Taking festive pictures isn't just about sending holiday cards anymore. These days, it's about getting the perfect post.
"We are really ‘content heaven’ for social media," Catherine Ovejas says about PopUp Speakeasy, Selfie Studio in Ronkonkoma, where she currently serves as the creative director. "We love getting tagged, having guests send us their files, or to make TikToks and reels."
These are some of Long Island’s top spots for taking holiday photos, whether creating a card to mail or hoping to pile up the likes:
Popup Speakeasy, Selfie Studio
This interactive photo experience features themes, scenes and backgrounds, as well as lighting and props. Reserve a session online in advance (general admission is $25 per person, kids ages 5 to 11 are $15, four and younger are in free), and get up to an hour to shoot unlimited photos and videos; you’ll need to bring your own camera. For the holidays, expect settings inspired by pop culture, including a theme nodding to the 1983 film "A Christmas Story" that includes an authentic 1940s-era kitchen set and the movie’s legendary "leg lamp." Ovejas says another current popular setting is the vintage VW van, presently dressed in seasonal décor and available for photos inside and out.
INFO 1860 Pond Rd., Ronkonkoma; 631-743-5530, popupspeakeasy.com
Primarily a boutique carrying women's clothing and accessories, this shop has also made a name for itself by being instantly Instagrammable. Customers arrive to find scenes intended to serve as social media backdrops, which change often to reflect seasons, holidays or whatever may be currently trending — and they are totally free to use. There’s a ski lift-inspired, pink holiday glam space, and a gift station that makes it seem as if the person in the photo is the present. The gift station can be found outside and owner Lexi Zanghi says it attracts people on the street throughout the day.
INFO 27 Wall St., Huntington; 631-944-3027, alwaysreason.com
Huntington Holiday Spectacular
Wall Street holds an even larger festive photo-op, as the entire block (between Gerard and Main streets) will remain closed to traffic through Jan. 6 for a display that features what is billed as "Long Island’s Biggest Christmas Tree." The scene remains standing around the clock and is free to approach and for snapping photos: a colorful setting by day, a twinkling, illuminated scape by night, with light shows held daily every 30 minutes between 5:30 and 11 p.m. The tree is flanked by four reindeer representations, and there’s a snack shack attached to a faux snow machine that, for $10, will provide two minutes of flakes; check the display’s social media pages for updates on events taking place.
Christmas House Long Island
Featuring 12 rooms, guests may wander between scenes that go full-tilt festive, each loaded with décor and attendees are encouraged to take photos and videos. Creator Justin Schwartz says the biggest hits among the spaces to look out for during a visit are the "Snow Room," the "Indoor Lightshow," "Xmas in NYC" and the "Blockbuster Christmas Room," the latter of which is a throwback to when videos stores were the main way to rent a holiday movie. For an added perk, the attraction is open both on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, through Jan. 9.
INFO 1504 Old Country Rd., Westbury; 516-745-6065, christmashouselongisland.com. Weekdays admission is $25, $20 ages 3-10, free two and younger; Fridays through Sundays $30, $25. Purchase tickets in advance via the website.
Milleridge Holiday Village
This tiny town gets wrapped with merry lighting and holiday décor, creating photo-friendly options at several angles. The stores, trees and gazebos are covered with strings of glowing bulbs which dangle overhead. Wreaths, garland and ribbons have been hung with great frequency. Off in one corner sits a Santa statue where guests can take selfies and family photos, and in the village center sits a tall Christmas tree also ready for camera time. It’s free to wander and take pictures, but for extra fees, kids can also take part in attractions such as an escape room and a spooky walk-through (starting at 4 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays; 11 a.m. Saturdays, Sundays) that are $5-$15 each, or all can be enjoyed for a $25 P.O.P. bracelet that includes unlimited turns on the "Milleridge Express" train ride, inflatables and games; purchase tickets on-site, cash only.
INFO 585 North Broadway, Jericho; 516-931-2201, milleridgeinn.com
An outdoor, timed-entry experience being held in Whitney Pond Park, attendees can stroll through scenery enhanced by glowing, colorful Christmas pieces plus similar creations inspired by the classic story "Alice in Wonderland" and a "Mysterious Forest" exhibit. With sculptures and interactive scenes among the things to see, there’s a wide opportunity to get some offbeat and jolly photos here until the event closes Jan. 9.
INFO 7 Community Drive E., Manhasset; luminocityfestival.com. Tickets start at $27 and are available through the website.
‘Winter Wonderland’ at Waterdrinker Family Farm and Garden
The large grounds here offer family fun. There’s a village of Airstream trailers surrounded by fire pits and decorations that mark the season. Guests can also ice skate on a synthetic surface, roast marshmallows and sip hot cocoa, or try mini-golf or let the kids either climb the wooden playland or bounce on the jump pad. As for photos and selfies, picturesque things to look out for include a "house of lights," a giant wreath and a massive sleigh; you can even buy a Christmas tree if you’re still in need.
INFO 663 Wading River Rd., Manorville; 631-878-8653, water-drinker.com. Admission is $15 per person; ages two and younger in free. Closes Dec. 23.