Christmas markets originated in France, Italy, and Germany. During the four weeks of Advent, vendors filled the marketplace with regional Christmas foods and products. Since then, Christmas markets have become an annual custom here in the U.S. Many of the marketplaces here adopt the common German model. As such, it’s an excellent way to enjoy nativity displays and to indulge in a foreign culture. If you love Christmas markets and are looking for suggestions, this is for you! If you have never been and are interested, this is for you! Here are some of the most popular Christmas markets to visit:
Christmas Village, Philadelphia PA
Located in JFK plaza, this market’s attractions include a heated garden and an outdoor grill. Also, it’s situated near the iconic Philly “LOVE” statue for pictures. Glass blowing demonstrations are a unique experience as you walk around. Check this market out if you have a trip to Philly in mind.
Cinideutsch Market, Cincinnati OH
Cincinnati has a rich German heritage. Because of this, they host a large Oktoberfest every year. Four years ago, they added a Christmas market to their lineup. Since then, it has become one of the city’s most popular attractions. Held in Fountain Square, the market design looks like an old European village. Try the roasted nuts prepared by local vendors and sip on traditional mulled wine.
Bank of America Winter Village, Bryant Park, NYC
Christmas and New York go hand-in-hand. Therefore, expect to be surprised by this beautiful marketplace. While it’s not completely German, it features vendors and foods from around the world. From handmade jewelry to winter clothing, this market has a wide array of goods. There is also a great view of the enormous Christmas tree in the square. When you’re finished shopping, check out the nearby free skating rink.
Downtown Holiday Market, Washington DC
Located in our nation’s capital, this market attracts thousands per weekend. Hundreds of locals sell everything from pottery to artwork for your pleasure. Meanwhile, live entertainment performs nightly. Several genres are represented in these nightly concerts, so there is something for everyone. This market boasts one of the longest holiday operations, spanning 29 days. Go and check it out!
Christkindlmarket, Chicago IL
Because I’m from Chicago, I have a soft spot for this one. Same as Cincinnati, Chicago also has a large German population. Consequently, this festival is one of the oldest and most popular in the United States. Over 1 million visitors come to this market, myself included. Along with German foods, toys and ornaments are sold by German and Austrian vendors, which adds to the cultural aspect. In addition, several bands and choirs perform daily. The German wine comes in a collectible mug for you as well! This market has everything Christmas-related, including sweets, hot cocoa, and a Santa house! Stop by Chicago for a true taste of the season.
In conclusion, it’s time to start a new Christmas tradition. Look into more festivals like these; they’re everywhere and they’re very fun. Furthermore, it’s a way to celebrate the season with another culture. From clocks to ornaments, these markets offer many local and foreign goods. You might even find something for the last person on your Christmas list! Also, you can get lost in the sights and sounds of the season with each market. Christmas music drifts in the air and decorated trees and string lights are all around you. The beauty of the season is present in these markets, go soak it up! These festivities run from late November through Christmas day, so you have plenty of time. Be sure to wear a jacket, as these are all outdoor events.
Happy holidays and happy exploring.