2016 Richmond Santa Guide

For many families, a visit with Santa is one of the highlights of the holiday season. And whether you’re the type of parent who carefully orchestrates the experience with coordinated outfits and carefully written Christmas lists, or you’re the type that sees a Santa and wings it from there, there’s no denying that a real-life Santa keeps the magic of Christmas alive for kids and parents alike.

However, kids sometimes have different ideas when it comes to visiting the jolly ol’ elf. If you’ve found yourself with a screaming toddler – or worse yet, had to stand in the photo yourself because the little ones refused – then you know that finding the right Santa experience can make a world of difference.

To help you find the Santa that will work best for you and your family, we’ve put together a list of some of the most popular Santas in the Greater Richmond Area. From magical North Pole villages to smaller local spots, we are sure that you’ll find a “Santa experience” that will keep everyone in your family believing in the magic and wonder of Christmastime for years to come

Chesterfield Towne Center

Chesterfield Towne CenterChesterfield Towne Center / Facebook

11500 Midlothian Turnpike
Richmond, VA 23235
(804) 794-4660

Date: Now until December 24, 2016

Reservations are strongly recommended. Click here to reserve your time.
Chesterfield Towne Center Hours:
Monday-Saturday:10am – 9pm
Sunday: 12pm – 6pm

Cost: Photo packages range from $35 – $68. Advance purchase will reserve your family’s booking, but is not required.

Adventures to Santa – A DreamWorks DreamPlace

Meet Santa like never before at this magical winter wonderland that combines electronic wizardry with the time-honored tradition of visiting Santa Claus and his elves. Join Po (Kung Fu Panda) and friends for an interactive and immersive cinematic experience as you stroll through the DreamWorks house on your way the North Pole for a private visit with Santa. Enjoy games, paper crafts and activities for the whole family along the way!



Short Pump Town Center

short-pump-town-centerShort Pump Town Center / Facebook

11800 West Broad Street
Richmond, VA 23233
(804) 360-1700

Date: Now until December 24, 2016

Monday – Saturday: 10am – 8:30pm
Sunday: 11am – 7pm
December 23: 9:30am – 8:30pm
December 24: 8am – 5pm
***Reserve your time by signing up for a Santa FastPass!

Cost: Photo packages range between $23 – $48, with a $10 digital download add-on that includes 4 free wallet-sized photos. Plus, all packages include a free Shutterfly $20 Promo Card.

Santa’s Village and Keepsake Photos with Santa

Experience the wonder and beauty of Christmas in Santa’s Village at the Short Pump Town Center. This classically elegant winter wonderland will enchant you and your family from start to finish as you stroll past Santa’s toy shop, candy shop and pet store on your way to visit Santa himself. Pose for photos and, of course, show Santa those Christmas lists! Then be sure to catch a ride on the Short Pump Express Train. This kid-sized train winds through the lower level of the the shopping center, providing some extra entertainment, as well as a chance to take in the holiday decorations at Short Pump’s many shops and restaurants. Click here for a coupon good for $5 off select photo packages and 2 free Short Pump Express Train Tickets!

To reserve a time, be sure to sign up online for a Santa FastPass, and if you purchase a photo package during your visit, you’ll receive a free Shutterfly $20 Promo Card.



Southpark Mall

southpark-mallSouthpark Mall

230 Southpark Circle
Colonial Heights, VA 23834
(804) 526-3900

Date: Now until December 24, 2016

Monday – Saturday: 10am – 9pm
Sunday: 12pm – 6pm
Christmas Eve: 10am – 5pm

Cost: Photo packages range between $23 – $48, with a $10 digital download add-on that includes 4 free wallet-sized photos. Plus, all packages include a free Shutterfly $20 Promo Card.

Visit Santa at Southpark Mall

Get into the holiday spirit and head to Southpark Mall for a good ol’ fashioned visit with Santa and his elves. Pose for pictures and if you purchase one of a variety photo package options, you’ll receive a free Shutterfly $20 Gift Card. Come by anytime during Santa’s special hours from now until Christmas Eve – or join him for one of Southpark’s special events, which include:


Story Time with Santa
December 3 at 9:30am
Enjoy story time with stories read by none other than Santa himself!

Breakfast with Santa and the Chick-Fil-A Cow
Saturday, December 10 at 9am
Join Santa in the Food Court for a very special breakfast the Chick-Fil-A Cow!

