23 Best German American Christmas Markets for Festive Holidays
Anyone who has not visited a German The Christmas market is sorely lacking. We’re talking about way better Christmas shopping than you’ll ever see in a big box store or mall. They are full of unique ornaments and Christmas gifts from local vendors and obviously filled with German goodies including Hot wine (called glühwein) to enjoy while browsing.
The tradition of Christmas markets were born in Germany as early as the 14th century during the four weeks of Advent (yes, like during the holidays Advent calendar). It is said that the Striezelmarkt in Dresden, Frankfurt and Munich were among the first in the world. Although replicated in other countries in Europe, Austria’s “December Market” might actually be the oldest Christmas market as it is said to have originated in 1298. It’s also where the beloved character du Christkind (or Christkindl) was born as a holiday gift. giver.
Today you can visit some of Germany’s most famous Christmas markets in Cologne, Berlin, Bavaria, Hamburg, Aachen and Nuremberg’s Christkindlesmarkt, but we’ve rounded up some of the best Christmas markets across United States. Originally, these markets only offered winter food and supplies, but now they’re straight out of a fairy tale with gifts and treats galore. Don’t forget to take some lebkuchen (german gingerbread) while you enjoy your visit to the Weihnachtsmarkt this holiday season.
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1. Christkindlemarket in Chicago, Illinois
Why buy a ticket to cross the pond to the Berlin Christmas market when you can visit one of the largest Christmas markets in the country. Held in Daley Plaza, this market attracts over a million visitors each year. They even recently expanded to Naper Settlement, Gallagher Way in Wrigleyville and Milwaukee.
This year, the market will be held virtually from November 1 to December 31. You can visit their online store here.
2. Christmas Market in Tomball, Texas
This traditional Christmas market is located here in the Lone Star State in the old town of Tomball. With this beautiful Christmas tree, this market attracts crowds every year to visit their 163 unique street vendors.
Usually open every year in mid-December, this market was canceled this year due to COVID concerns.
3. Christkindlemarkt in Helen, Georgia
This Bavarian village offers the ultimate Christmas charm. Taking place on Downtown Marktplatz, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped straight into Berlin as you stroll through this year’s 11th annual event. Try a loaf of stollen (German fruit bread) and enjoy the whimsical architecture and decorations.
Open this year on November 28-29 and December 5-6 with free entry.
4. Christkindl Market in Denver, Colorado
This market is organized locally each year by the German-American Chamber of Commerce. This year they will be offering a “Kinderpunsch”, a non-alcoholic Glühwein, to make this market even more family friendly. You can even visit this market in late November, perhaps to avoid the crazy holiday crowds?
Open from November 20 to December 23, 2020.
5. Christmas Town in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
christmas town is one of the most famous Christmas markets in the department. They feature 150 vendors from all over the country as well as ornaments and nutcrackers from Germany. With ice carving and glassblowing displays and holiday music, this market is not to be missed.
Open from November 12 to 15, from November 19 to 22, from November 27 to 29 and from December 3 to 6.
6. Cincideutsch Christkindlmarkt in Cincinnati, Ohio
Produced each year by the Cincinnati German Society, it is the oldest traditional German Christmas market in the Cincinnati area. As a bonus, it takes place under heated tents! They offer a ton of festive entertainment, including a petting zoo, horse-drawn carriage rides, and a wide array of German treats and holiday drinks. You can also see Krampus, the “half-goat, half-demon” antithesis of Santa Claus from German folklore if you like that.
Open on November 7 and 8, 2020.
7. Old World Christmas Market in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin
Held at The Osthoff Resort, this is one of the most popular Christmas markets in the Midwest. Guests can explore the heated tent that features Nuremberg bratwurst, mouth-blown glass ornaments and other German treats (like strudel!) Grab a traditional Christmas pyramid decoration (Weihnachtspyramid) as you explore.
Open from December 3 to 12, 2021.
8. Winter Village in New York, New York
Bryant Park in New York hosts this holiday market which includes free ice skating (the only free skating in town), delicious snacks and crafts by unique vendors. The Lodge by Urbanspace is a bar and food hall that will also be open for cocktails and food during the holiday season.
Open from October 30, 2020 to January 3, 2021.
