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Best Christmas markets in the USA for a festive winter

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Want to experience a slice of Europe in the States? Look no further than these handpicked best Christmas markets in the USA, which will transport you to European Christkindlmarkt in a heartbeat. So get ready to enjoy mulled wine, hot chocolate, festive lights, glass ornaments, wooden toys, schnitzels, and more!

Best Christmas markets in the USA

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Note: Dates for 2020 have not been announced for all Christmas markets listed in this post. They will be announced by September or so, save this post to get the latest dates when announced. Ensure you check out individual event listings before you head to Christmas markets or related festive events, and follow local guidelines for safety. 

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Christkindlmarkt in Leavenworth

leavenworth ,Washingtonth with lighting decoration in winter.

Leavenworth, located in the state of Washington is home to a Bavarian-style Christkindlmarket. You can experience festive lights, gatherings, and events at the downtown holiday market (city park), and soak in pretty views from anywhere in the city. 

Leavenworth is a perfect place to enjoy the Christmas Lights ceremony and spending a festive weekend with friends and family. There are opportunities to indulge in winter activities like dog sledding rides, skiing and skating. 

Don’t forget to shop! Shopping for souvenirs is a dream here! 

Leavenworth is like a fairytale Christmas movie, with twinkling lights, festive music, Bavarian cuisine and shopping kiosks.

Great Dickens Christmas Fair – San Francisco

Best Christmas Markets in the USA

Great Dickens Christmas Fair is one of the popular Christmas markets in San Francisco California, held at the Cow Palace Exhibition Halls. The fair brings forth Victorian-style celebrations, where many costumed performers present stories of the festive season. 

There are beautifully lit music halls, dance floors, and Christmas shops to enjoy. Everything is like a reminisce of a twilight evening in Charles Dickens’ London Town. And it will take you to a land of colorful characters – of history and literature. 

The Dickens Christmas Fair has been a tradition since 1970. In 2020, this Christmas market won’t be held – postponed to 2021. 

Christmas Village in Philadelphia

Best christmas markets in the USA philadelphia love statue

By Corinne from Reverberations

For more than a decade, Philadelphians have gotten a taste of the charm and magic of a true European Christmas market without having to hop on a plane and leave the continent. 

The Christmas Village in Philadelphia has transformed the City of Brotherly Love into a traditional German Christmas market. A maze of dozens of wooden huts selling goods and foods cover LOVE Park, surrounding Robert Indiana’s famous sculpture. 

As people shop, visitors to the market can indulge in German food and some mulled wine, all by local restaurants and wineries of course. There is also entertainment for the whole family by way of music and dance performances.

The Christmas Village is so German that the iconic Christkind from Nuremberg even makes an appearance on the opening weekend. But you can be sure that you will be able to see Santa Claus, too!

The Christmas market is so popular, in fact, that it flows across the street. Dilworth Plaza, the square surrounding Philadelphia’s City Hall, is home to the Made in Philadelphia Holiday Market where you can find locally handmade and artisan items. 

There are also carnival rides, like a Ferris wheel and carousel, and a popup ice skating rink! There’s even an indoor chalet if you just want to get cozy and catch up with friends during the holiday season.

Union Square Holiday Market & Christmas Celebrations, New York City

Christmas market USA

By James from Travel Collecting

The holiday markets are one of the highlights of visiting New York City at Christmas time.  There are several markets throughout the city, but the most popular is in Union Square. 

The plaza is crammed with dozens of stalls set up along narrow lanes.  This is a great place to buy New York City-themed gifts handcrafted by New York artisans.  

Brooklyn is the original home of hipsters, and many of them make and sell crafts that make great presents.  Jewelry, bags, ties, lanterns, tree ornaments, candles and more are on offer.  There are also stands selling hot cider, hot chocolate and handmade donuts and cookies, that are the perfect remedy to a chilly December day or night.  

There are other Christmas markets in NYC like Columbus Circle Holiday Market and inside Grand Central Terminal, which is smaller, but indoors and half of the market is dedicated to food stands, so this is a great place to take a break from all your shopping. 

When you have been to all the markets, there are plenty of other things to do in New York for the holidays. Take a walking tour of the department stores’ elaborately decorated holiday windows; visit Macy’s Santaland; and travel around the city to see the many enormous Christmas Trees.  

