Where's Santa? Charlotte Santa Sightings

Have a visit with Santa Claus at one of these locations this season.
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Santa starts making his rounds Nov. 1, starting at SouthPark mall. Find out when he will be in your area.

Santa Claus is coming to town, he's making his list and checking it twice. Find out where you can snap a photo with the jolly one. (Events are organized by area and date. Details are subject to change, and many holiday events are subject to sell out. Always call or check event website before going).

Mall Santa Sightings

Birkdale Village, Huntersville | Nov. 16 -Dec. 24 – select days

Blakeney Shopping CenterNov. 23 -Dec. 22 – select days

Carolina Place Mall | Nov. 9-Dec. 24

Concord MillsNov. 8-Dec. 24

Northlake MallNov. 16-Dec. 24.

SouthPark MallNov. 1-Dec. 24


Nov. 2

Holiday Children's Market and Visits with Santa

Come for hot chocolate, donuts, face painting, food tastings and holiday crafts. Shop vendors, including the Children Entrepreneurs from the Charlotte Children's Business Fair. Santa and the "Give Thanks" Turkey will arrive at 11 a.m.

  • Where: StoneCrest at Piper Glen, 7800 Rea Road.
  • When: 10 a.m.-1 p.m.
  • Cost: Free.


Nov. 11-Dec. 16, Mondays

Pet Photos with Santa

Come bring cats and dogs to take pictures with Santa!

  • Where: Carolina Place Mall, 11025 Carolina Pl. Pkwy.
  • When: 5 p.m.
  • Cost: Picture packages vary in price.


Nov. 14-24

Southern Christmas Show

Experience charming shops, festive music, crafts, food, holiday decor, local wines, Santa and more than 450 holiday merchants with gifts for all ages.

  • Where: Park Expo and Conference Center, 800 Briar Creek Road.
  • When: Sun.-Wed., 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Thurs.-Sat. 10 a.m.-9 p.m.
  • Cost: $4-$15, children ages 5 and younger free. On-site parking is $8.


Nov. 21-24

Santa at the Charlotte Auto Show

Santa is stopping by Saturday and Sunday at the Charlotte Auto Show. Be sure to also check out the video game truck and first responder vehicles. On Sunday, entertainers and mascots will be available for pictures and high-fives.

  • Where: Convention Center, 501 S. College St.
  • When: Noon-4 p.m.
  • Cost: $10 general admission, children ages 12 and younger admitted free.


Nov. 22

Piedmont Town Center Tree Lighting

See the tree lighting at 7 p.m. Come early and stay late to enjoy train rides, visits with Santa and Mrs. Claus, a photo booth, balloon artist, face painting, goodie bags and complimentary hot cocoa.


Nov. 22-Dec. 24

Charlotte Christmas Village

This Uptown holiday event is presented as a German-inspired Christmas Market and includes traditional German foods and treats, homemade crafts and gifts, and other featured programming such as local musical performances. Closed Mondays. Santa will visit the village on select dates starting Thanksgiving Day; see website for his schedule. Free admission.

  • Where: Charlotte Christmas Village, Corner of 7th Street and N. Tryon Street.
  • When: Closed Mondays. Santa will visit the village on select dates starting Thanksgiving Day; see website for his schedule.
  • Cost: Free admission.


Nov. 23

Holiday Magic at Rea Farms

Come out for a free photo with Santa and Mrs. Claus! Meet Christmas Mickey and Minnie, and visit with characters from Frozen. Shop for gifts from Rea Farms Shops at Stocking Stuffer Lane, and enjoy trackless train rides, face painting, balloon twisters, a cookie decorating workshop and the 7 p.m. tree lighting!

  • Where: Rea Farms, 9855 Sandy Rock Place.
  • When: 4-8 p.m.
  • Cost: Free.

Santa's Arrival and Tree Lighting at Blakeney Shopping Center

Explore family-friendly activities including a trackless train, holiday characters, crafts, dance performances and more until 7 p.m. Ramona from 107.9 The Link will be on-site with Christmas jingles. Santa Claus will arrive at 6 p.m. before the tree lighting ceremony. Stop by Santa’s House following the ceremony for a photo until 9 p.m.

  • Where: Blakeney Shopping Center, 9839 Rea Road
  • When: 4-9 p.m.
  • Cost: Free. Picture packages vary in price


Nov. 24 and Dec. 8

Sensory Event with Santa

Families with special needs are invited to meet Santa at Carolina Place Mall.

  • Where: Carolina Place Mall, 11025 Carolina Pl. Pkwy.
  • When: 10 a.m.-noon.
  • Cost: Picture packages vary in price.


