Get us in your inbox

Photo overlooking Christmas Village at night next to City Hall in Philadelphia
Photograph: Elevated Angles for VISIT PHILADELPHIA®

The 10 best Christmas markets in the USA this year

Bursting with charm, the best Christmas markets in the USA offer plenty more than just mulled wine

Written by
Emilee Lindner
Advertising

Taking a page out of Europe’s holiday playbook, the best Christmas markets in the U.S. spread legendary holiday cheer year after year. Often tucked right in town, locals and visitors alike flock to these chock-a-block markets to munch on festive food while listening to live Christmas music and shopping for gifts galore.


As with many holiday traditions, these markets have a rich history: the first-ever German Christmas market popped up in Dresden back in 1434. Since then, these jolly gatherings from the Middle Ages spread throughout Europe and then to the U.S., where markets often celebrate old German customs anywhere from Chicago to Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.

You most likely have an outdoor winter market in your hometown, but if you’re up for traveling this year, check out one of the best Christmas markets in the USA this holiday.

RECOMMENDED: the best Christmas towns in the USA

Best Christmas markets in the USA

DC’s bustling Downtown Holiday Market turns F Street NW (right in front of the National Portrait Gallery) into a daily block party. In addition to the vendors, there are over 75 performances from local musicians. But of course, the main reason to go is for shopping. The Downtown Holiday Market features retailers like Because Science, offering upcycled circuit board jewelry and science-themed gifts, and Smell of Love Candles, a luxury candle company run by a kid-trepreneur. Don’t miss holiday treats like peppermint bark and chocolate-covered Oreos from Capital Candy Jar.

Open November 19 - December 23 (12pm-8pm). F Street NW between 7th and 9th Streets NW, Washington, DC 20001

New York is a quintessential Christmas city, and the Union Square Holiday Market is NYC’s quintessential holiday market. After a year away due to COVID, the event is back this year, and organizers say it’s better than ever. This year’s market features over 160 vendors, so you can find something for all those hard-to-shop-for friends and relatives: Hell’s Kitchen Hot Sauce for your uncle with the iron gullet, Three Bluebirds' Swedish dishcloths for your sustainability-minded friend, and Chopstick Art for the family member who has everything. Treat yourself to Wafels & Dinges or pierogies from Veselka as a reward for crossing everything off your shopping list.

Open November 18 - December 24, Monday - Friday 11am-8pm, Saturday 10am-8pm, Sunday 11am-7pm. Union Square Park, New York, NY 10003

Advertising

The Great Dickens Christmas Fair is one of the most unique holiday markets in the USA. In the past, it has transformed the Cow Palace arena outside San Francisco into Dickensian London with 800 performers. The 2021 event is a little different due to pandemic precautions, but even COVID can’t smother the spirit of Christmas—this year, Red Barn Productions will host the first-ever Drive Thru Dickens’ London to keep visitors extra safe. See street scenes and tableaus from A Christmas Carol, shop for holiday gifts, and feast on Christmas pudding and fish and chips from the comfort of your car. And fear not: The Great Dickens Christmas Fair hopes to return to its regular in-person event in 2022.

Open December 4 - 5, 11 - 12 and 18 - 19. 2600 Geneva Boulevard, Daly City, CA 94014

Baltimore’s Inner Harbor comes alive with holiday spirit from Thanksgiving through Christmas Eve. Covered in thousands of lights (including a gorgeously lit Ferris wheel), Christmas Village in Baltimore combines an indoor and outdoor holiday market with an amusement park and beer garden. Vendors include local artists like Art by Barton, whose stunning Baltimore art comes in handmade metal frames, and international favorites like Kathe Wohlfahrt, which is world-renowned for German Christmas ornaments. Stay warm with a mug of gluhwein (mulled wine) and Belgian fries, or if the cold doesn’t bother you, grab a large stein of German beer on tap at the Hofbrau stall.

Open November 25 - December 24, Sunday - Thursday 11am-7pm, Friday - Saturday 11am-8pm, Christmas Eve 11am-5pm. Closed November 22, 23, 24, 29, 30; December 6, 7, 13, 14. 501 Light Street, Baltimore, MD 21230.
Advertising

Elkhart Lake is a bit off the beaten path, but the annual Old World Christmas Market is worth the trip. Each year, The Osthoff Resort hosts regional and international artisans for their festive market. The giant heated tent is full of unique treasures like glass-blown ornaments, fresh Christmas wreaths, handmade jewelry, and plenty more for your holiday shopping. You’ll also find horse-drawn wagon rides and ornament-making activities, plus tasty German food like sauerbraten and potato pancakes.

