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SantaCon is back: Where it will be, and where you should go instead

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In case you’d rather avoid being around hordes of drunken Santas

Annual Santacon Bar Crawl Takes Place Through New York City Photo by Stephanie Keith/Getty Images

Get ready, New Yorkers: SantaCon is about to flood streets (and bars) of New York once again. If you live under a rock and haven’t seen or heard of SantaCon, it’s that one time of year where flocks of Santa and elf impersonators embark on a festive bar crawl, making a booze-fueled scene through the city that you’ll find either amusing or annoying to watch. It all goes down Saturday, December 8.

The SantaCon organizers have announced the locations for this year’s event, and as in years past, it’ll be concentrated in Manhattan—namely in Midtown and down to the East Village. The festivities will kick off at 10 a.m., and will start at Plaza 33, the open-air pedestrian space near Penn Station.

If you’re looking to participate, we recommend keeping an eye on SantaCon’s official website and Twitter page for more details. Below is a map of SantaCon “zones.”

But if you want to avoid the whole thing (and something tells us that if you’re reading this, you do), we have a few tips along with some alternatives that don’t involve being around a swarm of drunken Santas gallivanting around.

Stay in the outer boroughs. There’s less of a risk of running into any hordes of Santas in the outer boroughs. Though we do recommend staying away from neighborhoods like Williamsburg and Bushwick, since they’re a little to close to Manhattan for comfort.

Avoid going through Midtown if at all possible. Bars on the SantaCon route tend to span much of Midtown, so if you had plans in the area, maybe save it for Sunday. This includes riding the subway through the area. Nowhere is safe from Santas.

Get the heck out of town. There are likely to be some bridge-and-tunnel Santas coming in on the LIRR or Metro-North—both of which have imposed alcohol bans on Saturday, along with the New Jersey Transit, which is imposing a ban on all liquid beverages. If you’re going in the opposite direction of Manhattan, you should be safe.

And 5 fun things to do that are far away from SantaCon:

Learn how to make a holiday wreath. Have an itch to learn how to make your own holiday wreaths? If so, here is your chance. The Queens Botanical Garden is hosting a wreath making workshop from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The cost is $17 for members and $20 for non-members.

Get a crash course in herbal soap making. Head to the Bronx Neighborhood Health Action Center and join herbal soap maker Sharon Griffin for a two-hour class where you’ll learn how to make soaps from natural ingredients. Space is limited, so pre-registration is required.

Check out the historic monuments of Prospect Park. Urban Park Rangers will be leading this 1.5-hour walk through Prospect Park and highlighting the history of the park’s various monuments along the way.

Head on over to a Stop ‘N’ Swap. The Korean Community Services in Bayside, Queens is giving you the perfect opportunity clean declutter. Bring your clean, reusable games, books, toys, and even clothing that you no longer need and swap with others who are doing the same. The event takes place from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Spend the day ice skating away. Head to one of the city’s best ice skating rinks and bust out your best Blades of Glory moves. And if you’re worried about bumping into drunken Santas in Manhattan, there’s plenty of rinks in other boroughs that are worth checking out.

And if you’re curious about the event’s origins, this video from Vox has you covered: