You don’t need to travel to Europe this holiday season to enjoy the magic of a Christmas market. Hot chocolate, mulled wine, authentic German foods, and handmade gifts from local vendors await you at these 12 Christmas markets right here in the U.S. So, grab your scarf (and your wallet) and make your way to the nearest Christmas market – or even better, plan a little getaway and discover a new city while getting in the holiday spirit.
New York, NY – Bryant Park Winter Village Dates: Oct. 27, 2023 – March 3, 2024
New York City has a handful of great Christmas markets, but Bryant Park Winter Village tops the list for a few reasons. First, there’s an ice-skating rink with FREE admission (just bring your own skates or rent some there). It’s truly magical to be gliding across the ice as you look up at the skyscrapers all around you. Grace T. from Marlboro, NJ says, “I love the festivity!” and it’s hard to think of a more festive scene than this. The market offers seasonal shops and booths that feature unique New York gifts (like Chopstick Art, vintage collectibles from Brooklyn, and NYC-themed ornaments and artwork). Endless food options will delight your inner foodie – from truffle cheesesteaks and baked cheese to doughnuts and design-your-own s’mores. Last, “Cozy Igloos” are available to rent in 90-minute increments, where visitors can sit in heated domes while enjoying their food and drinks. While some attractions are offered only through January 2, 2024, those looking to enjoy the winter market well after the New Year can still visit the skating rink, igloos, and other offerings until early March. Learn More
Chicago, IL – Christkindlmarket
Dates: Nov. 17 – Dec. 24, 2023
One of the longest-running Christmas markets in the U.S., Christkindlmarket (which means “Christ Child Market” in German) is popular for its German food and vendors that sell traditional German gifts like cuckoo clocks, nutcrackers, and handmade ornaments. This market has three locations in Chicago and nearby Aurora. When Elizabeth E. from West Pittston, PA recommended this market, she said her favorite treat to enjoy was “warm, homemade gingerbread along with spiced wine in a boot mug” – sounds like a delightful holiday snack! Enjoy the rich tradition of the Lantern Parade, where children can pick up lanterns and goodie bags and stroll around the market singing Christmas Carols with the market’s very own star, the Christkind fairy. Other kid-friendly activities include face-painting, scavenger hunts, and contests. Be sure to check the specific locations for each activity.
Philadelphia, PA – Christmas Village Dates: Nov. 18 – Dec. 24, 2023
Highlights of Philly’s German-inspired market include its double-decker carousel, lighted Ferris wheel, beer and wine tastings, and authentic European foods such as homemade Belgian fries and waffles; German spätzle, sausage, and pretzels; and Raclette Cheese Stube (freshly melted Alpine cheese on a crispy baguette). There are also plenty of hot beverages to warm you up as you shop including mulled wine, hot chocolate, and farm fresh apple cider with caramel & cream. The kids will love meeting Santa and the festival’s mascot, Phil the Reindeer.
San Francisco, CA – The Great Dickens Christmas Fair & Victorian Holiday Party Dates: Weekends Nov. 18 – Dec. 17, 2023
This one-of-a-kind Christmas market and holiday party pays homage to the famous author of A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens. You’ll be transported to a village inspired by London during the Victorian era – complete with pubs serving up fish ‘n’ chips, French onion soup, craft ales and wine; lamp-lit lanes lined with actors in costumes interacting with the guests; and ongoing performances from a cast of characters including Ebenezer Scrooge, Bob Cratchit and Tiny Tim. Don’t forget to shop while you’re there: the market offers lots of unique gifts including fine art, drinkware, jewelry, ceramics, journals, and toys for kids. Victorian costumes are encouraged (but not required).
Pensacola, FL – Pensacola Winterfest Dates: November 17, 19, 24—26; December 1, 2, 8, 10, 15—17, 19—24, 2023
Naturally occurring snow may be absent from the Pensacola Winterfest but there will be no shortage of holiday spirit! Katie from Pensacola, FL describes it as “a beautiful market located downtown with all sorts of local vendors, food trucks, live music, holiday lights, and Santa. You can walk along the water to view the lights, grab a few Christmas presents, sing carols, and grab a bite to eat, it's beautiful!” There are also live holiday shows with favorite Christmas characters such as Mary Lou Who and the Grinch, a Polar Express tour, and a holiday parade.
