Get Free Pictures with Santa for a Christmas 2023 Keepsake to Treasure Forever

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Getting a picture of my kids with Santa each season is always a highlight of the holidays. When they get to meet Santa and I can get that Christmas photo for free, it’s an extra bonus!

Below, you’ll find a list to opportunities for where you’ll find St. Nick for a photo op. Some of these are drop-in opportunities, while others require you to register in advance, so be sure to click the links provided in order to register if need be. Make this a Christmas to remember with photos to remind you of the holiday season.

(Pssst: Want to see all of the opportunities for photos with Santa, not just the free ones? Head to our list of Where to See Santa for photo opportunities galore!)

two kids getting pictures with Santa at Bass Pro Shop

Events Offering Free Pictures with Santa

Santa’s Arrival and Fireworks (Deer Park)
November 11, 2023 | 6:00pm – 8:30pm
Santa will arrive to the Deer Park Town Center in a firetruck and will be available for free outdoor pictures with Santa until 8:30pm.

Deck the Green (Burr Ridge)
November 17, 2023 | 5:00pm – 7:00pm
Bring in the holiday season at the Burr Ridge Village Center. Meet Santa, Mrs. Claus, and other holiday characters, and get your face painted.

Santa Arrives by Helicopter (Melrose Park)
November 18, 2023 | 12:00pm – 3:00pm
Get a free pictures with Santa with a $25 or more purchase from any merchant at Winston Plaza. This event also includes a magic show, face painting, kids crafts, and more. Santa arrives via helicopter at noon.

Holiday Walk (Glen Ellyn)
November 24, 2023 | 5:00pm – 8:30pm
Enjoy the tree lighting and seeing decorated shops; visit with Santa for photos.

Hinsdale Christmas Walk (Hinsdale)
December 1, 2023 | 5:00pm – 7:00pm
Enjoy the holiday tree lighting, ride a carousel and trackless train, and pictures with Santa.

Snow Much Fun (Westmont)
December 1, 2023 | 5:00pm – 8:00pm
Santa will be at the Gregg House, ready for visitors, during this winter experience that will also feature mule-drawn wagon rides, community-decorated trees, refreshments, games, and activities.

Holiday Walk and Market (Clarendon Hills)
December 1, 2023 | Event from 5:00pm – 9:00pm; Santa photos from 6:30 – 8:30pm
Visit the Clarendon Hills’ Village Triangle to meet Santa and get your photo with him; this event also includes an outdoor market, carolers, and horse-drawn wagon rides.

Free Pictures with Santa (Geneva)
December 2, 2023 | 12:30pm – 3:00pm
This event is sponsored by a real estate group and features free pictures with Santa, as well as drinks, small bites, and holiday crafts. Registration is required. They are asking for donations of pet food to support the Glen Ellyn Food Pantry.

Santa at the Gazebo (Aurora)
December 2 and 9, 2023 | 1:00pm – 3:00pm
Take pictures with Santa Claus; photos will be available for digital download after the event.

Santa at the Creamery (Homer Glen)
December 2, 2023 | 2:00pm – 5:00pm
For the second year, the Homer Glen Creamery will host Santa. Come enjoy Creamery treats and get your cameras ready for this free event.

Once Upon a Christmas (Lisle)
December 2, 2023 | 3:00pm – 7:00pm
Visit Santa and Mrs. Claus while enjoying hot chocolate and crafts to fit the holidays.

Joyful Traditions (Villa Park)
December 2, 2023 | 4:00pm – 7:00pm
This annual event includes the opportunity to get free pictures with Santa, while also enjoying pony rides, a petting zoo, and food trucks.

Christmas at Cantigny – Evening with Santa and Mrs. Claus (Wheaton)
December 2 and 3, 2023 | 4:00pm – 9:00pm
Enjoy story time with Mrs. Claus, ornament decorating, and photos with Rudolph, Frosty, and Santa. The Christmas at Cantigny event also features lights displays, ice skating, and visits inside the newly renovated McCormick House.

Festival of Trees and Tree Lighting with Santa Visit (Montgomery)
December 3, 2023 | 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Santa will arrive on a fire truck at 5:00 pm and be available for photos until 7:00 pm. The event also features hot cocoa, carolers, cookies, kids giveaways, and a coloring contest.

Winterfest (Elmhurst)
December 9, 2023
Santa will arrive aboard a fire engine to Elmhurst’s first tree lighting ceremony. Enjoy hot chocolate and cookies while visiting with Santa after the tree is lit. The event also features sleigh (or wagon) rides and reindeer.

Home for the Holidays (Oak Park)
December 16, 2023 | 11:00am – 3:00pm
Oak Park’s “Home for the Holidays” event includes a showing of “The Polar Express,” a free hot chocolate walk, live music, and visits with Santa.

Free Pictures with Santa Events Spanning the Season

Santa’s Wonderland at Bass Pro (Bolingbrook)
November 4 – December 24, 2023
Make a reservation online starting October 29th, 2023 for a free 4×6 photo with Santa. Reservations are limited, so be sure to register to secure your spot (you can reserve up to one week in advance).
Kidlist Tip: Spots seem to open the day of, too, so check during the day for time options.

Holiday Homecoming (St. Charles)
November 25 – December 21, 2023 | 1:00pm – 4:00pm
On Saturdays and Sundays, stop by the East First Street Plaza at the Santa House for pictures with Santa.

Geneva Commons (Geneva)
November 26; December 3, 10, and 17 | 11:00am – 3:00pm
Meet Santa Claus and get a free picture with him; he will also give away free toys (while supplies last).

Christmas in the Commons (New Lenox)
December 2, 3, 9, 10, 16, 17, and 23, 2023 | 4:00pm – 8:00pm
This is fellow Kidlist staffer’s favorite event that she visits annually; it features a lights display along with a 50-foot tall light-up Santa Claus and other activities, including visits from Santa for photos at no cost.

Holiday Lights in Lilacia Park (Lombard)
December 3, 8, 9, 10, 15, 16, and 17, 2023 | 6:00 – 8:00 pm on Fridays and Saturdays, 5:00 – 7:00pm on Sundays
While the holiday lights run from December 2, 2023 to January 1st, 2024, the dates listed above have Santa visits. Visitors can enjoy hot cocoa and cookies, as well as see a show with holiday characters. Please bring a new, unwrapped toy to donate.

Looking for more chances to catch Santa? Check out our list for where to see Santa in the near western suburbs. Our Family Fun Guide is also full of many amazing activities to get you in a jolly mood this holiday season!

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  • Cantigny Park (Wheaton) will have free photos with Santa this Saturday, Dec 3, at Celebrate the Season. Hours are 4 to 7 pm. The festival is free; parking is $5 per car. Mistletoe Market is also this Saturday, from 1 to 7 pm.


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