Having visited the world’s most famous Christkindlmarkt, I’ve felt a close connection to Christmas markets. Unfortunately, back when I was a teenager living in Nuremberg, Germany, I didn’t realize just how important these markets were. Thankfully, it didn’t take much longer for me to truly understand its significance. A holiday tradition that dates to the early 15th century, these festive street markets now appear worldwide, with many in the U.S. In fact, there are now over three dozen Christmas markets operating across America. While these markets are known by a variety of names, like Christkindlmarkt or Christkindlmarket, each presents a magical experience of its own. Here then, are just 10 of America’s best Christmas markets to help you celebrate this very special holiday season.
PNC Plaza at SteelStacks
645 E. First St.
Bethlehem, PA 18015
Dates: November 18 to December 18, 2022, November 18 to Fridays through Sundays, December 1-18, Thursdays through Sundays
Times: Thursdays to Saturdays 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sundays 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Where to else to celebrate the holiday season than a place known as the Christmas capital of America? In this case, it’s historic Bethlehem that got its name on Christmas Eve and was the location for America’s very first decorated Christmas tree. A consistent mention as one of America’s best, Bethlehem Christkindlmarkt is very much like a German Christkindlmarkt. For instance, you will see vendors selling handmade gifts like nutcrackers and beer steins. That’s not to mention great food you can purchase and live entertainment. While most vendors will be inside two large tents, you can also see the Christmas tree outside as well as the new skating rink. You can find Bethlehem Christkindlmarkt on the iconic site of the former Bethlehem Steel plant, now known as SteelStacks.
50 W. Washington St.
Chicago, IL 6060227
Dates: November 18 to December 24, 2022
Times: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sundays to Thursdays and Fridays and Saturdays 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
In the Greater Chicago area, you have not one but three wonderful Christmas markets. Although each is worth a visit, the focus here is the Chicago location because it draws the largest crowds. In fact, Christkindlmarket or Christkindlmarkt Chicago may be the largest in the country, attracting over one million visitors. Featuring several German-style vendor stalls and walk-in cabins the market has been said to be the most authentic outside Europe. If you go, you can buy holiday gifts like German beer steins, Christmas ornaments, handcrafted jewelry and more. Of course, there will be great food and drinks like mulled wine, bratwurst, gingerbread and strudel.
Love Park and City Hall
Philadelphia, PA 19102
Dates: November 19 to December 24, 2022
Times: Daily from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
There should be no surprise to know that the City of Brotherly Love has one of America’s Christkindlmarkts. Retaining the spirit of open-air markets found in Europe, Christmas Village is one of the largest in the country. This year, there will be over 80 vendors selling seasonal gifts from their wooden booths or stalls. In addition, several food vendors will be on hand to sell classic German foods like bratwurst, schnitzel and strudel. That’s not to mention the traditional hot drinks you can enjoy like hot cider and hot chocolate. Of course, there will also be a Beer Garden for European beers, spirts and wine tasting on Tuesdays and Thursdays. In case you have children, they will enjoy the Christmas Village Carousel, Ferris wheel and a visit with Santa.
Christmas Village in Baltimore
West Shore Park/Inner Harbor
401 Light St.
Baltimore, MD 21202
Dates: November 19 to December 24, 2022
Times: Daily from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
The only noticeable differences between Philadelphia and Baltimore’s Christmas Village are location and vendors. After all, both Christmas markets are led by the same German American marketing team. What’s more, like Philadelphia, Christmas Village in Baltimore features holiday gifts, food and drink and family friendly rides. That’s to say nothing a chance to meet Santa Claus or greeting Gingy the Gingerbread. At the same time, you can purchase holiday gifts, German food and drink and even go wine tasting. Yet what sets Baltimore apart from Philadelphia is a dazzling Pyramid, with 3,000 holiday lights. Coupled with an adjacent ice skating rink, you’ll find the Baltimore Christmas market as good as any other.
Civic Center Park
101 W. 14th Ave.
Denver, CO 80204
Dates: November 18 to December 23, 2022Times: Sundays through Wednesdays 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Thanksgiving 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
If you’re fortunate enough to be in the Denver area for the holidays, you should visit the Christkindlmarket. While there are a few other notable Christmas markets in Colorado, like in Georgetown, Denver has clearly the largest. In fact, the Denver Christkindlmarkt is known as the only authentic German market in Colorful Colorado. Set in Civic Center Park next to the State Capitol, you’ll have everything you expect to see at a Christmas market. For starters, there are artisan gifts, European cuisine and German beer and mulled wine. If that’s not enough, there will be live entertainment and special events like the Parade of Lights. Above all, if you want to make reservations to dine inside the Festival Hall, you should do it soon. That’s because many reservations for two-hour blocks are already sold out.
