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    Where To See Santa Claus in Wilmington


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    The holiday season in Wilmington, North Carolina is a time of festive cheer and enchantment, and what better way to experience the magic than by meeting Santa Claus himself? From traditional tree-lighting ceremonies to unique Santa encounters, Wilmington offers a range of opportunities to share your Christmas wishes with the jolly old man in red.

    From historic settings to contemporary venues, our town offers a variety of ways to make your holiday season extra special with a visit to Santa Claus. Whether you’re a local or just passing through, these Santa sightings are sure to create lasting memories and add a touch of magic to your holiday festivities.

    Here are some of the best places to see Santa Claus in the Port City:

    The Cotton Exchange

    The Cotton Exchange in Wilmington hosts an annual meet and take pictures with Santa event each year, this year kicks off on November 25th at 11am. Your little ones can strike a pose with Santa and even drop their Christmas wish lists into his special mailbox.

    Here’s a rundown of Santa’s schedule for the upcoming holiday season, so you can plan your visits accordingly:

    • Santa’s Arrival: Friday, 11/25, from 11 am to 4 pm
    • Saturdays: 11/26, 12/3, 12/10, 12/17, from 12 pm to 4 pm
    • Sundays: 11/27, 12/4, 12/11, 12/18, from 1 pm to 4 pm
    • Wednesday, 12/21, Thursday, 12/22, and Friday, 12/23, from 12 pm to 4 pm
    • Final Visits: Saturday, 12/24, from 10 am to 2 pm

    Downtown Wilmington Tree Lighting

    Prepare to be part of a heartwarming celebration at Downtown Wilmington’s Christmas Tree Lighting event on November 24th! The merriment kicks off with family-friendly entertainment starting at 5:30 p.m. As the excitement builds, the festive countdown typically begins at 6:25 p.m., leading to the grand moment when the magnificent tree is illuminated. And of course, the evening wouldn’t be complete without a special appearance by none other than Santa himself.

    Join in the revelry and embrace the holiday spirit as you take a leisurely stroll through the charming shops and delightful restaurants, all dressed up in their seasonal best. This coastal-style kickoff to the holiday season is a truly enchanting experience, inviting you to create cherished memories with loved ones in the heart of downtown Wilmington.

    Downtown Wilmington Holiday Parade

    Embrace the holiday spirit and be part of the jubilant 20th Annual Christmas Parade on December 3rd, running from 6 pm to 9 pm! This enchanting procession features brilliantly illuminated marching bands, captivating floats, and spirited entertainers, all culminating with a heartwarming appearance by the one and only Santa Claus. This time-honored Christmas tradition is a true delight for all ages.

    The parade sets off from the corner of North Front and Walnut Street, embarking on its merry journey as it travels south along Front Street, finally reaching Church Street. It’s a magical spectacle that ushers in the joy of the season and brightens the hearts of spectators, offering a memorable evening of festivity and wonder that you won’t want to miss.

    Independence Mall

    Each year, Independence Mall in Wilmington opens its doors to host a heartwarming Santa Claus meet and greet, a wonderful opportunity for family photos and quality time with Santa himself. It’s a festive tradition that promises to make this holiday season your most memorable one yet!

    Capture the magic of the season by taking delightful pictures with Santa, all while enjoying a leisurely stroll through the mall. This is your chance to seamlessly blend your holiday shopping with cherished moments spent with Santa. So, don’t miss this fantastic opportunity to create lasting memories and check off your holiday shopping list, all in one merry visit to Independence Mall.

    Live Oak Bank Pavilion

    Embrace the holiday spirit and join the festivities with Santa Claus at Live Oak Bank Pavilion in Wilmington! This enchanting event is set to take place on Saturday, December 18th, between 4 pm and 6 pm. It’s an experience that promises to fill your heart with joy, offering a delightful movie screening, quality time with Santa, the chance to capture precious pictures, and much more!

    Mark your calendar and get ready for an afternoon of holiday merriment as you create cherished memories with your loved ones. From the magic of the movie to the enchanting moments spent with Santa, this celebration at Live Oak Bank Pavilion is the perfect way to immerse yourself in the holiday season and make it a truly special occasion.

