Photo courtesy of Christina Dagnelli

Santa will of course visit the city of Brotherly love this holiday season, and if you are looking to add a fun event or just get pictures, there are fantastic light shows and events throughout the city all month long. The holidays just aren’t the same without seeing the big guy and capturing some great family photos, whether you get them done professionally or take them yourself. Here are the top places to see Santa in 2015.
1300 Market St.
Philadelphia, PA
(215) 241-9000

Dickens village pictures are free, but if you want them done by their professionals to be printed, the packages start at about $17. Macys is always in the holiday spirit and is the quintessential place to meet Santa, since it is where he first appeared here back in the 1840s. You will also find some of the best decorations in the city with enormous snowflakes, life-sized reindeer and a musical light show in the Grand Court. Also, on the third floor is the animated Dickens Village with over 6,000 square feet of more than 100 animatronics, displaying 26 of the most memorable scenes of A Christmas Carol.

Franklin Square
Sixth & Race St.
Philadelphia, PA.
(215) 629-4026

Santa will be visiting the Square on Saturdays beginning November 28, 2015 at 4 p.m. You can get cookies and milk with Santa and listen to him tell a story. Afterwards, Santa will mingle with guests from 5:30-7:30 in the pavilion and pose for pictures. On December 5, you can also bring your pets for pictures with Santa from 5:30-7:30. The winter fun continues at Franklin Square through New Year’s Eve (closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day). You will also find holiday fun with shopping from local crafters, an outdoor lighted spectacular of 50,000 holiday lights and themed music from the Philly POPS, a magical train ride around the square, mini golf and a beer garden and food truck Fridays. There will also be warming stations to help manage the cold.

Photo courtesy of Christina Dagnelli

Blue Cross River Rink Winterfest
Market & Columbus Blvd
Philadelphia, PA 19106
(215) 925-7465

You can’t beat the ambiance of the Blue Cross River Rink. There is a winter garden which includes a forest of trees, rustic furniture and fire pits and, of course, the rink for ice skating. There is also a lodge which houses an arcade (some free games as well) and shopping for your holiday gift buying needs. The lodge is set up like a chalet with indoor fireplaces and rocking chairs on a wraparound porch. Winter Fest opens at the Blue Cross River Rink on November 27, 2015, Saturdays and Sundays through Christmas Eve. Santa arrives early in December and can seen on Saturdaysl it is said he sometimes puts on his ice skates.

Related: Top Spots In Philly For Holiday Cheer

Frankford Hall
1210 Frankford Ave.
Philadelphia, PA.  19125
(267) 634-3338

Most people who go to Frankford Hall think of it as a huge beer garden of fun. However in December on weekends, it becomes just as much fun for kids. Santa makes a regular visit in the afternoon, so not only is this magical for the kids, it will make for some great Santa Pictures. Frankford Hall also provides food and fun for the kids. The setup involves picnic tables and pub-styled German food, with beer being served in a beer stein. There is also outdoor seating with gas heaters.

North Pole Express
New Hope & Ivyland Railroad Station
32 W Bridge St.
New Hope, PA.

For a real treat, consider taking the New Hope North Pole Express to see Santa. The train ride that departs Bridge St. takes about one and a half hours. On board you will ride with Santa & Ms. Claus, drink cocoa, eat cookies and, of course, hang out with the big guy singing Christmas songs. A professional photographer is also available for photo packages.

Related: Top Spots To Go Caroling In Philadelphia

Christina Dagnelli is a freelance writer in Philadelphia and the author of Little Squares with Colors: A Different way to look at autism. Her work on examiner can be found here