We asked around, we consulted some experts (yes moms and kids), and we tallied the results. Here are some of the best, most authentic, and most awesomely warm and friendly St. Nick’s this side of the Cascades. We’re talking elves, professional photos, pet days, and more. Remember to check your chosen location for the exact times Santa is available. And pro tip: Go early. The man in red gets busy during the hols especially as Christmas gets closer.
Best Santas in Metro Vancouver!
Metropolis at Metrotown
November 15 – December 24, 2019 Burnaby
Santa awaits the kids in his Santa Castle in Metropolis at Metrotown’s Grand Court, complete with digital game consoles, and a 70-foot column of dancing lights. The unique things with Metrotown is that photos are by donation (minimum of $4), with all proceeds going to the Burnaby Christmas Bureau. Plus once you sign up, they will text you when it’s your turn for a picture.
Pro tip: Plan to visit Santa early in the day, before the line ups start.
November 21 – December 24, 2018
This Santa with authentic beard and known as “the real Santa” moved from Richmond Centre to Coquitlam Centre last year causing an uproar among his super fans! So devotees will have to experience the new Santa as Richmond Centre or road trip head over to Coquitlam.
Pro tip: Santa gets really busy the week before he makes his deliveries, so try to visit before December 16th.
November 17 – December 24, 2019 Vancouver
The Santa at Oakridge Mall consistently comes up as one of Vancouver’s favourite Santas with legions of repeat visitors. They also have Paws with Mrs Claws and special quiet days with Santa for kids who find the whole Santa experience overwhelming. Use Santa’s Fast Pass system to avoid long lineups.
VanDusen Festival of Lights Santa
December 1 to 24 2019 Vancouver
Check out VanDusen Festival of Lights, a winter wonderland with over one million lights decorating the beautiful botanical gardens, then stop in to get photos with their old-fashioned realistic Santa, Mrs. Claus, and his elves. Santa will be indoors, next to Shaughnessy Restaurant.
November 16– December 24, 2019 (Closed Mondays and Tuesdays until the week of December 9)
Park Royal Santa’s is loving his new home in Park Royal South’s west wing, near Simons. If you are looking to beat the rush, use the Park Royal online reservation and photo pre-order system. They even have pet photo days!
Granville Island Kids’ Market
December 1 to 24th, Kids Market on Granville Island
This beloved and authentic Santa has been at the Kids Market for about 25 years. He’s gentle, he sings, plays music, tells stories and apparently he can play chess too! He passes out music-makers bells, rattles, blocks and encourages the children to participate as he leads carols, then quiets them for a Christmas story (no lap-sitting). Daily from 11 am-3:30 pm. Get your shopping done here too with over 25 shops just for kids. Gift wrapping by donation starts mid-December.
Brentwood Town Centre
November 30 – December 24 2019 Burnaby
Great little mall Santa’s Grotto, short line-ups, and kids can blow off steam at the toddler play area afterwards. Also, on Saturdays leading up to Christmas, they have a live DJ, holiday stilt walkers, silk aerialists, tumbling elves show, juggling acts, cotton candy artists, caricature artists, and more!
Pro tip: Visit on weekdays, they are not as busy as weekends.
November 23– December 24, 2019 North Vancouver
Total White Christmas experience. You can visit the reindeer, sleigh ride, and ice skate, but make sure to check out Santa’s Workshop at Grouse Mountain’s Peak of Christmas. It’s best to check in at the workshop as soon as you arrive on the mountain to get a photo time slot. (PS: You can also register online for a few Breakfast with Santa dates!)