Nov. 24 and Dec. 15

Pet Photos with Santa at SouthPark

Bring your pets and family to SouthPark Mall for photos.

  • Where: SouthPark Mall, 4400 Sharon Road.
  • When: 7-9 p.m.
  • Cost: Picture packages vary in price.


Nov. 30

Santa Photos Provided by Charlotte Black Dogs

Come for raffles, rescue groups and photos with Santa! Bring your own camera. Donations benefit Charlotte Black Dogs.

  • Where: Pet in the City, 9600 Monroe Road.
  • When: Noon-3 p.m.
  • Cost: Free.

Exclusive Christmas Portraits, Fighting Childhood Cancer

Come join Santa for a unique interactive photo shoot, and get professional portraits with Santa. Experience the "Night Before Christmas" as told by Santa. He will also share photos of Rudolph and show children how he navigates the skies while a photographer captures the magic.

  • Where: NoDa Brewing Company, 2921 N. Tryon St.
  • When: Noon-3 p.m.
  • Cost: $40.


Dec. 1

Christmas Ball Workshop with Santa

Learn how to craft lit Christmas balls. Bring supplies, or purchase supplies at the workshop for $12. Santa will be available for photos between 1 and 4 p.m. Photos will be free with donation of toy. Balls are the same as the decorations used in the Running of the Balls 5K.

  • Where: Resident Culture Brewing Company, 2101 Central Ave.
  • When: 1-4 p.m.
  • Cost: Photos free with toy donation.


Dec. 1 and 8

Caring Santa

Caring Santa is a private event designed for children and young adults with special needs and their families to have an opportunity to visit Santa and have their photos taken. Photos available for purchase.

  • Where: SouthPark Mall, 4400 Sharon Road.
  • When: 9-10:30 a.m.
  • Cost: Picture packages vary in price.


Dec. 4-7

The Holiday Shop

The Holiday Shop includes Santa’s Bag and The ENCORE! Boutique. Santa’s Bag gives children ages 10 and younger the opportunity to shop for family and friends (including Mom and Dad) with the help of volunteer elves. A variety of inexpensive, pre-wrapped gifts. The ENCORE! Boutique is a unique place for tweens, teens and adults to shop while children are shopping in Santa’s Bag. Santa will be in the lobby during the event.

  • Where: Children's Theatre of Charlotte, ImaginOn, 300 E. Seventh St.
  • When: Wed-Fri., 9-11:30 a.m.; 4:30-7 p.m.; Sat., 10 a.m.-1 p.m. (or until inventory sells out)
  • Cost: Free admission. Gifts range in price from 50 cents to $6.


Dec. 4, 11 and 18

Winter Wednesdays at Waverly

Visit Waverly for some mid-week cheer. Start a new holiday tradition that includes a night full of entertainment, including music, shopping, sweet treats and of course, a visit from Santa.

  • Where: Waverly Charlotte.
  • When: 5-7:30 p.m.
  • Cost: Free.


Dec. 5 and 12

Winter Wonderland Holiday Light Show at Phillips Place

See the dazzling light shows at 6:30 and 7:30 p.m., and enjoy visits from Santa and Mrs. Claus, face painters, balloon artists, and hot chocolate.

  • Where: Phillips Place, 6800 Phillips Place Court
  • When: 6:30-8:30 p.m.
  • Cost: Free.


Dec. 7

Ayrsley Holiday Celebration

Santa will be available for photos from 3:30-5:30 p.m, and the movie, "Elf" will be shown on the lawn beginning at 5:30 p.m.

  • Where: Ayrsley, Ayrsley Town Blvd.
  • When: 3:30-8 p.m.
  • Cost: Free.

Ballantyne Village's Holiday Open House

Kids receive goodie bags, while supplies last! Fun events for the family include visits with Santa and Mrs. Claus, face painting, balloon artist, crafts and a bounce house.

  • Where: Ballantyne Village, 14825 Ballantyne Village Way.
  • When: 1-4 p.m.
  • Cost: Free.

Kingsley Holiday Celebration

Join Kingsley of Fort Mill for faux snow, balloon artist, cookie crawl, live holiday music and photos with Santa.

  • Where: Kingsley Town Center, Textile Way and Broadcloth Street, Fort Mill.
  • When: 2-5 p.m.
  • Cost: Free.

Krueger Reindeer Romp

Register for the 5K, or register kids for the free fun run and Olaf Obstacle Course. Finish off with hot chocolate, snacks and pictures with Santa.

