How to Save Time When Visiting Santa at Macy’s Herald Square in New York City

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Last year I had the great opportunity to use miles and points to get to New York City and take my daughter to visit Santa at Macy’s on 34th Street (aka Macy’s Herald Square).  It was a very special experience, especially once you actually got into the very decorated Santaland portion and to visit Santa himself.

However, if I had to do it over again (and I hope we get to), I would love to skip the extra hour or so of waiting through the back halls of Macy’s, which are anything but magical.


As luck would have it, right after our visit we learned that you can indeed get a free Express Pass to visit Santa either in the store itself on the 9th floor at a kiosk or via the Macy’s app!  Oh well, we wanted the full experience anyway, right?  Getting the Santa Express Pass allows you to cut the line and go almost straight to see the man in the red suit himself.  This would be amazing if you have a very young child and simply want the photo with Santa instead of the full experience.  However, there is a downside that I will get to in a minute.  First, the details on how to get the pass.

Express Pass

How to Get an Express Pass to Visit Santa at Macy’s Herald Square:

  • To get an Express Pass via the app, first you need to download the Macy’s app.
  • Next, click on stores on the right hand side of the home page


  • Then search for and then select Macy’s Herald Square.  This is the Macy’s on 34th Street.  Simply typing in New York, NY will bring up that option as well.
  • Click Events at the top of the screen (the star icon).


  • Select the Santaland Icon on the top right hand side of the screen.


  • Click the green “Request an Express Pass” icon


  • Choose your desired time to get an Express Pass to visit Santa, up to 48 hours in advance.


Once you get to the store, go to the 8th floor and look for the Express Pass Check-in line.  The elves are all very nice and will point you in the right direction if you can’t find it.  The area does get pretty crowded and hectic on busy days.

After waiting a very long time to see Santa the first time we visited Macy’s at Herald Square, this Express Pass option sounds fantastic.  However, the downside is that I have been told you don’t actually get to go through most of the beautiful and magical Santaland portion of the experience with the Express Pass, you basically go straight to Santa.



20131216-102723.jpgThe Santaland portion lasts approximately the last 20 minutes or so that you are in line, and it was just as entertaining as actually seeing Santa.  In fact, it makes seeing Santa even better as it adds to the magic and anticipation.  I think the experience wouldn’t be near as special if you didn’t have the full Santaland experience to go along with visiting the big man.


Of course, your opinion may be different, and thus the Express Pass is perfect in certain situations when waiting over an hour isn’t going to be a magical experience no matter how pretty the decorations are.  You can always request an Express Pass, and then cancel it and wait in the normal line if the wait isn’t atrocious so you get to go through all of  Santaland.  Going very early in the morning, on weekdays, and earlier in the Christmas season will all help you avoid the very long waits.  The elves also do a pretty good job at giving an accurate estimation of how long the wait will be so you can make an informed decision once you get there.

If you have visited Santa at Macy’s Herald Square and have some other tips or experiences to share, I’d love to hear them!

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    • Glenn, yeah I only tested it with the Herald’s Square location. I haven’t heard that it is available at other Macy’s. Good to know though!

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