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

where to see santa and get pictures with santa

Santa Planner 2021 – Where to See Santa in West Michigan

This year Santa has a new job: cheering children through a pandemic. Santa doesn’t want to get so sick that his present deliveries would be in jeopardy on Christmas Eve, but he also dearly misses the kids of Grand Rapids.

So how will Santa bring Christmas cheer this year while following social distance guidelines and keeping himself and all our children safe?

Well, he’s trying lots of things. Sometimes he can wave to you through a plexiglass wall. Other times he’ll be sporting a mask. Some days Santa is going to be virtual.

However 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.

Pictures with Santa

Pictures with Santa can be some of the best ways to document and remember each holiday.  

Sure, some kids are petrified, but others are delighted to visit their favorite elf.

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!

West MI Santa Photo Locations

Pictures with Santa at 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!

Pictures with Santa at Woodland Mall

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.

Pictures with Santa at Cabelas 2021: Santa’s Wonderland

3000 44th Street SW, Grandville, MI 49418
November 7 – December 24, 2020


This year Cabela’s is working double duty to keep Santa safe. The man in red wears a plastic face shield and also sits behind a plexiglass wall.

By popular demand we continue the tradition in a safe and responsible way.

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 letter to Santa and bring home free holiday craft activity kits while supplies last. Reservations required.

Pictures with Santa: Virtual Santa Visits

Online, hosted by GRPM
November-December, 2020


Santa will be making Zoom calls to families at a pre-scheduled time, or families have the option to receive a downloadable customized video message directly from Santa.

Pictures with Santa: Virtual Santa Visits

Online, hosted by Rivertown Crossings
November 1-December 27, 2020


Make this holiday magical with a virtual visit to the North Pole! Choose from a live Virtual Visit with Santa, Storytime with The Clauses, or a Pre-Recorded Personalized Santa Video.

Santa visits at Woodland Mall
Visiting Santa at Woodland Mall

Pictures with Santa at Rivertown Crossings

Rivertown Crossings
3700 RiverTown Parkway, Grandville, MI 49418
November 27-December 25, 2020

Visit us in the Food Court to get your professional pics with Santa taken. Face coverings for you and Santa may be required during your contactless visit based on current state regulations.

Grand Rapids Santa at Cabela's
Santa at Cabela’s in Grandville

Ongoing Santa Events

Some Santa events are so nice they need to happen twice! Or for weeks on end!

Here’s a list of Santa Events that are on repeat for the holiday season. Ho ho ho, Merry Christmas!

Santa Train 2021

Coopersville & Marne Railway
306 Main St, Coopersville, MI 49404
Saturday & Sunday, NOV 27-DEC 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.

More Christmas Events Featuring Santa Claus

Still wondering where to see Santa?

Lining up to visit Santa is special, but enjoying a full-on Christmas event, with Santa as the star guest, has a magic all its own. Here are the Christmas events around town where you can see Santa.

Browse the list below, organized by date. You’ll find Santa Brunches, a Santa Hot Cocoa date, Donuts with Santa – They’re all listed here along with

Stroll the decorated streets filled with holiday carolers and shop the day away at stores, boutiques and galleries all featuring unique gift options you won't find anywhere else. Take a picture with Santa and his reindeer.

Free Photos with Santa

A lively holiday parade traveling from Highland Drive, along 32nd Ave., to Central Blvd. Ends at Terra Square with a community party complete with Santa, games, and crafts for the kids, hot chocolate, coffee & cookies.

Santa Parade

Santa Paws Pet Parade (4:30pm), pictures with Santa (4:30-5:30 & 5:45-7:30pm), Mrs. Claus and their elves, ice skating, campfires and smores, hot chocolate and coffee, dessert truck, luminaries, plus the grand reveal of the new holiday lighting! 5:30 pm Lighting Ceremony

Free Photos with Santa

A heart-warming, lighted parade with creative entries, walking groups & marching bands, and Santa Claus himself as the grand finale!

Santa Parade

Santa Claus arrives in Downtown Holland during the annual Parade of Lights, escorted by 75 floats, trucks, antique cars, walkers and marching bands...all decked out from top to bottom in thousands of sparkling lights!

Santa Parade

Free kids activities, photos with Santa, complimentary snacks and beverages (while supplies last), horse and carriage rides throughout Hudsonville’s Downtown, and more! The Tree will be lit at 6pm.

Free Photos with Santa

This special event celebrates Sinterklaas, the benevolent Dutch St. Nicholas. Head to the Holiday Kerstmarkt, where children can follow Sinterklaas through the Eighth Street Market Place, learn about the tradition of Sinterklaas, pose for photos and even get a special surprise from his helpers.

