Christkindlmarket Chicago is back and better than ever with two locations serving up the tastiest holiday eats and artisan holiday gifts in an authentic German-style holiday market! The Grinch (aka COVID) stole Christmas last year when Christkindlmarket was cancelled, but this year we’re rallying!
Imagine delicious German holiday classics like pretzels and spiced cakes, steaming mugs of hot cocoa and Glühwein, and one-of-a-kind holiday gifts
If the magic of spiced cakes, fresh pretzels, and hot cocoa isn’t enough to lure you to Christkindlmarket consider all of the holiday shopping you can knock out in one go. The market features an extensive collection of Christmas ornaments, cozy winter-wear, holiday toys and of course the must-get of the season: the Christkindlmarket mugs!
I’ve rounded up the best sights and eats at Chicago’s Christkindlmarkets to help you navigate the experience and make the most of your time. But first, let’s start with where the Christkindlmarkets are and when you can visit.
Chicago Christkindlmarket Locations and Operating Hours
Downtown Chicago Christkindlmarket
Daley Plaza, 50 W Washington St, Chicago, IL
November 19 – December 24, 2021
- Sundays – Thursdays: 11am – 8pm
- Fridays – Saturdays: 11am – 10pm
Special Opening Hours
Thanksgiving, November 25 & Christmas Eve, December 24: 11am – 4pm
Wrigleyville Chicago Christkindlmarket
Gallagher Way, 3635 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60613
November 19 – December 31, 2021
Mondays – Thursdays: 3pm – 9pm
Fridays – Saturdays: 11am – 10pm
Sundays: 11am – 7pm
Special Opening Hours:
Thanksgiving, November 25 & Christmas Eve, December 24: 11am – 4pm
Christmas Day, December 25: Closed
New Year’s Eve, December 31: 11am – 4pm
Whichever Christkindlmarket you decide to visit (why not both?!), admission is FREE!
Pro tip: Check the Christkindlmarket online events calendar to see what special performances are happening during your visit like festive alpine brass band and ballet performances!
Chicago Christkindlmarket Sights
What better way to get into the holiday spirit than buying a few new ornaments for your tree?! Both Christkindlmarkets have ornament vendors galore with beautiful hand-crafted baubles. I was especially taken with the gorgeous Chicago Bean ornament shown above.
Though if you want to go for a more classic design, they have those as well!
This year you can even preorder the first ever Christkindlmarket Ornament — a hand-painted, glass-blown ornament featuring “a Christkindlmarket scene with the famous red and white striped vendor booths and a shimmering tree” along with a city skyline in the background. The ornament is handcrafted in Poland and costs $35.
If you also want to adorn the area next to your Christmas tree Christkindlmarket has the most adorable nutcrackers in all shapes and sizes!
The large ones are pricey, but considering the workmanship that goes into each one, I think they’re worth it. I was particularly taken with this sweet little guy in his brown outfit (very on-trend fit for 2021!).
The Eastern European Treasures booth is my favorite nutcracker vendor at Christkindlmarket. Don’t miss this one!
Kuckuckuhren German Cuckoo Clock Maker
There’s no better way to bring the magical feel of the holidays in Germany into your home than with a hand-crafted cuckoo clock from Kuckuckuhren German Cuckoo Clock Maker. Like the nutcrackers, the clocks come in many shapes, sizes, and designs so you’ll definitely find the perfect Bavarian vibe for your home.
Even if you’re not in the market for a cuckoo clock I highly recommend stopping into Kuckuckuhren for their candle holders (shown above). The designs are absolutely gorgeous and intricate and would look phenomenal on your coffee table around the holidays!
Daley Plaza Picasso
Take a moment out of your holiday shopping frenzy to stop and admire the Daley Plaza Picasso that looms over the holiday scene. If you’re visiting the market with kids, they’ll love climbing and sliding down this giant sculpture. It’s a great way to burn off those sweet treats!
I love walking around the Picasso sculpture while photographing it from interesting angles with the holiday decorations in frame. A photo of Chicago’s Christkindlmarket with the Picasso sculpture makes for a wonderful souvenir.
