Christkindlmarket Chicago is an annual Christmas market modeled after the German markets in Nuremberg, Germany, that attracts more than one million visitors per year.
It’s such a popular Chicago holiday tradition that they added a Naperville Christkindlmarket in 2015, and a third location in 2017 at the Park at Wrigley.
While the Naperville location ended in 2019, there is now a Milwaukee event. That just makes sense, considering that city’s giant German population.
If you’re looking to attend these fun and festive events, we’ve got all the information you’ll need to know before you go.
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History of the Christkindlmarket
The Chicago Christkindlmarket traces its roots to the original German festival, which began in Nuremberg in 1545. Four and a half centuries later the German American Chamber of Commerce of the Midwest dreamed of bringing a similar market to Chicago.
In 1996 the first market was held on Pioneer Court, and the following year it moved to Daley Plaza, and it’s been there ever since.
Shopping at Christkindlmarket
When you’re looking for unique gifts for the holidays, or just want something for yourself, you can shop to your heart’s content at this open-air market.
Browse stall after stall of holiday gifts, including toys, decorations, and ornaments.
The vendors come from all over the world. Shopkeepers from Germany, Poland, the Ukraine, Peru, Ecuador, and Canada travel to this Chicago Christmas market.
You can get hand-painted glass ornaments from Ernstthal, wooden Christmas decorations from Dresden, and traditional Slavic nesting dolls from Kharviv.
You can even purchase hand-carved wooden nativity scenes from Bethlehem.
TLTip: The Christkind is an angel that led parades during the holiday season. Traditionally robed in gold and white, she would distribute gifts to children like Santa Claus, even delivering the gifts on December 24 while the kids are still sleeping.
Food & Drink at the Christkindlmarket
The food and drink at the Christkindlmarket is exactly what you’d expect from a German market.
You can get a variety of sausages, sauerkraut, fried potatoes, and potato pancakes. Bratbus from Nurnberg serves recipes that have been handed down for three generations.
There’s a vendor from Stuttgart that offers noodles and kabobs, and the Schnitzelhaus serves schnitzel.
Stop into the Sweet Castle for roasted nuts and gingerbread, as well as chocolates and candy to take home with you. If it gets too cold (hello Chicago winter), you can warm up with tea from TeaGschwendner or some hot spiced wine or Bitburger beer.
Hotels near Christkindlmarket
Since you’re going to the market, why not stay someplace nearby? Here are a few hotels near Christkindlmarket Chicago. Click on the name of each hotel to read reviews and check rates.
- Club Quarters Chicago – reasonably priced club-like accommodations
- Comfort Suites Michigan Avenue – suites complete with full kitchens right on Michigan Avenue
- Hyatt Place Chicago – after a day in the cold, warm up in the heated pool
- JW Marriott Chicago – a luxurious hotel in a building designed by Daniel Burnham
- Kimpton Hotel Allegro – renovated Art Deco hotel in an historic building
- The Silversmith Hotel – slip into a cozy bathrobe in this boutique hotel
- St. Jane Hotel – the former Hard Rock Hotel is reinvented as an homage to Jane Addams
To find discounted parking with Spothero, click on “Edit” below and enter the dates you’ll be visiting Christkindlmarket Chicago:
- Aloft Milwaukee Downtown
- Holiday Inn Milwaukee Riverfront
- Hyatt Regency Milwaukee
- InterContinental Milwaukee
- The Pfister Hotel
- Residence Inn by Marriott Milwaukee Downtown
- SpringHill Suites by Marriott
Christkindlmarket 2020 Dates and Locations
2020 Dates TBD. Check www.christkindlmarket.com for updates.
Christkindlmarket Chicago Daley Plaza, 50 E Washington St November 15 – December 24, 2019 Mon – Thurs 11am to 8pm, Fri – Sun 11am to 9pm Christkindlmarket Wrigleyville Gallagher Way, 3635 N Clark St November 22 – December 31, 2019 Mon – Thurs 3pm to 9pm, Fri & Sat 11am to 10pm, Sun 11am to 7pm Christkindlmarket Milwaukee, Wisconsin Fiserv Forum, 1111 Vel R Phillips Avenue November 15 – December 24, 2019 Sun – Thurs 11am to 8pm, Fri & Sat 11am to 9pm
Christkindlmarket Chicago is one of the most cherished of Chicago holiday traditions. Visit yourself and find out why!