Downtown Holiday Market
Eighth and F Streets, NW
Washington DC 20004
Dates: Daily from November 18 to December 23, 2022 except November 24 and December 5
Times: 12 p.m. to 8 p.m.
The highly anticipated return of the Downtown Holiday Market is returning to celebrate the holiday season. Now in its 18th season, this festive market will feature over 70 vendors, including many Black-owned and minority-owned businesses. In addition, the Market Stage will host over 75 musical acts performing everything from rock and jazz to country and contemporary. That’s not to mention the gourmet food and drinks you can purchase like traditional German treats, mini donuts and empanadas. The Downtown Holiday Market is just a short walk from the Smithsonian American Art Museum and National Portrait Gallery.
Great Dickens Christmas Fair
2600 Geneva Ave.
Daly City, CA 94014
Dates: Weekends from November 19 to December 18, 2022
Times: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
San Francisco Bay Area residents and visitors alike are happy to know that the Great Dickens Christmas Fair is returning to the Cow Palace. Easily one of the best on the West Coast, the fair recreates a Victorian-era London when Dickens was developing characters like David Copperfield and Oliver Twist. A very popular Bay Area tradition that’s been held since 1970, the fair is completely indoors and features several attractions. For instance, there will be 19th century-style shops, English pubs and several live performances. In addition, you will see many people dressed as famous characters from some of Charles Dicken’s most famous novels. For instance, you can see David Cooperfield, Ebenezer Scrooge, Nicolas Nickelby and maybe even Charles Dickens himself. If you have children, they can take a photo with Father Christmas, meet Sherlock Holmes or go ice skating in the upper lobby.
Old World Christmas Market
The Osthoff Resort
101 Osthoff Ave.
Elkhart Lake, WI 53020
Dates: December 2-11, 2022
Times: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The Old World Christmas Market at the Osthoff Resort is quite small in comparison to many other holiday markets. Moreover, it only lasts just 10 days while others will continue into the New Year. On top of that. There is an admission charge of $7 while the majority of American Christmas markets are absolutely free to enter. However, do not overlook this market that was once voted as the No. 1 Best Holiday Market by USA Today’s Reader’s Choice Awards. Now in its 24th year, Old World Christmas Market has most everything you can expect from the larger markets. For example, there will be popular German treats like schnitzel, bratwurst and strudel. In addition, there will be hand crafted gifts as well as activities like horse-drawn wagon rides and a visit with Santa Claus. You can find the market at the historic AAA Four Diamond Osthoff Resort in Elkhart Lake, often known as one of Wisconsin’s best hidden treasures.
Union Square Holiday Market
E. 14th St
New York, NY 10003
Dates: November 17 to December 24, 2022
Times: Monday through Friday 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Sunday 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., closed on Thanksgiving Day and early closing at 4 p.m. on Christmas Eve
There will be no shortage of Christmas markets this holiday season in America’s largest city. In fact, there are about a dozen markets, including some indoors spots like Grand Central Holiday Fair. But if you had to pick and choose among these sites, the Union Square Holiday Market should be a top choice. A consistent mention as one of America’s best Christkindlmarkts Union Square is among the city’s largest. Over 160 vendors will be on hand to sell everything from holiday trinkets to warm gourmet treats. A holiday tradition for many New Yorkers, the Union Square Holiday Market has been around since 1993. There is easy access to the subway, with station entrances right onsite.
Winter Village at Bryant Park
42nd St. and Sixth Ave.
New York, NY 10018
Dates: October 28, 2022 to January 2, 2023
Hours: Monday through Friday 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Like Union Square, Winter Village at Bryant Park is among the best and most visited Christmas markets in NYC. While every holiday market has its own unique set of attractions, Bryant Park is best known for its skating rink and food hall. That’s not to mention over 170 vendors who already got a holiday jump start by opening their shops last month. Please note that the ice rink and food hall are open daily from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., with extended hours on select weekends and holidays. In addition to the ice rink, food and entertainment is Bryant Park’s Le Carrousel.
About The Author
Randy Yagi is an award-winning freelance writer who served as the National Travel Writer for CBS from 2012-2019. More than 900 of his stories still appear in syndication across 23 CBS websites, including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and San Francisco. During his peak years with CBS, Randy had a reported digital audience reach of 489 million and 5.5 million monthly visitors. Additionally, his stories have appeared in the Daily Meal, CBS News, CBS Radio, Engadget, NBC.com, NJ.com and Radio.com. He earned a Media Fellowship from Stanford University in 2012.