Anyone who hasn't visited a German Christmas market is seriously missing out. We're talking way better Christmas shopping than you'll ever see in a big box store or mall. They are full of unique ornaments and gifts from local vendors and obviously filled with German treats including mulled wine (called glühwein) to enjoy while you browse.
The tradition of Christmas markets originated in Germany as early as the 14th century during the four weeks of Advent. It is said that Dresden's Striezelmarkt, Frankfurt and Munich were some of the first in the world. Though replicated in other European countries, Austria's "December market" could actually be the oldest Christmas market since it is said to have originated in 1298.
Today you can visit some of Germany's most famous Christmas markets in Cologne and Nuremberg but we've gathered up some of the best Christmas markets across the United States. Originally these markets only featured food and supplies for winter but now they are straight out of a fairytale with gifts and treats galore. Don't forget to grab some lebkuchen (German gingerbread) while you enjoy your Weihnachtsmarkt visit this holiday season:
1. Christkindlemarket in Chicago, Illinois
This is one of the largest Christmas markets in the country. Held in Daley Plaza, this market attracts over one million visitors every year. They even recently expanded to Naper Settlement, Gallagher Way in Wrigleyville and Milwaukee (2018 will be the first year).
Open annually from Nov. 16 to Dec. 24.
2. Christmas Market in Tomball, Texas
This traditional Christmas market is located right here in the Lone Star State in Old Town Tomball. With that beautiful Christmas tree, this market draws in the crowds every year to visit their estimated 163 unique street vendors.
Open annually from Dec. 8 through Dec. 10.
3. Christkindlemarkt in Helen, Georgia
This Bavarian village provides the ultimate Christmas charm. Taking place at the Downtown Marktplatz, you'll feel like you stepped right into Berlin as you browse this year's 11th annual event. Try a loaf of stollen (German fruit bread) and enjoy the whimsical architecture and decorations.
Open annually Dec. 1 through Dec. 2 and Dec. 8 through Dec. 9.
4. Christkindl Market in Denver, Colorado
This market is put on locally every year by the by the German American Chamber of Commerce. This year they will feature a "Kinderpunsch," a non-alcoholic Glühwein, to make this market, even more, family friendly. You can even visit this market in late November, maybe to avoid the crazy holiday crowds?
Open annually from Nov. 16 through Dec. 23.
5. Christmas City in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
Christmas City is one of the most famous Christmas markets in the county. They feature 150 vendors from all over the country as well as ornaments and nutcrackers from Germany. With ice carving and glassblowing presentations and holiday music, this market is not to be missed.
Open annually from Nov. 16 through Dec. 23.
6. Cincideutsch Christkindlmarkt in Cincinnati, Ohio
Executed every year by the German Society of Cincinnati, this is the oldest traditional German Christmas market in the Cincinnati area. Bonus, it's held under heated tents! They offer a ton of festive entertainment including a petting zoo, 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 from German folklore if you're into that.
Open annually the weekend before Thanksgiving.
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, handblown glass ornaments and more German treats (like strudel!) Grab a traditional Christmas pyramid ornament (Weihnachtspyramide) while you explore.
Open annually Nov. 30 through Dec. 9.
8. Winter Village in New York City, New York
Bryant Park in NYC hosts this holiday market which includes free ice skating (the only free skating in the city), yummy snacks and handicrafts by unique vendors. The Lodge by Urbanspace is a bar and food hall which will also be open for cocktails and food during the busy holiday season.
Open annually Oct 21 through Jan. 5.
9. Downtown Holiday Market in Washington D.C.
This holiday market in D.C. 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 annually Nov. 22 through Dec. 23.
10. Christmas Village in Baltimore, Maryland
This indoor/outdoor market in the Inner Harbor area is modeled after the famous Christkindl Market in Nuremberg. There are over 50 booths with food, drinks, and gifts in wooden huts to keep you occupied all night.
Open Nov. 23-Dec. 24.
11. European Christmas Market in St. Paul, Minnesota
This free Christmas market at The East Plaza at Union Depot really honors the German roots of St. Paul with this annual market. This year visitors will get to pet a Reindeer and go on sled dog team rides.
Open weekends Dec. 6-22.
12. The Great Dickens Christmas Fair in San Francisco, California
This Christmas fair actually takes you back into old London to celebrate the time of the classic author of A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens. Costumes, food, and lots of fun.
Open Nov 23-Dec 22.
13. Columbus Circle Holiday Market in New York City, New York
Manhattan's Christmas market on the edge of Central Park is a classic holiday tradition with over 100 vendors to visit.
Open Dec. 4 - Dec. 24.
14. Georgetown Christmas Market in Georgetown, Colorado
This tiny mountain town is the perfect way to celebrate the holidays at a holiday market. The hot chestnuts are an annual staple as well as lots of great shopping and other yummy treats. You can also partake in the Christmas Market Museum Tours to see all of the beautiful holiday decorations.
Open Dec. 1-2 and Dec. 8-9.
15. Carmel Christkindlmarkt in Indianapolis, Indiana
This little winter wonderland in Indianapolis has delicious German food, ice skating, live music, dancing, and more.
Open Nov. 16 - Dec. 24.
16. People's Gas Holiday Market in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Browse the local vendors for holiday treats or gifts or stop by to visit Santa for a donation that benefits the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank.
Open Nov. 22 - Dec. 23.
17. Epcot International Festival of the Holidays in Orlando, Florida
While Epcot has multiple counties of the world represented, Germany really shines this time of year by turning into a German Christmas market with glühwein (mulled wine) and lots of German food.
Open Nov. 29 - Dec. 30.
18. Christkindl Market in Arlington, TX
Shop for gifts, listen to holiday music and take in the stunning Christmas decorations all while snacking on bratwursts, gingerbread, roasted nuts and strudel at this beloved, German-inspired Christmas market in Arlington.
The market is open from Nov. 29 - Dec. 22 at the North Plaza at Globe Life Field.
19. Canandaigua Christkindl Market in Canandaigua, New York
This has been rated as one of the top German Christmas markets in the entire country. Held at the Granger Homestead and Carriage Museum grounds, in addition to the usual market activities, you also get to experience a holiday trolley ride and elf school for the kiddos.
Open Nov. 8-10.
20. Atlanta Christkindl Market in Atlanta, Georgia
This medieval market is put on annually by The German American Cultural Foundation. It's also the largest holiday festival that Atlanta holds every winter.
Open Nov 21-Dec 24.
21. The Christmas Village in Nashville, Tennessee
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@christmasvillagetn night 1 is over and what a great first night it was! For the last 4 years I’ve always done set-up and night 1 with my momma. This year she built the back wall for my kitchen towels and then thought-up some really genius additions to the booth. She’s the only other person that stresses and analyzes things just as much as me. She still doesn’t know how to work my square card reader but I love her still. ❤️ #christmasvillage #Nashville #Nashvilletn #mom
This holiday staple in Nashville was started back in the 60s and is put together annually by volunteers raising money for various local charities.
Open Nov. 15-17.
22. Kerstmarkt in Holland, Michigan
This Dutch-style market has been running in Michigan since 1997. It coincides with the Parade of Lights and Sinterklaas (Santa) march through the town.
Open Nov. 23 through Dec. 14.
23. Belleville Christkindlmarkt in Belleville, Illinois
The 6th annual Christmas market includes a scavenger hunt for children as well as pictures with Santa and opportunities to purchase gifts and goodies from little shops.
Open from Nov. 29 to Dec. 23.