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The Complete Guide to Macy’s Santaland in NYC (Your Kids Won’t Want to Leave!)

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Of all the holiday attractions in New York City there is one that makes children’s eyes widen a little more than the others: Macy’s Santaland. Found at the largest department store in the United States, this attraction has mesmerized kids for generations (it’s been a fixture of Christmas in NYC since 1977!). If you’re hoping to take your kids to Macy’s Santaland in NYC but don’t know where to start I’ll tell you all you need to know in this article, so let’s dive in!


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Macy’s Santaland in NYC Guide

Table of Contents: Guide to Macy’s Santaland NYC

Macy's Herald Square Christmas

What is Macy’s Santaland NYC?

Macy’s Santaland is a free annual winter village that takes over Macy’s Herald Square’s eighth floor. Decked out with lights, model trains and Santa at the very end it’s quite the holiday experience for kids (or kids at heart). There are helpful elves that guide you throughout Macy’s Santaland, which is over 13,000 square feet. With over 170,000 annual visitors Santa needs all the help he can get! The event can trace its origins all the way back to the 1800’s, when Macy’s was still in its infancy, and has become an annual tradition for countless generations of young New Yorkers.


Macy's Herald Square Christmas
Window Displays

When is Macy’s Santaland NYC 2024?

The annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade (11/28/2024) ends at Macy’s at Herald Square, where Santa arrives to ring in the beginning of the holiday season. From that point, Santa sets up shop in NYC at Macy’s Santaland where he and his elves work diligently for the big night. On Christmas Eve Santa goes out to make his deliveries and doesn’t return until the following year.

Because so many folks want to visit this popular attraction, reservations are required (but luckily they’re free!). 30 minute time slots are available online up to five days in advance. Reservations and exact dates are not available for 2024, but I will update this post when they are.


Where is Macy’s Santaland NYC?

Macy’s in Herald Square is the biggest department store in the United States. At a whopping 2.5 million square feet it shouldn’t come as a surprise they’re able to fit Macy’s Santaland onto the eighth floor. As far as Herald Square goes, it is a major New York City intersection where Broadway, Sixth Avenue and 34th Street meet. You’ll find it in the Midtown Manhattan, but if you’re struggling simply look for the Empire State Building since it’s only a block away.

Address: 151 W 34th St., New York, NY 10001


What to Do at Macy’s Santaland NYC

While the primary attraction is Mr. Santa Claus himself, kids will have the opportunity to meet elves and Mrs. Claus too. Not to mention the electronic animals that light up and come to life, welcoming kids to the winter village. There are countless Christmas trees and garlands galore. The Christmas lights are colorful and there are stations to write and mail letters to Santa.

The walk-through experience features different themed rooms with unique characters and decorations which adds to the fun. You’re left wondering what looms around each and every turn. On top of being fun for the little ones, parents are going to appreciate the plentiful photo-taking opportunities (so bring a camera). Between the life-size trains and winter villages you’ll be filling up your camera roll in no time.

Additional info: There are black and Spanish-speaking Santas available at Macy’s Santaland in NYC, just be sure to request them when making your reservations.


christmas in nyc

Why You Shouldn’t Visit Macy’s Santaland in NYC

Although Macy’s Santaland in NYC is magical for kids, sometimes, in full transparency, it’s anything but for parents. First off – reservations are required but they can be difficult to get your hands on. Second – just because you get the reservations doesn’t mean you get to meet Santa right then and there. Some folks have complained of arriving at their scheduled time only to be placed in line for over an hour. Even though my personal experiences at Macy’s Santaland NYC have been smooth and effortless, there are enough reviews that mention those two complaints that I feel I’d be negligent not to mention them.