Highlights include the biggest at Rockefeller Center, (topped with an enormous crystal star); the bluest at Bryant Park; the most historic inside the Met (decorated with angels and surrounded by an antique crèche); and the quirkiest at the Museum of Natural History (covered in origami animals). 

There is also ice skating, taking in the Radio City Music Hall Christmas Spectacular, and seeing the crazy decorated houses in Dyker Heights. 

READ: All the wonderful winter destinations to visit in the US

Bethlehem Christkindlmarkt

Bethlehem-Pennsylvania-Christmas-market

By Lori from travlinmad

Considering that the Lehigh Valley in eastern Pennsylvania is home to the Christmas City of Bethlehem, it’s not surprising you’ll find some of the best Christmas markets in the United States here. 

Located an hour north of Philadelphia and close to the New York/New Jersey metro area as well, a visit here could easily be a day trip from either Manhattan or Philly.

The holiday festivities begin on weekends between November 22 and December 22, when visitors can explore the Christmas Huts on Main, an outdoor shopping experience along Main Street in Bethlehem inspired by the German Weihnachtsmarkt. 

Bethlehem also has a magical Live Advent Calendar in December, believed to be the only one of its kind in the country, where holiday revelers can participate in nightly activities, which may include anything from musical performances, storytelling, or even a tasty treat!

But the most highly-anticipated event in Christmas City is surely Christkindlmarkt, which Travel & Leisure magazine consistently rates as one of the best holiday markets in the country. 

From the end of November until the week before Christmas, this Christmas market is a great place to do your holiday shopping, sneak a visit with Santa before the big day, and of course nosh on some of the local specialties. 

You’ll find lots of hearty and traditional Dutch food in this part of Pennsylvania. One bite of a fried donut or a tasty skiffle will remind you why Pennsylvania is among the best US destinations for food — and the Bethlehem Christkindlmarkt is the perfect time of year to enjoy it!  

READ: East Coast weekend destinations

Christkindlmarket in Chicago

Christmas Markets in USA

By Sydney from A World In A Reach

Visiting Chicago during Christmastime is a magical experience – the city is lit up with sparkling lights, the storefronts along Michigan Avenue are cheerfully decorated, and Daley Plaza is converted to a German Christmas wonderland for the annual Christkindlmarkt, a Christmas market inspired by the Christkindlesmarket in Nuremberg, Germany.

When visiting Chicago’s Christkindlmarket, you’ll feel as if you were transported to Germany. There are plenty of stalls selling crafts, ornaments, and other trinkets perfect for gift-giving. 

And you can’t visit a Christmas market without sampling the delicious treats and glühwein (served in a souvenir mug, of course). 

There are actually two Christkindlmarkets in the Chicago area: the main one is the Chicago Loop Christkindlmarket, which is located in the center of the city at Daley Plaza, close to most of the city’s major attractions including Millennium Park and Michigan Avenue. 

If you’re looking for the best place to stay in Chicago, consider a stay at the Swissotel Chicago, perfectly located near the Chicago River and less than a 20-minute walk from the Chicago Loop Christkindlmarket. The second Christkindlmarket is located in Wrigleyville, next to the famous Wrigley Field.

Admission to the Christkindlmarket is free, but bring along some cash to grab a souvenir ornament and a mug of glühwein!

Faneuil Hall – Boston Christmas Events

Christmas Markets in Boston

By Sally from our3kidsvtheworld

Faneuil Hall marketplace was built in 1742 by Peter Faneuil and is a top tourist attraction and popular food stall in Boston during Christmas.

Faneuil Hall marketplace consists of 4 structures, Faneuil Hall, Quincy Market, North Market, and South Market which are festively decorated during the Christmas season. 

Street performers and Christmas carollers perform outside Faneuil Hall in the weeks leading up to Christmas. Faneuil Hall Marketplace is home to an enormous Christmas tree, last year the tree was 65 foot tall and imported from Norway and completely decorated in multi coloured Christmas lights. 

Each hour on the hour Christmas carols are played and people gather around the tree for the spectacular ‘Blink’ Christmas light and sound show. 

Boston Common in the centre of Boston lights up at Christmas with the Frog Pond icing over and creating an ice skating rink. Surrounded by Christmas lights and a light covering of snow, the area couldn’t be more festive. We were there in 2017 and Boston got 4 inches of snow on Christmas Day and it was the most magical experience walking through the park at night. 

