Macy’s flagship store in Herald Square in Manhattan has two claims to fame. First, it’s the world’s largest department store. The sign on the building says so. Second, every year from Thanksgiving Day until Christmas Eve, Macy’s Santaland is the New York home of Santa Claus. The real Santa Claus. That I know because I’ve seen Miracle on 34th Street—even the David Hartman version.
My wife and I visited Macy’s Santaland with our eight year old this year. She (the eight year old) still believes in Santa too—which means either that she’s been unswayed by third-grade skeptics, or that she’s smart enough not to tell us if she has.
If you’re going to visit Macy’s Santaland, you will have to navigate through this largest department store. Santaland is on Macy’s eighth floor. There’s no cost, but there are long lines. Macy’s reports that over 300,000 people visit Santa there each year.
Visitors enter Macy’s Santaland enter through a train station—complete with a conductor—that takes them to North Pole Station. Winding through the line to Santa, there’s an Enchanted Forest, a scale model of a city at Christmas, a performing crowd of Build-a-Bears, and a dozen or so elves. Santa got the thumbs-up from my eight year old too.
To be honest, I think we’ve had better experiences seeing Santa at other places. Still, there’s something special about seeing Santa in Macy’s in Herald Square. A holiday vacation to Manhattan wouldn’t be complete without it.
All photos copyright Darren Farrington