2021’s Nice List: Where to See Santa, Pictures with Santa, Breakfast with Santa, Parades & More

where to see santa and get pictures with santa

Where to See Santa in West Michigan

Santa is back in action this year!

After a season of visiting kids virtually, Santa is ready to visit kids in person again this year.

Not everything has returned yet for 2021, but the real Santa is back in Lowell, welcoming visitors on the showboat, so my Christmas is complete.

lowell showboat santa visits

Be sure to check your destination’s safety rules before heading out to see Santa.

Wherever you greet our favorite Christmas elf, our full roundup here will help you locate Santa this season in Grand Rapids.

From meals with Santa to places to take pics with him, there’s an opportunity for everyone to see Santa in Grand Rapids this year.

Where to See Santa Quick Links

Dine With Santa

Cookies with Santa, Breakfast with Santa, Dinner with Santa – if you look at the calendar below, you’ll see that your family has several fun options when it comes to sharing a meal or treats with Santa in West Michigan!

eating with santa

Sensory-Friendly Santas & Christmas Events

Several West Michigan organizations are putting on sensory-friendly Santa events this year so that all children can have a great Santa experience.

See event details below for signup information, as most require preregistration.

sensory-friendly santa events

Santa Parades

Santa Parades are a wonderful way to usher in the holiday season and see the big guy in action!

Communities across West Michigan host holiday parades, many featuring Santa Claus.

For an extra treat, look for Santa parades on the event list that happen at night, like Zeeland’s Magical Christmas Parade.

These nighttime parades are filled with lights and bring a whole new element to the holiday parade experience.

Zeeland's Magical Christmas Parade
Zeeland’s Magical Christmas Parade is Monday, November 29, 2021
waylands christmas parade
Wayland’s Christmas Parade

Pictures with Santa

Pictures with Santa can be some of the best ways to document and remember each holiday.  Taking pictures with Santa is an annual tradition for many West Michigan families.

One year my daughter peppered Santa with questions on the North Pole, flying reindeer, Mrs. Claus, elves…  Poor Santa just wanted to know what the girl wanted for Christmas!

Whether you want a beautiful memento of that season or a way to thrill your kid with having a few minutes of Santa’s attention, here are places you can make that happen!

pictures with santa
Where to Get Pictures with Santa

Santa Photo Ops on Repeat

These places offer Santa visits on a somewhat regular schedule.

Pictures with Santa at Cabelas 2021: Santa’s Wonderland

3000 44th Street SW, Grandville, MI 49418
November 6 – December 24, 2021


Families who visit Santa receive a free 4×6 studio-quality photo, as well as a free digital greeting card that can be shared on social media. During your visit, families can mail their letters to Santa and receive free giveaways while supplies last. Reservations required. Pre-book up to 7 days in advance.

Santa's Wonderland at Cabela's
Santa’s Wonderland at Cabela’s

The Santa Cabin at Bosch’s Countryview Nursery in Allendale

Bosch’s Choose & Cut Tree Farm
10785 84th Ave Allendale, MI 49401
November 20 – December 12, 2021


For $10/person, you can ride a horse / tractor-drawn wagon out into the woods to our brand new log cabin.
You will receive a hot chocolate when you purchase your tickets at the refreshment checkout that you can enjoy on the ride out. You will enter into the cabin for a visit with Santa and receive a s’mores package which you can toast over the campfire pit located by the cabin.

bosch's christmas tree farm in Allendale, MI
Bosch’s Countryview Nursery in Allendale

Woodland Mall Pictures with Santa

Woodland Mall
3195 28th Street SE, Grand Rapids 49512
November 17-December 24, 202

Get the milk and cookies ready because Santa Claus is coming to Woodland Mall by Macy’s! 
Reservations are encouraged, but not required.

Pet photos on Mondays.

Santa visits at Woodland Mall
Visiting Santa at Woodland Mall

Rivertown Crossings Mall Pictures with Santa

Rivertown Crossings – Lower level, east wing
3700 RiverTown Parkway, Grandville, MI 49418
November 19 – December 24, 2021

Santa’s helpers have been working hard decking the halls, so don’t miss out! Take photos with Santa and create magical moments for you and your family. Reservations are encouraged.

Pet photos on Mondays.

See Santa at Frederik Meijer Gardens

Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park
1000 East Beltline Avenue NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49525
Tuesdays, November 23-December 21, 2021 | 5-8pm

Visit Santa in the Lena Meijer Tropical Conservatory, for a picture-perfect setting like no other!

kids with santa meijer garden
Pictures with Santa at Meijer Gardens

Meet Santa at The Spring Lake Sparkle Festival

Five Star Real Estate – Spring Lake Office
118 W Savidge St, Spring Lake, MI 49456
November 26 – December 24, 2021

Appointments are now being accepted to meet Santa Clause in Spring Lake during the 2021 Spring Lake Sparkle Festival. Santa will be making an appearance every Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from November 26th- Christmas Eve from 5 pm-8 pm.
Have your picture taken with Santa by our Assistant Elf for a small donation to Lilley Cares (501c3).

