Santa Claus in Orange County – Top 5 Venues for Holiday Vibes

Looking for great venues to see Santa Claus in Orange County? Here is our list for favorite Santa visits in the OC.  We did not extensively list malls, since you probably already have your favorite.  So we listed our 2 favorite mall Santas, and instead, are sharing sites we also just love to visit that happen to have awesome Santas.  We prefer going to these beautiful settings and finishing our visits with some adult holiday cheer at the bar!

  1. The Resort at Pelican Hill Newport Beach  
    22701 Pelican Hill Road South, Newport Beach  (855) 315-8214  
Santa at Pelican Hill

Story time with Santa

Santa at Pelican Hill

We love this Santa!  He is actually Saranya’s favorite Santa:  they shared some yuletide chuckles!  

Santa at Pelican Hill

Why Santa, of course I’ve been a good girl!

Head over to Kris Kringle Story Time Mingle on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from now until December 24 beginning at 3pm.  Join him underneath the gingerbread display in front of the lobby for story time at 3pm, 4pm, and again at 5pm.  Then stay for pictures with Santa with the beautiful, panoramic SoCal sky and ocean behind him.  No Santa house needed with this gorgeous backdrop!  

Santa at Pelican Hill

Lines are very short, if any.  And friends, he is wonderful and friendly – and yes, that beard is real!  

Bonus:  The social hour in the lounge/bar area begins at 5pm – you can, and should time this perfectly!  A good selection of cocktails, beer, and wine for $5.  

Santa at Pelican Hill Santa at Pelican Hill

The lounge and bar are sprawling, so wander through the different rooms.  

You can choose the cozy room with the fireplace, Christmas tree, and live music

And if you’re lucky, you may run into the carolers singing in the lobby.  

Visit with Santa is free for guests and locals.  Valet and free self park garage is available.

2. Roger’s Garden  
2301 San Joaquin Hills Road, Corona del Mar  (949) 640-5800

Come visit Santa amidst the lush landscape every Saturday and Sunday, from now until December 23 from 11am-6:00pm.   He is set up outdoors in the amphitheater right under The Farmhouse Restaurant.

Santa at Roger's Garden

Beautiful Santa in a lush, outdoor setting

The line was not very long when we visited in the afternoon.  If you are looking to get out of the mall and enjoy our SoCal mild winter, then come to Roger’s Garden.  You can also visit Farmhouse for a drink at the bar or an outdoor meal while you’re visiting Santa.  Tip:  although reservations are full at The Farmhouse this holiday season, you can either check the bar area for open seating (I have often had luck there); or you can put your name on the list as soon as you arrive, and they will text you when a table opens up.  I only had to wait 1 hour on a Saturday evening to be seated (although wait may be longer as we get closer to Christmas), which gives you plenty of time for Santa photos and a stroll around the amazing garden and shop.

Additionally, The Lil’ Dickens Carolers stroll through and perform in the garden as well!  Check website for performance times.

Visit with Santa and taking your own photo is free, and you can pay for photo package.

3. The Shops at Mission Viejo  
555 The Shops at Mission Viejo, Mission Viejo  (949)364-1832

Santa is available for photos from now until December 24th at the lower level near Nordstrom.  He is there during mall hours, but check online for details.  What we love:  you can go online and reserve a Fast Pass with Santa!  No long lines with whining kids or spouses!  

The Mission Viejo Santa has always been one of our favorite mall Santas.  

Santa at Mission Viejo Mall

Santa’s couch at Mission Viejo Mall is perfect for siblings to sit together.

4. Fashion Island  
401 Newport Center Drive, Newport Beach  (949) 721-2000

Visit Santa and take photos in his beautiful house located on the Atrium Lawn from now until December 24th.  

Hours are mall hours, but go to website to confirm before visiting.  The line can get pretty lengthy, and the wait may be a bit long for little ones.  However, they often come by with complimentary hot cocoas while you wait.  You can always send the kiddos off with one adult while the other stands in line.

Visit and your own photos are free.  You can purchase photo packages.

5. Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa  
1600 Disneyland Drive, Anaheim  (714) 635-2300

Of course Disney provides an awesome Santa!  He definitely does not make families or the kiddos feel rushed.  He sits under the towering Christmas tree in the Great Hall Lobby of the Grand Californian, which is a an immense and stunning log cabin.  Unless you are a guest at the hotel, you will have to park in Downtown Disney, but it would definitely be worth it.  You can visit Santa from 4pm-9pm, but be warned, Santa takes lots of breaks.  So do call to confirm that he will be there before visiting.  The lines were not long when we visited.  Don’t forget to check out the massive gingerbread house on display.  

You might as well find a cozy spot and stay awhile.  Grab a drink at the bar and enjoy the carolers!

We would love to know which Santa is your favorite Santa?  Give us a shout, and maybe we’ll send you a pic sitting on your fav Santa’s lap!