  • Where: Harris YMCA, 5900 Quail Hollow Road.
  • When: 8 a.m.
  • Cost: $35+ for 5K, Kids' fun run and Olaf Obstacle Course free.

Santa's Craft Fair

Shop for gifts, and hear the Children's Choir perform at 11:15am. Food will be available for purchase, and Santa will be available for photographs.

  • Where: St. Matthew Catholic Church, 8015 Ballantyne Commons Pkwy.
  • When: 8 a.m.-4 p.m.
  • Cost: Free admission.


Dec. 7, 14 and 21

A December to Remember at Promenade

Celebrate the season at Promenade on Providence the first three Saturdays of December. Enjoy Santa and Carriage Rides on Dec. 7, Cookies and Crafts with Mrs. Claus on the Green on Dec. 14 and Paws and Claus on Dec. 21. For Paw and Claus, kids and pets can take photos with Santa and enjoy a visit from a favorite character pup!

  • Where: Promenade on Providence, 10844 Providence Road.
  • When: 3-5 p.m.


Dec. 13

Cookies and Cocoa with Santa

Come to MyGym in Ballantyne for cookies and cocoa with Santa! This event is for children ages birth to 10 years.

  • Where: MyGym Ballantyne, 9852 Rea Road, Suite A2.
  • When: 3:30-5 p.m. and 5:30-7 p.m.
  • Cost: $15


Dec. 14

Holiday at the Hill

Come out for face painters, snow, trackless train, bounce house, carriage rides, goodie bags for kids, and a visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus.

  • Where: Strawberry Hill, Providence Road and Sardis Road.
  • When: 1-4 p.m.
  • Cost: Free.


Santa at Legion Plaza Midwood

Come visit with Santa at Legion! A photographer will be available to take photos, and parents may also take a photo of their own.

  • Where: Legion Brewing, 1906 Commonwealth Ave..
  • When: Noon-3 p.m.
  • Cost: $5.


Dec. 14 and 15

Santa Paws at Lucky Dog Bark and Brew

​​Come get your dog's picture made with Santa for free with a donation to CBHBB Rescue.

  • Where: Lucky Dog Bark and Brew, 2220 Thrift Road.
  • When: 1pm.
  • Cost: Free with donation.


Dec. 15

Jolly Lollies Holiday Show

Come get Jolly with the Lollies! Jolly Lollies will perform from 4:30 to 5pm, followed by a Santa visit with face painting, crafts and balloon art until 6pm. Jolly Lollies will play more holiday tunes from 6 to 6:30pm.

  • Where: Suffolk Punch, 2911 Griffith St.
  • When: 4-7 p.m.
  • Cost: $8-$30.

Magical Morning: A Sensory-Friendly Santa Experience

Each child will have the opportunity to meet Santa Claus in an atmosphere that is calming and quiet with no loud music or flashing lights. Plus with pre-scheduled Santa times, there is little to no wait. This event also includes crafts and the opportunity to watch a Christmas movie in the High Octane Theater with the lights up and the sound down.

  • Where: NASCAR Hall of Fame, 400 E. Martin Luther King Drive.
  • When: 9 a.m.-noon.
  • Cost: $15 per family.

Santa at Legion South Park

Come visit with Santa at Legion! A photographer will be available to take photos, and parents may also take a photo of their own.

  • Where: Legion Brewing, 5610 Carnegie Blvd.
  • When: 10 a.m.-1 p.m.
  • Cost: $5.


Nov. 29-Dec. 24, Select Days

Holidays at the Garden

Mrs. Claus visits Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden Friday through Sunday from Nov. 29-Dec. 22 in addition to Christmas Eve from 6 to 8 p.m. Santa Claus will be available for professional photos with families on Dec. 2, 9 and 16  from 5 to 8:30 p.m. (additional fee, reservations required). Santa will also be available Tuesday through Thursday from Dec. 2-19 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. for personal photos (no fee). Holidays at the Garden includes holiday lights, music, fires for marshmallow roasting, Department 56’s Dickens’ Village Series display and model railroad display.

  • Where: Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden, 6500 South New Hope Road, Belmont.
  • When: 5-9 p.m.
  • Cost: $10-$19


Dec. 7

Christmas Village

Come downtown for a magical night of fun holiday cheer! S'mores, hot cocoa, hot cider, cookies and more available along Main Street. Have your photo taken with Santa, or enjoy a carriage ride through downtown. Stroll through Stowe Park to see the Festival of Trees. New this year is Belmont's Christmas Village ice-skating rink! The rink opens Dec. 5-7.

