The Best Places to See Santa

The Best Places to See Santa

Santa-themed events around the world put travelers in the holiday spirit By: Cully Schneider
Follow Santa Claus to destinations around the world. // © 2013 Thinkstock
Follow Santa Claus to destinations around the world. // © 2013 Thinkstock

The Christmas season has arrived and, for many, that means peppermint candy canes, felt stockings over the fireplace and a visit from the jolly old man in the red suit. Here are some Santa-themed adventures across the globe that will inspire you and the whole family.  

Outrigger’s Breakfast with Santa in Hawaii

On Dec. 17 or 18, reserve a spot at the Breakfast with Santa event at Honolulu’s picturesque Outrigger Reef. Activities will include fun for the whole family, with a buffet breakfast, face painting, balloon art, photographs and an opportunity to meet Santa. Reservations are required and tickets for the 8-10 a.m. event are $25 per adult, $12.50 for children five to 11 years of age and free for children under four years old.     

Santa Claus and the Chocolate Warehouse

Discover the history of chocolate at The Chocolate Warehouse Dublin, Ireland. Established in 2001 by Natasha Caffrey, granddaughter of Caffrey’s Confectionary founder, Thomas Caffrey, The Chocolate Warehouse turns into a scrumptious winter wonderland for a couple of weeks in December. Guests explore the various Christmas scenes on display until reaching Santa’s home, where they receive a special gift. After your visit, complete a letter to Santa in the Post Room. Santa arrives at the warehouse through Dec. 23, though times vary each day. Child admission is approximately $12.40, but adult admission is free.

Running of the Santas

Starting in 1998, the Running of the Santas Mega Festival was first conceived by a group of 40 close friends who suited up in holiday costumes for some seasonal bar hopping in Philadelphia. Last year’s event attracted more than 7,000 participants, and organizers predict a record 10,000 attendees at this year’s Dec. 7 event. On that Saturday morning, a sea of Santa Clauses and some brave elves will take over the streets of Philadelphia for a three-block “fun run,” starting at Finnigan’s Wake and ending at the Electric Factory. The event will culminate with a huge concert featuring acts such as Tonic, Go Go Gadjet, Split Decision and many others.  

The festival begins at 11 a.m. and continues throughout the day with various costume contests for the best Mr. and Mrs. Clause. A general admission ticket costs $15, VIP tickets are set at $40 and Premium Package tickets cost $125. A portion of ticket sales support the FOP Lodge #5 Survivors Fund and the Ellie Koerner Leukemia Foundation. The Running of the Santas event also takes place on Dec. 14 in New Orleans and Atlantic City.

Santa’s Sleepover   

England’s Alton Towers theme park and resort gets into the holiday spirit with its Santa’s Sleepover special. Throughout December, the park offers visitors the opportunity to explore Santa Claus’ secret hideaway grotto, meet the jolly man and his reindeer and stay over at one of the park’s themed hotels. A one-night stay at the Alton Towers Resort includes a Christmas dinner and breakfast, along with holiday films shown in the hotel’s own movie theater.
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