Top Picks For You

The 15 Best German Christmas Markets in the U.S.

You don’t have to leave the U.S. to experience the magic and joy of a German-style Christmas market.

German Christmas markets are famous for their tasty Christmas goodies, cozy atmosphere, and holiday crafts. Shoppers bundle up to meet friends, often gathered around food vendors selling hot mulled wine, cocoa, or beer. They make a meal of festival food, including grilled sausages and potato cakes, then nibble on Christmas cookies for dessert. Finally, they head off to browse the outdoor market stalls, picking up a new Christmas tree ornament or two, purchasing holiday-themed table linens, and selecting gifts for the coming holiday gatherings. And while German markets vary by region of the country, they often include simple amusement park rides or live music. The lure of a German Christmas market is so strong that communities across the U.S. have launched their own version of the holiday tradition. Here’s where to experience the German holiday Gemütlichkeit across the U.S.

1 OF 15


WHERE: Civic Center Park, Denver, Colorado

For more than 20 years, Denver’s free Christkindlmarket has been keeping German Christmas tradition alive in Colorado’s capitol. Like the Chicago market, the Denver Christkindlmarket is the project of the German American Chamber of Commerce of Colorado, meant to promote international business and cultural ties. Dozens of quaint wooden booths sell must-have German food traditions: soft pretzels, warm roasted nuts, sausages, and Christmas cookies. But you’ll find other European foods, too, like pierogies, gyros, and Belgian chocolates. Before heading off to shop, you can enjoy the goodies with warm mugs of mulled wine, hot cocoa, or a crisp German beer. Look for brightly painted wooden holiday décor, intricate Christmas pyramids that rotate on candle power, and glass tree ornaments, all staples of an authentic German Christmas market.


2 OF 15


WHERE: Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

What could be more Christmasy than celebrating the holiday in Bethlehem, which dubs itself Christmas City? Founded in the 18th century by German-speaking Moravians, this city has included authentic European holiday traditions for much longer than its official Christkindlmarkt, which began in 1992. The festivities occur at Bethlehem’s SteelStacks campus, a revitalized 10-acre brownstone that wraps the ruins of Bethlehem Steel with park areas and event space. Huge, heated tents house stalls selling illuminated Moravian glass stars, wooden toys, crêches, nutcrackers, and blown glass ornaments. Don’t miss the Käthe Wohlfahrt shop, a branch of the German Christmas store chain from Germany, for loads of holiday goodies. When you tire of the tents, take a spin around the SteelStacks ice rink, which opens in November 2022.

3 OF 15

Kris Kringle Market

WHERE: Vail, Colorado

Truth be told, when the holidays roll around, all of downtown Vail feels like a Christmas market, its European-style architecture adorned with snow and evergreen boughs, its shops selling wool felt hats and chunky sweaters designed for alpine winters. Vail was founded in 1966 to mimic a Bavarian village, and eventually, a true German-style Christmas market popped up. The small white tents of the free Kris Kringle Market line the downtown’s brick streets beneath a European-style clock tower, and the fir trees overhead are lit with hundreds of tiny lights. Shop for gifts, traditional and contemporary, the latter with a strong emphasis on Colorado-made items. When the shopping is over, you can’t beat Vail for outdoor fun. Go ice skating on the Vail Square Ice Rink, his ski Vail Mountain.  

4 OF 15

Christkindl Market

WHERE: Atlanta,Georgia

More than 50 vendors sell European hand-painted and glass-blown tree ornaments, advent calendars, and tree toppers at Atlanta’s Christkindl Market in the city’s trendy Buckhead Village. The market is a project of the German American Cultural Foundation, which promotes German language and culture at festivals like this one. You can snack on cones of French fries, eat schnitzel, pretzels, chimney cakes, and sausages, and wash it all down with a German apple wine, mulled wine, or hot cocoa, while you catch the live music of the day. Pose the kids with Santa for the obligatory annual holiday pic, or just hang around and wait for Santa and his angelic sidekick, the golden-gown-wearing Christkind, to make the rounds. They enjoy meeting and greeting visitors casually at the Atlanta Christkindl Market.

