Santa Photos and Holidays at the Mall in Northern Virginia

Enjoy holiday shopping fun and capture perfect Santa photos at Northern Virginia malls with sparkly trees, interactive games, and special deals to brighten the season. We’ve rounded up the details from Northern Virginia malls that are decked out for family-friendly holiday fun throughout the season. Holiday shopping events are listed in order of opening date.

There are also plenty of opportunities to shop local at Washington DC area holiday markets. Find your fun with our guide: Favorite Holiday Markets in Northern Virginia and the DC Region.

Fair Oaks Mall, Fairfax, November 7 – December 24

Santa's Flight Academy at Fair Oaks Mall
Santa at Fair Oaks Mall in 2015

Kids can join the crew at Santa’s Flight Academy to help Santa and his elves get ready for their Christmas Eve journey. Kids can try on a virtual flight suit, help power the sleigh, and dance under lights and falling snow. The final stop is Santa photos with the big guy.

Dulles Town Center, Dulles, November 8 – December 24

Santa sets up a magical wonderland at Center Court where you can capture the perfect holiday photo. There are special Pet Photo sessions on Wednesdays from November 13 through December 4th, and a Sensory Friendly session on December 1st.

Potomac Mills, Springfield, Nov 8 – Dec 24

Santa is ready for his photo shoot, daily except Thanksgiving, at Potomac Mills mall. Reserve your FastPass online to skip the wait. Bring your pet for a visit with Santa on December 8 from 6:30 – 8:30.

Tysons Corner Center, Tysons Corner, November 9 – December 24

The Santa HQ experience, presented by HGTV, returns to Tysons Corner Center mall on November 11th. Interactive displays deliver extra fun for the kiddies before the picture with the big man. Best news for parents—you can reserve a spot in advance and skip the lines. Bring an unopened, unwrapped toy donation to benefit the children of Second Story.

Santa HQ Tysons Corner Center
Santa HQ Tysons Corner Center

Head up to the Tysons Corner Plaza on November 15th for the annual tree lighting ceremony, celebrating the holiday shopping season with a 50-foot decorated tree. Tree lighting at 6:00 – 9:00.

Tysons tree

Springfield Town Center Santa Photos, Springfield, November 9 – December 24

Schedule your Santa photos, or just stop by during your holiday shopping at Springfield Town Center. The big guy is available daily starting November 9th (closed Thanksgiving).  Follow the link for hours and break schedule.

Tysons Galleria, Tysons, November 15 – December 24

One of the handsomest Santas in Northern Virginia arrives for Christmas pictures on November 15th at Tysons Galleria. Reserve a time in advance to skip the line and make your Santa photos visit easier.  Your furry friend can visit with Santa on Monday Pet Nights from through December 18th. Extend your visit with a Ritz-Carlton staycation for extra fun and easy access to the Galleria.

Fairfax Corner, Fairfax, November 15

Holiday shopping fun returns to Fairfax Corner with the annual tree lighting celebration on November 15th. Enjoy live entertainment and giveaways, take a horse or carriage ride ($3 per rider), and meet Santa and Mrs. Claus. Bring a new, unwrapped toy/gift to donate to Women Giving Back for children and teens in need this holiday season. You’ll find plenty of free parking, and the event is from 6:00 – 9:00.

Fairfax Corner Christmas tree

Santa Photos at Manassas Mall, Manassas, November 16 – December 24

Visit the jolly old man in the red suit daily from November 16th to December 24th. Santa photos with pets are available 8th and 15th from 3:00 – 6:00. From November 8th – 17th, the Manassas Mall community room will host a winter wonderland full of beautiful, sponsor donated Christmas Trees. Proceeds benefit Semper K9’s mission to pair wounded veterans with trained service dogs.

Reston Town Center, Reston, November 29

Reston Town Center is an old-hand at holiday merriment, and 2019 continues the tradition. Join the tree lighting and sing-along at the big tree by the fountain on November 29th at 6:00.. The popular ice skating rink under the Pavilion opens in early November, and mini-train and horse-drawn carriage rides are available on December weekends. Be sure to check out the gingerbread village in the lobby of the Hyatt, too.

Reston Town Center Christmas tree 2015

Reston Town Center skating

Mosaic District, Merrifield, 2019 Holiday Events Nov 29 – Dec 29

During the holiday shopping season, Mosaic District makes a great Girls Night Out destination, with a nice selection of unique shops and plenty of restaurants for a break from the deals. We love their quirky holiday decor, like the run-through tree on the central green and lounging reindeer throughout the district. Celebrate a Very Merry Mosaic at these holiday events in 2019:

  • Take a selfie with Santa, weekends November 29 through December 23.
  • Watch the holiday tree lighting in Strawberry Park followed by an outdoor screening of Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas. The family-friendly event also selfie opportunities with Santa Claus. December 6, 5:00 – 7:00.
  • Shop at the UrbanMarket Holiday Gift Fair on December 6 and 7. The market features over 50 local vendors, offering the best handmade and vintage goods the area has to offer.
  • Celebrate Chanukah at the annual Menorah Lighting on December 29, 4:30 – 6:00.

Funky reindeer are among the quirky holiday decorations at Mosaic District in Fairfax VA

Kids love the walk-through Christmas tree at Mosaic District, Fairfax VA

What holiday shopping fun do you look forward to each year? Best to visit them all and compare.

Looking for the perfect Virginia inspired gift? You’ll find unique, state-inspired gifts in our fun Virginia Gift Guide for Residents and Visitors Who LoveVA 

If you liked reading about holiday shopping fun, you might also like:

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This article was published in 2016 and updated in 2017, 2018, and 2019.

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