A strong German heritage and love of good old-fashioned holiday spirit has blessed America with yuletide festivities pulled straight out of the Old World. If you’re a fan of dazzling trees, twinkling lights, and lots of seasonal fare, plan a trip to the top five Christmas markets in the USA.
1. Christkindlmarkt – Leavenworth, Washington
Downright magical in its alpine setting, Leavenworth’s Christkindlmarkt stands as one of the nation’s finest. Head into the small town’s center and peruse the array of craft stands and gift shops lining the streets, offering everything from gingerbread cookies and bratwurst to handmade ornaments and housewares. Kids and adults alike can let the creativity flow at the lantern workshop, and then join in with their new handiwork during the market’s lantern parade. The Christmas fun is amplified by Leavenworth’s Bavarian-style architecture and charming main street, all illuminated with colorful lights. Topped off with a fresh layer of snow and surrounded by mountain scenery, this market is one you won’t want to miss.
Try exploring this Leavenworth itinerary for some solid local sightseeing ideas and things to do around town.
2. Downtown Holiday Market – Washington, D.C.
Washington might be in political gridlock, but its Christmas market game is top-notch. Located near the National Portrait Gallery, D.C.’s Downtown Holiday Market is a bustling conglomeration of outdoor stalls. You’ll find much more than just sweet treats and hearty street food here: specialty clothing, gorgeous jewelry, handmade crafts, and stunning artwork make up only a fraction of the offerings. There’s also a big emphasis on music, and performances from many different artists top off the holiday atmosphere with a healthy dose of jingle-bell rock.
Discover other things to do in the nation’s capital by perusing this Washington, D.C. itinerary.
3. Christkindlmarkt – Arlington, Texas
Though only inaugurated in 2011, Arlington’s Texas-sized Christkindlmarkt has certainly made up for lost time. Strolling the street, you’ll pass tents displaying arts, crafts, and souvenirs, so keep an eye open for that perfect Christmas gift. German foods straight from the homeland abound, too: save your appetite for schnitzel, bratwursts, and tasty desserts along the way. You can even stop by the warming hut for a while to fight off the chill of those winter nights. If you’re in Arlington with the kids, be sure to swing by the Santa Haus to hand off Christmas lists directly to the big man himself. Alternatively, enjoy the company of goats and other cute critters at the petting zoo.
Have a look at this Arlington itinerary for inspiration on other sightseeing options in the area.
4. Union Square Holiday Market – New York City, New York
Smack dab in the heart of Manhattan, the Union Square Holiday Market features all of the glitz you’d expect from New York City. Packed with aisle after aisle of artisan booths, gift stands, artwork, and more, the market has plenty of bustle adding to its festive atmosphere. (The killer location in famed Union Square doesn’t hurt, either.) Grab a gift for friends or family from one of the many vendors offering handmade home and holiday items, or even pick up some locally produced foodstuffs. Afterwards, you can indulge in street food and warm drinks, inspired by the city’s melting pot of cultures.
Check out this New York City itinerary to explore other local attractions and sightseeing ideas.
5. Christkindlmarkt – Chicago, Illinois
Hosted downtown in the city’s Daley Plaza, Chicago’s beloved Christkindlmarkt ranks as the largest of its kind in the entire country. It harkens to the famed holiday market of Nuremberg, Germany, featuring a gigantic Christmas tree and plenty of stalls offering seasonal crafts and souvenirs from international vendors. Of course, no market would be complete without healthy servings of German food, which Chicago’s bustling fair provides in abundance. After browsing for ornaments, grab a bratwurst or some warming mulled wine and enjoy the cheerful beat of a brass band.
Browsing this Chicago itinerary can give you some great ideas on other places to visit while in town.
Few holiday outings can compete with a world-class Christmas market, offering a great chance to both indulge in seasonal treats and explore some of the top places to visit in the United States. Get into the holiday spirit at the best Christmas markets in the USA, and plan your trip with Inspirock so you can see and do more along the way.