Some of our favorite childhood holiday memories come from visiting Santa. Even if you were a little scared at first, Santa always made you feel like you were the most special kid in the world. And what child doesn’t have a mile-long list of presents and treats? Here’s a guide of the Best Santa’s to visit in the Chicago area – and where and when you can bring your kids of all ages to sit on his lap.

Free admission
2011 November 23rd – December 24th
Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays: 11 a.m. – 8 p.m.

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Photos are available for purchase in the Santa House or you can take your own pictures.

(credit: Kristin McCann)

Daily, 11 a.m. — 7 p.m.

Open Nightly (Closed Dec. 24 & 25) 5 p.m. -9 p.m.
ZooLights continues until January 2nd.

Saturday & Sunday December 3rd, 4th, 10th, 11th, 17th & 18th
4 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Please note Santa will not be at Holiday Magic on weekends after Christmas, he is there through Sunday, December 18th.

Admission: Admission to Holiday Magic is $13.50 for adults and $9.50 for children 3-11 and seniors 65 and older. Children 2 and under are admitted free. Holiday Magic is free for Zoo members. Parking is $9.00. Photos are available for purchase or you can take your own pictures.

(credit: Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images)

Crystal Lake

Santa House at the Brink Street Market Crystal Lake
Downtown Crystal Lake/Main Street
Located near the clock at Brink & Williams Streets in Downtown Crystal Lake
Crystal Lake, IL 60014
(815) 479-0835
Free Admission
Open through Friday, December 23rd as follows:
Thursdays & Fridays – 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.
Saturdays 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Sundays noon – 3 p.m.

Downers Grove

Santa at the Santa House
Corner of Main & Curtiss Streets
Downers Grove, IL 60515
(630) 725-0991
Free Admission
December 3rd, 4th, 10th, 11th, 17th & 18th
12 Noon to 3 p.m.

Be sure and bring your camera, there is no photographer on site. Every Saturday there will be Christmas carolers and other groups performing downtown.

Fox Lake

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Santa at Santa’s Christmas Cottage in Fox Lake
Millennium Park
Grand & Rollins Rds.
Fox Lake, IL 60020
(847) 587-3944
Free Admission
Weekends – December 2nd through Sunday, December 18th
Fridays – 5 pm – 8 pm, Saturdays – 1 p.m. – 3 p.m., Sundays – 12 Noon to 3 p.m.

A photographer is not available at the Santa House, so be sure and bring a camera.


Santa’s Gingerbread House in Geneva
Corner of James & 3rd Streets
Geneva, IL 60438
(630) 232-6060
Free Admission
Santa’s house opens on Friday evening December 2nd, at 6:30 pm
December 6th – December 20th as follows:
Tuesdays, Thursdays & Fridays – 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Saturdays 11 a.m. – 3 p.m., Sundays – 1 p.m. – 3 p.m.

A photographer is not available at the Santa House so be sure and bring a camera.

(credit: MARCUS BRANDT/AFP/Getty Images)


Santa at Riverwalk in Naperville
Jackson Ave. & Webster St. (along the Riverwalk)
Naperville, IL 60540
(630) 848-5000
Free Admission
Fridays, December 2nd, 9th & 16th – 5 p.m. – 8 p.m.
Saturdays, December 3rd, 10th & 17th – Noon – 6 p.m.
Sundays, December 4th, 11th & 18th – Noon – 6 p.m.
Thursday, December 15th – 5 p.m. – 8 p.m.
Monday through Thursday December 19th – 23rd – 2 p.m. – 8 p.m.

Photos are available for purchase in the Santa House for $8 or two for $15, cash or check only or you can take your own pictures.

Special Needs Nights at Santa House, an evening for children with special needs and their families, will be held on Monday, December 5th through Thursday, December 8th 2011 from 5 p.m. – 8 p.m. Visits are arranged by appointment to ensure a minimal wait time and an enjoyable experience for the entire family. Reservations, which are required, can be made by calling (630) 848-5000. Please note that space is limited.

Pet Night at Santa House, presented by Naperville Animal Hospital, will be held on Thursday, December 1, 2011 from 5 p.m. – 8 p.m. Santa has a treat for each pet. Reservations are required for this event. Please call 630-848-5000 to reserve your space.

Free Admission
Santa House Days and Hours 2011:
Saturday, November 26th & December 3rd, 10th & 17th 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Photos are available for purchase in the Santa House or you can take your own pictures.

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Kristin McCann is working mom with two young girls. She strives to have fun, quality time with her family and a fulfilling professional career – even though many believe the two to be mutually exclusive.