-12), and children 2 & under eat free. This price includes admission to the garden, and dinner reservations include Garden Fest.

As of compiling this list, Lewis Ginter still has availability for breakfast at 9am on a few Saturdays and Sundays. Dinner reservations are still available for 7pm.

*Check here for my review.

Short Pump Mall: Every year this local mall decorates for Christmas with a 60 foot walk-through tree. This year's tree lighting is November 18 from 6-8pm, and Santa will be there!

Santa will be at the mall from then until December 24. Children will also have the opportunity to have their picture taken with Santa or to participate in a "socially distant" Santa experience. Santa will be in the Pal's Clubhouse, next to LL Bean. Reservations are strongly encouraged.

*Check here for my review.

Stony Point Fashion Park: This local mall decks its halls every year for Christmas, and the annual tree lighting event is on Saturday, November 19th from 5-7pm. Stony Point has an ice skating rink, snow falling during the week, a play area, horse drawn carriage rides, and falling snow!

Santa will be at the mall from November 19 through December 24. Sensory Friendly Santa Magic is also available. Registration links aren't available yet!

*Check here for my 2020 review.

The Red Barn Farm's Cookies with Santa: Located in Dinwiddie, this local farm hosts Cookies with Santa on November 19-20, November 25-27 and December 3-4 from 10am-3pm each day. Children can see the real Santa in his workshop, decorate their own cookies and feed the animals. The Gingerbread Man, Abominable Snowman, and the Grinch will also make appearances.

Call (804)536-6879 to reserve a spot. Bring your camera to take pictures. Cookies with Santa costs $8 per person (2 years and older). Animal feed buckets cost $3.

*Check here for my full review.

Tom Leonard's: This locally owned farmer's market hosts Santa each year in their Christmas Shoppe. While Tom Leonard's hasn't released the dates of Santa's visits this year, he is usually at the store on Saturdays and Sundays in December from 10am to 2pm. They also sell Christmas trees outside the market in the same area that Friday Night at the Pumpkin Patch is hosted.

*Check here for our visit at Halloween.

Upper Shirley's Santa Brunch: Upper Shirley Vineyard usually hosts a Santa Brunch on the two weekends prior to Christmas. While they haven't released dates for December 2022, Santa Brunch was on December 11 & 12 and December 18 & 19 from 11-4pm in 2021.

Children get to sit on Santa's lap, and you can get unlimited pictures with him with no extra costs (bring your own camera!). Call (804)829-9463 to make your reservations for brunch and make sure you reserve a time between 11 and 3pm.

*Check here for my review of Upper Shirley.

Some of the most popular Santa experiences fill up prior to November. Save these activities for next year: Crozet Trolley's The North Pole Express, The Jefferson's Santa Brunch and Santa Tea, and Coco & Hazel's Ice Cream with Santa.

*For more details on these fun, festive spots and more Richmond adventures, follow our family on @thewestendmom on Instagram!

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