5 Reasons to Visit Santa HQ for Santa Photos

This post may contain affiliate links. Privacy policy.


‘Tis the season for photos with Santa, so we’re thrilled to share tips & details for visiting Santa HQ as part of a sponsored partnership with Macerich/HGTV’s Santa HQ. With the holiday season in full swing, it’s time to think about plans for visiting Santa! And for the last 3 years in a row, we have LOVED heading out to HGTV’s Santa HQ for some Christmas magic! It’s so kid-friendly, interactive, and stress-free for Santa photos (for the win)!

What is Santa HQ? 

HGTV’s Santa HQ has revolutionized the traditional Santa Claus visit by guiding visitors through an immersive, interactive holiday experience with the use of state-of-the-art digital technology. In addition to Scottsdale Fashion Square and Chandler Fashion Square in Arizona, you can find Santa HQ in California, Oregon, Colorado, Chicago, Metro New York, and the Washington, D.C. corridor! So if you live in one of those locations, you should really consider a visit to your local Santa HQ! Here’s a little overview video we made to give you a feel for the experience:

Fun, right?! My boys LOVE it! When you visit, you can also help others through HGTV’s Help Through Holiday Giving Drive. In past years, HGTV’s Help Through Holiday Giving has collected more than 66,000 toys benefiting local organizations such as Forgotten Angel Tree, Salvation Army Angel Tree, Toys for Tots, and Spark of Love Stuff a Bus. Love programs that give back during the holidays like this! So, that’s an awesome bonus in addition to these maion reasons to take this year’s Santa photo at Santa HQ:

Reasons to Take Santa Photos at Santa HQ

We all know that time is precious – especially so during the busy holiday season. So, the first feature I’m highlighting is a VERY important one: online reservations!

Save time with a Santa HQ Fast Pass!

One of the worst things about the traditional mall Santa experience can be the wait times. In fact, up until we discovered Santa HQ, we had always skipped the traditional mall Santa experience because the wait times and lines were often WAY too long. But with Santa HQ, guests can spend less time waiting in line by selecting the date and time of their photos session by securing a FAST PASS! Yes!Guests can select the date, a 30-minute window of time to use Fast Pass, pre-pay online, upgrade their package by adding a family photo weeks/days in advance, and opt-in to receive text reminders about their Fast Pass window. Visit www.fashionsquare.com/SantaHQ to secure a Fast Pass and pre-purchase a photo package. 

Naughty or Nice Meter! 

My boys LOVE this part! Each child stands at the meter, where they (very anxiously) await the meter reading. Their name then pops up in real time on the list, showing which list of Santa’s they made. Thankfully, all three of the boys were very pleased to see that they’re on the “nice list”. 😉 This is such a great feature! 

The Elf Academy

The Elf Academy includes the Magic Mirror (where guests can use augmented reality to transform into one of Santa’s elves and virtually try on various elf outfits) and Elf-ID (where guests can create their very own customized Elf-ID card using the new Elf-ID app and a “selfie”). Guests then have the ability to send their creations via email, included as part of the experience. So, that’s a fun feature that the boys really enjoyed! But aside from seeing Santa, their favorite part is probably Santa’s Observatory!

Elf-Ray Vision at Santa’s Observatory 

Guests can explore Santa’s Observatory through the use of tablets. Areas within Santa HQ trigger an augmented reality experience for guests – which is something my boys love! They love all the interactive features in here – especially playing at the control center! So fun!

Meeting Santa! 

What’s a trip for Santa Photos without meeting the big guy himself?! The whole set-up is really cute and we got some adorable photos! I absolutely LOVE this one of Little Brother sharing his wish list with Santa! SOoooo cute! The boys loved their time with Santa and the whole experience at Santa HQ! It’s such a convenient, fun way to do photos with Santa! So, be sure to visit www.fashionsquare.com/SantaHQ to check on locations and make a reservation for a fun, interactive way to get photos with Santa! And be sure to check out our tips for getting good photos with Santa!

Like it? Pin it! 

Explore More


I’m Sara, a mom to three adorable boys living in the Arizona desert. As a former teacher, I love sharing my passions with others. So, have a look around for creative inspiration about cooking, creating, celebrating, traveling with kids, and more everyday mom endeavors!


Get freebies, new recipes, and fun ideas sent right to your inbox!

Looking for Something?


One Response

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *