Updated on November 6, 2023 by Julie McCool
Enjoy holiday shopping and capture perfect Santa photos at Northern Virginia shopping centers with sparkly trees 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.
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.
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Holiday shopping events are listed in order of 2023 opening date. Most Santa photo opportunities open in November and run until December 24. There are also special Pet Nights so your furry friend can get a pic with the big guy. Reservations may be required; follow the links for reservations and rules.
Find the perfect gift: Virginia Gift Guide for Residents and Visitors Who LoveVA
Fair Oaks Mall, Fairfax, Nov 9 – Dec 24
Kids can step inside Santa's Flight Academy and experience magical snowfall before the big pic. Pet night is November 19.
Tysons Corner Center, Tysons Corner, November 9 – December 24
Santa returns to the Fashion Court, at the intersection of the Nordstrom and Bloomingdale's wings, on November 9. He and his elves will provide a memorable experience, so reserve your spot now.
If time allows, stop by the Tysons Corner Plaza to see the 50-foot decorated tree (tree lighting Nov 17).
Returning in 2023, the DC Winter Lantern Festival lights up Lerner Square, a short walk from the Tysons Corner Mall. This beautiful walk-through light display includes lots of interactive fun and stunning lantern sculptures to dazzle the whole family.
Dulles Town Center, Dulles, Nov 10 – Dec 24
Santa Photos return to Center Court at Dulles Town Center where kids can sit with the big guy and share their Christmas wishes. Pet photo nights are Nov 27, Dec 4, 11. Kids can also leave a letter in Santa's mailbox.
Springfield Town Center, Springfield, Nov 11 – Dec 24
A real-bearded Santa will be back in the Grand Court for holiday photos (closed Thanksgiving). Reservations are recommended to avoid long wait times. Family Pets Photos with Santa are available every Monday. Follow the link to schedule your time with the big guy.
While you're there, treat the kids with a visit to the LEGO Discovery Center at Springfield Town Center.
Tysons Galleria, Tysons, Nov 16 – Dec 24
Capture the perfect Christmas photo when you visit with Santa. There are sensory-friendly hours on Dec 3 and Pet Nights with Santa are Nov 20 and Dec 4. Extend your visit with a Ritz-Carlton staycation for extra fun and easy access to the Galleria.
Potomac Mills, Springfield, Nov 17 – Dec 24
Santa and his helpers are back so you can capture the perfect holiday photo. Sensory-friendly night is Dec 3.
Mosaic District, Merrifield, Nov 24 – 26 Dec 1, 3
Target returns to the Target Atrium Friday through Sunday for three weekends. Bring the family and allow time to check out Mosaic's quirky holiday decor including lounging reindeer and a big Christmas tree on the green (tree lighting Nov 24).
Reston Town Center, Reston, Nov 24
See Santa and Mrs. Claus when the annual holiday celebration and parade return on Nov 24, 2023. Capture your own photos at the big tree by the fountain. The popular ice skating rink under the Pavilion opens in early November so reserve your time on the ice.
Explore more Fun DC and Northern Virginia Ice Skating Rinks.
Manassas Mall, Manassas, Dec 1 – 24
Get your visit and photos with Santa at the Manassas Mall daily from December 1 to 24. Sensory Santa is Dec 3 and Pet Santa Night is Dec 4.
Fairfax Corner, Fairfax
Santa won't be visiting Fairfax Corner this year, but there are usually festive decorations that make great photo backgrounds for your holiday pics.
Santa is back at many area malls in 2023, and we're happy to see so much holiday fun returning to local shopping centers.
Find more local holiday events and celebrations:
- Fun Holiday Favorites from Northern Virginia Experts
- Favorite Holiday Markets in Northern Virginia and the DC Region
- Holiday Lights in the Northern Virginia and Washington DC Area