Macy’s Santaland at Herald Square in New York is open now! Here’s our experience

Macy’s Santaland at Herald Square in New York is open now! Here’s our experience

Beginning today, the Santa Claus will be in residence at Macy’s Santaland at the retailer’s flagship Herald Square in New York City. We were invited to take part of the experience prior to the big opening and we have to sincerely say that it was an unforgettable experience that our entire family enjoyed and will always remember. We highly recommend it for everyone, the young and young-at-heart, as you will be transported into a fantasy world of glittering pine trees, snow-capped mountains, twinkling lights, cuddly animals, and gingerbread cookies. Read below as we share with you all the details of our experience. But first, let me share how to make the reservations.

How to make reservations:

Approximately 200,000 visitors from around the world gather each year at the 13,000 square-foot Christmas village for a special visit with Saint Nick. For that reason, guests need to make a reservation in advance and, with Macy’s new extended hours, hopefully you will spend less time waiting in line and more time getting ready for the holidays. The attraction is open every day from store open to 9 p.m.

To make a reservation for Macy’s Santaland please visit For further information about the experience, contact Macy’s Holiday Hotline at (212) 494-4495. There is only one appointment per customer during the season and Macy’s Santaland experience is free and open to the public.

What to expect from Macy’s Santaland

My advise as a mom is to start with a positive attitude and keep your kids cheerful. Everyone at Macy’s is extremely nice to the children so take advantage of that and take lots of cute pictures to remember when they were that age.

Once you’re in, the journey begins with dazzling holiday window vignettes that prepare guests for the magical moments ahead. Next, the guests will pass by Hallmark Channel Window before boarding the Macy’s Santaland Express, which sweeps visitors through a rarely seen world of wintertime wonder and enchantment. On board this charming train façade, visitors pass through North Pole villages and snow-covered fields on their way to meet Mr. Kringle.

My 5-year old was fascinated by the “snow”. She just couldn’t stop herself from touching it. It looked very real.

After the bumpy train ride, visitors descend into a captivating winter wonderland – also known as the North Pole! Santa’s Elves eagerly greet passengers while lights, garlands, and crystal sparkle overhead and adorn every corner.  At The Welcome Station, eager spectators will find Santa’s little helpers who can assist guests as they prepare for their much-anticipated visit with the Man in Red.

Take your time here to really enjoy all the details surrounding these magnificent holiday decorations and let your children enjoy them too.

As you make your way around the dreamlike town’s first corner, you will pass the North Pole’s Kinder™ Sweet Shoppe, filled with chocolate treats fit for the holidays.

Close by, the Aflac Ducks will be gleefully enjoying the holiday festivities as they have in years past.

Around the bend, you will discover The Enchanted Forest and will be immediately surrounded by igloos, ice sculptures, Christmas trees, holly, and colorful poinsettias.

Through the brush, children of all ages will be delighted and amused to enjoy a tree decorating scene put on by animatronic animals. My daughters started dancing like the animals and interacting with everything at this point. You could see them getting more and more excited about the visit to Santa.

Macyís Santaland Herald Square: Rainbow Bridge (Diane Bondareff/AP Images for Macy’s)

The Enchanted Forest leads the way to the Rainbow Bridge, a colorful sight for all to see. Train whistles ahead announce the impressive Lionel Trains Industrial City. Six complete sets of authentic trains and tracks surrounding a six-foot tall Christmas tree are also on their way to visit Santa Claus to deliver last minute holiday wish lists. The massive display includes a series of steam engines, tankers, and locomotives.

Continuing on, you will arrive at Santa’s Workshop where all the trinkets and gadgets delivered on Christmas Eve are imagined, constructed, and prepared to be loaded onto Santa’s sleigh, stacked high with glittering presents.

Macyís Santaland Herald Square (Diane Bondareff/AP Images for Macy’s)

As you pass through Town Hall and peek around the corner, you will be able to catch a glimpse of a cozy stable, where Santa’s sleigh is being prepped and his reindeer are resting before their magical Christmas Eve journey. The shiny red sleigh front and center is a reminder to all who pass that Santa Claus is coming to town.

Finally, beaming Elves personally escort everyone through a gigantic archway leading into a thick maze of pine trees. Once through, they have arrived in the one-and-only Santa Claus’ home, where the jolly old man is ready to scoop his visitors onto his lap and ask them what they would like for Christmas.  They’ll be certain it’s him once they hear his infectious Ho Ho Ho and signature Merry Christmas!

Get ready for anything to happen here but be sure it will be a fun experience. I personally found our Santa the most professional one I’ve seen. Very polite and patient with the children, and the most important quality: believable. After all that drama, which can be normal with children, we took amazing family pictures with backgrounds of New York City.

As your visit comes to an end, you will receive a small keepsake from Santa to commemorate that experience. My daughters took this as “proof” that they went to see Santa in New York City.

For sure an experience not to be missed this holiday season!

How to expedite your trip

For an expedited trip, you may reserve a spot in Macy’s Santa Express Lane. The reservation system is designed to minimize wait times by scheduling visitors to join the line at a time of their choice; allowing for the best possible holiday experience. By choosing Macy’s Santa Express Lane customers can opt to skip the Santaland village attraction and head directly to Santa.  All customers who choose this option will wait in a separate reservation line before meeting Santa. Just note that time slots are subject to availability.

Now go on, pick your best holiday clothes and take the entire family. Santa will be greeting children of all ages, both naughty and nice, at Macy’s Herald Square from Friday, November 29 through Christmas Eve.