Where to See Santa Around Columbia

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The 2020 holiday season is upon us! No holiday season is complete without a visit to the man in red! Below is a list of places you’ll be able to find Santa Claus around Columbia this holiday season!

Lights Before Christmas

Date: Select Evenings in November and December

Time: 5 p.m. – 9 p.m.

Location: Riverbanks Zoo and Gardens, 500 Wildlife Pkwy Columbia 29210

Details: Experience Columbia’s longest running holiday tradition at Riverbanks Zoo and Garden. Visit the zoo at night with holiday lights and activities for the family. $12 for adults and $10 for children ages 2012. Tickets can be purchased here.


Photos with Santa at Columbiana Centre

Date: Thursday, November 18 – Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Time: Varies – All guests are strongly encouraged to make advanced reservations and appointments to visit Santa Claus. Walk-in guests will be accepted on a space-available basis.

Location: Columbiana Centre, 100 Columbiana Circle, Columbia 29212

Details: Check out these details on their Facebook event page. All dogs and cats are welcome to take magical pics with St. Nick! Plus, children of all spectrums of special needs and abilities are welcome to join us before the mall opens for Santa Cares Day! Pose for photos with Santa where extra care is taken to support sensory needs. Here are the Safety Measures in place.


Santa’s coming to Studio 221 WeCo!

Date: Friday, November 19, 2021

Time: 3 p.m. – 6 p.m.

Location: Studio 221 Interiors, 536 Meeting St, West Columbia 29169

Details: Check out these details on their Facebook event page. Come get free photos with Santa at this new West Columbia furniture shop! Sarah with Blue Belle Photography will be there to take photos of YOU! Adults can still take photos with Santa too.


Santa at CAE

Date: Sunday, November 28, 2021

Time: 12 p.m. – 3 p.m.

Location: Columbia Metropolitan Airport (CAE), 3250 Airport Blvd, West Columbia 29169

Details: Head to the airport, see Santa, and get your picture taken!


Cooking with Santa!

Date: Saturday, December 4, 2021

Time: 10:30 a.m. – 1:15 p.m. (Ages 5 – 8, 10:30 – 11:30 a.m. | Ages 9 – 12 , 12:15 – 1:15 p.m.)

Location: Seven Oaks Park, 200 Leisure Lane, Columbia 29210

Details: Bring your child into the kitchen with Flavored Fork to cook alongside the jolly old elf himself making his favorite snacks and other Santa approved recipes.


Train Rides with Santa-SC Railroad

Dates: December 4, 11, and 18

Time: 10 a.m., 11 a.m., 12 p.m., 2 p.m., 3 p.m.

Location: South Carolina Railroad Museum, 110 Industrial Park Road, Winnsboro 29180

Details: Santa returns to the Rockton, Rion and Western Railroad.  As you enjoy your ride through the countryside of Fairfield County, he will walk the train during the ride and talk to everyone but cannot sit with children or have them in his lap. The train does not return until Santa has talked to all the children. Santa will take letters from children, but limited touching is requested. Tickets are $20 for all ages 3 and up. Children 2 and under are expected to sit in a parent’s lap. Caboose rental is limited to a maximum of 10 people per caboose and starts at $125. 


Sundaes with Santa

Date: Sunday, December 5, 2021

Time: 12 p.m. – 4 p.m.

Location: Cantey and Goodman Buildings at the South Carolina State Fairgrounds, 1200 Rosewood Drive, Columbia 29201

Details: Shop at Junior League of Columbia’s Holiday Market. They conclude their final market day with Sundaes with Santa. Dress your children in their Sunday best for photos with Santa, enjoy games and crafts with your family, and top off the fun with an ice cream sundae bar! Tickets can be purchased at the door.


Santa is Coming to Columbia College

Date: Monday, December 6, 2021

Time: 5 – 6:30 p.m.

Location: Columbia College, 1301 Columbia College Drive, Columbia 29203

Details: Cookies and Cocoa with Santa! RSVP: [email protected]


Storytime With Santa

Date: Friday, December 10, 2021

Time: 3:30 p.m.

Location: South Congaree-Pine Wood Branch Library, 200 Sunset Drive West Columbia 29172

Details: Visit with Santa and Mrs Santa for a fun afternoon of stories, special gifts and goodies! Be sure and bring your letter to Santa to put in his special mail box!


Decorating with Santa

Date: Saturday, December 11, 2021

Time: 9 a.m.

Location: The Mad Batter, 827 Broad St, Camden 29020

Details: Come and decorate a jumbo cupcake with Santa. Enjoy milk and cookies and have your picture taken.


FREE Pictures With Santa and the Grinch

Date: Saturday, December 11, 2021

Time: 9 a.m. – noon

Location: Lexington and Red Bank’s BEST Summer Camp and Afterschool, 1056 S Lake Drive, Lexington 29073

Details: Join us for a magical experience with SKC Lexington and Red Bank’s BEST Summer Camp and After School’s pictures with our favorite jolly, red suited friend from the North Pole & the meanest resident of Whoville! We will be scheduling 10 families every 30 minutes so make sure you’re registered for the perfect spot! We can’t wait to see you there!!!


Bagels with Santa!

Date: December 20, 2021

Time: 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Location: Bruegger’s Bagels, 945 C Lake Murray Blvd, Irmo 29062

Details: Stop by and grab bagels for breakfast, and while you’re there meet Santa and Mrs. Claus! Be sure to bring your letter to Santa to put in his special mailbox. Parents are welcome to take pictures of the little ones with Santa.

Know of an event not listed? Tell us about it and we’ll add it!

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Mee Jean is a divorced mom of three amazing kids: Alyssa, (11), Jacob (10) and Isaac (4). She moved to Columbia in 2002 after graduating from the University of Georgia with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism. Once wondering how she could live in a small town, she now embraces it and loves her home in Northeast Columbia. She is a Marketing Proposal Manager at BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina and loves being involved in the community and making Columbia the best place for her kids to grow up in. As a current board member on the Leadership Columbia Advisory Board and a graduate of Leadership Columbia Class of 2017, she has learned so much about Columbia. Mee Jean loves going to local events and supporting businesses around the city. In her free time, she loves hanging out with her friends, reading, watching Georgia football, running races (whether it be 5ks or Spartans), taking pictures and making memories (lots of selfies and hashtags), shopping, relaxing with some wine by the pool and sleeping. 

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