Santa’s Visits to the Hill

Where to Get Photos with Family this Holiday Season

Whether you, a pro or a helpful elf takes the picture, there are plenty of opportunities to visit with St. Nick on the Hill this year. Photo: Courtesy CHCNS

The Hill Rag has received the annual press release from the North Pole announcing Santa’s appearances in our neighborhood. During many of this year’s visits, Santa is helping to raise funds for local schools, children, and underdog pets.

Visits are listed by eligible subjects (kids; kids and pets; pets) giving date and location, indicating photo prices and whether a photographer is available or if you should bring your camera.

You’ve got your holiday card sewn up. Happy Holidays!

A family admires the 2018 Norwegian Tree in the Main Hall of Union Station. Photo: R. Buhr

Union Station Tree Lighting | 50 Massachusetts Ave. NE | Tuesday, Dec. 3 | Free * Own

The annual Norwegian Christmas Tree Lighting will take place at Union Station (50 Massachusetts Ave NE) at 6 p.m. Tuesday, December 3 in the Main Hall.

The ceremony will feature performances by The String Queens, whose members have collaborated with artists such as Ledisi, Janelle Monáe, Common, and the Washington Performing Arts Children of the Gospel Choir. Special appearances will also be made by Mr. and Mrs. Claus themselves! No formal photography is offered, but you can take a quick snap. For more information, visit

Santa at Brent Elementary Tree Sale |301 North Carolina Ave SE | Sat, Dec. 7 & Sun, Dec. 8 | 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. | Donation * Own (Elf)

Santa will be visiting the Brent Elementary School’s Christmas tree and holiday sale on Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Santa’s elves will take a picture with your camera for a suggested donation to the school.

While you’re there, pick up a tree, wreath or poinsettia; try a holiday treat or check out the holiday cards designed by students from Amidon-Bowen ES.

Santa at NCC ‘Groovy Christmas’ Show | 770 M St. SE | Saturday, Dec. 7 | 11 a.m. | Free * Pro

Join the National Community Church (NCC) as they go back in time with their holiday show, ‘A Groovy Christmas’. This free, family-friendly show includes Christmas activities for the whole family. Make Christmas cards for soldiers and senior care centers. Get a free photo with Santa, and check out the newly-renovated interior of the Blue Castle, newly renamed the Capital Turnaround (770 M St SE).

Brunch and Santa at Bluejacket | Sunday Dec. 8 | Cost of Brunch | Free * Own (Elf)

Join Bluejacket (300 Tingey St SE) between December 6th and 8th as they launch this year’s holiday festivities with special can and bottle releases, festive food and drink offerings, a tree trimming ceremony and a photo opportunity with Santa Claus!

On Sunday, Bluejacket will host their Third Annual Tree Trimming Party with a special appearance by Santa Claus himself. One of Santa’s elves will be available to take complimentary photos. This will also be your chance to try some new holiday-themed brunch items by Chef David Testa!

The Santa Claus brunch is only one of the Bluejacket Holiday events. On Friday, December 6th, come by for Reindeer Games and the release of Mural 2018.This decadent dessert brew is loaded with peanut butter, vanilla beans, maple syrup, cinnamon & cocoa nibs.

On Saturday, December 7th, Ro Guenzel, Director of Brewing Operations, will be making his famous Hot Scotchies. Come by to toast the season.

There is no admission fee for these events. All special beers, drinks and food will be priced individually.

Miss Patricia helps a superhero get ready in a previous year. She will be painting faces Dec. 15 as Santa comes to Taoti Creative.

Santa Visits Barracks Row | Taoti Creative (530 Eighth St. SE | Sat. Dec. 14 | 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. | Free * Own

Santa Arrives on Eighth Street the afternoon of Saturday December 14 to say hi to all the children at Taoti Creative (530 Eighth St. SE).  Take your own photo, or ask a friendly elf to help. There will be face painting by Ms. Patricia, plus hot chocolate and treats from Ted’s Bulletin. Make your list at the writing stations with crayons and pencils and tons of paper, or write letters to Santa.

Can’t write yet? Santa gets it –just draw him picture and take it in to show him.  There will be live caroling by Capitol Hill Chorale and some surprise blow-up characters for excellent photos with the animals for Grandma (remember that very large pink pig last year, and the giant penguin the year before)?

Don’t miss the ‘Before Santa Party’ at The Miracle Theater (535 Eighth St. SE)! It’s a Pajama Movie – Polar Express rolls into Barracks Row at starting at 11 a.m. Make it a (holi)day! Just wear your PJ’s to Polar Express (tickets $6.00) and think about Christmas morning and what you’d like to find under the tree. When the movie ends, cross the street to Taoti Creative and tell Santa yourself!

This is an all-indoor event, so you can visit Santa no matter what the weather!

Both the Dogs and the Kids


There will be a professional photographer to take photos of your darlings with the big guy (& Mrs. Claus!)  at Coldwell Banker Dec. 7.

