Before downtown Minneapolis had Macy’s it was Dayton’s department store. I remember every winter we would head downtown to Dayton’s 8th floor and see the holiday decorations, look at the displays and see Santa. It’s some of my favorite memories from my childhood. I used to look forward to seeing the displays and all the holiday decorations all year long. As I grew up, things changed, Dayton’s was purchased by Macy’s. While Macy’s may have changed a few things around they kept the holiday celebrations. They also kept the 8th-floor decoration for Christmas and have brought countless hours of joy to families all over the Twin Cities.
This year was the first time Peyton has ever been to Macy’s 8th floor. I guess as I grew up and moved further into the suburbs I forgot about all the fun there is at Santaland. Can you believe it? But this year we went. It was my first time in over 20 years heading to the 8th-floor so I wasn’t sure what to expect. All those childhood memories came flooding back the instant we walked into the store. I couldn’t wait to take Peyton to the 8th-floor so she could see it all.
The one thing I remembered about the 8th floor was it was always a long wait. But we never fussed about the wait because there was so much to see. I was pleased to see that is still the case. The hallway is lined with pictures that reminded me of Norman Rockwell paintings, reminiscent of simpler times. Peyton had to stop at each one and see what was going on in each picture. Definitely makes waiting in line with little ones a little easier.
When we approached the entrance to Santaland we met Mrs. Claus! That’s right, the real Mrs. Claus was there and she couldn’t wait to meet us. It took Peyton a few moments to make the connection. We chit chatted with Mrs. Claus for a few minutes before we started our adventure through Santaland. Before you start through Santaland be sure to take a picture at the entrance. There is the perfect photo opportunity.
I had been telling Peyton about the 8th-floor and all my childhood memories, but she didn’t really understand what I was saying. She couldn’t comprehend what she was about to see. But when she turned the corner and saw her first glimpse of Santaland she let out a squeal! She couldn’t believe what was before her. The first thing she saw as 2 kids building a snowman. She thought it was so neat that a raccoon was trying to help steady the children so they could place the hat on top of the snowman’s head.
Then Peyton saw the kitchen! She stood there and watch the mouse run through the kitchen time and time again while an elf tried to catch it. There were two places we spent the most time. When Peyton discovered the sleeping quarters of the elves and the mail room. Both areas were full of so much detail and Peyton wanted to take it all in. She looked at every bunk and pointed out everything. She noticed so much more than I did! She pointed out the animals in the room and the shenanigans going on. There was one elf messing with another sleeping elf!
When we arrived at the mail room Peyton was speechless. She couldn’t believe all the mail! Or that she was witnessing the reindeer learning how to fly. That’s right, they teach the reindeers how to fly and you get to see it. The mail room sure looked like a chaotic place. With the massive amounts of letters to go through and the flying school in the back it looked like utter chaos. But Peyton enjoyed standing there and taking in each and every detail of the room.
There is so much to see at Santaland that we could’ve spent all night going through it over and over again. Peyton insisted we walk through a second time so she could see it all over again. And we did. This time we saw things for the first time again! Peyton and I both noticed things we hadn’t seen the first time through. Santaland is a place that you can go through time and time again and discover new things each time.
At the end of our journey through Santaland there was an opportunity to meet Santa! Peyton was taken a little by surprised and panicked. She didn’t have her list set! So we passed on seeing Santa. Peyton needs a little more time to work on her list and iron out what 3 things she is going to ask for.
After you’ve walked through Santaland and seen Santa there is a bakery to explore. Full of delicious treats! I would also refer to this area as the rewards center. I’m not above bribing my child with a treat for good behavior. And with the wide selection of cookies I’m sure you’ll find once your child will enjoy. There is also a fairly large gift shop too. Full of Christmas decorations, toys, plush animals and holiday decor. They even have a 2-foot tall chocolate snowman!
If you are looking for a fun holiday experience, one you can make a tradition, you need to check out Santaland. Heading to the 8th-floor in downtown was a tradition for our family when I was growing up and now I’m getting to share that experience with my daughter. It’s something I hope she will share with her children one day.
Santaland is open every day from now until Christmas with the exception of Thanksgiving. Check the website for hours.