5 OF 15


WHERE: Daley Plaza, Chicago, Illinois

Beneath the soaring glass-and-steel towers of downtown Chicago, the traditional wooden booths of the Christkindlmarket stand in tidy rows each holiday season, selling German cookies and sausages and displaying holiday gifts for sale. The Chicago market was launched in 1995 by the German American Chamber of Commerce of the Midwest to foster trade partnerships between the two countries. They patterned this market, which is one of the oldest and largest in the US, after the Christkindlesmarkt of Nuremberg, which dates to the 1500s. Chicago’s Christkindlmarket features its own version of the German Christkind, an angelic creature dressed in sparkling robes and wearing a crown. Other attractions to look for include holiday performances by an Alpine brass band, caroling choirs, and a ballet company acting out scenes from the Nutcracker, and everything is free. The Chicago Christkindlmarket has proven so popular there are branches of the market in Aurora and Wrigleyville, Illinois.

6 OF 15

Texas Christkindl Market

WHERE: Arlington, Texas

In 2011, Arlington celebrated a 70-year Sister City partnership with Bad Königshofen in Germany. To mark the occasion, organizers launched the Texas Christkindl Market. Located at Globe Life Field, the home ballpark of Major League Baseball’s Texas Rangers, the Christkindl Market features wooden market stalls patterned after their Old World predecessors, built in the traditional style and illuminated with tiny white lights and evergreen boughs. The booths focus heavily on German or German-inspired food, décor, and gifts. Shop for German lace, illuminated Moravian stars, and ornaments. Käthe Wohlfahrt, the epitome of German Christmas stores, sells the best authentic European holiday décor, from tiny glass ornaments to garland and table linens.

7 OF 15


WHERE: Cincinnati, Ohio

Cincinnati’s German roots run deep, which translates into a killer Christkindlmarkt. For a small entrance fee, visitors get to shop within a heated pavilion and tents, where traditional Christmas items lie on display: German-made ornaments, nutcrackers, beeswax candles, cuckoo clocks, and beer steins. The market also sells plenty of European food favorites, ranging from soft pretzels and sausages to cabbage rolls and specialty candies. But it may be the Christkindlmarkt’s family-oriented entertainment line-up that really makes the Cincinnati market shine. Expect a petting zoo, a lantern parade, and visits with holiday celebs Santa and Mrs. Claus, the angelic Christkind, and St. Nikolaus, all accompanied by live Christmas music. And while he may freak out younger kids, there’s even an appearance by Krampus, the mythological figure who scares naughty children.


8 OF 15

Peoples Gas Holiday Market

WHERE: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Pittsburgh’s bustling downtown Market Square fills with the city’s German-style Holiday Market when Christmas rolls around. Authentic wooden booths sit beneath Pittsburgh’s glass-and-steel office towers, each trimmed with evergreen garlands and lit up with tiny white lights, and all clustered around a towering Christmas tree. Retail vendors sell traditional German imports, but plenty of options range from more distant corners of the world, including batiks from Oceania, woolen goods from Nepal, and jewelry from Kenya. Food booths sell pretzels, strudel, roasted nuts, hot chocolate, and cider, and the Holiday Market stage hosts live music performances on weekdays during lunch and happy hours and throughout the day on weekends.

9 OF 15

Christmas Village

WHERE: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Philadelphia hosts its own German-inspired Christmas Village each holiday season on the other side of the state. Located in the Center City, the market’s evergreen-clad booths cluster around the Philadelphia’s twinkling Christmas tree. Like Christmas markets in Germany, Christmas Village serves mulled wine in collectible ceramic mugs. It features eye-catching amusement park rides: a carousel, a Ferris wheel, and a children’s train ride. Other seasonal entertainment includes the Ice Rink at Dilworth Park, meet ‘n’ greets with Santa Claus, and hugs from Phil the Reindeer, the beloved mascot of Philadelphia’s Christmas Village. More than 100 vendors, including a pop-up Käthe Wohlfahrt Christmas store, take part, and German Christmas goodies are well represented. Entrance to the market is free, with a fee for amusement park rides.

10 OF 15


WHERE: Mountain View, California

Mountain View’s traditional Weihnachtsmarkt is a project of the German International School of Silicon Valley. The school, which offers bilingual instruction from preschool through 12th grade, stages the market as a benefit, but admission is free. Although the Weihnachtsmarkt only lasts a single day, it is widely attended in the San Francisco Bay area. Given its association with a school, entertainment includes children’s choirs singing carols in German and English, educational gifts and toys, and German language books for all ages. Small tents decorated with evergreen and twinkling lights sell German tree ornaments, Christmas décor, nutcrackers, and tiny smoking houses. Visitors can snack on German holiday goodies such as stollen, butter cookies, and mulled wine.

