An American Christkindl Market via

An American Christkindl Market

Every winter, many travelers’ thoughts turn to Europe and the traditional Christmas Markets that dot the map from Finland to the Mediterranean, from the Baltics to the British Isles. But where is the American Christkindl Market? As immigrants settled in the United States, they naturally brought traditions with them but somehow the Christkindlmarkt never quite caught on like it has in the homelands.

An American Christkindl Market

Today, many cities are making valiant efforts to bring a little bit of Europe home for the holidays. When you’re ready for festive holiday cheer and a warm mug of Glühwein, without the cost of transatlantic air fare, we have just the ticket: An American Christkindl Market! While there are many holiday celebrations and markets around the country, these are our favorite traditional Christmas markets. They’re also some of the country’s largest and, best of all, almost all have the very affordable admission price of free!

For your holiday pleasure, we have updated our annual list with 2017 dates and additional Markets.


An American Christkindl Market: Chicago Christkindlmarket via

A little holiday magic transforms Daley Plaza into Chicago’s own North Pole.
(Photo: Christkindlmarket Chicago)

An annual event since 1996, Christkindlmarket Chicago in Daley Plaza is the season’s highlight. Begun by the German American Chamber of Commerce in partnership with the city of Nuremberg, Germany, the event is now a bona fide Chicago tradition, complete with Chicago’s official Tree Lighting. The annual McDonald’s Thanksgiving Day Parade wraps up nearby, making for a festive day in downtown Chicago. Not only will Santa be in attendance, but also Chicago’s very own Christkind, the angel who watches over the festival.

The event is designed for the whole family to enjoy. Kinder Club offers fun activities to help the little ones explore the market, visit with vendors, and learn about German holiday traditions. A wide variety of school groups, professional entertainers, carolers and dance troops entertain visitors, while vendors offer hungry shoppers traditional German meals, snacks and sweets. The market hosts over 50 vendors, many of whom travel from Germany to share their holiday wares and traditions in traditional, colorful wooden huts, including a few locations where you can warm up in the chill of a Chicago winter wonderland.

2017 Dates: November 17th through Christmas Eve, December 24th.
Location: Daley Plaza, downtown Chicago, with satellite markets in Naperville and now at the Park at Wrigley.
Nearby Attractions: Magnificent Mile, Millennium Park, Navy Pier
Closest Hotel: The Cambria Hotel & Suites Chicago Magnificent Mile is almost literally across the street, though almost any hotel inside the Loop would be in walking distance.

An American Christkindl Market: Denver Christkindlmarket via

Experience a Rocky Mountain Christmas with holiday shopping in the Mile High City. (Photo: Denver Christkindlmarket)


Denver’s Authentic Christkindl Market offers a wintery dose of Gemuetlichkeit: fun, festivities and holiday cheer at Skyline Park and 16th Street Mall, complete with food, entertainment, and plenty of “shopportunities.” A wide variety of performers, from high school groups to the Denver Philharmonic, will entertain. Kids will enjoy Storytime, while the grown-ups explore the market, with gifts and goods from across Europe and Colorado. Then there’s the food, with everything from gourmet German dishes to sweets and treats. Events throughout the market’s schedule include appearances by St. Nikolaus, the Christkind, and Krampus.

2017 Dates: November 17th through December 23rd.
Location: Skyline Park in the Five Points neighborhood, Denver
Nearby Attractions: Southwest Skating Rink at Skyline Park, the Money Museum at the Federal Reserve, Writer Square shopping
Closest Hotels: The Four Seasons Hotel Denver and the Westin Denver Downtown are both within a block of the market.

An American Christkindl Market: Leavenworth Christmas Lighting via

The Washington hamlet of Leavenworth brings the holidays to life beautifully with the popular Christmas Lighting Festival. (Photo: Leavenworth Chamber of Commerce)

Leavenworth, Washington

Leavenworth has been called America’s most Bavarian village, so it makes sense they’d have a traditional Christkindlmarkt, and they’ve been doing it for almost two decades. This celebrated Washington tradition includes delicious Bavarian foods, handmade holiday crafts and gifts, family-friendly entertainment, and activities for kids and the whole family. In traditional style, the Leavenworth Christkindlmarkt marks the beginning of the holidays. For the next three weekends of December, Leavenworth celebrates the holidays during the Christmas Lighting Festival, featuring more than half a million lights, and nearly as many events, activities, and festivities all around town.

