Christmas portrait

(credit: istock)

One thing is certain at Christmas time: every little one would like the chance to tell Santa what they want for Christmas. In the Detroit area, there are plenty of places to visit Old Saint Nick. Regardless of where you go, you can be sure the five below are some of the best to meet the man and get a great photo of him with the kids and maybe even the parents.

Art Van

You can get free photos with Santa at Art Van at various locations throughout the holiday season.

Sat Dec 3 11 a.m.-4 p.m.: Warren location on 14 mile
Sun Dec 4 noon-5 .m.: Warren location on 14 mile
Sat Dec 10 11 a.m.-4 p.m.: ALL Art Van Stores
Sun Dec 11 noon-5 p.m.: ALL Art Van Stores
Sat Dec 17: 11 a.m.-4 p.m.: Warren location on 14 mile
Sun Dec 18: noon-5 p.m.: Warren location on 14 mile

Holiday Nights in Greenfield Village
20900 Oakwood Blvd.
Dearborn, MI 48124

Holiday Nights in Greenfield Village is a chance to see the big guy himself and enjoy candlelit paths, live entertainment, costumed presenters, horse-drawn wagon, Model T rides, shopping, live reindeer, ice skating, a spectacular fireworks display and more. Admission for children 4 and under is free. Dates get sold out quickly. Get your tickets early.

Twelve Oaks Mall
27500 Novi Rd.
Novi, MI 48377
(248) 348-9400

Dates: Thru Dec. 23

Visit Santa Claus at the Ice Palace in Twelve Oaks Mall during mall hours. Santa takes breaks Monday through Saturday 12:30-1p and 5:30-6p and on Sunday from 1p-1:30p.

Crossroads Village
6140 Bray Road
Flint, MI 48505
(810) 736-7100

Since the day after Thanksgiving, Santa has been receiving guests at the Mason Inn at Crossroads Village, one of the Genesee County Parks. Crossroads Village is much more than a place to stops and say hello to Santa, it is a recreated historic Michigan village that offers a chance to step back in time and enjoy the season. While you are there, you can also take the family for a ride on the steam-driven historic Huckleberry Railroad. The 40-minute ride takes you through the village, along the shores of nearby Mott Lake, down part of the historic Pere Marquette rail line and then finally back into the village. Along the way, you will find Christmas displays in the park and those of neighboring homes that take part in this season of joy. Admission to Crossroads Village is $10 for those ages 13 to 59, $9 for seniors and $8 children 25 months to 12 years old. Add $3 for a ride on the Huckleberry Railroad.

Southland Mall
23000 Eureka Road
Taylor, MI 48180
(734) 374-2800

In the Downriver area, you will find Santa and his elves at Southland Mall waiting to say hello to all of the children. The concourse where Santa is located has been decorated for the season and brings the joy of Christmas to all who enter. You will find the jolly old elf on hand from 11 a.m. until 8 p.m every day through December 24 when Santa will be leaving at 4 p.m. so he can head out and start delivering those gifts.

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Wayne County Lightfest
7651 Merriman Road at Hines Drive
Westland, MI 48185
(734) 261-1990

The Wayne County Lightfest is perhaps the ultimate way to take the little ones to see Santa and along the way 45 huge animated holiday displays. From 7 p.m. until 10 p.m. each day through December 31, you can drive your car down Hines Drive which is illuminated with over one million Christmas lights stretching for over four miles. When you finally make your way through this wonderland of light, it is time to stop and see Santa at his workshop where families are welcome to take pictures of the little ones with the Jolly Old Elf. Entry fee is $5 per car to help offset the cost of the longest and largest light display in the Midwest.

Lakeside Mall
14000 Lakeside Circle
Sterling Heights, MI 48313
(586) 247-1590

Lakeside Mall in Sterling Heights is hosting Santa until Christmas Eve and when you visit, there will be the chance to meet the Jolly Old Elf along with his helpers. There are wonderful holiday displays to see, fun to be had and time to ask the man himself for the special gift. Santa will be at Lakeside daily until 6 p.m. on Christmas Eve.

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Award winning freelance writer and photographer Lawrence DiVizio is based in Southeast Michigan and works to convey in words and images the world around us. His work can be found at