ABC Carpet & Home- We went on a Saturday at 1pm- no line! Sat Nov 26–Sun Dec 18: Sat 10am–3pm; Sat 11am–3pm. 888 Broadway between 18th and 19th Sts (212-473-3000, abcsanta.wordpress.com). Free.
Bloomingdale’s, 59th Street- We went on a Friday at 2pm with no line!
Fri Nov 25–Fri Dec 23: Mon–Fri 10am–6pm; Sat, Sun 10am–6pm (Fri Dec 23 10am–noon). 1000 Third Ave between 59th and 60th Sts (212-705-2000, bloomingdales.com). Free; photo packages $20–$45.
Macy’s Herald Square– Make a reservation this year-but be prepared to wait! Fri Nov 25–Sat Dec 24: 9am–9pm. 151 W 34th St between Broadway and Seventh Ave (212-695-4400, macyssantaland.com). Free; photo packages $19–$50.
Santa at Brookfield Place- not free but no line when we passed it!
Fri Dec 9, Sat Dec 10 10am–1pm, 2–7pm; Sun Dec 11:10am–1pm and 2–5pm. Winter Garden at the World Financial Center, 220 Vesey St at West St (212-945-0505, worldfinancialcenter.com). Photos start at $20.