Rug up and explore the Freedom Trail covering 2.5 miles and 16 nationally historic significant sites through downtown Boston. You can download the map and explore independently or you can take a tour with a guide providing a history lesson about each site. 

Walking through downtown Boston you’ll see the festive street decorations and you can drop into some of the shops along the way. 

Christkindlmarket in Milwaukee

By Paulina from Paulina On the Road

Spiked with colorful ornaments, amazing performances and spiced wine served in collective mugs, visitors can experience all this at the Christkindlmarket in Milwaukee. It is certainly not as big as it is in Chicago but it is still worth a trip.

It is a magical market in the heart of the city that offers a cultural touch of many flavors. It is complete with delicious food and drinks. The collectibles and gift items cannot be ignored. 

Rooted in the German tradition the Christkindlmarket is the entertainment plaza outside a five-star forum into a picturesque colony featuring wondrous and traditional candy canes tied to ropes and hooks.

From November to December, admission to the German-style outdoor market is free and open to the public. Market hours are from 11 in the morning to 8 in the evening from Sunday to Thursday and from 11 in the morning to 9 at night on Fridays and Saturdays.

Visitors are delighted at life entertainments, German folklore, and family collective activities. If you ever make a list of things to do in Milwaukee in winter, including the Christkindlmarket is a must. Throughout the event is a magical atmosphere that creates holiday memories to remain throughout in a lifetime.

Old World Christmas Market in Wisconsin

The Old World Christmas Market is held at the Osthoff Resort in Wisconsin. The market reminisces and brings Nuremberg’s Christmas market flare to the USA. Here you can wander the lanes and aisles of the mega heated tent, and enjoy food, shopping, and European Christmassy nuances. 

The food court offers delicacies from Germany like the Nuremberg bratwurst, dumplings, schnitzel, potato pancakes and strudel.

For Christmas souvenirs, shop from an array of items like Russian nesting dolls and painted Santas, Czech glass ornaments, Estonian woolens, Turkish scarves, and many popular picks – woodwork, chocolates, silver jewelry, glasswork, etc. 

The market was voted the #1 Best Holiday Market in the USA by Today’s Readers Choice in 2018. In 2020, they are open from December 4 to 13 2020 (10:00 am to 5:00 pm daily). 

Atlanta Christkindl Market

Celebrate Christmas in the city of Atlantic where 700 year old authentic German traditions come alive. 

Inspired by German Christkindlmarkt and run by the German American Cultural Foundations, these celebrations will transport to Europe in no time. Festivities are even more joyous as entry is free for all visitors. 

Tons of products and German culinary delights are showcased at the Atlanta Christkindlmarkt. Ensure you carry an extra shopping bag to collect souvenirs and Christmas decorative items, mostly handmade wooden toys, wood carvings, and other novelties. Lacework, and table cloths, glass ornaments are very popular too.

Not shopping? Wear baggy pants, as you pig out at the food stalls, offering pretzels, schnitzel, bratwursts, currywurst, candied nuts, and yummy quarkballchen, plus herbs and spices. 

Downtown Holiday Market in Penn Quarter, Washington DC

Washington celebrates Christmas in grand style. The festive holiday market is set up in front of the National Portrait Gallery wherein 150 artisans and shops come in with their wares.

These shops look mesmerizing as they are decorated in their own unique ‘festive’ style. Take some time to browse through these stalls and aisles.

Food is an integral part of Christmas celebrations, and Washington, DC is no different. Each year vendors bring in their culinary delicacies. You can also enjoy dinner and cocktails at restaurants and bars located in the Penn Quarter and ChinaTown.

Denver Christkindlmarket

Another cute German Christkindlmarkt inspired market is located in Denver. Denver Christmas Market is filled with amazing food stalls offering Glühwein, Hot Chocolate, German beer and other cuisines. The entire ambience of the market is wonderful with lively music, lights and festive decorations. 

The Artisans Marketplace is where you can shop ornaments, and cool souvenirs and gifts back home. 

San Antonio Christmas Celebrations

River walk  in San Antonio city at night at holiday season, Texas, USA

Not essentially a Christmas Market, but San Antonio is amazing in December wherein they ring in the festive season with thousands of twinkling lights, Santa Parade, Holiday River Parade, shopping and more. 

So there you have it, these are some of the amazing Christmas markets in the USA to experience a slice of Europe close to home!

As always, check out individual event listings before you head to Christmas markets or related festive events. Ensure you follow local guidelines for your safety as well as the safety of others. 

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