16 Best Christmas Markets in the US
Christmas markets are one of the best ways to get in the holiday spirit while finding unique gifts for friends and family. Many of the markets in the United States stay true to the authentic Christkindlmarkts of Germany, some even featuring visits from Nuremburg's own Christkindl Angel. Others, inspired by their European roots, incorporate elements of other countries' traditions including Czech, Polish, Austrian, and Russian influences. Still more celebrate the nostalgic atmosphere of Charles Dickens' London, and some embrace their local mix of cultures to create an entirely new tradition of community holiday celebration.
Coast to coast, north to south, use our list of the best Christmas markets in the United States to find the one perfect for your holiday.
1. Washington, D.C.
The nation's capital holds one of the biggest and most diverse Christmas markets, offering over 75 vendors who represent dozens of international and local cultural groups. Among these are many members of the Made in DC program, which features small local businesses owned by minorities.
In addition to plenty of crafts and unique gifts, market-goers will find a wide range of food vendors, including traditional German baked goods, as well as southern BBQ, Indian food, and South American specialties.
The market is held in the Chinatown neighborhood near the National Portrait Gallery, starting Thanksgiving weekend and ending December 23, daily from noon to 8pm. The market also offers live entertainment, featuring live holiday music from all over the world.
While in the area, be sure to head a few blocks south to admire the Christmas decorations on the National Mall and the nearby White House decorations.
Official site: downtownholidaymarket.com
2. Chicago, Illinois
Chicago's Christkindlmarket is most famous for its bratwurst – the iconic German-style sausage that is the perfect walk-around food to keep up your energy while perusing the plethora of vendors at this classic open-air Christmas market.
Shoppers will find an authentic European experience here, complete with German cuckoo clocks inspired by Munich's Glockenspiel, handcrafted Christmas tree ornaments, hand-carved wooden crafts, and many other traditional gifts.
Kids will have as much fun as adults at this market thanks to the Kinder Club, a program that includes a scavenger hunt and DIY crafts. There is plenty of hot cocoa and other warm beverages to keep hands warm, as well as other yummy treats like German baked goods and traditional Christmas goodies.
Official site: https://www.christkindlmarket.com/
3. Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
Nicknamed "Christmas City," Bethlehem hosts not one but two excellent Christmas Markets. The open-air Christmas City Village in downtown offers the most authentic experience, featuring vendors in quaint wooden manger-like structures reminiscent of a European market. Shoppers can find international crafts and gifts and locally made handicrafts, as well as warm beverages and goodies. This market operates during the month of December on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.
Another well-known Bethlehem event is Christkindlmarkt, an indoor market that features a wide range of vendors. This Christmas market is open Fridays through Sundays during the last two weeks of November, and Thursday through Sunday in December until Christmas; shoppers should be aware that there is an admission charge for this event.
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4. Arlington, Texas
Arlington's Christkindl Market puts a Southwest spin on the traditional European Christmas market, both honoring the traditions of the German roots while incorporating cultural elements from Central and South America. Shoppers will find a variety of handcrafted and imported gifts, including hard-to-find Käthe Wohlfahrt Christmas decorations, and there are plentiful food vendors serving holiday treats.
This is an ideal family event, featuring visits from Santa and the Christkindl Angel, as well as a petting zoo, puppet shows, and kids' crafts stations. The whole family will enjoy live music and the beautiful lantern parade. The market is open from mid-November through the first weekend in January, allowing even late-comers to enjoy the festivities.
Official site: www.txchristkindlmarket.com
Read More: Top-Rated Things to Do in Texas in Winter
5. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
A big draw is the wide variety of irresistible European foods, from savory specialties like Berlin Döner Kebab, Flammkuchen, raclette, and Belgian Fries to traditional desserts like classic gingerbread, fluffy waffles, and pastries galore.
Kids' activities include a visit from Nuremberg's Christkind, the Christmas angel, as well as a kiddie train, Ferris wheel, kids' craft activities, and a two-story carousel. The festivities begin the weekend after Thanksgiving and last through Christmas Eve, open daily.