Fun fact: Picasso refused to accept payment for creating this sculpture; instead he called it a gift to the city of Chicago!
Chicago Christkindlmarket Eats
Dinkel’s Bakery is a Chicago Christkindlmarket institution, and I don’t consider my trip here complete until I’ve had their velvety hot cocoa and their famous stollen.
Stollen is a traditional German sweet bread that’s eaten during the Christmas season. And Dinkel’s World Famous Stollen is based on a recipe that dates all the way back to the 1800’s!
The hand-shaped dough is full of almonds, cashews, pineapple chunks, and golden raisins with a light dusting of powdered sugar or cinnamon sugar after it comes out of the oven. Dinkel’s rich, doughy stollen is a Christkindlmarket must-try, and it pairs beautifully with their hot cocoa!
Pro tip: Speaking of sweet treats, the first 5,000 Christkindlmarket Chicago guests on Saturday, November 20 will be receive a free sample of Germany’s beloved Bahlsen Choco Leibniz cookie! And if you miss that date, if can also get a free sample if you’re one of the first 4,500 guests on Thursday, December 5!
Hot Spiced Wine
Some come for the hot chocolate, others for theGlühwein (German hot spiced wine), and some come for both! Though I lean towards hot cocoa, getting a mug of Glühwein at Chicago’s Christkindlmarket is extremely popular. And this year you can get it in one of two souvenir mugs!
If you’re starting feel the chill during your visit to the market, there’s nothing better than Glühwein to warm you right up. Holding a mug of hot spiced wine is better than mittens!
Pro tip: This year’s Christkindlmarket mug designs include a tall flute with the market’s iconic red-and-white wooden booths as well as Peppermint Penguin — a dapper penguin in a butler’s dress coat carrying a towel with a take on the Chicago flag. The Penguin mug is sure to be a popular option for non-alcoholic drinks like hot chocolate!
If you want to balance out all those sweet eats and drinks with something savory stop by Pretzel Haus. Not only do they have one of the cutest booths at Christkindlmarket, they also serve up a wide variety of authentic pretzels from Bad Oeynhausen, Germany!
You can’t go wrong with the traditional pretzels, but Pretzel Haus’s really excels when it comes to their stuffed pretzels like the pizza pretzel is stuffed with mozzarella and tomato sauce.
And if you really want to go full on fall ya’ll basic, get the pumpkin stuffed pretzel. Sounds weird, but it works!
Schnitzel & Potato Pancake House
Since we’re already on a holiday market carb binge, why not double down with potato pancakes (aka kartoffelpuffer) from Schnitzel & Potato Pancake House. Get these greasy delights with apple sauce and sour cream for the full experience.
Pro tip: For a VIP-style Christkindlmarket experience, consider making a Stammtisch booking (Stammtisch means “table for regulars” in German). You can reserve an indoor, festively-decorated table at the market for lunch or dinner. You’ll also get to enjoy your favorite dishes and beverages without having to wait in line!
Baked Cheese Haus
Baked Cheese Haus hails from the cheese state (Wisconsin) and comes to Chicago’s Christkindlmarkets with one mission: to fill your plates with their delectable cheesy creations like the toasty baked cheese and the hot melty Raclette.
I recommend you save up some stomach real estate for the Raclette. It’s a traditional Alpine cheese, melted and scrapped off the wheel onto crusty bread, and oh myyyy is it tasty. You’ll be transported to Switzerland as you bit into this hearty sandwich.
What are you most excited to see and eat at Chicago’sChristkindlmarkets? Are you going for a warming mug ofGlühwein or a hot chocolate?!
Whatever holiday drinks and treats you’re into, you’ll find them here. So get ready to eat, drink, and be merry at the best holiday market in the Windy City!
Pro tip: If you’re so excited that you just can’t wait for Christkindlmarkets’ official opening, you can buy tickets to an exclusive preview event on Nov. 18 — ‘Twas the Night Before Christkindlmarket ($65 per person). This is the official opening ceremony, “complete with a visit from Christkind and performances from the Canterbury Carolers and the Alpine Brass Band.” The ticket also includes a 2021 souvenir mug, a light-up celebration necklace, as well as an entrée, a dessert and two drink coupons!
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