Santa Claus is Coming to Town! Join Hundreds of Santas Speeding Without a Sleigh at Santa Dashes Around the World
The holiday season for many is about spending time with loved ones, indulging in festive foods and awaiting a visit from Santa Claus on his sleigh on Christmas Eve. A newer tradition though has seen thousands dashing off dressed as Santa themselves rather than waiting for his arrival! Over the past few years, Santa runs have popped up across the world, with thousands taking to the jolly streets for a good cause. We have checked our ‘nice’ list of over 29 million listings to compile a list of festive destinations that are making spirits bright with a Santa run.
Las Vegas Great Santa Run - Las Vegas, USA
Swap snow for sand and head to the Nevada Desert for the Las Vegas Great Santa Run. The holiday season is a time of spreading joy and giving back, and this event is no exception, with all proceeds being donated to the Opportunity Village charity, which provides men and women with all levels of disabilities the chance to lead a life that had previously been unattainable. Head to the start line at the Fremont Street Experience on Saturday December 7, 2019 at 8:00 a.m. and be one of the thousands of Santas donning their Christmassy suit.
Where to stay: Stay in the heart of Las Vegas at the SpringHill Suites Las Vegas Convention Centre which is conveniently located for Christmas enthusiasts, as it’s only a short drive from the Las Vegas Great Santa Run. After you have worked up an appetite, tuck into hearty American cuisine and cocktails at the hotel’s Palette Gallery and Bistro.
Santa Claus Marathon - Rovaniemi, Finland
Festivity and fitness fanatics will love the Santa Claus Marathon in Rovaniemi, Finland. From power walkers to runners, dress up like Santa and opt for the full, half or children’s mini marathon. This festive run takes place in mid-June (perfect for those looking for a bit of Christmas joy before December) every year on the Arctic Circle, and the starting point is the iconic Santa Claus Workshop.
Where to stay: Visit the hometown of Santa Claus with a trip to Rovaniemi and stay at the magical Santa Claus Holiday Village for the perfect Christmas themed vacation. There’s plenty of sites and activities to keep the whole family entertained including the Santa Claus Village, a Christmas House (an exhibition of Christmas traditions around the world), Santa Park, Santa’s Ice Park and Santa’s Post Office.
Santa Sunday River Ski Resort - Newry, Maine, USA
Trade your running shoes for a pair of skis and shred some snow with the ultimate Santa ski run in Newry, Maine, USA. 2019 marks the 20th anniversary of the iconic skiing Santas and over 250 participants are expected to participate this year (exact date TBC). Head to the Santa Sunday River Ski Resort to either participate or observe and spread a bit of Christmas cheer, as all donations go to the River Fund, which provides financial and community support to underprivileged youths.
Where to stay: Stay at the cozy Rostay Inn which is ideally located, as it is only a short drive from the Santa Sunday River Ski Resort. This charming bed and breakfast is open during all four seasons, but make sure to try out the cross-country ski trails nearby during the winter months and warm up with a dip in the hot tub. In the summer months, enjoy hiking, mountain biking and a picnic in the crisp mountain air.
Santa Run Tasmania - Devonport, Australia
While many think of snowy scenes when picturing Christmas, travelers down under can experience Christmas as a warm-weather holiday. Located on the north coast of Tasmania, where the Mersey River meets Bass Strait, Devonport is home to the ‘Santa Run Tasmania’. Taking place in early December each year (2019 date TBC), this run falls during the summer season in Australia, meaning it may be a sweatier sprint than Santa Runs in other places. This run champions a good cause and sees locals and visitors alike donning their red suits and hats to finish the 5k circuit. Runners can also visit the Lillico Beach conservation area which is infact home to festive-looking penguins who have opted for a warmer climate than their arctic cousins!
Where to stay: After the run, travelers can enjoy the rest of what Devonport has to offer. On the banks of the Mersey river and just a short drive into the city center, Waterfront Apartments are the perfect holiday home for Santa’s elves visiting Devonport. With sweeping views of the river, an 18-hole golf course, native gardens and water features, travelers will hardly want to leave the complex. When they do though, Devonport is home to the Bass Strait Maritime Centre, where visitors are invited to learn about early explorers and shipwrecks, as well as the Tasmanian Arboretum, making it the perfect destination to explore the local landscape and visit the birdlife and local platypus.
Tokyo Great Santa Run - Tokyo, Japan
2018 was the inaugural event for the Tokyo Great Santa Run, which is organized by a committee of 30 young people aged 13 to 22. The short run spanned across a 2.4 kilometer (1.5 mile) route around Meijijingu Gaien, with this year’s event likely to take a similar route (exact date TBC). A portion of the run’s proceeds go to charity, with option to book your spot both with and without the festive red suit. From one nontraditional holiday experience to another; while in Tokyo, why not join the estimated 3.6 million Japanese families eating fried chicken during the festive season!
Where to stay: While running dressed as Santa might not be a typical Japanese experience, travelers can have a more traditional stay at Ryokan & Day Shizuku. This ryokan, which is a traditional Japanese Inn, boasts en suite bath tubs made from Hinoki cypress wood and a sleek décor throughout. This stay is the perfect base to explore some of the other festivities such as the incredible light displays and Christmas shopping sales.
Santa Claus Race - Madrid, Spain
For the past five years, Madrid has held the Santa Claus Race for thousands of participants keen to dress up for the occasion. Said to be the largest race of its kind in the world, the race raises funds for a local cancer charity. The route has varied but is always centered around the famous El Retiro Park in the Western part of the city, with the 2019’s race taking place on December 8th.
Where to stay: Conveniently set in the heart of Madrid, in Tribunal district, Bastardo Hostel offers stylish private and dormitory rooms with complimentary Wi-Fi and is located close to all of the main tourist attractions and just a half hour walk from El Retiro Park. The hostel’s terrace and lounge offer the perfect social setting to meet fellow travelers and perhaps even meet fellow wanna-be Santa runners.