    Mayfaire Town Center

    Make your holiday season even more magical with a visit to Santa’s Workshop at Mayfaire in Wilmington! From November 29th through December 15th, families are invited to stop by and spend quality time with Santa, capturing those cherished pictures and creating wonderful memories.

    As if that weren’t exciting enough, Mayfaire has an extra special treat in store. By signing up for a visit with Santa, families have the chance to enter a raffle with a chance to win a fantastic prize of $2,000! It’s a wonderful way to add a little extra sparkle to your holiday season, creating memories with Santa and the possibility of a delightful holiday surprise, all at Santa’s Workshop in Mayfaire. Don’t miss out on this incredible opportunity to make your holiday season even more extraordinary.

    Poplar Grove Plantation

    Experience the enchantment at Poplar Grove Plantation in Wilmington at the All is Bright event, where the holiday lights and Santa Claus take center stage. This festive celebration kicks off from November 24th and continues through December 3rd, making it the perfect way to start your holiday season, right on Thanksgiving Weekend. Gather the entire family for an unforgettable experience!

    The festivities commence with a captivating Christmas tree lighting ceremony at 5:30 p.m., setting the scene for the holiday magic to follow. Santa Claus himself will be available for pictures on Fridays and Saturdays from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. The event offers a wonderful family-friendly atmosphere at a cost of just $10 per person, or you can opt for a family package priced at $35.

    In addition to the magical encounter with Santa, the event is packed with delightful features, including delectable food trucks, concessions, libations to toast the season, charming photo opportunities, Santa’s Workshop, and a chance to peek through the festively adorned main floor of the manor house. Poplar Grove Plantation invites you to immerse yourself in the holiday spirit and create memories that will last a lifetime.

    Wilmington Train Museum

    Step into a world of holiday enchantment as you join the Wilmington Railroad Museum and Santa Claus for a magical reading of the beloved tale, Polar Express on November 25th, 26th, December 9th, 10th, 16 and 17th at either 4:30 p.m. or 5:30 p.m. at a cost of $5 per person and children under 2 years old are free.

    Get ready to dive into the heartwarming holiday spirit with a special reading of the Polar Express. Each child will receive a golden train ticket, diligently punched by their conductor, and a “Believe” bell from Santa himself. After the enchanting reading, indulge in delectable cookies and cocoa, the perfect combination for spreading seasonal joy.

    This beloved family event is a wonderful celebration of the season, featuring heartwarming readings by local talent. Given its popularity, we highly recommend making prepaid reservations to secure your spot, as this event tends to sell out quickly. Feel free to give the train museum a call to reserve your spot, ensuring you don’t miss out on this magical journey into the world of the Polar Express.

    Cookies & Cocoa with Santa

    Come and be a part of the festive joy with the Wilmington YMCA at their delightful event, “Cookies & Cocoa with Santa” on December 16th. Santa himself will be gracing the YMCA with his presence, and you can capture those cherished moments from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Don’t forget your camera for those unforgettable pictures!

    To add to the merriment, a heartwarming holiday movie will kick off at 6:30 p.m., filling the air with the magic of the season. But that’s not all—this special evening offers a host of family activities to enjoy. From cookie decorating to ornament making, hot cocoa, face painting, and a variety of games, there’s something for everyone to revel in.

    To ensure you don’t miss out on the fun, be sure to register for this event ahead of time. It’s the perfect way to make the holiday season even more memorable, surrounded by the warmth and joy of Santa and an array of delightful activities.

    Leland in Lights

    Mark your calendar for a festive evening on Saturday, December 6th, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. as the Town of Leland invites you to join in the annual lighting of the Leland Tree at Town Hall Plaza. This heartwarming event includes the special moment when Santa himself flips the switch to illuminate Town Hall and the beautiful tree.

    Throughout the evening, you can satisfy your taste buds with delectable offerings from food trucks like T’Geaux Boys and Tasty Tees. Plus, there’s a delightful array of family activities to enjoy, including the popular Leland Express train rides.

    To make your visit even more convenient, free parking is available at the First Baptist Church of Leland, located at 517 Village Rd NE. A complimentary shuttle service will be provided to transport you to and from the event. It’s an evening that promises to be filled with holiday spirit and cherished memories, so don’t miss out!