When the holiday season arrives, there are plenty of ways you can get into the Christmas spirit. You can take the family ice-skating, go on a nighttime drive to admire holiday lights, or watch your favorite Christmas movie on repeat – or, you can plan a visit to your nearest Christmas market! While these European-inspired holiday markets aren’t incredibly popular in the United States, they have a growing presence when Christmas is close, and they offer the perfect excuse to get bundled up and spend some time getting into the spirit.
Not sure which market to visit? Here are some of the best Christmas markets to explore in the country:
Christkindl Market appears each year in downtown Denver shortly before Thanksgiving and is open daily until December 23. Drawing inspiration from the German tradition and featuring vendors selling authentic holiday crafts and wares straight from Europe, there are plenty of unique finds hiding in the stalls. Admire handmade jewelry and decorations as you wander through the open-air market, and when you’re finished, duck into the festival tent for a warm beverage, a bite to eat, and live music.
Christkindlmarkt in Bethlehem – also known as Christmas City – is a market that absolutely can’t be missed if you’re in the area. You’ll find over 150 vendors selling everything from handmade soaps and sweets to holiday ornaments and items that would make the perfect one-of-a-kind gift for friends and family members. Add in some Christmas music, and fun attractions like ice-carving demonstrations and the whole family are guaranteed to have a blast. It opens before Thanksgiving and runs each weekend leading up to Christmas, so you have plenty of opportunities to stop by and experience everything this market has to offer.
NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK.
Plan a visit to the Big Apple around the holiday season, and you’ll be treated to a variety of Christmas markets scattered throughout the city. You’ll find one of the biggest in Manhattan’s Bryant Park – the Bank of America Winter Village – which offers over 150 stalls and booths selling crafts, pop-up restaurants and a free ice skating rink (as long as you bring your own skates!). If you can’t find the perfect present there, visit Grand Central Terminal and Union Station. Both host their individual Christmas markets that are well worth a visit.
Chicago’s Christkindlmarket is another excellent holiday market worth checking out if you’re in the Windy City for the season. A Chicago tradition that started in 1993, the event has expanded over the years to include a wide variety of shops and stalls, authentic German food and beverages, and plenty of live entertainment to keep the whole family happy as you browse. The market actually opens several different locations around town, so check their website in advance to see where you’ll find them!
Whether you’re planning your very first visit to a Christmas market or you’ve embraced the tradition as a family for years, you’ll find it hard to fight the spirit of the season when you’re surrounded by music, laughter, and fun, embracing holiday traditions that go back centuries.