Best Of Chicago

Best Mall-Free Places To Take Photos With Santa In Chicago

December 6, 2013 6:00 AM

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(credit:Steve Hardy/CBS Local)

(credit:Steve Hardy/CBS Local)

Santa Claus is coming to town, so why not plan to head out and take pictures with him? If the thought of heading to a mall and waiting in line for two hours to take a picture with Santa isn’t your cup of tea, don’t worry. The following list of locations in Chicago will keep you out of the mall. You can also check out a previous list for more places in Chicago to see Santa, too.

(credit:Steve Hardy/CBS Local)

(credit:Steve Hardy/CBS Local)

Holiday Magic At Brookfield Zoo

8400 31st St.

Brookfield, IL 60513

(708) 688-8000

www.brookfieldzoo.org

Why not make a day of seeing Santa? By checking out Holiday Magic at Brookfield Zoo, you and your family can visit the animals in indoor exhibits as well as take in a laser show. To fully get into the holiday spirit, you and your family can purchase holiday goodies to snack on while you visit the zoo. Don’t forget to visit Santa and Mrs. Claus, who will be located at Santa’s Workshop next to Scoops restaurant near the zoo’s South Gate. You are welcome to take your own pictures, and pictures taken by a professional photographer will be available for purchase as well. Santa and Mrs. Claus will be at the zoo through December 22 before heading back to the North Pole.

Santa’s House In Lombard

Lombard Park District

Lilacia Park

150 S. Park Ave.

Lombard, IL 60148

(630) 627-1286

www.lombardparks.org

Whether you’ve been naughty or nice this year, make sure to stop in at Santa’s House in Lilacia Park. The event kicks off on December 7, 2013, at 6 p.m. with a celebration that includes a visit from Santa, train rides and a chance to warm up with free cookies and hot chocolate. Santa’s House is open on weekends before Christmas. For a complete list of dates and times, check out the Lombard Park District’s website.

Breakfast With Tomten At The Swedish American Museum

Swedish American Museum

5211 N. Clark St.

Chicago, IL 60640

(773) 728-8111

www.swedishamericanmuseum.org

If you’re looking for a visit to Santa that’s somewhat off the beaten path, then check out the Swedish American Museum’s annual breakfast with Tomten, or Santa. Held December 14 and 15, 2013, the breakfast includes crafts and dancing around the Christmas tree. Reservations are required for the event, which starts at 9 a.m. on both days. After tucking into a delicious breakfast and visiting with Tomten, make sure you and your family make some time to explore the museum’s exhibits, including an exhibit that explains how people immigrated from Sweden to Chicago.

Related: Best Places For Pet Pictures With Santa

Long Grove

Robert Parker Coffin and Old McHenry Roads

Long Grove, IL 60047

(847) 634-0888

www.visitlonggrove.com

Take a step back in time by checking out the historic Long Grove downtown while paying a visit to Santa. Santa will be available for pictures and there will be a chance for your kids to share their wish list. He will also walk around the shops downtown on the weekends leading up to Christmas. To truly get into the holiday spirit, consider hopping aboard the carriage rides, which are available every Sunday until December 22 for a fee. While you’re in Long Grove, make sure to check out the independent stores in the downtown area so you can finish your holiday shopping.

Breakfast With Santa At The Chicago Botanic Garden

Chicago Botanic Garden

1000 Lake Cook Road

Glencoe, IL 60022

(847) 835-5440

www.chicagobotanic.org

If you’re looking for a more formal event, then consider spending breakfast with Santa at the Chicago Botanic Garden. The event includes a buffet meal, parking and an opportunity to check out the garden’s famous Wonderland Express train exhibit. The event is December 14 and 15, 2013, and it is advised that you purchase tickets in advance. After your kids have told Santa what they want for Christmas, make sure to explore the garden’s grounds. You can visit the Daniel F. and Ada L. Rice Plant Conservation Science Center, and check out the garden’s greenhouses for an up-close look at plants that grow in different climates.

Related: Best Places To See Santa In Chicago

Megan Horst-Hatch is a runner, reader, baker, gardener, knitter, and other words that end in “-er.” She is also the president of Megan Writes, LLC. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.

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