  • Where: Downtown Belmont.
  • When: 5-9 p.m.
  • Cost: Free.


Nov. 8

Santa's Arrival at Concord Mills

Enjoy festive activities and special guest appearances. Santa Claus arrives in style around 6:30 p.m. followed by a parade down to Santa’s workshop in the Dining Pavilion.

  • Where: Concord Mills, 8111 Concord Mills Blvd.
  • When: Arrival celebration runs 5-7 p.m. Pictures with Santa continue through Dec. 24
  • Cost: Free. Picture packages vary in price.


Nov. 16-24

Santa’s Wonderland at Bass Pro Shops and Cabela's

Santa’s Wonderland will offer free photos with Santa and free family holiday crafts, games and activities.

  • Where: Bass Pro Shops, 8181 Concord Mills Blvd., Concord, and Cabela's, 1000 Cabela Drive, Fort Mill.
  • When: Daily
  • Cost: Free


Nov. 22-Jan. 5

Speedway Christmas

Drive the 3.5 mile course to see over 3.5 million lights. Every Thursday through Sunday, the indoor Christmas Village will include photos with Santa, children’s activities, a display of decorated Christmas trees, vendors and specialty foods. Do not miss the live nativity, Ferris wheel, merry go round and carriage rides outside.

  • Where: Charlotte Motor Speedway, 5555 Concord Pkwy., S., Concord
  • When: Thurs.-Sun., 6-10 p.m. and daily Christmas week except Christmas Day.
  • Cost: $25-$30 per car for Christmas light show and the Village visit. $20 on days when the village is closed.


Nov. 24

Pet Photos with Santa at Concord Mills

Pets are welcome to come have their photo taken with Santa.

  • Where: Concord Mills, 8111 Concord Mills Blvd.
  • When: 7-9 p.m.
  • Cost: Picture packages vary in price.


The Polar Express Train RideNov. 15-22

The event combines the train ride with theatrical performances, along with Reindeer Games and entertainment before the ride, s’mores, photos with Santa in the Gift Station, and the post-ride children’s play area, Candy Cane Lane. Open on weekends with extended days.

  • Where: North Carolina Transportation Museum, 1 Samuel Spencer Drive, Spencer.
  • When: 4-8:30 p.m., select time when purchasing tickets.
  • Cost: $32+ to ride the train. Photo packages available for purchase.

Dec. 8

Caring Santa

Children with special needs and their families can enjoy a sensory-friendly Caring Santa event.

  • Where: Concord Mills, 8111 Concord Mills Blvd., Concord in the dining pavilion.
  • When: 9-11 a.m.
  • Cost: Picture packages vary in price.

Fort Mill, Rock Hill, Indian Land

Nov. 15

Ringing in the Holidays at Redstone

Check out balloon artists, face painters, holiday characters, train, carriage rides, photo booth, snow, goodie bags for kids, as well as visits with Santa and Mrs. Claus.

  • Where: Redstone Shopping Center, Highway 521 and Highway 160, Indian Land, South Carolina.
  • When: 6-9 p.m.
  • ​Cost: Free.


Nov. 16

4th Annual Cookies with Santa

Take a digital photo with Santa! Shop local vendors and food trucks while the kids make crafts.

  • Where: Baxter Close YMCA, 857 Promenade Walk, Fort Mill.
  • When: 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
  • Cost: $15 for photo with Santa.


Dec. 5-8


This four-day festival includes Santa Workshops, a parade, Founder's Holiday Ice Rink, a carousel, performances, arts and crafts and other events. Santa arrives Dec. 5 in Fountain Park at 7 p.m. Cookies and cocoa at First Presbyterian Church in Rock Hill will follow his arrival. See the festival website for more events with Santa. Free. See website for full schedule of events, including cookies and cocoa with Santa and Santa workshop events. 

  • Where: Historic Old Town, Rock Hill, South Carolina
  • When: See website for full schedule of events.
  • Cost: Free admission and all Santa activities are free. 


Dec. 7

Candy Cane Hunt and Paws with Claus

Children can meet Santa and Mrs. Claus, search the greenway for candy canes and finish with s’mores over a campfire. Register online.

  • Where: Anne Springs Close Greenway, 288 Dairy Barn Lane, Fort Mill. 
  • When: Hunts at 10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.
  • Cost: $12 per child, $5 for parking.

Ho Ho Ho Santa Shoot

Get your pet's picture with Santa!

  • Where: Humane Society of York County, 8177 Regent Pkwy., Suite 103, Fort Mill, South Carolina
  • When: 2-4 p.m.
  • Cost: $20 per digital photo, cash or check.

