There’s something about the smell of roasting chestnuts, the taste of mulled wine, and the look of wooden vendor booths that make for the ultimate holiday shopping experience.
Holiday markets originated in Germany back in the Middle Ages. Since then, they have expanded far beyond Europe, and now there is a wide selection of enchanting holiday markets right here in the U.S.
Whether you’re traveling or staying home nearby one of these destinations this holidays season, we’ve picked this year’s must-see holiday markets to check out.
Photo courtesy of K M.
Union Square Holiday Market
New York City, NY
Nov. 16-Dec. 24
There are numerous holiday markets to choose from in New York City. However, because of its central location in midtown Manhattan, the Union Square Holiday Market is one of the best. With more than 150 vendors setting up shop each year, it’s easy to spend a few hours milling about the various options. Plus, there is seemingly something for everyone, from brew-your-own-beer kits to knitted accessories.
Photo courtesy of Marcin Wichary.
Nov. 17-Dec. 23
Would you expect anything less of a town named Bethlehem? This quaint indoor market is one of the best in the nation, most noted for its wide selection of authentic handmade crafts. Check out the glassblowing stations where glassblowers make beautifully intricate ornaments onsite. (Some even let visitors make their own ornaments!)
Photo courtesy of Max Goldberg.
Nov. 17-Dec. 24
The Windy City’s Christkindlmarket is one of the longest-running holiday markets in the U.S. and mimics the German original. Of the 70+ types of food booths, many people opt for German sausages. Grab a warm mug of gluehwein, a holiday spiced wine served in a different specialty mug every year!
Photo courtesy of Quinn Dombrowski.
Great Dickens Christmas Fair
Daly City, CA
Nov. 18- Dec. 17
If you ever want to feel what it’s like to be in a Charles Dickens novel, you should visit the Bay Area’s Great Dickens Christmas Fair. One of the more unique holiday markets on this list, this market was inspired by Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol.” Entertainers dressed in Victorian costumes perform around the market, and it’s even encouraged for visitors to come dressed in their own rendition of Victorian-era garb. You can also dine on some British fare, including fish and chips or bangers and mash. You’ll feel as if you’ve been transported to London for the holidays.
Photo courtesy of Aranami.
Nov. 17-Dec. 23
Another popular and German-authentic holiday market is found in the heart of downtown Denver. There are plenty of craft and food vendors at the Denver Christkindlmarket for both knick-knack shopping and enjoying traditional German fare and beer. Look out for the standout food made by European-trained Chef Neuhold, who sells traditional German favorites like as Wienerschnitzel and Apfelstrudel.
Nov. 24-Dec. 31
Although there most likely won’t be any snow in Texas, that doesn’t mean this holiday market lacks any of the same holiday cheer. In fact, this destination in Arlington creates one of the largest holiday markets in the entire South. Arlington’s version of the Christkindl is a dream for craft lovers who need to do some shopping, with choices spanning handmade soap to alpaca wool and handmade jewelry. This market is especially kid-friendly, hosting a petting zoo, puppet shows, and pictures with Santa Claus in a decorated North Pole-style house.