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Where to find Santa in the Triangle

Posted November 14, 2022 8:22 a.m. EST
Updated December 13, 2022 10:44 a.m. EST

A young boy poses for a picture with Santa Claus. The Annual Christmas Tree Lighting Celebration was held in the Commons of North Hills in Raleigh, NC on November 23, 2019 (Jerome Carpenter/WRAL Contributor)

Wondering where to find Santa in the Triangle? Our list is bigger for 2022 and growing with mall photos, tree lighting events and Santa meet ups at local businesses. This post will be updated with more locations throughout the holiday season.

At the mall

Santa will be at Crabtree Valley Mall Nov. 11 through Christmas Eve. Reservations are recommended, but walk-ins are welcome. A $20 deposit is required to book online. The deposit includes your visit with Santa and a $20 credit toward photo purchase.

Crabtree's hours include:

  • Nov. 12-Dec. 2: Monday-Thursday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Friday-Saturday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Dec. 3-Dec. 23: Monday-Friday, Saturday 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Dec. 24: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Santa has already started visiting children at The Streets at Southpoint in Durham on Monday-Saturday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and on Sunday from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.. Online reservations are recommended.

Triangle Town Center offers photos with Santa beginning Nov. 25. Hours are posted on Facebook. Walk-ins accepted.

Santa will visit children at Cross Creek Mall in Fayetteville Nov. 18 through Dec. 24. Hours are Monday-Thursday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Friday-Saturday 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Christmas Eve hours are 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Santa will take pictures with pets Nov. 21, Nov. 28, Dec. 5 and Dec. 12 between 4 p.m. and 7 p.m.

Bass Pro Shops and Cabela's

Get a free 4x6 photo with Santa at Bass Pro Shops and Cabela's through Christmas Eve. Select a store and time slot online to confirm your reservation. During your visit, families can mail their letter to Santa and receive free giveaways while supplies last.

Carolina Inn's Brunch with Santa

Santa is coming to The Carolina Inn. The events include a magic show, face painting and a visit from Santa. Dates are Dec. 3, 4, 10, 11, 20, 21, 22 and 23. Make a reservation online.

Christmas Carousel Market

Visit with Santa and get a photo Thanksgiving weekend at the Christmas Carousel holiday market in the Jim Graham Building at the N.C. State Fairgrounds. Hours include:

  • Nov. 25-26: 10 a.m. to noon, 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
  • Nov. 27: 12 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Clayton Christmas Village

The Clayton Christmas Village and Tree Lighting will take place Dec. 1 on Main Street from O’Neil Street to Smith Street. Santa will be in Horne Square to take photos.

Clayton General Store

Visit Santa and Mrs Claus on Nov. 26 between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. at the Clayton General Store at 10522 U.S. 70. Use your own phone to take photos. Pets are welcome.

Cookies and Cocoa with Santa

Start a new family tradition this year. Join Polar Ice for a Winter Wonderland event at Polar Ice Raleigh on Dec. 23 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. and at Polar Ice Cary on Dec. 24 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. for cookies and cocoa with Santa. Event tickets for children are $30 and include time with Santa, public skating around the center ice Christmas tree and snacks. Adult add-on tickets for public skating only are $15. Bring your favorite camera and click away to save the memories!

Cookies and Milk with Santa

Decorate cookies and have some milk or hot chocolate with Santa on Dec. 9 from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at Pineapple Sol in Waverly Place in Cary. Tickets are $35 per child and $5 per adult. Call 919-803-8533 for a reservation.

Downtown Raleigh Tree Lighting

Take a free photo with Santa at the Downtown Raleigh Tree Lighting on Nov. 18 from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. in front of the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts. There will be vendors from the Raleigh Night Market, food, music and entertainment and more. Arrive by 6:15 p.m. to see the tree lighting.

The Durham - Santa on the Roof

The Durham offers families the chance to get a photo with Santa on the Roof at The Durham Hotel from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 11. This event is free and open to the public. Attendees will be responsible for taking their own photos. Santa joins us via Santas Just Like Me, a local organization that has provided North Carolina families with the option to visit with a Santa of color since 2013. Complimentary hot chocolate will also be served.

Durham Holiday Market

On Nov. 26 from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m., visit The Honeysuckle at Lakewood in Durham, 1920 Chapel Hill Road, for vendors, face painting, games, music and an appearance from Santa.

Fenton visits with Santa

Get your photo taken with Santa in an igloo Nov. 20 through Christmas Eve at Fenton. Online reservations are recommended and require a $20 deposit, which is a credit toward your purchase of photos and/or a digital download.

