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10 Festive Christmas Markets in The USA

by Keith langston
Festive Christmas Markets in the USA

Chicago’s Christkindlmarket is one of the largest in America, and will take place this year from November 19 - December 24.

Here in the USA, people flock to these markets every year in search of delicious holiday treats, one of a kind Christmas ornaments, and unique gifts for friends and family.

The Christmas market is a time-honored tradition that makes for a wonderful and festive holiday outing. Also known by its Germanic name of Christkindlmarkt, these markets originated in Germany and took place during the weeks of Advent leading up to Christmas. The markets traditionally sold baked goods, nativity sets, and handmade crafts and decorations. Fortunately, many of the traditions from the past have survived into the present, and now Christmas markets can be found all across the globe. Here in the USA, people flock to these markets every year in search of delicious holiday treats, one of a kind Christmas ornaments, and unique gifts for friends and family.

Atlanta’s holiday market, called Christkindl Market (christkindlmarket.org), will return this year from November 26 – January 2 to spread holiday cheer once again! The event will take place in the newly revitalized Atlantic Station district in Atlanta’s Midtown neighborhood. At the market, kids can visit with Santa and the whole family can enjoy traditional treats prepared by local mainstay, Bernhard’s German Bakery and Deli, which will be dishing out Bavarian favorites like Black Forest cake, sachertorte, and of course, stollen, made from Bernhard’s own recipe. For an extra bit of holiday cheer, you can even sample the newest holiday baked good that’s got everyone excited: eggnog cake!

Christmas Village in Baltimore | Christmas Markets in the USA

Giant Pyramid at the Christmas Village in Baltimore
Photo: Courtesy of Christmas Village in Baltimore

During the holiday season (November 20 -December 24), Baltimore’s Inner Harbor comes alive with Christmas cheer at the Christmas Village (Baltimore-Christmas.com). Along with the traditional trinkets and gift items, Baltimore’s market serves delicious German holiday treats, such as stollen, lebkuchen (traditional German gingerbread), and zimtsterne, which are cinnamon shortbread cookies often cut into the shape of stars and then topped with a scrumptious icing. Another highlight of the Baltimore Christmas market is The Pyramid. The Pyramid is a massive form of a Weihnachtspyramide, or “German Christmas Pyramid.” You’ve likely seen these at holiday markets before. They’re intricate wooden structures, often with a windmill-like topping that German craftsmen began designing to show off their woodworking skills. Baltimore’s market constructs a massive 30-foot version that’s adorned with over 3,000 twinkling lights.

Traditional Christmas Treats | Christmas Markets in the USA

Traditional Christmas Treats
Photo: Milleflore Images

Boston’s SoWa Winter Festival (SoWaBoston.com) puts a modern twist on the traditional German market from December 3-12. While the quaint wooden stalls are replaced with tents, and the European sweets are swapped out for seasonal holiday cocktails by Boston’s top mixologists, the concept remains the same. Thousands of Christmas lights create a canopy over the streets of Boston’s SoWa neighborhood, and underneath, over 100 vendors come together to sell their goods. From handmade soaps to artisan jewelers and poster makers, the Winter Festival has everything you need to complete your Christmas shopping (all while sipping on luxurious cocktails and hot chocolate).

Chicago Christmas Market | Christmas Markets in the USA

Chicago Christmas Market
Photo: Eric James Walsh

Chicago’s Christkindlmarket (Christkindlmarket.com) is one of the largest in America, and will take place this year from November 19 – December 24. It was founded in 1996 and hosts vendors from around the globe, selling everything from handmade ornaments and nutcrackers to freshly baked Bavarian pretzels and spiced wine. It’s located downtown in Daly Plaza, surrounded by glittering skyscrapers. One of Chicago’s most special traditions is the Stammtisch, which in German meaning a group meeting table. At Stammitch, market guests can sit down and enjoy some of the market’s freshly baked goodies, as well as traditional German beers. There’s no better way to beat the cold than by warming up at the charming and jovial Christkindlmarket.

Denver Christmas Market | Christmas Markets in the USA

Denver Christmas Market
Photo Courtesy of Denver Christkind Market

Denver’s Christmas Market (christkindlmarketdenver.com) will host a wide range of Colorado vendors selling wonderful gifts for the Christmas season from November 19 – December 23. Visitors can check out Baby Fire Pits by H&K, a local metalworking studio that produces gorgeously intricate miniature fire pits. Also at the market this year will be Travel Posters, which sells vintage-style posters, and Chews Happiness, a local dog bakery, because, during the holidays, every member of the family deserves something special. Most notable at Denver’s Christmas market is the serving of glühwein, a German mulled wine that’s steeped with cinnamon, cloves, citrus, star anise, and more. Famed Glühwein maker, St. Christopher, will be at the market serving up three flavors, red, white, and blueberry, all in commemorative mugs. What better way to stay warm on a cold winter’s night than with a traditional holiday wine from Germany?

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