Official site: www.philachristmas.com
6. New York City, New York
It should be no surprise that New York City has a large number of excellent Christmas markets, so it's hard to choose just one from the seemingly limitless options. In addition to these top picks, holiday visitors should be sure to see the iconic tree at Rockefeller Square.
Tourists will also want to admire the Christmas decorations in Central Park, and a good starting point is the Christmas Market at Columbus Circle, where shoppers will find gifts and holiday food in abundance.
The Union Square Holiday Market hosts over 150 vendors each year in a festive outdoor setting. Shoppers can find a huge variety of gifts, including many that are certified fair trade, recycled and upcycled creations, organic, and locally made by artisans and craftspeople. Items include artwork, décor, ornaments, toys, clothing, unique housewares, jewelry, and much more. Visitors will also find a variety of food vendors, as well as live entertainment and many kids' activities.
Manhattan's Bryant Park is home to a large number of holiday shops, as well as the Bank of America Winter Village, a European-style market with custom-made, themed kiosks for its plethora of vendors. Shoppers will find just about everything here, from handcrafted gifts to unique imports, and, of course, plenty of goodies to munch on. At the center of the village is a 17,000-square-foot ice-skating rink, which is open and free to the public. Skate rentals are available on-site, and the rink also showcases ice-skating performances that wow the crowds.
7. San Francisco, California
Charles Dickens was known for his love of the Christmas season, and every year from Thanksgiving to Christmas, the Cow Palace Exhibition Halls become a re-creation of Victorian London in celebration of the author and the characters he brought to life. The Dickens Christmas Fair is complete with reproductions of London streets lit by lamps and lined by vendors and shops, as well as themed tearooms and restaurants.
Shoppers and visitors often embrace the spirit and attend in costume, fitting in with the multitude of costumed actors who roam the streets in character. Visitors can also catch live theater shows and enjoy live music.
Official site: www.dickensfair.com
8. Denver, Colorado
From mid-November through Christmas Eve, the Denver Christkindl Market features a variety of craftspeople and food vendors stationed in wooden kiosks for that old-world atmosphere. The market also features theme nights, as well as a wide variety of entertainment for the whole family, including German polka, choral performances, and even performances from the Denver Philharmonic Orchestra.
Shoppers will find not only traditional German Christmas wares, like blown glass ornaments and wooden toys, but also handcrafted items from many Eastern European countries, including Poland, Ukraine, Russia, and Lithuania. The variety of food is just as broad, including Viennese strudel; German knödel; Polish pierogies; French cheeses; and Blinchiki, a Russian-style crepe.
Official site: www.christkindlmarketdenver.com
9. Atlanta, Georgia
The Atlanta Christkindl Market takes place in the massive Centennial Olympic Park, kicking off each holiday season on the first weekend of December with a visit from the Christkind from Nuremburg, Germany. After performing the traditional ceremony, she visits with children for selfies, and shares German Christmas folktales with curious market-goers while enjoying the festive atmosphere and cheerful live music.
Shoppers will find a great selection of German crafts and items to choose from, including hand-carved wooden toys and trinkets, delicate Christmas tree ornaments, and fine laces. There is also tons of excellent traditional food, and not just the sweet treats – visitors can enjoy hearty German dishes like currywurst, bratwurst, and leberkäse, among many others.
Official site: www.christkindlmarket.org
10. Leavenworth, Washington
The town of Leavenworth doesn't just embrace its European heritage at Christmas – this is truly a year-round Bavarian town nestled right in the mountains of the northwest. Like a living snow globe, this beautiful community does Christmas like no other, featuring month-long celebrations with caroling, lighting ceremonies, and special events for all ages.
Leavenworth's Christkindlmarkt has been the central event for over two decades, held both indoor in the Leavenworth Festhalle and outdoors at Front Street Park, allowing shoppers to peruse in any weather. The market opens on the weekend after Thanksgiving with a lantern parade, and continues through Christmas Eve. In addition to great gifts and goodies, the market features live music and kids' craft activities.
