Where to Find Santa Claus (Without Actually Going to the North Pole)

by Sandra Scott

Ask anyone—young or old—where Santa Claus lives and the answer will be, “At the North Pole.” Follow that question with, “Where is the North Pole?” and the answers may be anything from Alaska to New York to Colorado—and they would all be correct. I have been to a couple North Poles without ever actually landing in the Arctic.

Here’s where to find Santa throughout North America.

North Pole, Alaska


Alaska is where the spirit of Christmas lives all year long. The streets of the city of North Pole have Christmas-like names but the main attraction is Santa’s House, with a 42-foot Santa outside waiting to greet people. Visitors can meet Santa’s reindeer, and through the attraction’s website, you can ask Santa to send letters to your children.

Cascade, Colorado

Colorado has its own North Pole theme park in Cascade, near Colorado Springs. Children will enjoy the more than a dozen rides including a miniature train, magic shows and, of course, meeting Santa. The quaint village in the park has plenty of shops for finding last-minute gifts. The park is open during the summer and on designated days between September and Christmas.

Adirondack Mountains, New York
Credit: Sandra Scott

Credit: Sandra Scott

New York State has its own North Pole nestled in the Adirondack Mountains near Lake Placid. It is America’s oldest theme park, and is open all summer and on weekends in November and December. There are rides, shows, shops and an icy “North Pole” you can touch, but the highlight is meeting Santa and telling him your secret wishes.

Bracebridge, Ontario

Bracebridge is home to Santa’s Village, located halfway between the equator and the real North Pole. They say it is where Santa spends his summer, which is when the village is open. from September to December, Santa and his elves are too busy making toys, so the park is closed except for a few days around Christmas Day. There are rides and other attractions.

The Polar Express, Canada and the U.S.

The real-life version takes young and the young-at-heart to the North Pole through the magic of The Polar Express, the classic children’s book by Chris Van Allsburg. In Arizona, the Polar Express comes to life when the train departs the Williams Depot for a journey through the dark and quiet wilderness for a special visit to the “North Pole” to see Santa Claus. But you can also catch this train at a variety of locations in Canada and the United States.

“Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus, ” and he can be spotted in many places when he is not at the North Pole. And, of course, Santa loves a parade, and can be spotted throughout North America riding on a float and waving to his adoring fans.


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