Santa Claus is coming to town. We are lucky to have a diversity of Santas in the Oakland Area, but it can still be hard to know where to find a consistent Black Santa for photos, so we’ve rounded up a few you can count on.
Black Santa Claus visits Oakland & Emeryville
Black Santa Claus at Children’s Fairyland, Oakland
Children’s Fairyland is committed to hosting a Black Santa in Oakland. We love Fairy Winterland as a holiday outing for preschoolers. Santa Claus at Fairyland has been a Black Santa every year since 1993. For you history buffs, the first one was Jerry Williams, followed by Ron Zeno in 1999. Eric Martin now holds Santa’s bag of treats. Fairyland Santa leads the nightly parade.
Black Santa hours: Dec. 17-23 and 26-30 from 4 pm to 7 pm, Santa will be in Fairyland leading the parade and handing out treats at 6:30.
For parents to know: Santa will lead the parade and hand out a treat (my guess is candy canes), Santa will have a mailbox for letters in the chapel, there is no lap-sitting this year.
Black Santa Claus at Kids Play Zone, Oakland
Kids Play Zone is hosting a Cookies and Cocoa with Santa event in Oakland. Each session includes photos, play time, cookies, warm cocoa drinks, plus a special gift from Santa himself (for children under 10).
Cookie & Cocoa with Santa hours: Dec. 18 from 10:30 – 11:30 am; doors open at 10 am. Purchase tickets in advance. Reserve a space >
For parents to know: A professional photographer captures your family’s moment with Santa and you’ll receive digital images. Playtime is limited to two children. The cost is per family.
Black Santa in the Laurel District
Local chiropractor, Dr. Malcolm Young, will open the doors of his practice to welcome families to a holiday reception with a professional photographer snapping pictures as he plays Santa.
Black Santa hours: One day only: Dec. 11 from noon to 2 pm
For parents to know: Please be respectful of this wonderful small business in our community.
Black Santa Claus photos in Christmasville, Emeryville
Christmasville is a magical photoshoot experience with Santa in the friendly neighborhood of Emeryville. Your family will be guided in a private, covid-safe, and contact-less encounter that will be remembered forever. You must book ahead for your 15-minute photoshoot with socially distant Santa. As of this writing, one of the Santa Claus choices is a Black Santa named Solas. Also, no lap sitting.
Santa Solas hours: By reservation only. 15-minute sessions. Santa Solas works on Sundays in November with a possible extension through mid-December based on demand. Reserve your spot >
For parents to know: This is a high-quality professional photoshoot. If you send holiday cards, these will be perfect. You get one photo included with your shoot. All prints and products are additional and will be decided upon after you see your images.
Black Santa Claus visits San Francisco
Black Santa at Westfield Shopping Center, San Francisco
Kicking off the season for a three-day stint, NBA all-star, Baron Davis’ Black Santa will make a limited appearance for Thanksgiving weekend only inside the Selfie Market at Westfield Shopping Center.
Black Santa hours: November 26-28 only. Book tickets in advance.
For parents to know: This Black Santa & Mrs. C. are large mascot-like characters. You can tour the various themed installations and get lots of selfies or merchandise in the shop.
Location: The Selfie Market, 845 Market Street, Westfield Shopping Center 3rd Floor (next to Bloomingdale’s), suite 351, San Francisco
Website for reservations >
More places to visit Black Santa
Black Santa Claus at Filoli, Woodside
Filoli has a magical garden and estate home all lit up for the holidays with Santa Claus making special appearances in a woodland garden set up.
Santa Weekend Hours: Santa Claus is on-hand on December weekends leading up to Christmas (12/4, 12/5, 12/11, 12/12, 12/18, and 12/19) as part of paid admission to Holidays at Filoli. Reserve your spot >
For parents to know: Santa is set up on a stage with a golden throne. Children can sit on the throne up close or stay socially distant according to their (and your!) comfort level. There isn’t a photographer on-hand so snap away at those selfies.
Please share any other East Bay Black Santa Photo opps!
Virtual Storytime with Black Santa
November 28 Storytime with Soulful Santa. Kick-off the holiday season! Oakland-based Hey Carter! Books is putting on a virtual storytime followed up by a signed hard-copy book and coloring book. the story takes place in Oakland featuring some favorite local spots with a rhyming, whimsical story of a melanated Santa. Buy the book and virtual storytime bundle before Nov. 26.
Friday, Dec. 24 @ 4 pm. To All a Goodnight: A Fantastical Christmas Eve with Mr. & Mrs. Claus. For $25 per family, children will enjoy interactive games, singing, and storytime before Santa jumps in his sleigh. RSVP required.
Black Santa merchandise is so darn cute!
The cute, illustrated representation of Black Santa Claus seen below is available on t-shirts and other merchandise online this year. I particularly like the Black Santa Company wrapping paper.
We’ll update our calendar throughout the holiday season with new Black Santa sightings as we find out about them.