Pets can have their photo taken with Santa on Dec. 5 and Dec. 12 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Reservations are recommended.

Garner Holiday Block Party

The Garner Holiday Block Party at 215 W. Main St. is a free family-friendly event on Dec. 3. From 2 to 4 p.m., there will be crafts, food trucks, games, music and The Garner Express, a 24-person train ride around the outdoor walking trail. Santa Claus will be there for photos. A parade and tree lighting will follow.

Glass Jug Beer Lab

See Santa at the brewery! Tickets required at the following links.

Dec. 3, noon to 5 p.m. at The Glass Jug Beer Lab - RTP, 5410 Highway 55, Durham
Tickets online.

Dec. 17, 2 to 8 p.m. at 545 Foster St, Durham
Tickets online.

Knightdale Tree Lighting

Meet Santa during the tree lighting at Knightdale Station Park on Dec. 2 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Write letters to Santa, watch local entertainment, enjoy hot chocolate and cookies and countdown to the Christmas tree lighting.

Maple View Farm

Santa will be at Maple View Farm in Hillsborough for the Sundaes with Santa event on Dec. 8, Dec. 16 and Dec. 22 between 2:45 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. The ice cream shop will be collecting baby supplies like diapers and wipes for families in need.

Mayton Inn

Families are welcome to come to The Mayton Inn in downtown Cary from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 4, for photos with Santa. This event is free and open to the public. Attendees will be responsible for taking their own photos with Santa in the hotel's cozy and festive study adjacent to the restaurant, Peck & Plume.

North Hills

Santa will be at the North Hills tree lighting on Nov. 19 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Visit a Black Santa

Santa's Just Like Me: The Black Santa Experience is the creation of local photographer Stafford Braxton, who wanted to provide a Santa Claus of color for the children who asked for it. Reserve a slot online or schedule a visit with a virtual Black Santa. Events will be held at multiple locations throughout the season:

Hayti Heritage Center: 804 Old Fayetteville Road, Durham

  • Dec. 3: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

  • Dec. 21-23: 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

  • Dec. 24: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

EducateDancer: 2222 Patterson St., Suite F, Greensboro

  • Dec. 17: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

  • Dec. 18: 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Pope House Museum: 511 S. Wilmington St., Raleigh

  • Dec. 3: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

  • Dec. 4: 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Wendell Wonderland

See Santa at Wendell Wonderland in downtown Wendell on Dec. 2 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. There will be live music, trolley rides, the Wendell United Methodist’s cookie walk, Santa & Mrs. Claus, a craft market, axe throwing, the Lake Myra Light Show, a snow machine, and a Toys for Tots tpy drive.

Zebulon tree lighting

Visit with Santa on Nov. 19 between 4 p.m. and 9 p.m. at Zebulon's Candy Cane Lane and tree lighting at 101 N. Arendell Ave. There will also be crafts, games, hot chocolate and food trucks.

Santa in Wake Forest

Santa Claus will be available for photos in downtown Wake Forest on two separate occasions. Families must register in advance online beginning Nov. 28 at noon.

  • Lighting of Wake Forest - Friday, Dec. 2 at Wake Forest Town Hall
  • Downtown Holiday Open House - Saturday, Dec. 3 at Firebox Theatre Company

Santa Photo-Op at The Willard

On Dec. 11, The Willard at The AC Hotel Raleigh Downtown is offering families the chance to take gorgeous photos with Santa with a backdrop of the downtown Raleigh skyline. Santa will be on hand for photo ops and holiday wishes from 1 to 4 p.m. Enjoy a warm cup of coffee, cocoa, or an adult beverage from the bar. The event is free, and no professional photography will be provided – please be prepared to take photos on your phone or bring your own camera.

Santa at Gathering Gallery

Santa will also be at Gathering Gallery, an art and gift shop employing people with disabilities, at 111 E. Hargett St. on Dec. 2 from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. He will start by reading a story then will pose for photos. This event is free for everyone. Santa will be Santa Keyes, a Black Santa featured in Our State Magazine.

Santa’s Reindeer Roundup Express in New Hill

The all-volunteer nonprofit North Carolina Railway Museum in New Hill has offered Santa train rides on their near 5-mile railroad through the countryside. Santa Claus will once again be in the rail yard to take photos with families (using your own camera) and young railfans can search for Santa’s nine missing reindeer (including Rudolph) during the 50-minute ride. Tickets are still available for Dec. 3 through Dec. 17 but are expected to sell out quickly. Make reservations online.

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