(credit: Al Bello/Getty Images)
Celebrate the magic of the holidays this season by seeking out an opportunity to take a photo with Santa. Memorialize a moment in time with a special picture of the little ones on Santa’s lap. Opportunities range from meeting Santa in a mall to joining him for breakfast. Here is a list of five of the best chances to take a photo with Santa along the Peninsula.
Mountain View Civic Center
500 Castro St.
Mountain View, CA 94041
Date: Dec. 9th, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.
Each year, the City of Mountain View holds a Community Tree Lighting Ceremony. This free event draws large crowds and provides fun for the whole family. There is everything from live entertainment and music, to free hot chocolate and candy canes, as well as fake snow for the kids to play in and costumed characters like Rudolph. Santa will arrive at 5:45 p.m. for free photos, but families must bring their own cameras. Give back to the community by bringing a can or two of food to donate to local Mountain View charity Community Services Agency.
Arrillaga Family Recreation Center
700 Alma St.
Menlo Park, CA 94025
Date: Dec. 7th, 7:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
Run by the City and co-sponsored by the Menlo Park Rotary Club, this popular annual event provides an affordable way to meet with Santa and his elves. Ticket prices include not only food and drinks, but also live music and entertainment and the opportunity to make holiday crafts. Kids can write their letters to Santa, as well as take pictures with him. Event goers must bring their own camera, and those that bring an unwrapped toy to donate to the Fire Fighters Toy Drive will receive $1 off of ticket prices.
Redwood City, CA 94063
Date: Dec. 7th, festivities begin at 10 a.m.
Located throughout downtown Redwood City, the Hometown Holidays event provides a festive way to spend an entire day celebrating the holiday season. There will be a parade, snow for the kiddos to play in and a fireworks show to cap off the day. Santa will be in the rotunda of the Fitz Museum from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Get there early to avoid long lines. Pictures with Santa are free, and each child will receive one Polaroid of them on Santa’s lap. Don’t forget cash to purchase tickets for the petting zoo, carnival and pony rides, and for sustenance from the food booths.
660 Stanford Shopping Center
Palo Alto, CA 94304
Scenic Stanford Shopping Center not only provides a beautiful spot for Christmas shopping, but will also have a Santa spot set up from November 7th through the week of Christmas. Santa will be set up in the center pavilion, and kids will have the opportunity to meet and take pictures with him. Make sure to dress warmly, as the pavilion and mall are located outdoors.
Hillsdale Shopping Center
60 31st Ave.
San Mateo, CA 94403
This Breakfast With Santa event is hosted by the California Pizza Kitchen located inside the Hillsdale Shopping Center. Ticket prices include breakfast pizzas, drinks and fruit, as well as a magic show, visit from Santa and a favor to take home. After breakfast, kids will walk through the mall with Santa and have the opportunity to make crafts and take photos with him. Advance registration is required.
Joanna Metheny is a freelance writer covering all things South Bay. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.