Open December 3 - 12 (10am-5pm). 101 Osthoff Avenue, Elkhart Lake, WI 53020

Chicago’s German-style Christmas market is so popular that it’s opening a second location this year. The new Wrigleyville location of the Christkindlmarket Chicago adds exclusive vendors (head to Science Girls for unique jewelry, or Magic Wool for felt products made in Kyrgyzstan) plus an ice skating rink. The Daley Plaza location is returning this year as well, where you can find whimsical gifts from Dragons and Fairytales and handmade wooden nutcrackers from Hoffman Company. Both locations also have stalls for Bethlehem Nativity (if you need something for that religious relative) and Bob’s Belgian Hot Chocolate to warm you while you shop.

Daley Plaza location: open November 19 - December 24 (Sundays - Thursdays: 11am-8pm; Fridays - Saturdays: 11am-10pm). 50 W Washington St., Chicago, IL 60602

Wrigleyville location: open November 19 - December 31 (Mondays - Thursday 3pm-9pm; Fridays - Saturdays 11am-10pm; Sundays 11am-7pm)

Advertising

Holidazzle is more than just a market—it’s a celebration of the Twin Cities. Here, you’ll find Minnesota-shaped ornaments from Juniper & Spruce and “neighborhoodies” saluting local Minneapolis neighborhoods from lagom mpls. Other cool finds include quirky art from Mike Rominski (think baby Yoda and the Mandalorian dressed for the beach) and hand-poured small-batch candles from Scent & Psyche. Stay warm with some midwest mainstays like pierogi or cheese curd, or try some plant-based options from Root to Rise.

Open December 17 (5-9 pm), December 18 (2-9 pm) and December 19 (11am-5pm). Loring Park, 1382 Minneapolis, MN 55403

Travel the world without ever leaving Philadelphia. Christmas Village takes over Philly’s Love Park from late November through Christmas Eve. Shop for gifts from all over the world: jewelry from Ireland, soaps from France, handmade woolen goods from Nepal, and glass ornaments from Poland. Grab a Swiss raclette (Alpine cheese melted on a baguette) to snack on while you pick up gifts—it’s no steak and Cheez Whiz, but it still looks delicious. In addition to shops and holiday foods, there are rides for the kids plus beer and wine tastings for the adults.

Daily 11am - 7pm until December 24 at Love Park and City Hall

Advertising
As you might expect in a town called Bethlehem, this Pennsylvania town is a big Christmas destination just like its Biblical namesake (it even calls itself The Christmas City). The annual Christkindlmarkt covers 10 acres (about the size of 7.5 football fields) with shopping, food, and live music. Check off everything on your Christmas shopping list: almost 200 vendors come from as far away as Texas to help you find everything from chainsaw sculptures to Grateful Dead dog coats. Feast on traditional German treats like strudel and pretzels, plus modern street food favorites like poutine.

Weekends until December 19; Fridays and Saturdays 10am - 8pm (Fridays 6pm - 8pm free admission); Sundays 10am - 6pm. PNC Plaza at SteelStacks, 101 Founders Way.
Many cities have German-style markets around the holidays, but Holland, Michigan, celebrates its Dutch heritage with Kerstmarkt (similar to traditional markets that pop up across the Netherlands every December). At Eet Smakelijk, traditional Dutch food like windmill cookies and pea soup will warm you up while browsing the open-air market. The Kerstmarkt also showcases western Michigan’s new wave of immigrants with vendors like Little Orange Scooter, a stand that employs refugee women at fair wages to create hand-sewn clothes and bags. Other offerings include locally made wool socks and hats from Shady Side Farm and lots of Michigan maple syrup.


November 20 (9am-5pm), November 26 (11am-5pm), November 27 (9am-5pm), November 30 (3pm-8pm), December 3 (3pm-8pm), December 4 (9am-5pm), December 10 (3pm-8pm), December 11 (9am-5pm). 150 West 8th Street, Holland, MI 49423

Recommended

    More on Christmas

      You may also like
        Advertising