Fun facts about Herald Square Macy’s & Santaland

  • Children could visit Santa at Macy’s as early as 1862, at the original flagship location on 6th Ave & 14th St.
  • Macy’s moved their flagship store to Herald Square in 1902. At the time it was so far uptown the store had to provide transportation for its customers from 14th St.
  • The store covers almost an entire city block, being built around a building that’s come to be known as the million dollar corner, since its owners wouldn’t sell to Macy’s.
  • Macy’s Herald Square totals over 2.5 million square feet, with 1.25 million square feet of retail space.
  • Santa has arrived to Macy’s at the end of the Thanksgiving Day Parade since 1924, with the only exceptions being during World War II and the Great Depression.
  • Santaland became an official and permanent fixture on Macy’s 8th floor in 1977.
  • Ida Straus, one of the owners of Macy’s, drowned aboard the RMS Titanic (don’t share that fact with the kids).

Frequently Asked Questions: What to Know About Macy’s Santaland
Can you go to Macy’s Santaland without a reservation?

No, you won’t have much luck showing up to Macy’s Santaland in New York City without reservations. They’re free, you just need to book them in advance.

Can adults go to Macy’s Santaland?

Absolutely! Anyone can visit Santa at Macy’s Santaland in New York City.

How long is Macy’s Santaland open?

Macy’s Santaland in New York City is open from Thanksgiving to Christmas Eve. In 2024 that’s November 28th through December 24th.

What is Macys Santaland like?

Macy’s Santaland is a festive and enchanting holiday experience, featuring a magical winter wonderland with elaborate decorations, Santa Claus meet-and-greet opportunities, and joyful displays.

What floor is Macy’s Santaland?

Macy’s Santaland in New York City is on the eighth floor of their Herald Square store.

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Map to Macy’s Herald Square NYC


Tips for visiting NYC for the holidays

  • There’s no sense in sugarcoating it, NYC is COLD during the winter season. Average temperatures in December hover around 44° but the windchill makes it feel colder! When you’re headed to Macy’s Santaland in NYC wear an insulated coat, warm hat or beanie, plus these bad boys don’t hurt.
  • The subway is an efficient mode of transportation but it won’t drop you off at the door at Macy’s Santaland, so you will be doing a lot of walking. You’re going to want shoes that will keep your feet dry and comfortable. You’ll be getting those steps in, I guarantee it.
  • New York City averages more than 63 million visitors per year, and the holidays are our busy season. There’s a lot of people wanting to see the same attractions, including Macy’s Santaland. To avoid the crowds try showing up early and make reservations well in advance.

And there you have it my friends, our guide to Macy’s Santaland in NYC.

We hope you found it helpful. Happy holidays! Cheers.

Martha Gruber

Tuesday 13th of December 2022

Hi! Great tips! So I might have missed it in your post, but can you see/walk through Santaland without seeing Santa? Or do you need a reservation to even walk through Santaland? I tried to make a reservation but within a minute of opening, the reservations were booked FULL! Wow! I was expecting some of that but not that quick.

I appreciate your help. Trying to make more magic happen for my little boy. MG

New York Simply

Wednesday 14th of December 2022

Hi Martha, unfortunately you do need a reservation to enter Macy's Santaland. I would keep trying and possibly even setting an alarm to be one of the first ones on the site for reservations.

Gavin

Friday 25th of November 2022

Not trying to hate, but this would definitely be a one-star attraction. It is completely overrated and there is no purpose of going there. Here's why.

When my family went, we started in a line that scrambled throughout the back halls. We were waiting for about three hours! After that, an employee sent us to a new section of the line; basically the same thing but more decorated (by more decorated I mean two dollar store pine trees). After that, we got to meet Santa. We were excited to see what else there might be, because we thought that nobody who knew better would wait four hours to see a man wearing a beard and a hat. So we stepped out and the whole thing was over. The store also promised us that we'd be able to see Santa within a half hour. So if you are reading this, I'm here to tell you that you shouldn't go to Santaland if you don't wanna spend half your day to meet Santa.

Thank you

Alejandro (Author)

Saturday 26th of November 2022

@Gavin, Hi! So sorry to hear about your experience, but thank you for taking the time to share it so other folks know what to expect. We're all about transparency so real-world reviews like this are awesome.

Thanks again, AB.

valerie zodrow

Tuesday 11th of October 2022

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