However you celebrate the holiday season, it probably includes shopping—for gifts, ingredients or decorations. But trips to the mall don’t always enhance the holiday spirit. Instead, head outside and take a step back in time by exploring a traditional market.
The most famous Christmas market is in Nuremberg, Germany. Held for hundreds of years, the Nuremberg Christmas Market transforms the central marketplace into a maze of stalls, shops, food and drink vendors and performers who entertain visitors from around the world. Here you’ll find traditional handmade crafts and gifts and plenty of gluhwein–warm, spiced wine served in mugs to keep hands toasty warm as you shop.
Closer to home, many cities have created their own holiday markets that blend European tradition with local flavor.
The city sparkles each winter with the Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park featuring more than 100 shops and kiosks. Browse gifts ranging for eco-friendly clothing to one-of-a-kind artwork. Then enjoy sips and snacks from restaurant outposts and food-trucks. Need to work off some calories? An ice-skating rink invites you to practice your spins and lifts under the lights.
Sixth Avenue between 40th and 42nd Streets
October 21, 2014 – January 4, 2015
Monday – Friday: 11 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Saturday: 10 a.m. – 9 p.m.
Sunday: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Never a city to shy away from winter, the Holidazzle Village in Minneapolis celebrates the season with interactive experiences and entertainment ranging from fireworks to dog sledding, depending on the day. Shopping isn’t forgotten either: The Holidazzle Market features traditional European items, as well as perfect cold-weather gifts such as handcrafted wool hats and scarfs. And if you need to warm up a bit, you can always enjoy a German bratwurst or cup of mulled wine or cider.
Nicollet Mall between 12th and 10th Streets
Weekends through December
3 p.m. – 8 p.m.
Minneapolis Holiday Market
Peavey Plaza on 11th and Nicollet
November 28 – December 24
11 a.m. – 9 p.m.
A long-time tradition in downtown Chicago, the Christkindlmarket now has a second location in Oak Brook. Candy-striped chalets invite shoppers to stroll through a winter wonderland and browse handmade wares, including jewelry, ornaments and clothing. German specialties will tempt your tastebuds while dancers, carolers and roving musicians put everyone in a festive mood.
On Daley Plaza between Washington, Clark and Dearborn Streets
November 21 – December 24
Sunday – Thursday: 11 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Friday – Saturday: 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.
On the “Village Green”, 100 Oakbrook Center
November 28 – December 21
Thursdays: 12 p.m. – 7 p.m.
Fridays and Saturdays: 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.
Sundays: 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Monday, December 22 and Tuesday, December 23: 11 a.m. until shopping center closes
Wednesday, December 24: 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.
With flavors and inspiration from around the world, the Downtown Holiday Market has something for every taste and budget. Held amidst the Smithsonian American Art Museum and National Portrait Gallery, the market features more than 150 artisans like pottery, paintings, photo prints, and textiles. Make sure you arrive hungry! The hardest part will be deciding among space-age ice cream, mini doughnuts or churros.
Centered at 8th and F Streets, NW
November 28 – December 23
Noon – 8 p.m.
Hosted by the German American Chamber or Commerce, the Denver Christkindl Market brings an old-world atmosphere to the heart of Denver. Enjoy German and Austrian specialties, as well as treats from a variety of local producers. You might want to bring a friend to help you carry home the wide variety of gifts–from blown glass to lace to hand-carved wooden toys. Story times and music ensure that everyone in the family will enjoy some holiday cheer.
Skyline Park at 16th St. Mall and Arapahoe St.
November 21 – December 23
Sunday – Thursday, 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.
Step into a storybook and banish all Scrooge-ish thoughts with the Dickens Christmas Fair. More than 12,000 square feet of the Cow Palace Exhibition Hall is transformed into jolly old England, complete with Victorian carolers, food vendors and artisans offering a variety of handmade goods.
Cow Palace Exhibition Halls, 2600 Geneva Avenue
Weekends from November 23 – December 23
10 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Photo by Emily Kralick