No matter how many twinkling lights or decorated trees you encounter, the holidays in Chicago don't really start until Christkindlmarket arrives. The annual holiday market draws inspiration from winter festivals in Germany and fills Daley Plaza with a village of huts that house vendors selling food, handmade gifts, clothing, ornaments and more. Attendees flock to the Loop to sip Glühwein (served in a souveneir mug), do holiday shopping and sample German food like konckwurst and potato pancakes. Get ready to browse, eat and drink your way through the beloved seasonal event with our guide to Christkindlemarket Chicago.
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When is Christkindlmarket Chicago?
Christkindlmarket runs from November 16 to December 24, 2018. The market is open Sunday through Thursday 11am–8pm, Friday and Saturday 11am–9pm.
Where is Christkindlmarket Chicago?
Chirstkindlmarket takes over nearly the entirety of Daley Plaza, under the gaze of the Picasso sculpture. If you're traveling by train, just take the Blue Line to Washington or the Red Line to Lake.
The best stuff at Christkindlmarket
What to do in the Loop
Archive Christkindlmarket stories
Christkindlmarket reveals its mug—and it’s a boot
The boot is back, baby. We haven’t toasted our glühwein in the signature German-style boot mug since 2012, but thankfully, Christkindlmarket had no intentions of letting us down this year, especially as the beloved market celebrates its 20th anniversary. The transformation of Daley Plaza into Christkindlmarket began this week as the wooden huts started going up, but you have to wait until November 20 to enjoy Chicago’s largest open-air market, complete with authentic German goodies like cuckoo clocks, hand-blown ornaments and, of course, authentic German-style food and drink. The mug itself has become a favorite tradition for locals and tourists alike who collect them each year (and got a little spoiled by having it come in the form of an adorable boot from 2005 to 2012). This year’s festivities will include nearly 60 vendors plus live entertainment like the Alpine Brass Band, the Children’s Lantern Parade and theater day. Christkindlmarket Oakbrook also returns for its second year at the Oakbrook Center. For a complete vendor lineup and other details, get the schedule here. Christkindlmarket Chicago is open November 20 through December 24. It’s free, it’s fun and, let’s be honest, we’re counting down the days until we can shop and eat and drink.
Chicago police increase patrols of Christkindlmarket after Berlin attack
The Chicago Police Department will increase its presence near Daley Plaza, the site of Chicago's annual Christkindlmarket, following Monday’s deadly attack at a Christmas market in Berlin that left at least 12 people dead and dozens more injured. Additional foot and bike patrols, as well as specialized units, are being deployed in the area around Chicago's largest open-air market, the department said in a statement. “The Chicago Police Department is closely monitoring events [in] Berlin, and we are in regular communication with our federal and international partners,” the statement read. “We continue to work closely with the Cook County Sheriff’s Office and the Office of Emergency Management and Communications, as well as with federal partners, to ensure an optimal level of public safety throughout the holiday season.” Police said there is no specific threat to the city or the greater metropolitan area, but encouraged people who see any “suspicious or questionable activity” to report it to the closest officer or call 911. In a statement released by Christkindlmarket Chicago, organizers of the annual German-themed holiday market acknowledged Monday’s attack and offered their condolences to the victims. "Our heartfelt thoughts go out to all the families and first responders who were affected by today’s tragedy in Berlin," Christkindlmarket representatives said in the statement. Want more? Sign up here to stay in the know.
Photos of the 101st annual Christmas tree lighting in Daley Plaza
A 57-foot-tall Christmas tree was set aglow yesterday evening during the 101st annual tree lighting ceremony in Daley Plaza. The Colorado blue spruce, grown in Elgin and chosen from 82 candidates, is not the prettiest evergreen we've seen, but the thousands of lights sure are dazzling. Dee Snider of Twisted Sister, Hansel, Gretel and the Grinch were the celebs on hand, one of them being a real person. Hair metal icon Snider has been in town for his new holiday musical, Dee Snider's Rock & Roll Christmas Tale, and flipped the switch on the tree. Check out the tannenbaum as you peruse Christkindlmarket in Daley Plaza. Christkindlmarket is open until December 19, while the tree will remain up until January 6. RECOMMENDED: Christmas events in Chicago