Santa's Flight Academy at Fair Oaks Mall

Holiday Shopping Fun and Santa Photos in Northern Virginia

Enjoy holiday shopping fun and Santa photos at Northern Virginia malls with the family 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 holiday fun throughout the season. Holiday shopping events are listed in order of opening date.

Fair Oaks Mall, Fairfax, November 18 – 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 a picture with the big guy.

Tysons Corner Center, Tysons Corner, November 11 – 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

The Tysons Corner Ice Rink also opens mid-November for a season of ice skating fun.

Tysons Corner Center ice rink

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 6:15; concert until 7:30.

Tysons tree

Springfield Town Center, Springfield, November 10 – December 24

Schedule photo time with Santa or just stop by during your holiday shopping at Springfield Town Center. The big guy is available daily starting November 10th (closed Thanksgiving); follow the link for hours and break schedule. Santa pics with pets are available Mondays, all day, between November 12th and December 17th.

Tysons Galleria, Tysons, November 15 – December 24

One of the handsomest Santas in Northern Virginia arrives for Christmas pictures on November 15 at Tysons Galleria. Reserve a time in advance to skip the line and make your Santa visit easier.  Your furry friend can visit with Santa on Monday Pet Nights from through December 17. Extend your visit with a Ritz-Carlton staycation for extra fun and easy access to the Galleria.

Fairfax Corner, Fairfax, November 16

Holiday shopping fun returns to Fairfax Corner with the annual tree lighting celebration on November 16th. 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 to 9:00 pm.

Fairfax Corner Christmas tree

Reston Town Center, Reston, November 23

Reston Town Center is an old-hand at holiday merriment, and 2018 continues the tradition. Join the tree lighting and sing-along at the big tree by the fountain on November 23rd at 6:00.. The popular 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, Nov 23 – Dec 24

Take a selfie with Santa beginning Nov 23. Watch the holiday tree lighting in Strawberry Park on November 30th, followed by an outdoor screening of Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas. The family-friendly event also includes storytelling sessions, free pedicab rides and selfie opportunities with Santa Claus. 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.

New in 2018, shop at the Holiday Gift Fair on November 30 and December 1. The market features over 50 local vendors, offering the best handmade and vintage goods the area has to offer.

Funky reindeer Mosaic District

walk-through Mosaic District tree

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

You can also find 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 and 2018.

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