Meet Santa in Queens

*For our updated Santa list for 2011, click here.

There’s no need to haul the family into Manhattan to see Santa Claus at Macy’s this holiday season. There are plenty of places right here in Queens to try your luck at getting your kids to pose for that quintessential holiday picture.

Queens Center Mall

Santa is available for picture taking and wish granting Mondays – Saturdays from 11am – 8pm, and on Sundays from 12pm – 7pm until December 23rd. Friday, December 24th, his hours are 11am – 5pm, giving him plenty of time to deliver all those presents. He will even pose with your pets on December 12th from 7:30pm – 9:00pm. He has set up shop on the 3rd level in the JC Penny court. The visit is free, and pictures range in price from $16.99 for one 5”x7” to $45.99, which gets you a USB drive, four 3”x5”, three 4”x6”, and three 5”x7” pictures, plus a $30.00 online credit and a $10.00 gift card.

Bay Terrace Shopping Center

You can also visit with Santa and his Elf at Bay Terrace, located at 212-09 26th Avenue, in Bayside, starting on Saturday, December 4th from 10am – 5pm. Here, you’re the photographer, which might help settle your toddler’s nerves if this is the first meeting between them and jolly St. Nick. There will also be giveaways, so be sure to get there early. As an added bonus, there is a horse and buggy ride available starting on Sunday, December 5th, as well as a Menorah lighting at 6pm on the upper level near the diner. Santa’s stint at Bay Terrace will end on Sunday, December 19th. For more information, including Santa’s hours, visit

The Shops at Atlas Park

Santa’s tour of Queens doesn’t end there. You can also drop in and see him at Atlas Park shopping center, located at 80th Street and Cooper Avenue. They focus on the details in decorating, and since it’s set up outdoors, you really get another dimension to the Santa experience, especially on a crisp, clear, winter day. For Santa’s hours at Atlas, call the hospitality center at 718-326-3300.

Joe Sabba Park, Sunnyside

Santa also makes a cameo appearance on November 30th at 6:30pm, when the Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce holds its annual Christmas tree lighting at Joe Sabba Park, located at 50th Street and Queens Blvd. Pack up the family for some hot chocolate and music provided by the Sunnyside Drum Corp.

Whether your kids are toddlers or tweens, getting the family together for a day out to meet Kris Kringle  himself is a fun way to get into the holiday spirit, and with all the places to see him in Queens, it couldn’t be simpler.

Jesseca Stenson