Thursday, March 27, 2014


 The weeks before Christmas in Europe mean it's time to hit the Christkindlmarkt, or traditional holiday street market for your fill of mulled wine and cider, handmade Christmas ornaments, specialty gifts and delicious baked treats. The Christmas market is an annual tradition in Copenhagen, Prague, London and Cologne, but if you don't have time for a tour of Europe this holiday season, you can visit one of several Christmas markets held in the good old US of A.
From the Windy City to the Bay Area, here's where you'll find some of the best Christmas markets in the United States:

German Holiday Market in San Francisco
The German International School of Silicon Valley hosts an annual Holiday Market in Mountain View, California a few weeks before Christmas. The event includes an appearance by Santa, and dozens of booths featuring local crafts, handmade decorations, holiday baked goods and other treats. Head here to stock up on last-minute Christmas gifts and stocking stuffers.

Christkindlmarkt in Chicago 

History and Tradition

   Inspired by the Christkindlesmarkt in Nuremberg, Germany, which began in 1545, the Christkindlmarket Chicago brings a cherished German and European tradition with international flair and local charm to Chicago. Chicago's largest open-air Christmas festival was first held on Pioneer Court in 1996. By special invitation of Mayor Richard M. Daley, Christkindlmarket Chicago moved to Daley Plaza in 1997 and has become a staple event on the plaza ever since. Together with the support of the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE), Christkindlmarket Chicago has grown to become one of the most popular winter attractions in the heart of the city.

   The vision of the Christkindlmarket Chicago was first conceptualized in 1995. The German American Chamber of Commerce of the Midwest Inc. (GACCoM) Consulting Services was seeking alternative ways to promote bilateral trade between the USA and Germany. Peter Flatzek, former Vice President of GACCoM, and Ray Lotter, then Manager of Commercial Services for GACCoM, initiated the partnership with the city officials of Nuremberg, Germany. Mr. Lotter invited companies from Germany and the Chicago area to participate in the first Christkindlmarket Chicago in 1996. The market was an instant success and continues to flourish.

   The Christkindlmarket Chicago is also the perfect place for teachers and professors of the German language to bring their students. Here, they have the opportunity to practice skills at the market with numerous German speaking vendors. Several educational activities for students visiting the market include: scavenger hunts, interviews with vendors, or even singing German holiday songs for all to enjoy. At the market, students get to experience authentic German traditions without having to travel any farther than the city of Chicago. From Kindergartners to graduate students the message is loud and clear: The Christkindlmarket is fun, fun, fun!

   Make your way to Daley Plaza to see the festive holiday tree lit up in all its glory and enjoy the classic German Christmas market experience at the outdoor market nearby. The market features European decorations, fabrics and textiles, hot German food, and an assortment of handmade gifts and collectibles. It's one of the best ways to get into the holiday spirit, and the fun begins right after Thanksgiving. Visit www.christkindlmarket.com/en/ for more information.

Nuremberg's Christkind poses with Santa Claus at the Christkindlmarket Chicago

Dates and Times

   The Christkindlmarket Chicago will be open daily from November 20, 2012 - December 24, 2012.
Opening Hours-Sunday - Thursday: 11:00 am - 8:00 pm Friday & Saturday: 11:00 am - 9:00 pm

Special Hours

First Day, November 20, 2012: 2 pm - 8 pm, 
Thanksgiving Day, November 22, 2012: 11:00 am - 4:00 pm 
Christmas Eve, December 24, 2012: 11:00 am - 4:00 pm


Daley Plaza (50 W Washington Street, Chicago, IL 60602)

Union Square Holiday Market in NYC
Kick off the holiday shopping season with a trip to the Union Square Holiday Market, an annual event that begins after Thanksgiving and runs through Christmas Eve. The market features a diverse selection of handmade gift items, jewelry, ornaments, classic toys, clothes and fine art. It's a great place to find some unique stocking stuffers for everyone on your gift list and enjoy the festive atmosphere in the city. You'll find it at the south end of Union Square at West 14th Street.

Downtown Holiday Market in Washington DC
Enjoy the traditional bazaar-style atmosphere of the Christmas market in downtown Washington DC. This annual event takes place on F Street between 7th and 8th streets and features over 150 local artisans, exhibitors and crafters. Enjoy live jazz and entertainment, sip on some hot chocolate and cider, and pick out your fair share of holiday crafts, gift cards, boxes and holiday collectibles. It's a fun and festive shopping experience the whole family can enjoy.

Sinter Klausen Christmas Market in Milwaukee
Set your sights on Germantown, Wisconsin near Milwaukee to enjoy a traditional German Christmas market experience. It's not a traditional market with dozens of booths, but you can shop in an old house to buy Wendt & Kuhn figurines, Old World series collectibles, hand carved nativities, wood character ornaments and Christmas pyramids. This is also the place to pick up advent wreaths, holiday calendars, fragrant candles and German mouth-blown glass ornaments. Many items are imported from the German countryside and you can stock up on dozens of beautiful, handcrafted items for your holiday events. Visit www.sinterklausen.com for more information.

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