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. Somehow, though, the Christkindlmarkt didn’t quite catch on like it did in the homelands.
An American Christkindl Market
Ed Note: Before the snowflakes start falling and the silver bells calling, you might consider a jump start on your winter travels. For your holiday planning pleasure, we present An American Christkindl Market with 2019 dates and additional Markets.
For several years now, many American cities have been 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, they all have the very affordable admission price of free!
Updated for 2019 with new dates and markets!
Returning: Arlington (Dallas-Fort Worth)
Arlington was home to Texas’ biggest Christmas market for five years, from 2011 to 2016. However, in 2017 and ‘18, the Texas Christkindl Market was downsized and absorbed into the traveling holiday event Enchant, which was a paid event (and therefore omitted from this list). Due to construction of the new Globe Life Park, Enchant will not be back in Texas.
We’re happy to report that, for 2019, the Texas Christkindl Market is back as its own free event! Since the ballpark is under construction, the market moves across the street to the North Plaza of Globe Life Field, which is adjacent to the newly opened Texas Live! venue. Returning to the market will be more than 20 vendors, including Käthe Wohlfahrt’s Christmas from Germany, food vendors, live music, and a skating rink!
2019 Dates: November 29th through December 22nd
Location: North Plaza of Globe Life Field, adjacent to Texas Live!, 1650 E. Randol Mill Road in Arlington, between AT&T Stadium and Globe Life Park.
Website: Texas Christkindl Market
Nearby Attractions: AT&T Stadium, Texas Live!, Arlington Esports Stadium and Six Flags over Texas
Closest Hotels: The brand new Live! by Loews is the on-site hotel for events in Arlington’s sports/entertainment district. The Sheraton Arlington Hotel is within walking distance.
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.
Daley Plaza: November 15th through Christmas Eve, December 24th.
Wrigleyville: November 22nd through December 31st.
Location: Daley Plaza, downtown Chicago, with a satellite market in Wrigleyville at Winterland in Gallagher Way (adjacent to Wrigley Field).
Website: Christkindlmarkt Chicago (Also has details for Christkindlmarkt Milwaukee.)
Nearby Attractions: Magnificent Mile, Millennium Park, Navy Pier
Closest Hotel: The Cambria Hotel & Suites Chicago Magnificent Mile is almost literally across the street from the Daley Plaza market, though almost any hotel inside the Loop would be in walking distance. Hotel Zachary is, again, almost literally across the street from Gallagher Way and Christkindl Wrigleyville, and is part of Marriott’s Tribute Collection.
Denver’s Authentic Christkindl Market has won the Denver A-List Award for Best Festival every year it’s been open. It’s easy to see why! The annual Market offers a wintery dose of Gemuetlichkeit: fun, festivities, and holiday cheer at Skyline Park, complete with food, entertainment, and plenty of “shopportunities.” A wide variety of performers, from high school groups to the Denver Philharmonic, will entertain. Exploring the market, with gifts and goods from across Europe and Colorado, is a highlight of the season. Then there’s the food, with everything from gourmet German dishes to sweets and treats, and even Kinderpunsch, a non-alcoholic Glüwein, for the kids. Events throughout the market’s schedule include appearances by St. Nikolaus, the Christkind, and Krampus.
2019 Dates: November 22nd through December 23rd.
Location: Skyline Park in the Five Points neighborhood, in the 16th Street Mall at Arapahoe Street.
Website: Christkindl Market Denver
Nearby Attractions: Southwest Skating Rink at Skyline Park, the Money Museum at the Federal Reserve, Writer Square shopping, and Denver’s Oldest & Most Historic Block, Larimer Square
Closest Hotels: The Four Seasons Hotel Denver and the Westin Denver Downtown are both within a block of the market.
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 takes place over Thanksgiving Weekend, and 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. The Lighting Ceremony happens at 4:30pm each Saturday and Sunday between Thanksgiving and Christmas, followed by holiday concerts, sleigh and dogsled rides, and plenty more!
2019 Dates: Christkindlmarkt: Thanksgiving Weekend, November 29th to December 1st; The Christmas Lighting Festival: Weekends December 6th through 22nd (though lights remain up and lit through Valentine’s Day).
Location: Front Street Gazebo & Leavenworth Festhalle.
Website: Information at Leavenworth.org, Christkindlmarkt Leavenworth, and Leavenworth Christmas Lighting
Nearby Attractions: Leavenworth Ski Hill, Stevens Pass Ski Area, and the Leavenworth Nutcracker Museum
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.)