Free Photos with Santa

A candy cane hunt & visiting with Santa. Pizza lunch after the hunt. Call to register.

Parade starts at 1pm beginning at Wicks Park. Santa will be making a special appearance! Santa's Workshop (11am-4pm)- photo opportunities with Santa plus kids craft projects, tree decorating, music, refreshments and more!

Free Photos with Santa, Santa Parade

Mark your calendars for a memorable photo op to complete any Holiday card!

Free Photos with Santa, Dine with Santa

Show off your holiday spirit by wearing the ugliest sweater you can find! Plus, Santa and his little helpers will be making their rounds to spread some holiday cheer!

Special Event with Santa

Donuts with Santa at the Farm
Frugthaven Farm

11466 W Carson City Rd, Greenville, MI 48838
» November 14, 11am-12pm
Enjoy a visit with Santa and Mrs Claus at the Red Barn at Frugthaven Farm. Limited tickets are available for our Donuts With Santa VIP experience from 11am-12pm. Enjoy a story, a donut and take a photo during your 15 minute experience inside our Red Barn. Tickets are $10.

Christmas Events Where You can Find Old St. Nick

Santa at the Farm
Frugthaven Farm

11466 W Carson City Rd, Greenville, MI 48838
» November 14, 12pm-2pm
Enjoy a visit with Santa and Mrs Claus at the Red Barn at Frugthaven Farm. Bring your own camera for a complimentary photo and visit from 12pm-2pm.

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Red Barn Market

3550 Alden Nash Ave NE, Lowell, MI 49331
» December 4, 2020 | 4-8pm
Santa is coming to Red Barn! We are sorting out the details, traffic flow, proper social distancing, etc. details coming soon. This is as always a free event for you! Bring your camera for photos with Santa and our added photo ops!

Visit with Santa via ZOOM
Hosted by Cedar Springs Public Library
Virtual Event
» December 4, 2020 | 5:30pm
You will get to interact with Santa, ask him questions and even tell him your Christmas Wish! All of this in the comfort of your own home.

Virtual Visits with Santa
Hosted by Allendale Township Library
Virtual Event
» December 5, 2020 | 10am-12pm
Get a chance to chat with Santa virtually! All registered participants will be assigned a 5 minute time slot between 10 AM and 12 PM. Links to join will be emailed to you before the event. Registration required. One time slot per family please.

Visit with Santa via ZOOM
Hosted by Cedar Springs Public Library
Virtual Event
» December 5, 2020 | 11am
You will get to interact with Santa, ask him questions and even tell him your Christmas Wish! All of this in the comfort of your own home.

Socially Safe Santa Photos & Toy Drive
Keenan Marina
526 Pine St, Spring Lake, MI 49456
» December 5, 2020 | 2-4pm
Prior to the Tri-Cities Santa Cruise, we will have the Santa Slide Toon lit up on display with Santa aboard for pictures and will also be having a toy drive to help families in need.

Free Santa Visit and Food/Toy Drive 
Urban Air Adventure Park

12331 James St, Holland, MI 49424
» December 18-20, 22 & 23, 2020 | 11am-4pm
Visit Santa for free and bring a donation of a toy or can good to help your community! Donations will be made to Toys for Tots and Community Action House. Registration required, COVID protocols will be followed.

CANCELED! Walk-by Santa Visit
Riverwalk Plaza
113 Riverwalk Plz, Lowell, MI 49331
» December 19, 2020 | 4-7pm
Kids come and say “Merry Christmas” to Santa and Mrs. Claus on the Riverwalk Plaza. Santa will be on the bow of the new Lowell Showboat, where he can be seen. We request that you wear a mask and practice social distancing as you wait your turn in line.

Special Visit with Santa
The Candied Yam

2305 44th Street SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49508
» December 19 & 20, 2020 | 10am-2pm 
Bring your camera to capture your exclusive time with Santa. 
Kids will recieve a FREE meal and a sweet treat from Santa. Reservation Required, $5 per family

 Santa Events by Date

Christmas on the Farm
Dairy Discovery
12877 84th St SE, Alto, MI 49302
» November 20 & 21, 2020 | 9am-9pm & 9am-7pm
Shop with 8 amazing vendors, visit with Santa and his (calf) reindeer, and drop off your letters up in our big event barn. Kids can participate with a gingerbread craft and be a part of our interactive nativity scene.