Frankenmuth, MI – ChristKindlMarkt November 24-26, December 1-3, and December 8-10, 2023
This small town known as both “Michigan’s Little Bavaria” and “Christmas Town, USA” celebrates Christmas all year! The town definitely kicks it up a notch in late November when it is entirely decorated with sparkling Christmas lights. There are also horse-drawn carriage rides, and free music and light shows daily. And don’t forget to stop by the world’s largest Christmas store, Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland.
Denver, CO – Denver Christkindlmarket Dates: Nov. 17 – Dec. 23, 2023
Wander through alleys lined with wooden huts and festive décor as you shop for gifts from both local and international small businesses at Denver’s Christkindlmarket. It’s known for bringing old world European charm to Colorado with its live music, authentic German foods and beer, and holiday traditions. Check its entertainment calendar for a list of events that include a Parade of Lights, the Polka Folka, Ugly Christmas Sweater Day, and a Canine Christmas.
Carmel, IN – Carmel Christkindlmarkt Dates: Select dates Nov. 18 – Dec. 24, 2023; check the schedule for the most up-to-date calendar
This market was voted the top holiday market in the U.S. by the readers of USA Today, and if you get a chance to visit, you’ll see why. It brings the old-world charm of Germany to Indiana with its wooden huts and massive Christmas light display, and it boasts the one of the only Gluhwein Pyramids in the U.S. The ice-skating, authentic German foods, and artisan shops make it the perfect spot for a date night or a festive day out with the family. Brenda G. from Sheridan, IN tells us that the “Wonderful food and a wide variety of vendors from around the world” keeps her coming back every year.
Arlington, TX – Texas Christkindl Market Dates: Nov. 24 – Dec. 23, 2023
Texas’ Christkindl Market is one of the largest in the Southwest, and it prides itself on bringing the magic of Germany’s Christmas markets to Texas with exclusive merchandise and designs straight from Arlington’s “sister city” Bad Königshofen in Germany. There are also many events for children including puppet shows, a petting zoo, and a lantern parade.
Smithville, NJ – Holiday Light Show Dates: Nov. 23, 2023 – Jan. 6, 2024 Although not a traditional Christmas market, the Holiday Light Show in Smithville, NJ certainly deserves mention. Running from late November to early January, over 120 lighted trees float on Lake Meone. As darkness falls, a choreographed light show synchronizes to holiday music, resulting in a mesmerizing display. Jane L. from Woodbury Heights, NJ shares- “It seemingly has millions of white lights around the lake, which reflects the lights as well. A walking bridge over the lake is also lit up with white lights and is a spectacular viewing spot. There is a merry-go-round, where every animal is different and there are many little shops to visit.” Learn More
Baltimore, MD – Christmas Village Dates: Nov. 18 – Dec. 24, 2023
Head to the Inner Harbor for a taste of Germany at Baltimore’s Christmas Village, inspired by the famous Christkindl Market in Nuremberg. Grab a cup of mulled wine at its authentic Gluhwein Pyramid or take a ride on their 65’ feet high Ferris wheel to take in the lights and sights of this holiday village. There are more than 50 local and international vendors selling something for everyone on your holiday shopping list, and food options include fresh baked gingerbread cookies, schnitzels, crispy potato pancakes, bratwurst, and warm waffles.
Houston, TX – Houston Ballet Nutcracker Market Dates: Nov. 9 – 12, 2023
The Houston Ballet Nutcracker Market brings a touch of fashion to the holiday market scene. The market itself is a wonderland of shopping with many vendors to explore plus fashion show events to debut upcoming styles. Monica M. from Houston, TX raves about the market, stating “The Christmas decor was outstanding and over the top. It’s a huge annual market in Houston every year with hundreds of vendors.” It is rumored that the less crowded time to visit is in the afternoons, and shoppers are encouraged to dress up in their most festive holiday outfits to get into the spirit! Learn More
Please note: Check each event’s websites for the latest dates and schedules. Many markets are closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.
Have you visited any of these Christmas markets? Did we miss one of your favorites? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to hear from you!
By Staff Contributor
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