Where to see Santa in the East Bay: 2011

If you’ve got a Santa enthusiast in your family, you might want to know where to find the Bearded One. Here are a few opportunities. We’ll update this list throughout the season.

  • Santa on Solano (Berkeley/Albany)
    At Whole Health Apothecary, 1229 Solano Avenue at Evelyn, children can take a free photo with Santa. Popcorn and treats are on the menu as well. Visiting hours with Santa are on Deceber 10th and 11th and 17th and 18th from noon to 4 pm at this location.
  • Tilden Park Christmas Fantasy Carousel (Berkeley)
    The carousel is open from 5.30 to 8.30 every night until December 23rd. Santa and his real live reindeer make appearances throughout the season from 6 to 8 pm. (Directions.) Entrance to the event and visits with Santa are free. $2 for one ride, or a book 7 rides for $10.
  • Fairy Winterland at Children’s Fairyland in Oakland
    From 5 to 6 pm daily, starting December 17th, Santa will visit with children at Fairyland before leading a light parade at 6.15 pm. More details at Fairyland website.
  • San Pablo Park at rec center building (Berkeley)
    Little ones age 0-5 are welcome to meet Santa and receive a small gift from 11 am to 1 pm on December 22nd. Call 981-6640 for more info.
  • Dunsmuir Hellman House (Oakland)
    This historic estate in Oakland is offering a Tea with Santa, a Breakfast with Santa, and a few other holiday rituals.
    Tickets and prices.
  • Highland Park Realtors Residential Real Estate Offices (Piedmont)
    Offering a free Santa visit along with an espresso cart as a holiday celebration. Toys for Tots donations are encouraged. 342 Highland Avenue from 10.30 am to 1 pm on Dec 17.
  • Play Cafe (Oakland)
    For the price of regular admission to Play Cafe, your child can interact with Santa and you can take as many photos as you like. Santa hours will be on Friday, December 16th from 11 am to 2 pm..
  • Christmas Tree Lane (Alameda)
    Santa will be on the block from Dec 9 to Dec 23 from 6:30-8PM. (Read more about Christmas Tree Lane in Alameda.)
  • Fourth Street in Berkeley
    Free photos with Santa in his sleigh (!) — which will be parked across the street from Peet’s Coffee on Sat 12/10, Sun 12/11, Sat 12/17, Sun 12/18 from 12-4 PM.  Age limit? Certainly not. A professional photographer will snap your picture and have the photo back to the sleigh by 5pm for pick up.

photo: Erin Leigh

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  1. Anonymous says

    Thanks for posting this list! I’m looking for a place my daughter can visit with Santa, not just sit on his lap and have her picture taken. You know, the kind of place where Santa asks if she’s been good and what she wants for Christmas. I want the photo just as a reminder, not as the main event. Any recommendations?

  2. Anonymous says

    Visiting Santa at Knudsen’s Ice Creamery is a great place to go. He is friendly and talkative, gives a candy cane, tells stories, answers questions, and there was no line or pressure to hurry our visit. The setting is great. My kids went over to him 3 times and had plenty of time to warm up to him. He even showed my daughter his magic key he uses on Christmas Eve if a home has no chimney, and kept giving my baby high fives and fist bumps to keep him interested in hanging out. I think Mrs. Clause is scheduled to be there with him on Friday, so we may be going back! Have fun!