The Chicago Christkindlmarket is celebrating its twentieth anniversary with its usual vibrant pageantry. This annual holiday tradition is the largest outdoor winter market in the United States, hosting nearly sixty vendors and offering a variety of traditional German food, drink, and handicrafts. It is the perfect way to get into the spirit of the season.
Chicago’s market is inspired by the original Christkindlemarket that began in Nuremberg, Germany in 1545. Nearly 60% of Chicago’s vendors are from Germany and Austria; they offer rare, beautiful, high-quality wares imported directly from Deutschland and Österreich. It’s the perfect place to pick up unique gifts like cuckoo clocks, traditional German nutcrackers, jewelry, toys, and beer steins.
Feeling peckish while you shop? It’s hard to resist the delicious snacks: potato pancakes and sausages abound, pretzels with mustard are delicious, and baked cheese is a welcome alternative. The smell of Glühwein lingers heavily in the air, beer is available in three different booths, and the strudel is a warm treat that is worth the extra calories. The shop keepers are extremely friendly — if you leave them a tip they ring a bell and shout “thank you!”
The real highlights of the Chicago Christkindlmarket, in my opinion, are the blown-glass ornaments. There are two ornament huts, each offering hundreds of gorgeous, whimsical baubles that will glamorize any Christmas tree. The variety is astounding and includes animals, foods, travel themes, pirates, robots, spaceships, Santas, snowmen, and the ever traditional globes and icicles. There is something for everyone. Click through the slideshow to see a small fraction of what’s available.
CHICAGO CHRISTKINDLMARKET DETAILS