2017 Dates: Christkindlmarkt: Thanksgiving Weekend, 24 to 26 November; The Christmas Lighting Festival: Weekends December 1st through 17th
Location: Front Street Gazebo & Leavenworth Festhalle
Website: Information at
Nearby Attractions: Leavenworth Ski Hill, Stevens Pass Ski Area
Closest Hotels: The Bavarian Lodge, and Bavarian Ritz Hotel are right on Front Street and are among the most popular in town.

(Ed. Note: Hotels sell out well before the holidays; consider booking as much as a year in advance.)

New York, New York

The city so nice they named it twice is home to at least four great holiday markets that have become local traditions and international destinations. You’ll find the markets sprinkled amongst iconic holiday sights like the Christmas Tree at Rockefeller Center, window displays on 5th Avenue, and the Radio City Rockettes.

An American Christkindl Market: Union Square Holiday Market via

(Photo: Urban Space NYC)

Begun in 1994, the Union Square Holiday Market has become a holiday institution in the Big Apple, drawing more than a million visitors every year with the promise of unique gifts, festive foods, and holiday cheer. Grab a warm beverage and some tasty treats to enjoy as you stroll among the rows of candy-cane striped tents filled with decorations of every description, and more gift ideas than you can imagine. Some are imported from around the world, others crafted by the very merchant you’re talking to, ranging from home beer brewing kits to handmade scarves and accessories to…well, the list is too long to list here, but there’s a complete vendor list on their website. Look with vendors with the Artisan’s Pledge, meaning goods are 100% handmade in the USA, organic-certified, Fairtrade-certified, or recycled, reused, or vintage items.

2016 Dates: November 16th through Christmas Eve, December 24th (Closed Thanksgiving Day)
Location: Union Square (14th Street & Union Square West)
Website: Union Square Holiday Market

An American Christkindl Market: Columbus Circle Holiday Market via

(Photo: Urban Space NYC)

Nearby at historic Central Park, the Columbus Circle Holiday Market offers shoppers gourmet bites from around the world, along with handmade gifts by some of the city’s finest designers and artisans. Plus, one of the most iconic New York settings: Winter in Central Park. Need more? The market is just across the street from even more incredible shopping at Time Warner Center and the Shops at Columbus Circle. One could easily knock out all of their holiday shopping, get an eyeful of people-watching, and see some of the city’s best decorations, and all in one place. (Holiday Under the Stars features a dozen 14-foot stars hanging from the ceiling of Time Warner Center’s 150-foot Great Room). You’ll find vendors displaying the Artisan’s Pledge here, too.

2017 Dates: November 28 through December 24th
Location: Columbus Circle (Central Park West at 59th Street)
Website: Columbus Circle Holiday Market

Fancy a stroll through a European-style open air market? The Winter Village at Bryant Park, which opened the last weekend of October, turns into the Holiday Shops at Bryan Park starting on Thanksgiving. The Holiday Shops feature more than 150 shopping kiosks and food vendors offering exquisite gifts including local foods, distinctive apparel and jewelry, and decorative arts from international artisans. Take a break from shopping at the free, 17,000-square-foot ice-skating rink (skate rentals are $20).

2017 Dates: October 28th through January 2nd
Location: Bryant Park on Sixth Avenue between 40th and 42nd Streets
Website: Winter Village at Bryant Park

An American Christkindl Market: Grand Central Holiday Fair via

(Photo: Grand Central Terminal)

“Meet me at the clock” has been a common invitation in New York for generations. During the holidays, that’s where you’ll meet one of the city’s longest-running indoor holiday markets, the Grand Central Terminal Holiday Fair. Every year, the market takes over half of the historic Vanderbilt Hall with artwork, clothing and accessories, toys, and home goods. If you’re arriving in New York by train, this is a great first stop for holiday spirit. And it’s indoors, so you can enjoy the holidays without braving the weather. Don’t miss the towering, bejeweled Christmas Tree, and the New York Transit Museum’s Holiday Train Show.