11 OF 15

Downtown Holiday Market

WHERE: Washington, D.C.

Washington’s Downtown Holiday Market sits in the shadow of the Smithsonian American Art Museum and National Portrait Gallery, so you can easily combine a weekend of museum hopping and holiday shopping.  Washington’s Downtown Holiday Market follows the German pattern of placing vendors outdoors to sell their gifts from little booths, and you’ll find German cookies and pretzels to nibble on. But this market has a decidedly local feel. Many of its more than 70 vendors represent Black- and minority-owned businesses selling apparel, jewelry, and beauty products. Live music includes not just holiday classics but jazz, blues, and hip-hop, too. And food booths include empanada and BBQ stations.

12 OF 15

A Frankenmuth Christmas

WHERE: Frankenmuth, Michigan

All of Frankenmuth morphs into a Christmas village each winter. It’s only natural given the town’s German roots and its moniker, “Little Bavaria.” There is a proper Christmas market at the center of A Frankenmuth Christmas, located within the city’s farmers market and featuring booths with traditional German gifts and décor. But serious shoppers should continue their gift hunt at Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland, the world’s largest year-round Christmas store with ornaments, nutcrackers, and much, much more sold within a 5-acre building. Next to the store stands the Silent Night Memorial Chapel, an exact replica of the Austrian church where the famous carol originated. Along Main Street, 150 lit Christmas trees surround the city’s largest, a 40-foot tree synchronized in a seven-minute sound and light show. And downtown, Frankenmuth’s boutiques are built in German architectural style, adorned with lights and evergreen wreaths, and sell everything from German beer and cheese to authentic dirndls, wool felt hats, lace, and, of course, Christmas décor.

13 OF 15

Christmas Village

WHERE: Inner Harbor, Baltimore, Maryland

Baltimore’s famous Inner Harbor comes to life with its Christmas Village each winter. At the center of the market stands a 30-foot Glühwein pyramid, the traditional meeting point at Germany’s markets and the place to buy hot beverages. Besides the traditional mulled red wine, the menu includes hot mulled white, blueberry, and apple wines (regional specialties in some parts of Germany) and spiked hot chocolate, cocoa, and coffee. There’s also a carousel and a Ferris wheel. Activities range from reservation-only wine and spirit tastings to meet-and-greets with Santa and the adorable Gingy the Gingerbread, mascot of Baltimore’s Christmas Village. The vendors at Christmas Village sell holiday décor and gifts at both indoor venues and outdoor booths, and the food menu inside the German beer garden is lengthy. Baltimore’s Christmas Village is free on weekdays.

14 OF 15

European Christmas Market

WHERE: St. Paul, Minnesota

St. Paul’s European Christmas Market has taken place near the banks of the Mississippi since 2014, paying homage to the area’s numerous German immigrants. Small vendor booths glow in the dark after sunset, illuminated by Moravian stars and the tiny white lights that decorate their evergreen trimming. Gingerbread, pfeffernüsse cookies, spätzle, and potato pancakes are available for purchase, as well as gifts German and local, from mulled wine spices and ornaments to ice candle luminaries, hand-dipped chocolate berries and pretzels, Nordic-inspired home goods, and copper jewelry. The market’s holiday music is truly a treat, performed on accordion, organ grinder, and ukulele, sung by a cappella and traditional choral groups and danced to by Polish, German, and Czech dancers. The market takes place on weekends and is free.

15 OF 15

Union Square Holiday Market

WHERE: New York City

America’s biggest city is home to its largest German-style market, the Union Square Holiday Market. While the Union Square Holiday Market is inspired by its European counterparts, selling goods outdoors from small wooden vendor booths, the diverse city of New York lends a diverse vibe to its Christmas market. More than 160 vendors attend this pop-up market each year. If you’re dying for German imports, you’ll find them, including traditional blown-glass and wooden ornaments, linens, and illuminated Moravian stars with contemporary designs. Most vendors sell gifts that hail from New York, ranging from jewelry to kitchenware and toys. Snacking takes a global slant at this market, too. Nibble on Italian sandwiches, Korean hot dogs, and holiday cakes.