Official site: www.christkindlmarktleavenworth.com
Read More: Top-Rated Things to Do in Leavenworth, WA
11. Georgetown, Colorado
The first two weekends of December each year, this small Colorado mountain village transforms into a lively Victorian town, complete with costumed performers and horse-drawn carriages. The Christmas Market features numerous craft vendors, as well as other local artisans and creators, offering decorative items, handmade clothing, Christmas decorations, and other unique gifts.
Shoppers can also enjoy caroling and dancers, appearances from Saint Nicholas, and the Santa Lucia Children's Procession each market day at noon. There are also plenty of food vendors offering traditional goodies like hot cocoa and fresh roasted chestnuts.
Official site: www.historicgeorgetown.org/christmas-events
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12. Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin
Held at the Osthoff Resort, this Christkindlesmarkt is held in a giant heated tent, looking out over Elkhart Lake, to give shoppers the authentic outdoor atmosphere while staying comfortable. Each vendor sells their wares from cute wooden kiosks flanked by evergreens and lights, offering a range of traditional German handicrafts, as well as Eastern European items.
There is plenty of food to be found as well, from German sausages to sweet strudels offered in the food court. The market is open each year from Thanksgiving weekend through mid-December.
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13. Cincinnati, Ohio
Cincinnati is home to two fantastic markets thanks to a vibrant German community and plenty of Christmas spirit. The Germania Society Christkindlmarkt is operated as part of the society's efforts to expose people to the culture and traditions of Germany.
This outdoor market is held over a three-day weekend just before Thanksgiving and features vendors selling traditional crafts and items and plenty of authentic German food. There are also kids and family activities including a petting zoo, horse-drawn carriage rides, a kids' parade, and live music.
The Cincideutsch Christkindlmarkt is held in Fountain Square, opening the weekend after Thanksgiving. This European-style market features vendors in wooden timber shelters selling German food and gifts, as well as holiday decorations and locally made gifts. There is also a skating rink in the square, and each year is kicked off with fireworks and the tree lighting.
14. Baltimore, Maryland
The Christmas Village in Baltimore offers more than 50 vendors in an authentic outdoor setting featuring wooden stalls and a heated tent for chillier evenings. The centerpiece of the space is the "Pyramid," a large wooden Christmas tower with a fan-like topper, which was custom-made for the event by a German woodworker.
There are also festive rides for kids and the young-at-heart, with a beautiful vintage carousel and a brightly-lit Ferris Wheel at Bicentennial Plaza. The market operates daily from late November through Christmas, and is located at West Shore Park in Inner Harbor.
Official site: www.baltimore-christmas.com
15. Frankenmuth, Michigan
Operated by the Frankenmuth Farmer's Market, the ChristKindlMarkt is open Friday through Sunday on the last weekend of November, all of December, and the first weekend of January. In the spirit of a traditional German market, vendors here sell locally sourced and made items made by local artisans.
Shoppers will find vendors selling food products like local honey and maple syrup, several bakeries, specialty herbs, homemade dog confections, canned goods, hand-knit items, and much more.
Official site: www.frankenmuthfarmersmarket.org/christkindlmarkt
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16. Boston, Massachusetts
Although Boston's Faneuil Hall Marketplace is not a traditional Christmas market, it deserves a spot on this list because it serves as the iconic Christmas shopping destination for the greater Boston area and beyond. From Thanksgiving through the New Year, the historic Faneuil Hall and Quincy Market fill with lights, garlands, and festive music to welcome shoppers and sightseers.
Outside, visitors will find live entertainment (both formal and informal) and many photogenic spots for the perfect holiday selfie. Inside, shoppers will find vending carts and shops filled to the brim with everything from tchotchkes to handcrafted cards and clothing, as well as several food vendors representing all corners of the earth.
Official site: faneuilhallmarketplace.com