2017 Dates: 13 November to Christmas Eve (Closed Thanksgiving Day)
Location: Grand Central Terminal on 42nd Street at Park Avenue
Website: Grand Central Holiday Fair Destination Inspiration: Not sure where to go? You've come to the right place!

All of these markets are centrally located in Manhattan. That means you can mix your Christmas market visits with all of the city’s sightseeing, fun, shows and shopping! See accommodations in Manhattan for some ideas on where to stay.

An American Christkindl Market: DC Downtown Holiday Market via

The Downtown Holiday Market takes over the F Street Sidewalk in Penn Quarter(Photo: DowntownDC BID)

Washington, DC

There’s already a lot to see and do in DC. During the holidays, you can do a different sort of sightseeing between the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the National Portrait Gallery at the Downtown Holiday Market. It’s a unique and festive shopping “village” with more than 150 regional artisans, crafters, and boutiques. Fabulous food and live entertainment make for a fun, festive atmosphere for the whole family.

  • Pro Tip: Get to Washington early for the Smithsonian Holiday Festival, December 2nd and 3rd at the National Museum of American History on the National Mall.

2017 Dates: November 24th through December 23rd
Location: 8th and F Street NW in front of the Smithsonian American Art Museum
Nearby Attractions: The Downtown Holiday Market is just off the National Mall, and less than a mile from the National Christmas Tree on the Ellipse across from the White House.
Closest Hotels: While there are plenty of great hotels in DC, Marriott’s Courtyard Washington Convention Center Hotel is literally (diagonally) across the street.

Arlington (Dallas-Fort Worth)

The home of Texas Rangers Baseball was home to Texas’ biggest Christmas market for five years, from 2011 to 2016. This year, the Texas Christkindl Market becomes part of Enchant at Globe Life Park. The massive display of Christmas lights makes its U.S. debut with the “World’s Largest Christmas Light Maze & Market.” Other attractions include a Skating Pond, Santa’s Palace, the tallest Christmas Tree in north Texas, and live entertainment every night.

The Texas Christkindl Market becomes the Enchant Christmas Market, and moves from a free to paid event. This year’s market features 21 local food trucks, and 85 local and national vendors. As part of Enchant, entry to market requires paid entry to Enchant.

2017 Dates: 24 November through 31 December (Closed Mondays and Christmas Eve)
Location: Globe Life Park (the Ballpark at Arlington)
Admission: Advance Tickets are $29.95 Adult, $21.95 Child (5 to 14), with discounts for Seniors, Military and EMS. A family fourpack (2 Adults/2 Kids) is $79.95. Day of Event pricing is approximately $5 higher. Skating is $5 (skates included) and benefits charity partners. VIP Admissions are available on-line.
Nearby Attractions: AT&T Stadium and Six Flags over Texas
Closest Hotels: The Sheraton Arlington Hotel is within walking distance. There is also a Howard Johnson Express and a Courtyard by Marriott nearby.

Your Turn

An American Christkindl Market via

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Where are your favorite holiday markets and festivals? Please let us know with a comment below, or link to your favorite holiday market blog post. Happy Holidays!

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76 comments on “An American Christkindl Market

  1. Excellent! I have such a thing for winter markets. I think the Germans do it best (well duh, they invented it!) but Belgium, Czech Republic and The Netherlands also have great winter festivals. Great to know the Americans have their fun too!

    • We have had great teachers! Between immigrants bringing their traditions, and travelers wanting to bring Europe home for the holidays, we are seeing more and more fairs and festivals in the European tradition. We love it! If only the holidays lasted long enough to see them all! (Yes, we have a thing for them, too. 🙂 Thanks for your comment, Esther!

  2. I love the Christmas markets in NY, so I am glad other US cities are following suit. I am excited to see how the Christmas Markets here in Europe compare. #TheWeeklyPostcard.

    • How exciting – you have a whole continent of Christmas Markets almost at your fingertips! We would seriously go crazy in your shoes. We’re anxious to celebrate vicariously through your posts! 🙂 Thanks for the comment, Anisa.