Visit from Santa & Annual Toy Drive | Coldwell Banker | Sat, Dec. 7 | 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. | 605 Pennsylvania Ave. SE | Free * Pro

Coldwell Banker Capitol Hill celebrates the Holidays with their Annual Toy Drive and a visit from Santa Claus on Saturday, December 7th from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Bring the family and leashed pets to Coldwell Banker (605 Pennsylvania Ave. SE) for a free professional portrait with Santa. While you’re there, enjoy the traditional holiday windows, face painting and a half price kids’ meal courtesy of Mr. Henry’s next door. Both humans and leashed pets are welcome!

Coldwell Banker, in cooperation with Hill area public schools, is collecting toys for less fortunate children. Visit to select a registered gift and bring or send it, unwrapped, to the Coldwell Banker office by Saturday, December 7th. For more information, text 202.203.8180.


Santa at Wunder Garten Winterfest | Saturdays Dec. 6 to Dec. 22 | 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. | Free * Own

Wunder Garten’s Winterfest 2019 will appearances from Santa himself on Saturdays from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. Take pictures with the entire family, furry friends included.

While you’re there, enjoy everything jolly that’s offered at Winterfest at Wunder Garten (1101 First St. NE). The event kicks off Friday, December 6th at 4 p.m. with the annual Makers Market and a Grand Opening Party laced with music and entertainment. Find everything from Christmas trees, holiday gifts, seasonal beers and warm cocktails to holiday actions and the city’s most festive atmosphere at Winterfest.

Admission to Winterfest is FREE. Wunder Garten is open Monday through Thursday, 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday, 3 p.m. to 1 a.m.; Saturday, 12 p.m. to 1 a.m.; and Sunday from 12 p.m. to 10 p.m. For more information, please visit

Congressional Cemetery Photos with Santa (1801 E St SE) | Saturday, Dec 7 | 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. | Book Online $30 * By Appointment

Come to the Cemetery on Saturday, December 7th for your chance to have pictures taken with Santa himself. For a suggested donation of $30, you will receive a personal thumb drive of all the images taken. Planners are accepting reservations for a maximum of five sittings per half hour, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Go online to choose a time that works best for you. Both people and pups are welcome!

Tickets and Info online at

For Puppies

Courtesy Rural Dog Rescue

Rural Dog Rescue Photos With Santa | The Brig | Sun, Dec 8 11:00 AM – 2:00 PM | $15 Pro

Join Rural Dog Rescue in their annual Photos With Santa Winter Fundraiser! Always a great time!  $15 per digital photo! New backdrop every year! Drink specials! Adoptable dogs from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. Eat! Drink! Be Merry! and help save an Underdog!

The event takes place at The Brig (1007 Eighth Street SE), Just down the street from Howl To The Chief.  Get tickets online at the Event’s Eventbrite Page.

‘Howlidays’ for Virginia Ave Dog Park at the Brig |Thursday, Dec. 12 | 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. | $10 donation * Own

Come celebrate the Howlidays with your neighbors and furry friends from the Virginia Avenue Dog Park at our festive fundraiser! A $10 donation gets you a wristband for happy hour specials all night long. Santa and his helper Elves will be there and available to take pictures with pups and their humans!

Courtney from “What’s in a Wag?” will be there to talk with dog owners about how to read their dog’s physical behavior to understand when they are getting stressed, excited, scared, etc. — very handy for a safe dog park experience. (You can learn more about her program here:

All funds raised go to help sustain the dog park cleaning, maintenance, and poop bag supplies. DC DPR provides the basic infrastructure (fences, water fountains, etc.) for it’s dog parks, but requires local community groups to self-organize and buy supplies and do the maintenance work in order to keep it save and clean. Any and all donations are welcome. If you can’t attend the Howliday Yappy Hour, you can also donate via Paypal at:

Holiday Boats and Snow Globes

District Holiday Boat Parade and Santa| Saturday, Dec. 7 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. | Own * Free

Don’t miss this annual DC tradition! Celebrate the holidays and watch the beautifully-decorated boats pass by The Wharf. Sip hot cocoa, make s’mores, and sample winter drinks at the waterfront wine and beer garden. Visit the lighted Christmas Tree and enjoy other fun activities, including live music, ice skating, meeting Santa, and fireworks!

This event will be rain or shine! It is advised that you leave your car at home and use alternative transportation for this event. Get more information at

Photos in a Snow Globe 

Canal Park Tree Lighting | Friday, Dec. 6 | 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. | Free * Own

Celebrate as the Canal Park DC Ice Rink (200 M St SE) becomes merry and bright for another holiday season in Capitol Riverfront!

Snap a photo in a life-size snow globe for this year’s holiday card, sing some carols with Tunes 4 Tots, and enjoy free skate admission for the first 500 guests all courtesy of CSX.

Not into skating? Snuggle up with a mug of mulled wine or complimentary hot chocolate (provided by West Half) in the Capitol Riverfront Winter Lounge located on the Canal Park roof deck!

Gather round the rink at 7 to watch our surprise guest light up the Canal Park trees and officially kick off the holidays in the Capitol Riverfront!

Finally, the Capitol Riverfront BID is pleased to partner with Children’s National Hospital for the second year to bring their #LightUpDrBear campaign back to Canal Park. Text a donation and watch as the bears turn purple and teal any time one is made to Children’s National this holiday season!