North Pole is a tiny crossroads with only a few houses, near Lake Placid. It is home of one of the earliest US theme parks. Santa's Workshop opened on July 1, 1949, six years before Disneyland (1955), serving as a model for many theme parks of the 1950s. A postal substation was opened as "North Pole NY" in 1953 and remains open seasonally. It is possible to purchase a letter from Santa with the North Pole postmark.
The hamlet once claimed to have its own television station: while the "WPTZ 5 North Pole" studios were always in Plattsburgh, the original analogue TV transmitter site was on a mountaintop in this area. (The station no longer has any tie to the "North Pole".)
By car, North Pole NY is two miles west of Wilmington on Whiteface Memorial Highway (NY 431), a road which then ascends through parkland to climb Whiteface Mountain.
From Interstate 87 (Keeseville), take NY Hwy 9N 16 miles southwest through Au Sable Forks to Jay, then NY Hwy 86 5 miles west to Wilmington. Turn west on Whiteface Memorial Highway 431.
From Lake Placid, take NY Hwy 86 12 miles north to Wilmington. Turn west on Whiteface Memorial Highway 431.
Access is by car or bicycle, normally following the Whiteface Veterans' Memorial Highway from Wilmington.
A toll ($10/car or $6/bicycle) is charged to those continuing beyond North Pole to ascend Whiteface Mountain by road. There are various lookout points with parking on the mountain itself.
See and do
- 1 Santa's Workshop, 324 Whiteface Memorial Highway, ☏ , toll-free: . Santa and Christmas theme park with entertainment, rides and shops. Many rides have a maximum 75 lb weight, 48" height limit as these are intended for small children. $18-20/person.
- North Pole post office, North Pole, New York 12997-9998. Send greeting cards with 'North Pole 12997' postmarks by stamping them then bundling them into a parcel labelled “Christmas re-mailing” addressed to the local postmaster.
Eat and drink
Facilities are limited at the North Pole crossroads, try Wilmington.
- North Pole Campground and Inn, 5644 NYS Rt. 86, Wilmington 12997, ☏ . 8AM-9PM (office). Ausable River campground, motel and cottages with wi-fi, private hiking and biking trails, laundry, playgrounds, outdoor pools, general store, miniature golf and boat rentals.