Skip the mall Santa and have a magical visit at a Santa House. Basically, a Santa House is a small heated building that you can enter and see Santa in a cozy setting — it feels almost like you are sitting in a living room with Santa himself. In some Santa Houses, your family (and maybe one of Santa’s helpers) is the only family in the room with the jolly old man, which makes it a truly personal experience.
Most of the time, Santa Houses are free; however, there usually is no photographer so you need to take your own pictures. Make sure you bundle up and bring some hot chocolate to these locations, as you may need to wait outside in the cold before you get your turn in the house.
As with everything, be sure to check all listings before heading out. Santa needs breaks just like everyone else.
Santa Houses in McHenry County
Fox Lake Santa House – FREE
Open November 20 – December 22 see link for hours
Millennium Park, Grand Ave. and Rollins Road, Fox Lake
Visit with Santa during December and have pictures taken at Santa’s Christmas Cottage in Fox Lake. A photographer is not available at this Santa House, so be sure to bring a camera to take your own pictures.
Santa in his Hut – FREE
Opening Friday, November 29 after the tree lighting
December days and hours are TBD
Woodstock Square, Woodstock
Woodstock Square will be filled with thousands of twinkling lights and free horse-drawn carriage rides will be available on select days. The Santa Hut is free, but a canned food donation is recommended. No photographers are at the Santa Hut, so be prepared to take your own pictures.
Santa House in Crystal Lake – FREE
Open November 29 – December 23, Thursday and Fridays, 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m., Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m., and Sundays from 12:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Downtown Crystal Lake/Main Street, Crystal Lake
Children whisper their wishes during their visit with Santa in the comfort of his house at Brink Street Market. Visits are free but bring your camera.
Santa Huts Worth the Trip
Santa House Presented by Woody Buick GMC – FREE
Open daily November 30 – December 22, see website for hours as every day has different times.
Located on the Naperville Riverwalk at Jackson Avenue and Webster Street, Naperville. Admission is FREE, but photos can be purchased.
Don’t miss this unique opportunity to visit Santa this year! While waiting in line, you hand the elves your list and then when you get inside the Santa house, he will try to guess what your child wants for Christmas. Learn more about the Naperville Santa House at KidList.
Santas Workshop at Wisconsin Christmas Carnival of Lights
Open November 30 – December 21 on Wednesdays from 5:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.; on Fridays and Saturdays from 6:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp-Resort, 8425 State Road 38., Caledonia, WI
Car (up to 8 people) $20
Drive through the Carnival of Lights afterward, on select nights, Santa will be available for visits in his workshop. Kids are invited to sit on his lap and have their photos taken. Photos with Santa are $8 each. Afterward, you can enjoy a variety of beverages available at Santa’s Workshop, including hot chocolate, apple cider, lattes, mochas and more.
Which house will you be seeing St. Nick at this year?
Find more holiday events at Christmas in McHenry County.