    • It seems like most cities are just getting onto the Christkindl bandwagon over the past few years. Leavenworth is definitely special – they’ve made it their business to be a bit of Bavaria right in Washington, and they do it well! As always, thanks for your comment, Lolo! And thanks for your article on German Christmas Markets – it filled us with holiday wanderlust!

  3. Yes, you definitely don’t need to go to Europe to visit a Christmas market. There are so many Christmas markets in America – I think almost all large cities have them as well as many of the mid sizes ones as well. Here in Scotland, we’ll be visiting our own local Christmas market here in Edinburgh which begins tonight actually 😉

    • We would love to visit Scotland during the holidays! We are heading to our local Tree Lighting festival this weekend, so we’ll toast you from afar. Thanks so much for your comment, Jessica!

  4. Thanks for such a comprehensive guide to Christmas markets in the US. You’re right, the US isn’t the first place to pop into my head when I think of Christmas markets but it looks like they are done exceptionally well!

    • No thanks needed – we loved putting it together, and have been expanding it a little every year. Before long, we’ll make the USA into the Christkindl Capital of the World! (Okay…maybe not soon, but we can try. 😉 Thanks for your comment, Vicky!

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  6. The Christkindlmarkts tradition is so popular now…seeing so many popping up in the UK but looks like the US do them very well indeed. I really like the look of the one in Chicago. Thanks for linking to #citytripping

    • Hi there, WanderMum! The Chicago market is fun…but that may be our love for Chicago talking. 😉 We’re excited to see so many, and more every year! Thanks for your comment, and Happy Holidays!

    • Hi Chloe – Good for you! We hit the Texas Christkindl almost every year, and get to as many others as we can! (Which is never enough!) Thanks for visiting, and Happy Holidays!

  7. I hadn’t thought that of course people would have brought the Christmas market traditions with them – definitely something that’s spreading to more and more countries. Great tips if you’re not close enough to pop to the originals. #citytripping

    • That didn’t occur to us at first, either. It seems like such a European thing…but then, we have a lot of European ancestry in America. Makes sense that Christmas markets would catch on, even if it’s taken a while. We’re happy to see more and more of them every year! Thanks for your comment, and Happy Holidays!

  8. Ahh my heart is so full reading about all the Christmas towns. I used to go to the Leavenworth one when I was there for undergrad! It really is lovely! Love having you on #FlyAwayFriday!

    • Hi Kana – a full heart is what Christmas is for! I envy you getting to go to Leavenworth every year. Bet you’d love to go back, eh? Thanks for the warm #FlyAwayFriday welcome – we’ll try to make it in more often. It’s great company to be in! 🙂 Happy Holidays!

    • You’re not alone, Tanja! But you have lovely English markets to enjoy! We understand Manchester is amazing – that’s definitely on our holiday To Do list! Thanks for stopping by, and Happy Holidays!

  9. This is a wonderful collection of Christkindl Markets here in the US. I didn’t realize there were so many awesome places to visit during the holidays. Great information and I will pin this for later use to plan my future holiday trips. Thanks so much for sharing 🙂

    • Hi Stephanie – We’re glad you found it useful! We’re finding more and more Christmas Markets springing up every year, but these are some of the oldest and largest. We love strolling through them – always fun! Thanks for your comment!

  10. I like New York City’s holiday markets, they are a nice addition to the city, especially when it’s mild enough to sit outside and enjoy a snack. The other markets look fun, too. I’d be interested in the Bavarian one in Washington.

    • Hi Eileen, thanks for visiting our blog! The markets in NYC are awesome, but Leavenworth is amazing! It’s not a traditional Christmas Market so much as a festival in a city that seems like a Christmas Market itself! Definitely something that should be on every Holiday fanatic’s Bucket List! 🙂

  11. Great stuff. I love Christmas and Christmas markets. Looks like you have some great one is the US that are very popular. Wouldn’t mind checking out the Chicago Christkindl Market.

    • Hi Barry, thanks for visiting! Chicago’s Christmas Market has a distinct advantage – you’ve got Michigan Avenue all that shopping on the Magnificent Mile just around the corner! Plus, it’s Chicago, one of our favorite cities. Hope you get a chance to visit it soon!