Lancaster Christmas in the City

Come for food trucks, crafts, free rides, free pictures with Santa and more.

  • Where: 201 W. Gay St., Lancaster, South Carolina
  • When: 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
  • Cost: Free.

Huntersville, Cornelius and Davidson

Nov. 16

Santa's Arrival Parade

Watch the parade at 6 p.m. to celebrate Santa's arrival, and do not miss the live entertainment, tree lighting and vendors.

  • Where: Birkdale Village, Birkdale Commons Parkway and Sam Furr Road, Huntersville.
  • When: 3-8 p.m.
  • Cost: Free


Nov. 24 and Dec. 1

Santa Paws Pet Photos

Well-mannered cats and dogs are invited pose for photos with Santa. Cats must be in a carrier at all times, and dogs must be on a leash. Photos will be available for purchase.

  • Where: Northlake Mall, 6801 Northlake Mall Drive.
  • When: 6-8 p.m.
  • Cost: Picture packages vary in price.


Dec. 1

Christmas in Cornelius

Festival will feature local breweries, vendors, food trucks, live music, activities for kids and a visit from Santa!

  • Where: Oak Street Mill, 5721 Oak St., Cornelius.
  • When: Noon-6 p.m.
  • Cost: Free.


Dec. 3

Signing Santa

Good little girls and boys can come sign and take photos with Santa.

  • Where: Northlake Mall, 6801 Northlake Mall Drive.
  • When: 9 a.m.-1 p.m.
  • Cost: Picture packages vary in price.


Dec. 5-7

Santa's House at Christmas in Davidson

Part of the Christmas in Davidson celebration, children can share their wish lists and have a picture taken. Santa arrives Thurs., Dec. 5 at 6:29 p.m. in horse drawn carriage to Santa's House where he sees visitors from 7-9 p.m. See Santa Friday and Saturday from 6-9 p.m.

  • Where: Davidson College Presbyterian Church Congregation House, 100 N. Main St., Davidson.
  • When: Thurs., 7-9 p.m.; Fri. and Sat., 6-9 p.m.
  • Cost: Free.


Dec. 7

A Huntersville Christmas

Come enjoy festive family fun in Huntersville.

  • Where: Huntersville Town Center, 105 Gilead Road, Huntersville.
  • When: 2-8 p.m.
  • Cost: Free admission.


Dec. 8

Soothing Santa

Soothing Santa is an exclusive, sensory-friendly event for families with special needs children and their siblings. Taking place before the mall opens, families have the opportunity to visit Jolly Old Saint Nick with dimmed lighting, no mall radio and lower shopper traffic.

  • Where: Northlake Mall, 6801 Northlake Mall Drive.
  • When: 8-11 a.m.
  • Cost: Picture packages vary in price.


Dec. 16

Paws in the Park

Families and their dogs can enjoy photos with Santa, shop for unique dog gifts and take a dog -friendly hike.

  • Where: Robbins Park, 17738 West Catawba Ave., Cornelius.
  • When: Noon-2 p.m.
  • Cost: Free.


Dec. 17

Santa at Ben and Jerry's in Davidson

Come get a photo with Santa, and enjoy the hot chocolate bar.

  • Where: Ben and Jerry's, 202 S. Main St., Davidson.
  • When: 5-7 p.m.
  • Cost: Free.


Dec. 7

Ace & TJ's Grin Kids Breakfast with Santa

Come have a good breakfast for a great cause.

  • Where: Cantina 1511 Uptown, 205 N. College St. and Cantina 1511 Mooresville, 120 Marketplace Ave. Suite D, Mooresville.
  • Cost: $22.


Dec. 13 and 20

Christmas in Downtown

These Friday night celebrations will feature music, Santa visits, a Christmas tree lane, wagon rides, a life-sized snow globe and more.

  • Where: Downtown Mooresville, Broad and Main Streets, Mooresville.
  • When: 6-8 p.m.
  • Cost: Free.


Dec. 7

Christmas in the Park

Enjoy holiday fun in the park.

  • Where: Stallings Municipal Park, 340 Stallings Road, Stallings.
  • When: 2-6 p.m.
  • Cost: Free.


Dec. 14

Treats with Santa Mrs. Claus at The Museum of the Waxhaws

Meet and greet with Mrs. Claus, and enjoy some treats!

  • Where: Museum of the Waxhaws, 8215 Waxhaw Hwy., Waxhaw.
  • When: 1-3 p.m.
  • Cost: $15.

Tiffany Wolff is the calendar editor for Charlotte Parent magazine.