Special Needs children will receive priority and will be accommodated accordingly. Parents/guardians of these children are welcome to drop off gifts at a predetermined time and have Santa pull them from his big red sack when your child visits. This event is completely customizable based on your child’s needs. Please contact us for special appointment times and needs.
We expect this event to be exceptionally busy during the holiday season and encourage you to make appointments as early as possible. No guarantee we can accept walk-ins without appointments although we will do the best we can. Reservations are encouraged.

See Santa on the Santa Train in Coopersville

Coopersville & Marne Railway
306 Main St, Coopersville, MI 49404
Saturday & Sunday, November 27 – December 19, 2021 | Various times

Elves will escort the children to sit with Santa.
All children get a present, even the shy ones! Our story-telling Princess will read Christmas-themed books to the children in each of the decorated railcars.

All of our cars are comfortably heated and each has a restroom on board. Online tickets must be purchased in advance. Masks requested. 90 minutes.

santa train coopersville
The Santa Train

The Magic of Christmas at Paddock Place

Five Star Real Estate – Spring Lake Office
Paddock Place, 1033 Lake Dr SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49506
December 2 – 11, 2021

The first two weekends of December, Thursday through Saturday
Join us this year as we celebrate the holiday season with a Christmas Market, Christmas Tree Lighting and Light Walk-Through, and Pictures with Santa. This event is open to the community and admission free.
Christmas Market Hours
Come shop for your Christmas gifts from local vendors at our Christmas Market.
Thursdays: 3p-8p Shop Hop
Fridays: 3p-9p
Saturdays: 10a-8p

Christmas Light Walk & Tree Lighting
Take a trip through the Christmas Light Walk-Through and stay on the second Friday of December for our Christmas Tree Lighting.

Pictures with Santa*
Don’t miss your chance to get your picture with Santa during Christmas Market hours.
*Price and Package information coming soon

The Magic of Christmas at Paddock Place
The Magic of Christmas at Paddock Place

Festive Fridays in Allegan

Downtown Allegan
Allegan, MI 49010
December 3, 10 & 17, 2021 |Various times 

Participating businesses are making spirits bright in Downtown Allegan this holiday season!

Extended shopping hours, 5pm – 8pm
Also enjoy free hot chocolate, and free visits with Santa.

NEW this year: free rides on the Holly Jolly Trolley (sponsored by Allegan Credit Union) on December 10 and 17, and purchase a live tree at Christmas Tree Lane, the lighted alley beside the Regent Theatre.

See Santa on the Lowell Showboat

Lowell Showboat VI
110 Riverwalk Plaza, Lowell, MI 49331
Wednesdays Dec 8 – 22, 2021, 5:30 PM – 7:30 PM
Saturdays Dec 11 & Dec 18, 2021, 10:30 AM – 1:00 PM 

Visit with the “real Santa” on his home base at the Lowell Showboat VI throughout December.

Santa at Lowell
Santa in Lowell at the Showboat

Sparta Santa Visits & Pictures with Santa

Sparta Chamber Office
194 E. Division, Sparta, MI 49345
December 9 – 23, 2021 |Various dates and times 

Visit Santa in downtown Sparta. Some dates also have a horse-drawn carriage available. Check their website for dates and times.

Santa will also be outside the library on Saturday, December 11 from 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM.

Santa is Coming to Tanger Outlets!

Selfie Wrld
350 84th St SW, Byron Center, MI 49315
December 9, 16 & 23, 2021 |10 AM – 1 PM

Santa is coming to Tanger!

Anyone will be able to stop in at Selfie Wrld GR to take free pictures with Santa, or you can buy tickets to get to the front of the line with Santa, treats, a coloring station, and 90 min to take pictures with all 25 of our backdrops!

One-Time Santa Photo Ops

Sometimes Santa is in town for just one day. Here’s where you can catch up with Santa to take pictures with Santa at these one-day-only events.

Frederik Meijer Gardens Santa Sleigh
Santa’s Sleigh at Meijer Gardens is a Great Photo Op

Additional Holiday Fun

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Where to see Christmas Lights in West Michigan
gift ideas banner
christmas event banner
Santa Events around West Michigan
nutcrackers-in West Michigan

With shoppable links!

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  1. Pingback: Holiday Attractions in Grand Rapids | Mamo Mentality

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