  12. I read (and commented) last year, but thanks for the repost. I needed the reminder as I’d forgotten about that Arlington market. Maybe this year I’ll finally make it as we have not big plans for December travel and could squeeze in this roadtrip.

    • Thanks for visiting again! One of these days, I’m sure you’ll make it! At first, I wasn’t so sure the Arlington market would catch on, but it keeps getting bigger! Lots of new things for the kids this year, so they’ll have much more fun than they would have last year. And snow tubing! Okay, manufactured snow, but still! It would be a good year to visit. 🙂 Hope you make it!

  13. Wow Rob, I’m surprised to see so many germanic Christmas Markets across the US! It’s great that they’re still sharing that tradition and they look like a heap of fun. I’ve visited a few here in Austria the last 2 years and know how great they can be with the lights and the gluhwein. Wish Australia had more things like this. Nice one!

    • They are enchanting! I think our European heritage and influence makes the markets very popular. I’m glad to see them becoming more of a tradition – and the Gluhwein, too! 🙂 Thanks for stopping by David!

  14. What a wonderful post to help get us into the Christmas spirit and fab information for people wanting to visit a Christkindl market! I love Christmas markets, everything looks so pretty and there is always so much to see and do, plus there is always amazing food to choose from. We visited a market last week in Manchester, England so I have already had my first dose so far this year … more to come though! Thanks for taking the time to put this together for us, pinned for future reference.

    • Hi Angie – thanks for stopping by! We love the Christmas Markets too, and are a little jealous that you got one in so early in the season! Most of the US markets don’t open until the end of November – Thanksgiving or afterwards. But we are ready to go when they do! 🙂 Hopefully, we’ll get a chance to explore the Manchester market one day! 🙂

    • Hey Lexx – They are definitely catching on! I think New York and Chicago are some of the best, but maybe that’s because the setting is cold and snowy. It’s kind of surreal in Texas when you can be at a Christmas Market in shorts and a t-shirt! (Not every year – sometimes even Texas gets cold!) Thanks for the comment!

  15. I have been to a number of European Christmas markets and the atmosphere is always so great and there are always some unique gifts to buy. I didn’t realise there were Christmas markets state side and I would love to go. Great post – thank you for sharing 😀

    • Thanks, Sam! With all of the European heritage in the US, it was only a matter of time before the Markets caught on again. Every year, there seem to be more, and we’re glad to see it! Thanks for visiting the blog, and we hope you do get a chance to visit some of the American Christkindlmarkts!

    • It’s funny how we can overlook something right in our own backyards. It does seem like the tradition is growing though. There are more and bigger Christmas Markets across the US every year! Thanks for stopping by, Lara!

    • Christmas Adventures – That’s what it’s all about! Hopefully, we’ve inspired a few holiday outings, whether to one of these markets or something close to wherever home may be! Thanks for stopping by the blog, guys!

  16. I love the holiday markets in NYC, I visit them every year. I think the Bryant Park one is my favorite. I think this year they have even upped the selection of food. Thanks for sharing on #TheWeeklyPostcard!

    • Hi Anisa! I don’t want to play favorites (Bryant Park!) because we appreciate every Christmas Market! 😉 I heard they were doing Tasting Tuesdays at Winter Village, but only on November 1st and 15th. 🙁 Hopefully, that will catch on and become a more regular event. Thanks for visiting the blog – enjoy the Markets!

  17. We’re going to the Chicago Christkindl Market in a few weeks and I’m very excited. We’ve lived in the Chicago area for over five years and I’ve still never been. My husband took my daughter last year but I stayed home with the newborn since it was so cold. I’ve been to the one in Leavenworth a few times when I was a kid and loved it. Christmas markets are the perfect way to celebrate the season. #weekendwanderlust

    • How exciting! I bet the family will have a great time. We just love being in downtown Chicago…but that’s probably more to do with pizza and Michigan Avenue than anything else. 😉 Have fun at the Christmas Market, and thanks for stopping by our blog!

  18. So awesome that there are so many markets in the US! Sadly, I’ve never been to any of them! However, i’m not surprised to see one in Leavenworth! I’ve been there before and the town is absolutely adorable! #wkendtravelinspiration

    • Hi Lolo – There are even more that we haven’t gotten to! Leavenworth is unique, being “America’s Most Bavarian Village.” Chicago is one of our favorite cities, so that ranks high on our list, too. We’re eager to go see more, though!

