LATEST PAPER
51° Good Evening
51° Good Evening
Things to Do

SantaCon NYC: How to avoid the annual holiday bar crawl

SantaCon can be a fun and boozy way to enjoy the holiday season, but when you're not participating, it's a nuisance wrapped up in a big red bow.

The annual bar crawl kicks off Saturday at 11 a.m. in Manhattan, bringing with it a sea of drunken Santas who wreak boisterous havoc on the city's streets.

For many locals, running into a crowd of rosy-cheeked (read: intoxicated) Santas on your way to the grocery store or brunch is a nightmare.

So if you want to avoid the pub crawl, take these notes and hopefully there won't be a Santa in sight.

A full list of bars to avoid will be found at SantaCon’s website.

Get your coffee earlier than usual

SantaCon starts at 11 a.m., which means your
Photo Credit: Marisol Diaz-Gordon

SantaCon starts at 11 a.m., which means your local coffee shop and bagel place may be packed with pre-gaming bar crawlers. If you need to head out for some weekend caffeine, try to hit up your go-to java spot as early as possible to avoid any Santas waiting in line for their cup of joe, especially near midtown where kickoff traditionally happens.

Avoid midtown and the East Village at all costs

Though Santas will be joining the festivities from
Photo Credit: Getty Images / Timothy A. Clary

Though Santas will be joining the festivities from all over the city, official bar routes in the past have included locations in Williamsburg, the East Village and Lower East Side. Santas can drift between each neighborhood as they please. So, if your typical neighborhood haunts are in one of these locations, you might want to take the opportunity to get out of there and explore a new part of the city.

Don't even think about taking the subway

Even though the MTA is cracking down on
Photo Credit: Getty Images / Mario Tama

Even though the MTA is cracking down on alcohol on subway trains, the Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North trains from noon on Saturday through noon on Sunday, inebriated Santas will surely take public transportation. If you really don't want to run into any of them, the subway isn't the way to go -- they will be filled with rowdy Santas en route to their next watering hole. Take this as an opportunity to treat yourself to a taxi ride.

Avoid bars until after dinner

The bar crawl lasts through 3 p.m. but
Photo Credit: Getty Images/Kena Betancur

The bar crawl lasts through 3 p.m. but there will be stragglers throughout the evening, so wait until about 7 p.m. or 8 p.m. to go out for a Santa-free drink. Skip happy hour.

Santacon released its list of participating bars on Dec. 4, so steer clear of midtown and the East Village in general.

Look for bars that ban SantaCon

Not every bar is welcoming Santas and some
Photo Credit: Getty Images/Stephanie Keith

Not every bar is welcoming Santas and some ban red-and-white clothed revelers outright. Look for anti-SantaCon signs, or simply call your neighborhood spot to see if Santas will be spreading cheer inside its doors before you head out.

Seamless is your friend

If you're really looking to avoid SantaCon at
Photo Credit: Seamless

If you're really looking to avoid SantaCon at all costs, you may just want to stay inside all day, especially if you live along the bar crawl route. Instead of heading out to grab pizza, use Seamless, Grubhub or another delivery service to get all your food needs. You'll thank the internet gods and the poor delivery worker who braved the crowds for you.

Things to Do Photos & Videos