When someone mentions a Christmas Market I immediately think of Europe. But did you know that those charming stalls, twinkle lights and festive cheer can be found all over the USA as well? I honestly didn’t until started doing a little research during this pandemic. Here is a round up of holiday markets that look like they are worth a visit. No passport required! (unless you’re outside the US of course)
Chicago’s Christkindlesmarkt, the biggest German Christmas market in the US, is an outdoor bustling market right in the heart of downtown Chicago. Vendors from all over are set up in wooden stalls with cute awnings, Christmas lights and wreaths. You can even get a commemorative mug to drink all of that Glühwein (mulled wine) from.
This German inspired market located at Love Park and City Hall, the market runs from Thanksgiving through Christmas Eve. Visitors can expect more than 60 vendors in cute wooden stalls selling the similar items that you may find at a European market. Enjoy the twinkling lights and the comforting scent of waffles, gingerbread, and bratwurst in the air. And of course… mulled wine. This market also has cute mugs!
This traditional European Christmas market has been bringing glühwein to Denver for over 20 years. You will find other warming beverages like European coffee, hot chocolate and Bavarian-style beers. The market features wooden stalls housing European, local Coloradan, and international merchants, and food options include Bavarian-style pretzels, fresh smoked salmon, knödel, goulash, and Nürnberger sausages. Yum! Sign me up!
After checking out the website it looks like this market is fairly new, it may even be the first or maybe second year at this location. Along the river walk you will find seasonal food, crafts, live holiday music, and street performers. This festive setting is modeled after a traditional Salzburg Christmas market mixed with a little southern charm.
This will be the 6th year that Uptown Charlotte will host Christkindlmarkt. Visitors can follow their noses to stalls serving Austrian strudels, bratwurst, and souvenir mugs filled with spicy glühwein. Local and international vendors will supply plenty of gift options, from local honey to Polish pottery you will find something for everyone.
Someone described this market to me like this, “It’s like Oktoberfest stuck around for Christmas because the weather is so nice”. Well, I’m down with Oktoberfest food with a Christmas flair. You can explore stalls of imported German goods ranging from nutcrackers to wooden ornaments while enjoying the light display. There is also a biergarten with live music, food, and adult beverages like beer and of course glühwein.
This market isn’t around for long, blink and you’ll miss it! If you happen to be in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin in early December you are in for some serious festive cheer. You will discover the best of Europe, from Russian nesting dolls to Turkish pashmina scarves and let’s not forget those German nutcrackers! The Old World Food Court offers German fare, such as glühwein (duh!), sauerbraten, schnitzel, potato pancakes, red cabbage, and apple strudel.
I want to go to this market strictly to see the cute buildings that this town has. It looks as if they picked up a small Bavarian town and plopped in in Michigan. It’s so stinkin’ cute. There isn’t a ton of information on the website but they promise a traditional Christmas market, modeled after those in Germany. A handmade Christmas seems to be the theme, so I would expect delicious food, warm beverages and stall selling handmade gifts and goods.
NYC Christmas Markets
Did you really think I could make a list of Christmasy things in the United States and not include New York City? There are multiple markets set up throughout this bustling city but the favorite seems to be the one at Bryant Park. This Christmas Village has a large ice skating rink, over a hundred food and shopping stalls, and apparently the best people watching. If sipping on glühwein is on your must do list you’ll need to visit the market at Columbus Circle, it’s the only market that sells it. The Columbus Circle Holiday Market is known as one of the most elegant and beautiful places for holiday shopping, very insta-worthy. If you don’t feel like being outside in the cold check out Grand Central Holiday Fair. Experience this cozy, indoor holiday shopping experience that is full festive lights, vendors and food. And you can explore this beautiful and iconic station. I found this post helpful and you can read about other NYC markets here.
There are many markets in the USA and I found a long list here if you want to explore more options. I’m hoping to make it to Europe this season for a market but if I don’t at least I know I could possibly visit one closer to home. If you don’t feel like traveling at all, check out my post about embracing elements of the markets at home.