Originally a tradition in Europe, Christmas markets in America not only serve as a place to score some holiday cheer but also act as a central location for locals to eat, drink and catch up with friends. With vendors selling anything from sausages and schnitzels to baubles and handicrafts, each market has its very own flair with singing and dancing to warm the heart.
Now these markets are finding their way across the Atlantic and, for good measure, have a little taste of the old world without digging out your passport.
We can’t think a better way to get into the holiday spirit than sipping mulled wine or hot cocoa and walking from stall to stall in a Christmas market, so we’ve rounded up our picks of the neatest and most authentic markets around the country.
Top Christmas Markets in America
One of America’s oldest markets, Christkindlmarket transforms Chicago’s Daley Plaza into a festive celebration of all things Christmas. While not exclusively German, you will be able to sample some wurst and gluhwein while browsing the European crafts and collectibles. And if you’re lucky, you might even catch a glimpse of the Christkind herself, the traditional gift-bringer in German-speaking countries.
Through Christmas Eve, Philly’s famed Love Park and Dilworth Park outside City Hall are host to the city’s Christmas Market where bratwurst, Belgian fries, and strudel are on the menu. You can even snap your holiday pic in front of the LOVE statue with your honey to get into the spirit. And for those of you who are seeking a thrill, there’s even an ice skating rink to test your skills.
If you’re headed to our nation’s capital, you can pick up some rare German treats to fill your stocking at DC’s Downtown Holiday Market. With imported goods and festive goodwill, this market can get a bit crowded, but it will be all worth it when you find that perfect snack. Plus, all the vendors are local small businesses, so you’ll be supporting the community while getting into the Christmas spirit.
New York City
New York City’s historic Union Square gets a festive makeover with 100s of vendors selling crafts and unique items from around the globe for its annual Holiday Market. Whether you’re looking for that perfect gift or just want to indulge in some hot chocolate and roasted chestnuts, this market will have something for everyone. Plus, the twinkling lights and holiday decor make it a perfect spot for an Instagram-worthy photo op.
San Francisco’s vibrant Union Square is home to a lively European-style Christmas market, the Great Dickens Christmas Fair. Step back in time and experience Victorian-era London with over 800 performers and vendors dressed in traditional costumes. Indulge in some holiday treats and shop for unique gifts while being transported to another time and place. This fair is open six weekends leading up to Christmas, so you have plenty of time to experience the magic.
So there you have it, festive folks! Whether you’re shopping for that one-of-a-kind present, hunting for the tastiest holiday snacks, or simply taking in the magical atmosphere, these Christmas markets are an absolute must-visit. Remember, it’s the season of giving and joy, so support your local vendors, spread some cheer, and make this holiday season a memorable one. Grab your winter coats, and yo