Pet Photos with Santa
Sunday, November 20 and December 11, from 6:30pm – 8:30pm
Bring your dogs and cats for a very special holiday photo with Santa!



Stony Point Fashion Park

stony-pointStony Point Fashion Park / Facebook

9200 Stony Point Pkwy
Richmond, VA 23235
(804) 560-7467

Date: Now until December 24, 2016

Fridays, November 18 – December 16: 3pm – 9pm
Saturdays, November 19 – December 16: 12pm – 9pm
Sundays, November 20 – December 4: 12pm – 7pm
Sunday, December 11: 12pm – 7pm
Wednesday, December 21 – Friday, December 23: 12pm – 8pm
Saturday, December 24: 12pm – 5pm

Cost: Photo packages range between $23 – $48. Plus, all packages include a free Shutterfly $20 Promo Card.

Visit Santa at Stony Point Fashion Park

Go walkin’ in a winter wonderland at Stony Point Fashion Park and find none other than Santa himself at the end of your journey! Stop in to let the kids pass along their Christmas wish lists, then pose for classic Santa photos. Every child who visits will get a special treat from Santa and his elves while supplies last!

When you’re done, head over to the all-new ice rink that’s right next to Santa’s set-up! Enjoy outdoor ice skating with the whole family, then stick around for the animated light shows that take place daily at the top and bottom of each hour, beginning at 5 p.m. The light shows will be happening at the Community Tree throughout the holiday season, from now until January 1, 2017.

Stony Point will also be featuring special holiday entertainment on select dates, including:

  • Sunday, December 4: Carolers from 1pm – 4pm
  • Saturday, December 10: The Beltway Brass Quintet from 3pm – 6pm
  • Saturday, December 24: Carolers from 1pm – 4pm

And last but not least, be sure to bring your dogs and cats in for their own special photos with Santa at Stony Point’s Santa Paws event! Santa Paws will happen on December 4, 11 and 18 from 7pm – 9pm.



Regency Square Mall

regency-squareRegency Square Mall

1420 N. Parham Road
Richmond, VA  23229
(804) 740-7467

Date: Now until December 24, 2016

Monday – Saturday: 10am – 9pm
Sunday: 12pm – 5pm
Sunday, December 11: 11am – 5pm
Sunday, December 18: 10am – 8pm
Friday, December 23: 9am – 9pm
Saturday, December 24: 8am – 6pm


Santa Paws: Sunday, December 4 from 6pm -8pm

Sensitive Santa: Sunday, December 11 from 6pm – 8pm

Cost: Visits are always FREE, but photos packages will be available for purchase. Click here for a printable coupon good for $5 off select packages!

Santa at Regency Square Mall

Visits with Santa have been a long standing tradition at Regency Square Mall – and the 2016 holiday season promises to be as much fun as ever! Pay your respects to Jolly St. Nick while the kids pass along their Christmas “must-haves,” then pose for photos that you can take home.

If some, or all, of your “kids” happen to be fur-babies, then be sure to head back for Regency’s Santa Paws event on December 4, from 6pm – 8pm and let your pets pose with Santa, too! Photos will be available for purchase, but the visits are always free.

Regency will also be offering Sensitive Santa this year. Sensitive Santa allows children or adults with special sensitivities to visit with Santa one-on-one or with a friend in a safe, quiet environment with dimmed lights. Just like with all Santa visits, the visit is free, but the option to purchase photos is available.



Virginia Center Commons

virginia-center-commonsVirginia Center Commons / Facebook

10101 Brook Road
Glen Allen, VA 23059
(804) 266-9002

Date: Now until December 24, 2016

From now until December 3, Santa will be available from 12pm – 8pm, and from 12pm – 6pm on Sunday, December 4. Be sure to check Virginia Center Commons’ Facebook page for weekly Santa updates!

Cost: Free

Santa has landed at Virginia Center Commons and he’s ready to hear your wishlist! Be sure to stop by to visit him this holiday season just outside of JCPenney. And don’t miss out on the mall’s other special holiday events, including holiday entertainment in the food court. On December 10, 2016, the Hanover Concert Band will be performing from 12pm – 1pm, followed by the Central Virginia Wind Symphony from 7pm – 9pm. On December 17, join the Dance Masters for a special performance from 1pm – 4pm.

Virginia Center Commons is also hosting a Salvation Army “Angel Tree.” The Angel Tree program lets you choose an “Angel” from the tree and purchase specially requested items while you do your holiday shopping. Return the items to the tree, located near the Fountain Court, by December 7, and help those less fortunate this holiday season.


