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Reservations are going fast: Tips for visiting Santaland at Macy’s on 34th Street

Nov. 20, 2022
6 min read
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For many families, the most wonderful time of the year isn’t complete without a visit to the big man in red. And after a year or two where some Santa visits have happened virtually, he may be on the cusp of experiencing some pent-up demand this holiday season.

In New York City, Santa Claus officially arrives at the very end of Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. He then sets up shop in NYC for the next few weeks at Macy’s on 34th Street.

MACY'S

In the bustling midtown Macy’s on 34th, Mr. Claus hangs out in Santaland, a very festive place that feels like the North Pole. But while Santa and his elves are going to be thrilled to visit with kiddos this year, there are some things to know before you visit — including the fact that reservations are required and are filling up quickly.

Here’s what you need to know to visit Macy’s Santaland in 2022.

SUMMER HULL/THE POINTS GUY

Related: These are the best hotels for families in NYC

Things to know about Macy's Santaland in NYC

Santaland at Macy’s Herald Square in NYC is a holiday wonderland. You wander through a 13,000-square-foot Christmas village featuring an enchanted forest, rainbow bridge, trees, lights, snow-capped mountains, reindeer, train sets, Santa’s sleigh and oh so much more. In a normal year, more than 170,000 visitors make their way through Santaland.

SUMMER HULL/THE POINTS GUY

When you get through Santaland and it’s your turn to visit Santa (in a private-ish room), you get a few minutes to chat with him about your holiday wish lists, what the reindeer are up to, etc. There is also time for photos — both with your own camera and the official cameras. (Note that paid packages start around $40, but you’re under no obligation to purchase.)

SUMMER HULL/THE POINTS GUY

Related: Tips for watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade in NYC

How to get a Macy's Santaland reservation

Macy’s Santaland is free to visit, but Santa is a very popular man.

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In years past, the wait to see him has gotten long. Hours long. Macy’s has tweaked the process over the past few years and now the NYC Santaland requires reservations.

You can make free reservations online starting at 6:30 a.m. EST five days before your visit. And know that so far, reservations have been filling quickly, so you will want to set yourself an alarm to book that slot you want if you don't have much flexibility.

MACY'S
MACY'S

The hours vary slightly by day but generally run from morning until around 9 p.m. most days. Santa is in town this year from Nov. 25 until the afternoon of Dec. 24, when he has to head back to the North Pole to load his sleigh.

You can make reservations for up to six people, and Macy's asks that you bring a printout of your reservation with the QR code.

SUMMER HULL

The best time to visit Macy's Santaland

Santa is at Santaland from Black Friday through Christmas Eve, giving you almost a month to make your visit. However, some times are better choices than others. Santaland is usually busiest on Black Friday, on the weekends and in the final days leading up to Christmas.

Note that even with a required reservation, Macy's says it can take 30 - 90 minutes to get to Santa which pretty much matches our experience in previous years. If you can visit from Monday to Thursday before that final week before Christmas, that’s probably your best choice to keep spirits bright and waits lower.

The magic was fading. SUMMER HULL/THE POINTS GUY

If you must go during peak times, prepare yourself with potty breaks before getting in line, clothing layers that easily come off, a loaded electronic device and some patience.

SUMMER HULL/THE POINTS GUY

Tips for visiting Santaland

The North Pole may be freezing, but Santaland is not. Based on my multiple visits, Santaland is actually warm, which seems silly. Those thick coats and sweaters you needed outside will make you melt in the long, slow line to Santa, so dress in layers.

This year, you’ll also need face masks for your visit with Santa. Santa and his elves will also be wearing face coverings.

A visit to Santa is free, but photo packages aren’t. You don’t have to buy the official photos, but if you do, they start around $40 and there’s another line for that after Santa. Only have one person wait in that line and send the rest of the crew to another, less crowded, part of Macy’s to wait for you.

SUMMER HULL/THE POINTS GUY

Should you or your child prefer a visit to a Black or Spanish-speaking Santa, just note that on your reservation or you can usually let the elves know when you arrive. Those who require special accommodations to visit Santa also can note that on their reservation and then email SantalandNewYork@macys.com.

New York City is especially magical during the holidays, so don’t miss Santaland while you are in town. Just be sure to make a free reservation in advance of your visit. If a family trip to NYC is in your future, here are some additional articles to point you in the right direction:

Featured image by MACY'S
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Why We Chose It

If you are looking to take your premium rewards to the highest level, this card is really a no brainer in our eyes. Chase's Ultimate Rewards make points easy to redeem, with a wide range of 10 airline and three hotel transfer partners and a friendly user interface. Despite the high annual fee, Chase is consistently adding new benefits to keep the card competitive in a fierce premium rewards field.

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  • Access to Chase Ultimate Rewards hotel and airline travel partners
  • Unlimited 3x points on the broad category of travel and dining
  • 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Broad definitions for travel and dining bonus categories

Cons

  • Steep $550 annual fee
  • May not make sense for people that don't travel frequently
  • You must spend the $300 travel credit before earning 3x points for travel and dining
  • No automatic hotel elite status
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,200 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more