Christkindlmarket Milwaukee is an off-shoot of Christkindlmarket Chicago, started last year. The Market opens November 17th at Fiserv Forum. If you’re a true Midwestern Christkindlmarket fan, you can collect a special set of commemorative mugs from Milwaukee, Chicago, and Wrigleyville!
2019 Dates: Daily from November 15th through December 24th
Location: Fiserv Forum in the Haymarket District of Milwaukee.
Website: Christkindlmarket Milwaukee and on Facebook
Nearby Attractions: Harley-Davidson Museum, Milwaukee Public Museum, Milwaukee RiverWalk District
Closest Hotel: The Aloft Milwaukee Downtown is within walking distance of Fiserv Forum on the banks of the Milwaukee River.
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 attractions. 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.
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.
2019 Dates: November 21st through Christmas Eve, December 24th (Closed Thanksgiving Day)
Location: Union Square (14th Street & Union Square West).
Website: Union Square Holiday Market
Nearby at historic Central Park, the Columbus Circle Holiday Market celebrates its 15th season this year, offering 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.
2019 Dates: December 4th through 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 is home to the Holiday Shops at Bryan Park starting on Halloween. The Holiday Shops feature more than 170 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).
2019 Dates: October 31st through January 5th
Location: Bryant Park on Sixth Avenue between 40th and 42nd Streets.
Website: Holiday Shops at Bryant Park
“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. Don’t miss the towering, bejeweled Christmas Tree, and the New York Transit Museum’s Holiday Train Show in the Transit Museum Gallery & Store. Perhaps best of all, this Christmas Market is indoors, so you can warm up after visiting some of the city’s other markets.
2019 Dates: November 18th to Christmas Eve, December 24th
strong>Location:Grand Central Terminal on 42nd Street at Park Avenue, in Vanderbilt Hall
Website: Grand Central Holiday Fair
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 Hotels.com accommodations in Manhattan for some ideas on where to stay.
Pittsburgh kicks off the holidays and the Christmas Market with Comcast Light Up Night on November 22nd! Downtown skyscrapers and office buildings stay lit up all night long, with trees, lights, and decorations all over the city. There are street performers, carriage rides, and vendors set up downtown and in Station Square. The evening culminates with the lighting of the official city tree and fireworks at the ice-skating rink at PPG Place.
The Peoples Gas Holiday Market then continues through December 23rd at the Wintergarden inside PPG Place. In addition to craft, gift, and food vendors, you’ll see gingerbread houses, model trains, and a collection of life-sized Santas with traditional costumes from around the world.
2019 Dates: November 22nd through December 23rd
Location: PPG Place, downtown Pittsburgh on Stanwix Street between Third and Fourth Avenues
Website: Downtown Pittsburgh Holidays
Nearby Attractions: The Pittsburgh Creche is the only authorized, full-sized replica of the Nativity Scene at St. Peter’s Bassilica. It is on display at the US Steel Tower from Light Up Night until the Epiphany (January 6th, 2020). Nearby, at Point State Park, are Fort Duquesne, Fort Pitt Blockhouse, and Fort Pitt Museum, at the confluence of the Ohio, Allegheny, and Monongahela Rivers. The Andy Warhol Museum is just across the Allegheny (on the Andy Warhol Bridge) from the Downtown Cultural District. The famous Three Rivers Stadium (now Heinz Field) is nearby also.
Closest Hotels: Town Place by Bridgestreet and Hilton Garden Inn Pittsburgh Downtown are both within a block of PPG Place, and are convenient to downtown and the Three Rivers area.
There’s already a lot to see and do in DC. During the holidays, you can do a different sort of sightseeing at the Downtown Holiday Market in Penn Quarter, between the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the National Portrait Gallery. It’s a unique and festive shopping “village” with more than 180 regional artisans, crafters, and boutiques. Fabulous food and live entertainment make for a fun, festive atmosphere for the whole family. Many publications have named this market as one of the top Christmas Markets in the USA!
2019 Dates: November 22nd through December 23rd
Location: Penn Quarter: F Street NW in front of the Smithsonian American Art Museum and National Portrait Gallery, between 7th and 9th Streets, NW.
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, the Kimpton Hotel Monaco is literally across the street. Can’t beat a short walk during a Washington winter!
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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