Other Places to Spot Santa Around Town:

Bass Pro Shops: Santa’s Wonderland

bass-proBass Pro Shops Ashland / Facebook

11550 Lakeridge Parkway
Ashland, VA 23005
(804) 496-4700

Date: Now until December 24, 2016

November 13 – December 3
Saturdays: Photos 10am-8pm & Crafts Noon-5pm
Sundays: Photos Noon-5pm & Crafts Noon-5pm
Weekdays: Photos 5pm-8pm & Crafts 5pm-7pm

December 4 – December 22
Saturdays: Photos 10am-8pm & Crafts Noon-5pm
Sundays: Photos 10am-5pm & Crafts Noon-5pm
Weekdays: Photos 10am-8pm & Crafts 5pm-7pm

December 23: Photos 10am-5pm & Crafts 3-7pm
December 24: Photos 10am-5pm & Crafts 3-5pm

Cost: Free visits with Santa, plus free photos, including a digitalized Christmas card. Monday – Thursday from now until December 15, you’ll also receive a free wooden picture frame (while supplies last).

Bass Pro Shops may not be the first place you’d think to find Santa this holiday season, but he has made his presence known in a big way! Santa’s Wonderland includes free visits with Santa, plus a wide array of other free goodies, including free photos, free photo frames on select days and no shortage of fun activities, games and crafts for the whole family. Be sure to get a Bass Pass to reserve your time slot with Santa – just stop by the Bass Pass Ticket Depot and one of Santa’s elves will help you out. Learn more about the activities, crafts and special events here or visit their Ashland location Facebook page for weekly updates and photos!



Boulevard Flower Gardens: Visits with Santa

boulevard-flower-gardens_santaBoulevard Flower Gardens at Ruffin Mill

2100 Ruffin Mill Road
South Chesterfield, VA 23834
(804) 526-4000

Date: December 8 – December 24, 2016

Thursdays: 3pm – 6pm
Saturday and Sunday: 1pm – 4pm

Cost: Free! Be sure to bring your own camera to take family pictures with Santa. No pets, please.

Join Santa at the Boulevard Flower Gardens at Ruffin Mill this holiday season and not only enjoy some time with the man himself, but avoid long lines at the mall! After your visit, be sure to browse the beautiful gardens, pick a tree and do some shopping at the gift shop. Plus, enjoy special outdoor activities for the kids like the Candy Cane Express train ($3), Castle Bounce ($2), Toddler Animal Kingdom bounce ($2), Feed the Animals ($1), Hot dogs ($2), Hot Chocolate ($1), Bottled Water or Soda ($1) and S’More kits ($1 – if the fire pit is burning). Or purchase a Winter Activity Fun Card for only $10 and let the kids enjoy all of the rides!



Carytown: Saturdays with Santa

carytown_santa-comes-to-townI Love Carytown / Tumblr

W. Hirsch Oriental Rugs
3117 W Cary St, Richmond, VA 23221
(804) 359-5463

Date: Now until December 17, 2016.

Hours: Saturdays: 12:30pm – 3pm

Cost: Free

Santa officially landed in Carytown on November 26 and will be making an ongoing appearance every Saturday through December 17 from noon until 3pm at W. Hirsch Oriental Rugs. Bring the kids to visit Santa, and just in case they ask for a pony for Christmas, stick around for free horse drawn carriage rides!

After your visit and ride, be sure to check out Carytown’s wide array of shops and find gifts for everyone on your list.



Children’s Museum of Richmond: Legendary Santa

cmor_lengendary-santa-2Legendary Santa / Facebook

2626 West Broad St.
Richmond, VA 23220
(804) 474-7062

Date: Now until Christmas Eve

December 1-2: 2pm – 5pm (Half-price photos provided courtesy of Bon Secours)
December 3: 11am – 5pm
December 4: 9am – 5pm
December 5-9: 11am – 5pm
December 10-18: 9am – 5pm
December 19-23: 9am – 8pm
December 24: 9am – 2pm

Cost: Visits with Santa are free. Photo packages will be available for purchase ranging from $19.95 – $29.95, with a digital package for $27.95 and a la carte items between $8.95 – $11.95. Museum admission is separate.

