Santa HQ at Fashion Outlets of Chicago

Santa HQ at Fashion Outlets of Chicago

Visiting Santa is a memorable time for kids during the holidays so why not make the most of the experience? Santa HQ at Fashion Outlets of Chicago offers a chance to chat with Santa and take photos, but there’s so much more to do. Kids (and adults) will be delighted by the sight of Santa HQ and once inside there are plenty of fun, interactive experiences to make this trip to see Santa even more special.

Location: Fashion Outlets of Chicago, 5220 Fashion Outlets Way, Rosemont

Phone: 847-957-4600

Website: Photos with Santa

You can also visit the Santa HQ to find out how to download the ELF-Ray Vision app on your iOS or Android device.

Social media:

Reservations: Reservations can be made online. They are encouraged, but not required.

Dates and hours: Open November 10 through December 24, 2017

Santa Hours

Through November 22:
11am-8pm Monday-Thursday

Closed on November 24 (Thanksgiving)

November 25-November 26 (Black Friday weekend):
9am-9pm Friday-Saturday
9am-8pm Sunday

November 27-December 16
11am-8pm Monday-Thursday
10am-9pm Friday-Saturday
11am-7pm Sunday

December 17
10am-9pm Sunday

December 18-December 23
11am-8pm Monday-Thursday
10am-9pm Friday-Saturday
10am-7pm Sunday

December 24
10am-6pm Sunday

Special events: 

  • Grandparent’s Night is November 10 from 5pm-8pm.
  • Holiday PJ Night is November 17 and December 8 from 5pm-8pm.
  • Pet photos are offered on November 27 and December 4, 11, & 17 from 6pm-8pm. Cats and dogs are the only pets allowed. Please bring your pet on a leash or in a pet carrier.

Cost: There is no fee to see Santa, but photo packages are available for purchase. Reservation photo packages are $39.99 and include one 5×7 print, one 4×6 print, 4 wallet prints, digital downloads, and a downloadable e-book, I Can’t Wait to See Santa! by Tish Rabe and illustrated by Lindsey Sager. Additionally, pre-ordered packages allow you to skip the line. Additional photo packages are available.
Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday through December 6 are discount days; save $5 on a photo package.

We paid: We were invited to a media preview event and our experience was complimentary.

Amenities: Visit my post about Fashion Outlets of Chicago for more details about the services and amenities offered.

Our experience

We were invited to visit Santa HQ at Fashion Outlets of Chicago for a media preview event before it opened to the public.

Fashion Outlets of Chicago in Rosemont is an indoor outlet shopping center. Parking in the attached indoor parking garage is complimentary, and made it practical for us to leave our coats in the car. (Don’t want to do that? There’s a coat check at the Concierge Services.)

John wasn’t able to join us on this adventure, so it was just me and the three boys. We arrived early and visited the food court for dinner. Cooper, who has been a vegetarian for about a year now, was really excited to see Maoz Vegetarian, where he picked out a falafel sandwich with veggies and hummus. Dexter, who tries to eat enough meat to make up for Cooper, made a beeline for South Philly Steak & Fries for a bowl of cheese fries topped with steak. Campbell and I split some pretzel dogs and a baked potato.

Santa HQ is located on the lower level near the food court so we got to see the light show – 10,000 lights synchronized to the Carol of the Bells tune – while we ate.

exterior of Santa HQ at Fashion Outlets of Chicago

Santa HQ is hard to miss and the kids had their eyes on it from the moment we arrived so they were itching to check it out. There are plenty of activities the kids will love throughout Santa HQ. First off, the kids can see if they made it onto the “Nice” list. Fortunately, all of mine did.

Selfie sticks are available near the entrance if you’d like to take some photos to document your visit to Santa HQ.

Elf Yourself at Fashion Outlets of Chicago

Kids (and parents) can snap a photo and “Elf” themselves in a funny video, and explore some of the cool visual props throughout Santa HQ.

Santa HQ with HGTV at Fashion Outlets of Chicago

The kids got a chance to take control of Santa’s sleigh at the Control Center.

Control Center at Santa HQ in Fashion Outlets of Chicago

Before we arrived, I downloaded the Elf Ray Vision app for Santa HQ and I’m so glad I did. There are cool decorations throughout the Santa HQ like this one:

Gears on the wall at Santa HQ

But if you use the Santa HQ app, there’s a lot more to see. The augmented reality app turns the above image into this:

Elf with presents at Santa HQ

The kids couldn’t get enough of it. They were all exploring the room with the tablet we brought and my phone and discovered that a lot of the images change when you tap them.

Tablet using Elf Ray Vision app at Santa HQ

This image on the app is interactive – the kids tapped the present and it fell off the wire it was suspended by. Pretty cool!

Elf Ray Vision app in use at Santa HQ

The coolest part was the ceiling of Santa HQ. It looked like this when you viewed it through the Elf Ray Vision app:

Ceiling of Santa HQ

But when you tapped it, it became this and it looked like it was snowing:

Santa HQ ceiling as viewed through Elf Ray Vision app - gears and snowflakes

Santa was really nice and talked for a few minutes to each of the kids, making sure to interact with all of them (even Campbell, who is very shy and will often not talk at all). The kids laughed a lot and had fun.

Santa with kids at Santa HQ

We received a photo package as part of the media event and this is the photo we received:

Photo with Santa

Honestly, I don’t love the photo. It’s blurry, but that may be because the kids we a little excited and maybe didn’t sit still or because we were there on opening day and they were still working out the quirks. I may have requested a retake if the photo was important to me, but we were mostly there for the experience.

After Santa HQ, we spent some time exploring the shopping center and it’s a great place for holiday shopping. There are high-end stores upstairs, and more affordable options downstairs. It is Fashion Outlets, so most of the stores are clothing, shoes, and accessories, but there are also other stores for great gifts, selling Chicago-related gifts, candy, and other treats.

kids posed in front of You Are Beautiful art at Fashion Outlets of Chicago

Thanks to Fashion Outlets of Chicago for inviting us to check out Santa HQ – it was a lot of fun!

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