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How to See Santa at Macy’s Herald Square in Under 10 Minutes

Every year I want to take the kids to see Santa, and every year I am heavily intimidated by the lines and the crowds. Truth is, if you are not going to see Santa during working hours, you could end up waiting for HOURS with cranky annoyed kids and a spouse and by the time they get to Santa, they want NO part of him and you would be lucky to get a smile from the kids!


At least that is always how it plays out in my head anyway.

This year I said NO MORE, I WILL FACE this crazy fear of the Santa crowds and take the boys and we would survive.


I had heard so many great things about the Santaland in Macy’s Herald Square so I figured I’d take the boys during Thanksgiving weekend to REALLY bring in the Holiday season. All of my fears would be pushed to the side and we would SEE Santa, chat with him and not lose our minds doing it. When I visited one of my favorite websites to find out what was happening in the city this weekend, I saw that there was a trick to seeing Santa–IN Macy’s–with no lines. What? This was absolutely unheard of and I chuckled to myself because there was NO WAY we could walk into the busiest tourist trap in NYC/see Santa and not lose our mind doing it!


I decided I would try this on Saturday–the Saturday after Black Friday–the Saturday where EVERY PARENT takes their kids out somewhere–anywhere because they had likely been driving them crazy for 2 straight days in the house (or was that just me?). The ENTIRE world had come to NYC to visit someone for Thanksgiving and Macy’s is the perfect place to visit. I will admit, I was scared. Macy’s scares me on a normal day so–yeah, this was going to be super interesting.

What is the crazy secret you ask?

Macy’s has a secret express line website where you can reserve Santa for yourself and your party–FOR FREE. You just have to do it 30 minutes-48 hours in advance. Before I left the house I made my reservation, I got the email confirmation. I was good to go… right?


When we arrived at Santaland, I asked a (very) jolly elf where do I go for the Express line. He got (really) excited and whisked all of us very quickly passed what seemed like 100 people waiting in a HUGE line to see Santa. The check in lady found my name and told us to go right in. There was NO ONE on the express line and the boys were in the arms of Santa in under 4 minutes. I’m not kidding. I was STUNNED by the efficiency and  pure awesomeness of this “secret”. The wait was around 90 minutes! (Although I believe there were several Santas–I can’t confirm or deny that!) Anyone who knows NYC knows that you can barely get a sandwich at lunchtime for under 10 minutes so to see the ever popular Santa Claus at a peak time on the weekend that quickly was a miracle!


I did buy the digital package of photos because I am a bit of a sucker like that but I really loved the picture!


Afterwards, we checked out the  awesome Christmas windows at Macy’s and although it was cold, the kids couldn’t get enough of the detail.


If you find yourself in need of Holiday pictures run — don’t walk– to Macy’s Herald Square. Get your pictures done in under 10 minutes and keep it moving with your holiday shopping.

Are you going to see Santa this holiday season? How long to you wait on lines? Do you avoid major tourist traps during the holiday season as well?


Friday 5th of December 2014

Nellie, I have missed you girl. I have been so behind on catching up on blogs but I am happy to finally be back in the game.

I loved everything about this post. Christmas is my absolute favorite. I am a sucker like that, I always buy the digital package even when the boys cry :)

Kristina Walters

Thursday 4th of December 2014

My sister and BIL took my nephew to NYC last Christmas and said it was amazing and I can see by your pics it was! That is on my bucket list of things to do.


Wednesday 3rd of December 2014

That is the BEST secret. I wonder if they have that at other locations? We’ve really lucked out with seeing Santa so far. Part of that may be because I refuse to go in those long lines, too! Great find, Nellie!


Wednesday 3rd of December 2014

How fun! I've taken Nia there 3 years in a row and this will be the first we miss. I've always considered the express line but ended up not doing it cause we like seeing the fun displays as we snake through the line. I've found going right when it opens or a weekday daytime to not be too bad. Once I took her peak time on a weekend and it was crazy crowded but I brought her portable potty and lots of snacks and it was fine. I saw many envious looks from other parents as their kids had meltdowns from being bored or having to leave the line to pee. Planning is everything!

Tara Newman

Wednesday 3rd of December 2014

Brilliant!! When I first read this I was like "she be crazy" for even attempting this. I avoid this stuff like the plaque. John keeps saying he wants to take the kids to see the tree (cringing). Do you have a secret for that one?