For 80 years, Legendary Santa has delighted generations of children with his jolly demeanor and authentic appearance. Originally, Legendary Santa, or the “Real Santa” as he was known, held court at in the Miller and Rhoads Tea Room, alongside his “Snow Queen.” Although his location has changed, the legend has not; and today, your children can visit this famous Santa at the Children’s Museum of Richmond (CMoR). Join the Christmas tradition alongside Santa’s elves and the Snow Queen with special appearances from some of CMoR’s own unique characters, including Seymour the Friendly Dinosaur, Polly the Penguin, Sidney the Snowman, Rudolph and the Grinch.

Be sure to visit CMoR’s one-of-a-kind Holiday Village and the Fawn Shop, a specially-designed children’s shop where your little ones can purchase gifts for friends and family at special “child-sized” prices. Visit Legendary Santa for more information and to learn about other special events available throughout the holiday season, including:

  • Sunrise with Santa: Watch Legendary Santa come down the chimney, visit with the Snow Queen and have your picture taken without long waits or line. This special ticketed program begins promptly at 8am and lasts 45 minutes. A $60 ticket includes admission for a family of up to 6 people. Children under 1 are free.
  • Sunset with Santa: Beginning at 6pm, this special event offers the same opportunities as Sunrise with Santa, including a chance to see Santa come down the chimney, short lines and visiting time with Legendary Santa, the Snow Queen and their Santa Land friends. A $60 ticket includes admission for a family of up to 6 people. Children under 1 are free.
  • Tea with Santa: This timeless event takes you and your family back to where it all began in 1936. Join Legendary Santa for a special tea and story time while singing along with him and his Singing Elf in the very tea room where he used to greet his visitors, which is now the Hilton Downtown. Tickets are $36 for CMoR Patron members and pass holders and $40 for non-members. Children under 1 are free.



Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden: Merry Monday Santa Sightings

lewis-ginter-santaLewis Ginter Botanical Garden

1800 Lakeside Avenue
Richmond, Virginia 23228
(804) 262-9887

Date: Now until December 19, 2016

Hours: Mondays: 6pm – 8pm (located in the Garden Conservatory)

Cost: Visits with Santa are free with a paid admission to the Dominion GardenFest of Lights. GardenFest tickets are $13 for adults and $8 for children 3-12. Children under 3 are free. Discounted rates are available for Garden Member.

Catch a glimpse of Jolly Old St. Nick every Monday night from now until December 19 during Gardenfest’s Merry Mondays. Join “The Garden Keeper” for a special story time, then pay a visit to Santa from 6pm- 8pm in the Conservatory. There is no cost for visiting Santa and you’re free to take your own photos. After your visit, be sure to head out to enjoy the spectacular lights and nightly family activities of GardenFest!



Santa’s Village at the Illuminate Light Show

illuminate-santaReal Life Santa / Facebook

The Meadow Event Park
13048 Dawn Blvd
Doswell, VA 23047
(804) 994-2800

Date: Now until January 1, 2017

Time: 5:30pm – 10pm nightly

Cost: Free admission to Santa’s Village and free Santa visits with paid admission to the Illuminate Light Show. Check here for pricing. Photo packages are available for purchase and range from $12 – $35, or $15 for a digital file. Additional items like wreath ornaments and photo frames can be purchased for between $10 and $25.

After enjoying the dazzling lights that make up the Illuminate Light Show, be sure to stop into Santa’s Village for a visit and photos with Santa. Santa’s Village is proud to host the one and only Real Life Santa, who will dazzle your kids with his jolly spirit, rosy cheeks and a beard “as white as the snow.”

After photos, be sure to enjoy the village’s holiday shopping, moon bounce, mechanical bull, 40-foot obstacle course, model train displays, and much more. Santa’s Village and visit with Santa are included in your admission price to the light show, but some of the additional activities do have a price. Click here to find out about discount wristbands. Starting December 9, the village will also be hosting pony rides every Friday, Saturday and Sunday for only $5 each!


If you’ve visited these or any other Santas in the area, we would love to hear about your experience and see Santa photos! Feel free to share stories, provide suggestions for any Santas we’ve missed and share your photos in the comments below; or email us at cs@richmondmom.com. We look forward to hearing from you!

Anna Strock
Anna has spent the last 18 years writing, directing creative projects, and trying to be the best mom possible to her three girls. When she's not exploring Richmond for the latest and greatest resources, offerings, and activities, she can be found daydreaming on travel blogs, drinking too much coffee, and running kids to endless activities.