Where to See Santa: Iowa City Area 2019

Santa Sightings: Where to see Santa in Iowa City‘Tis the season to see Santa! Get your calendars out and make time to share the magic of the season with your little ones (and maybe slip your own wish list to the big guy).

We’ve compiled this handy guide and map to help you and your family track him and Mrs. Claus down for photos, conversations, and holiday fun. This guide was made possible in part by our friends at Hancher, the experts in incredible entertainment! Check it out and make a date with Santa before his big ride!

Where to see Santa in Iowa City area

Google Map of all Santa Events

Ongoing Sightings:

Santa at Coral Ridge Mall–Coralville

Where: Center court of the mall
When: Every day through 12/24 (pet photos Monday evenings).
Special Event: 11/24 and 12/8 Santa Cares Day, a free event for children and families across the disability spectrum
Photo opportunities: Photo packages are available for purchase.  No personal photos are allowed on the Santa Set.
Good things to know: Check the website for themed days and discounts. Avoid long lines by reserving (and paying for) your spot online!

Von Maur–Coralville

Where: Von Maur at Iowa River Landing
When: December 7-8 and December 14-15 from Noon-5:00 p.m. (line closes at 4:00)
Photo opportunities: Personal photos are allowed.  Professional photos are also available.
Good things to know: Photo-taking is free. Visitors also receive a complimentary 5×7 photo.

Tannenbaum Forest–Amana Colonies

Where: Festehall, Village of Amana
When: Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays 11/30 – 12/22.  Times vary during this four-weekend festival.
Photo opportunities: Personal photos are allowed and encouraged.
Good things to know: Kids can write a letter to Santa in the Kids’ Corner and live reindeer are hanging out with Santa during  “Prelude to Christmas.”

Santa Saturdays Downtown Iowa City

Where: Iowa City Downtown District, photos at the new Film Scene at the Chauncey
When: Saturdays, 11/30-12/16
Photo opportunities: Personal photos allowed, and free photos will also be provided.
Good things to know: Photo-taking is free.  Other holiday activities going on each weekend in Downtown Iowa City, including Horse Drawn Trolley rides.

Old Capitol Town Center–Iowa City

Where: Old Capitol Mall
When: Mondays Dec. 2, 9, 16  11 am – 2 pm; Tuesdays Dec. 3, 10, 17  4 pm – 7 pm;
Wednesdays Dec. 4, 11, 18  4 pm – 7 pm; Saturdays Nov. 30, Dec. 14, 21   10 am – 4 pm
Photo opportunities: Personal photos allowed

Santa One-Time Events:

Pancakes & Pajamas (with Mrs. Claus!) – North Liberty

Where: South Slope Community Center
When: Saturday December 7 8:30-10 a.m.
Photo Opportunities: We’ve all seen the photos of children crying on Santa’s lap. So we invited the kind and gentle Mrs. Claus to join us for pancakes, holiday games, and informal photos! Mrs. Claus will be reading Christmas stories, decorate Christmas cookies, and help bring the magic of Christmas to your kids’ holiday photos!
Good things to know: Tickets required (sales end Friday 11/30). Tickets include all of the following: all-you-can-eat pancakes with toppings bar, hot chocolate and marshmallows (or coffee for the grownups!), games, crafts, holiday themed fun, photo ops of your kids in their pajamas, cookie decorating, and Christmas stories.

A Christmas Past–West Branch

Where: Historic Main Street District & Herbert Hoover National Historic Site, West Branch
When: 12/6-7
Photo opportunities: Personal photos with Santa encouraged
Good things to know: This Main Street West Branch event includes a soup supper (Friday), a grand arrival of Mr. and Mrs Claus, caroling, and many other wonderful holiday activities. Downtown businesses will also be open extended hours for shopping.

Christmas in Kalona

Where: Kalona, IA
When: 12/7
Photo opportunities: Personal photos
Good things to know: Santa is only one of the fun things to do at this event! Other activities include face painting, a cookie walk, craft fair, and more!

Brunch with Santa

Where: Hancher’s Stanley Cafe
When: Saturday 12/7 and Sunday 12/ 8 at 11:00am
Photo opportunities: Personal photos
Good things to know: Tickets required! Santa will be sharing a meal with kids and their families at the beautiful Hancher. It will be a festive affair with food, music, a few surprises—and, of course, Santa himself!

Santa eXperience–Solon

Where: Palmer House Stable
When: Sunday, December 8, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.
Photo opportunities: Personal photos
Good things to know: Hosted by Tom Webber–Real Estate Broker, this free event includes: Hot cocoa and cookies, craft time, and a photo op with Santa!

Santa Visits Solon Fire Station

Where: Solon, IA
When: 12/8 12-2:30 p.m.
Photo opportunities: Personal photos allowed
Good things to know: Free admission, along with pizza, cookies and treats with a free-will donation.

Santa at Collins Community Credit Union–North Liberty

Where: North Liberty Branch Collins Community Credit Union
When: 12/13 3-5 p.m.
Photo opportunities: Personal photos allowed
Good things to know: Free admission and free treats too!

North Corridor Rotary Club Breakfast with Santa–Coralville

Where: Coralville Marriot Hotel and Conference Center
When: Saturday December 14th
Photo opportunities: Personal photos with Santa encouraged
Good things to know: Cost is $6/person for ages 4 and up.  Ages 3 and under are free! Free parking. Proceeds support Rotary activities and area organizations.

Santa at Sidekick Coffee and Books–Iowa City

Where: Sidekick Coffee and Books
When: 12/15
Photo opportunities: Personal photos
Good things to know: 10 a.m. – Santa reads The Night Before Christmas.
10:15-10:45 – Santa & Mrs. Claus will make snowflakes with our visitors.
10:45-Noon – Children can sit on Santa’s lap & tell him what they would like for Christmas!

This is a sponsored post. ICM was compensated for sharing this piece.  However, we love connecting our readers with people and organizations that are doing good in our community, and we think you will find this information helpful and informative!

About Our Sponsor

Hancher is a multidisciplinary performing arts presenter committed to connecting artists and audiences with transformational artistic experiences. For 45 years, Hancher has been the cultural hub of the University of Iowa campus—presenting world-class dance, music, and theater. Along the way, Hancher has extended its reach far beyond campus, engaging thousands of Iowans each year, on campus, throughout the community, and across the state. Hancher is one of the leading university presenters of the performing arts in the nation and has earned an international reputation for excellence.

Don’t miss the $10 youth tickets for most Hancher events! Find them here: www.hancher.uiowa.edu.

Did we miss any of your favorite Santa sighting locations?  Do you know of a great community event where the big man or his crew will make an appearance? Share your suggestions in the comments below!

Our Ultimate Guide to Holidays in Iowa City offers answers to all your holiday questions, from Christmas Light Displays to Christmas Tree Farms and more!November and December family events in the Iowa City areaBest Places to see Christmas Lights Displays around Iowa City areaChristmas tree farms near Iowa CityService and volunteer opportunities in Iowa City for the holidaysHanukkah Menu and Recipes

Holiday Movie BINGO

Holiday Music Playlist



Sherri is a transplant from Oregon who came to be a Hawkeye in 2006 and stayed for the sweet corn...and for the Iowa boy she met along the way! She and her husband (Kyle) have a 9 year-old daughter, Aissa. Sherri earned her Ph.D. in Higher Education and Student Affairs at The University of Iowa and works for Ruffalo Noel Levitz as an Enrollment Marketing Consultant for colleges and universities. When she's not working, you can find her with her family, enjoying Iowa City and cheering on the Hawkeyes.


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