Walker’s Jingle Bell Lane
Walker Ice & Fitness Center
4151 Remembrance Rd NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49534
» December 3, 2020 | 6-7:30pm
FREE DRIVE-THRU event! Enjoy Santa, his reindeer, and the brightly decorated WIFC! Don’t forget to bring jingle bells and your letters for Santa! We will have a drop box for the letters, as well as a box for Toys for Tots donations.

Signing Santa Drive-Thru
Little Pine Island Camp

6889 Pine Island Dr NE, Comstock Park, MI 49321
» December 5, 2020 | 10am
The holiday path will have refreshment stands, games, take-away goodies, and Santa that you can access right from the comfort and convenience of your car! When you reach Santa’s North Pole, the kids can sign with him and even receive a gift on the spot! Santa’s interpreting elves will be there too! Please register.

Santa’s Virtual Storytime
Hosted by Schuler Books
Virtual Event
» December 5, 2020 | 11am
The holiday is unlike any other year, so Santa’s taking some time from his busy preparations to stop by our Saturday storytimes in December!

Santa Claus will visit Sage River Holiday Lights
Sage River Holiday Lights
5823 Sage River Ct, Wyoming, MI 49418
» December 5, 2020 | 6-8pm
Santa Claus will visit Sage River Holiday Lights (Weather permitting)! Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, children and adults cannot approach Santa but may instead hand him a letter to read or drop one off in the Letters to Santa “mailbox”. (No postage required!) Candy canes will be provided via a candy cane chute!

Santa Storytime
Hosted by Cedar Springs Public Library
Virtual Event
» December 11, 2020 | 7pm
Join us on Facebook or on Youtube for a special Storytime with Santa!

GRTV Santa Show!
Hosted by Grand Rapids Community Media Center

Virtual Event
» December 14, 2020 | 5pm
Santa is flying in from the north pole to join us live from the Wealthy Theatre, and provide you with an evening of magic, music, and more! Does your child want to ask Santa a question or share your holiday wish with him? Please register ahead of time online.

Samaritas Festival of Lights Kick Off
Samaritas Senior Living of Grand Rapids

2000 32nd St SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49508
» December 18, 2020 | 6-8pm
Grab your family, some hot cocoa and enjoy “Card Art” from businesses, local artists and other groups from the comfort and safety of your car. Also enjoy an appearance from Santa, Goody Bags handed out (while supplies last), & Christmas Music.

Santa Storytime
Hosted by Cedar Springs Public Library
Virtual Event
» December 18, 2020 | 7pm
Join us on Facebook or on Youtube for a special Storytime with Santa!

Santa Storytime: ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas
Hosted by Cedar Springs Public Library
Virtual Event
» Join us on Facebook or on Youtube for a special Storytime with Santa! We will be featuring the classic Christmas Eve Story – “Twas the Night Before Christmas”

Grand Rapids santa parade

CANCELED! Santa Parade 2020
Downtown Grand Rapids
Wealthy St SW (between Indiana and Garfield), Grand Rapids, MI 49504
» November 21, 2020 | 10am-1pm
Update: This event has been CANCELED! 2020 GR Jaycees Reverse Santa Parade. Entrants will be parked on Wealthy between Indiana and Garfield. All viewers should come in their cars to see the parade and drive through to see the holiday entrants.

CANCELED! 68th Annual Christmas Parade
Downtown Montague and Whitehall
Business 31/Colby Street, Montague, MI 49437
» December 5, 2020 | 2pm
Santa’s comin’ to town! December 5th at 2pm is the 68th Annual Christmas Parade in downtown Montague and Whitehall. Please wear masks and follow social distancing guidelines. No candy will be handed out this year.

Santa’s Cruise
Hosted by Grand Haven, Spring Lake, Ferrysburg Chamber
12-mile route through Grand Haven, Spring Lake, and Ferrysburg, MI
» December 5, 2020 | 5:30pm
The Cruise starts at 5:30 pm and is a processional that weaves through Grand Haven, Spring Lake, and Ferrysburg on a 12 mile route. This is an opportunity for individuals and families to watch the cruise in a safe distance from one another and be able to spread out among the 12-mile route and for some, watch it right outside your home!

Lowell’s Annual Night-time Santa Parade: Drive-Thru Edition
Kent County Fairgrounds
225 S Hudson St, Lowell, MI 49331
» December 5, 2020 | 6-8pm
This year has looked different for so many things and the parade will be one of them. Due to Covid-19 restrictions we will be hosting a drive-thru style, lighted parade at the Kent County Fairgrounds from 6pm to 8pm. The Theme is Winter Wonderland!

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