9. Downtown Holiday Market in Washington DC
This DC holiday market is a must visit in front of the Smithsonian American Art Museum & National Portrait Gallery. There will be over 60 market stalls from various exhibitors.
Open from Nov. 20 to Dec. 23. 2020.
10. Christmas Village in Baltimore, Maryland
This indoor/outdoor market in the inner harbor district is inspired by the famous Christkindl market in Nuremberg. There are over 50 stalls with food, drinks and gifts in wooden huts to keep you busy all night long.
This Christmas village has canceled in-person visitors due to COVID this year, but has a virtual shop you can visit here.
11. European Christmas Market in St. Paul, Minnesota
This free Christmas market at The East Plaza at Union Depot truly honors St. Paul’s German roots with this annual market. This year, visitors will be able to pet a reindeer and take dog sled rides.
This Christmas market is offered this year only virtual from November 1 to December 24. You can visit their online store here.
12. Dickens’ Great Christmas Fair in San Francisco, California
This Christmas fair actually takes you back to old London to celebrate the era of the classic author of A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens. Costumes, food and lots of fun.
This event was canceled in 2020 due to COVID but you can visit their online store here.
13. Columbus Circle Holiday Market in New York, New York
The Manhattan Christmas Market, on the edge of Central Park, is a classic holiday tradition with over 100 vendors to visit.
Unfortunately this market will be closed in 2020 due to COVID but keep them on your list for 2021!
14. Georgetown Christmas Market in Georgetown, Colorado
This small mountain town is the perfect way to celebrate the holidays at a holiday market. Hot chestnuts are an annual staple along with many stores and other delicious treats. You can also join the Christmas Market Museum Tours to see all the beautiful holiday decorations.
Open annually the first two weekends of December.
15. Carmel Christkindlmarkt in Indianapolis, Indiana
This little Indianapolis winter wonderland offers delicious German cuisine, ice skating, live music, dancing and more.
Unfortunately, this is another market that has been canceled due to COVID. Come back next year!
16. Peoples Gas Holiday Market in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Browse the local vendors for treats or holiday gifts or stop by to visit Santa for a donation that benefits the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank.
Open from November 27 to December 23, 2020.
17. Epcot International Holiday Festival in Orlando, Florida
While Epcot has several counties around the world represented, Germany really shines this time of year as it transforms into a German Christmas market with glühwein (mulled wine) and plenty of German food.
Open from November 27 to December 30, 2020.
18. Christkindl Market in Arlington, Texas
Shop for presents, listen to holiday music and admire the beautiful Christmas decorations while munching on sausages, gingerbread, toasted nuts and strudel at this beloved German-inspired Christmas market in Arlington.
The market is going virtual this year, available here from November 27 to December 23, 2020.
19. Canandaigua Christkindl Market in Canandaigua, New York
This has been ranked as one of the best German Christmas markets in the whole country. Held on the grounds of the Granger Homestead and Carriage Museum, in addition to the usual market activities, you can also experience a holiday wagon ride and an elf school for children.
This marketplace was canceled in 2020 due to COVID but has an online store with past vendors available here.
20. Atlanta Christkindl Market in Atlanta, Georgia
This medieval market is organized every year by the German-American Cultural Foundation. It’s also the biggest holiday festival Atlanta has every winter.
Unfortunately, this is another annual event that has been postponed to 2021.
21. The Christmas Village in Nashville, Tennessee
This Nashville vacation staple was started in the 60s and is run annually by volunteers who raise money for various local charities.
The Christmas Village has been canceled for 2020 but is scheduled for November 12-14, 2021.
22. Kerstmarkt in Holland, Michigan
This Dutch-style market has been around in Michigan since 1997. It coincides with the Parade of Lights and Sinterklaas (Santa) march through the city.
Open from November 21 to December 12, 2020.
23. Belleville Christkindlmarkt in Belleville, Illinois
The annual Christmas market includes a scavenger hunt for children as well as photos with Santa and opportunities to buy gifts and treats from small shops.
Unfortunately the 2020 event has been cancelled, but come back here for the pending Virtual Marketplace updates that will be available later this month.
This article was originally published on December 23, 2019, but has since been updated.