If you are anything like me the thought of Christmas markets is exciting, and almost turns you into an eager kid again. Nothing is more likely to get you in the mood for the festive season then a good ole’ traditional Christmas Market.
Visiting Christmas markets in the US or around the world makes a great weekend get-away or a longer vacation. So, whether you are looking to take a trip to Europe and visit a traditional Christmas market or stay on this side of the pond and visit some Christmas markets here in the USA let me tell you some of the most amazing ones from here to there.
Old Town Christmas Market; Innsbruck, Austria
It’s a given that the first one I’ll tell you about is in Austria. Where else would we begin? I’m going to take you to a wondrous snow- covered mountain in Innsbruck, Austria. Twinkling lights make this location known as Fairy tale lane; a romantic setting for some holiday shopping with your love. The aroma of freshly made “Kiachln” (which is a piping hot doughnut laced with Sauerkaut) fill the air as the sound of Christmas carols keep you humming along. The Christmas mood has been set and you may not want to leave. This incredible Christmas market starts November 15th to the 23rd of December, and 70 booths occupy the space for your shopping fun!
Koziers Christmas Village, Pennsylvania
As you are driving a dark country backroad and probably wondering if you are in the right place, you’ll go over one last hill and come across a valley with a lake that reflects millions of glistening tiny colored lights. It’s absolutely memorizing the dazzling valley you have come across is not only a stunning spectacle to see but Kozier’s Christmas market that has been running for over 70 years. Hours of operation start the first Saturday in November to January 1st. If you are in the area, I defiantly suggest you stop and shop at this amazing Christmas market.
Gardens by the Bay’s Christmas Market, Singapore
Experience snow in the tropics you ask, yes, you can! Where Santa is magic happens. With an array of activities including games and rides this Christmas market is one of the world’s largest. Wander through the 24 specially designed wooden huts and the romantic ‘Mistletoe Alley’. You will see 360,000 lights that will illuminate the entire fairground, including Asia’s tallest luminaire Christmas tree. Come for the shopping and stay for the Christmas parade, Yuletide food, and adult drinks. Runs November 29th to December 26th.
Christkindl market, Chicago IL
While shopping the loop in Chicago, don’t pass by the Christkindl market inspired by a 16th century market in Nuremberg, Germany. Taste some German cuisine, grab a German beer or warm up with a cup of Glühwein that also comes with a mug to take home. Visitors can explore vendors' products from all around the world! Opens November 15th and runs through December 23rd.
Slow market, Stellenbosch, Africa
Are you hearing jingle bells yet? Is that Christmas spirit kicking in? I hope so, it’s time to spread some joy in South Africa. Named the 5th best Christmas market in the top 50 Christmas markets in the world I bring you “Stellenbosch, Christmas Market.” You are probably wondering, “South Africa? Its summer there.” Don’t fear, this must see Christmas market offers all the goodies you would want. From gingerbread houses to 100% raw chocolate, this market has it. You will find plenty of gift inspiration, cakes, Christmas trifle, and mulled wine. It is one weekend in early December, so check the webpage for exact dates.
Zagreb Advent, Zagreb Croatia
If you want to go way out to get that Christmas feeling, Zagreb Croatia is taken over with Christmas spirit. In-between finding lovely gifts and gazing at the beautiful lights you can go ice skating indoors, while your kiddos can have a great time on rides. Shop a little (or a lot) then dance the night away with the musical program. So, forget about your everyday stresses, give into the smell of gingerbread and mulled wine, head over to the capital of Croatia and have some genuine Christmas street fun!
Christkindlmarkt, Leavenworth, Washington
A magical place to spend the holiday is the Chriskindlmarkt in Leavenworth, Washington is the place you’re looking for. This Bavarian-inspired village puts on many fun-filled holiday festivities. Find a wide variety of German gifts, food, a lantern parade and plenty of Christmas themed entertainment. This Christkindlmarkt runs Thanksgiving weekend. You don’t want to miss it!
Enchant. St Petersburg Florida
Enchant reinvented the corn maze with a delightful light maze! Imagine winding your way through the worlds largest light maze. This Christmas market has over 40 artists and international flare. Each of the artisan huts has special gifts; you’ll be sure to find what your looking for or maybe even something you didn’t know you were looking for. If it’s an ice skating break you are looking for you will be enchanted at every turn on the river of ice where you will skate through larger than life light displays.
Ice Village, Amsterdam
Amsterdam turns into a magical winter wonderland during their Christmas Market. Adorable wooden chalets with the Rijksmuseum as a backdrop is phenomenal. The perfect place for families to enjoy Dutch fun. Located next to a ice skate rink the atmosphere is fun and festive. Get on your shopping shoes and grab some ice skates to spend the day shopping and playing games. Don’t forget to take in the Amsterdam light show where the streets and canal are decorated now only with lights but work from many different local and international artists. The Market runs from Dec. 13th to Dec. 24th.
This bring us to my last recommendation. Now, it may not be in the top 50 Christmas markets…yet but is near and dear to me. With this the second year running it defiantly is the place to be. Located in the Deer district this traditional Christmas market is just what you expect. The cute wooden chalets lined up, Tents with some specialty shops (Don’t forget to buy some German candy and cookies), and Delicious German foods all in the beautiful heart of Milwaukee. I even got an adorable souvenir mug. While you are there take a walk through the Third Ward for some more amazing food and shopping, check out the decorated parks, and stop in front of the city hall to check out the Christmas tree. So, stop by, pick up some gifts, grab a glass of Glühwein and enjoy the city, don’t forget to drive past the lake front which is beautiful all year!