  19. I’ve always wanted to visit a Christkindle market but thought that I’d have to go over to Europe to do it. I’m so glad to read that there are some on my side of the pond. The one in Arlington is the closest. I’m hitting that town a little too late for this year, but now I know to keep it in mind for next year.

    • Same here! New York has had markets for years, but we were happy to discover Chicago’s and then more and more. I was quite surprised when I learned Arlington has a Christkindlmarkt – small at first, but it’s gotten bigger every year. Although, last year was a bit strange having Gluhwein in shorts and t-shirts… 😉 Thanks for visiting us!

    • It is exciting! You’ll have to let us know how the Christkindl Market goes! Hopefully, we’ll get a chance to stop by, too – Chicago is one of our favorite cities, so any reason to visit is a good one! 🙂 Thanks for your comment, Brooke!

  20. They look pretty authentic! I’m off to Vienna next month for a business trip but I’ll check out the markets too:) I love German &Austrian Christmas markets! # weekend travel inspiration

    • Hi Tanja – Have fun in Vienna! I think the American markets are getting better every year, but it’s hard to live up to what you see in Germany and Austria! 😉

  21. I didn’t realize there were Christmas markets in the U.S. I’ve never been to one and would love to go someday. Thanks for sharing. #wkendtravelinspiration

    • One nice thing about travelling is bringing traditions home with you. In Arlington, a City Council member enjoyed her visit to markets in Europe so much that she worked for a few years to get one started at home, and it’s getting bigger every year. I am sure there are more out there, and we’re intent on tracking them down! Thanks for your comment, Karen!

    • We are catching up, and it seems like more smaller versions are starting to pop up. Still nothing like the European counterparts, but it’s a start! Thanks for stopping by, Corinne!

  22. Thank you for sharing, this is ignorant me, but for some reason I always thought christkindl markets were more a European thing – but i couldn’t have been more wrong! I love the look of the one in Washington and New York. Thanks for sharing on #MondayEscapes

    • Hi Ting! I don’t think that’s ignorance at all! Christkindlmarkts are definitely a European thing, but there are increasing numbers in the U.S. Like many traditions, the markets have immigrated with Europeans settled here. And as more and more Americans travel the world, we tend to want to recreate some of the best traditions at home. Holiday markets in the snow seems like a natural for New York, doesn’t it?

    • Hi Malinda! I think you should do it! We always have a fun time – although sometimes we can’t feel our nose and toes afterwards! I know these might be a bit far for some people, so hopefully people will comment with other Christkindlmarkts worth visiting. Thanks for stopping by!

    • Hi Jill – Thanks for the comment. We only got a peek at the Denver Christkindlmarkt, but would love to go back and enjoy it. As we say about so many things, “one day!” 😉

  23. I’ve always thought that Chriskindl markets were only in Europe. I’ve never been able to get to Europe in December, but that Arlington one is only a 3 hour drive away from me. I’ll have to put it on the calendar this year. Thanks for the info and for linking up with #WkendTravelInspiration.

    • We were really excited when the Arlington Christkindl started up, and we’ve been there every year so far. It’s small but fun, and getting bigger every year. If you do go, be sure to check the calendar and go on a night that Brave Combo is playing. They take Christmas Party to a whole new level! Thanks for stopping by!

    • Hi Ruth – We don’t blame you! The Leavenworth Christkindl and Lighting Ceremonies are epic! It is “America’s Most Bavarian Village” and they do a great job during the holidays. Lots of entertainment and tons of lights! And yeah…Gluhwein doesn’t hurt. 😉

    • Thanks for stopping by, Connie! The one in Texas is kind of surreal sometimes. A couple of years ago, people were there in shorts and t-shirts! Hard to get into that Christkindl spirit when the weather’s almost tropical. 😉 Denver’s was really nice last year, but Leavenworth is amazing!

    • Good! I was hoping this might be useful. I know it’s still summer but it’s already time to start thinking about the holidays. Time just refuses to slow down! Hopefully, they’ll have dates for the New York markets soon, but they’re generally around the same time every year.

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