Christkindlmarket Chicago: Your Guide to the Best Holiday Market in the Windy City

Christkindlmarket Chicago is back and better than ever with not one, not two, but THREE locations serving up the tastiest holiday eats and artisan holiday gifts in an authentic, German style holiday market!

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 think about all of the holiday gifts you can check off your list. Each Christkindlmarket location features an extensive collection of Christmas ornaments, cozy winter wear, holiday toys and of course the must-get of the season: the Christkindlmarket mugs!

Christkindlmarket Mug

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 18 – December 24

  • Sundays – Thursdays: 11am – 8pm
  • Fridays – Saturdays: 11am – 9pm

Special Opening Hours:
Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve: 11am – 4pm

Wrigleyville Chicago Christkindlmarket

Gallagher Way, 3635 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60613

November 18 – December 31

  • Mondays – Thursdays: 3pm – 9pm
  • Fridays – Saturdays: 11am – 10pm
  • Sundays: 11am – 7pm

Special Opening Hours:
Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, and New Year’s Eve: 11am – 4pm
Nov. 21 & 28: 12pm-9pm
Dec. 26-29: 11am – 9pm

Aurora Christkindlmarket

RiverEdge Park, 360 N. Broadway, Aurora, IL 60505

November 18 – December 24

  • Thursdays: 11am – 7pm
  • Fridays – Saturdays: 11am – 9pm
  • Sundays: 11am – 6pm

Special Opening Hours:
Dec. 19-21: 11am – 7pm
Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve: 11am-4pm

Whichever Christkindlmarket you decide to visit (why not all 3?!), admission is FREE!

Pro tip: You can rent out a private heated timber tent for a special occasion; more info here!

Chicago Christkindlmarket Sights

Ornament Vendors

Chicago Holiday Shopping

What better way to get into the holiday spirit than buying a few new ornaments for your tree? All Christkindlmarkets have ornament vendors galore with beautiful hand-crafted ornaments. I was especially taken with a gorgeous Chicago Bean ornament (pictured above).

Though if you want to go for a more classic ornament look, they have those as well!

Christkindlmarket Chicago Ornaments

You can get a sneak peak of the ornaments that will make an appearance at Chicago’s Christkindlmarket or even order them online on the Frank’s Ornament House website.

Nutcracker Vendors

Christkindlmarket Nutcrackers

Why leave the area next to your Christmas tree neglected when you can get the most adorable nutcrackers at Chicago’s Christkindlmarket!

These ornate nutcrackers come in a variety of sizes. The large ones are pricey, but considering the workmanship that goes into each one, I think they’re worth it. I really fell for the sweet little guy pictured above in his on-trend brown outfit.

Pro tip: 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 recreate the magical vibes of the holidays in Germany 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 have no problem finding the perfect Bavarian vibe for your home.

Even if you’re not in the market for a cuckoo clock I recommend stopping into Kuckuckuhren for their candle holders (shown above). The designs are absolutely gorgeous and would look phenomenal on your coffee table or dining table during the holidays!

Daley Plaza Picasso

Daley Plaza Picasso

Take a moment out of your holiday shopping to stop and admire the Daley Plaza Picasso that looms over the holiday scene at Chicago’s downtown Christkindlmarket.

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!

Whenever I’m at this holiday market, I enjoy 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 and gifted it to Chicago for free!

Chicago Christkindlmarket Eats

Dinkel’s Bakery

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 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, and it pairs beautifully with their hot cocoa!

Hot Spiced Wine

Some come to Christkindlmarket for the hot chocolate, others for the Glühwein (German hot spiced wine)! Though I lean towards hot chocolate, getting a mug of Glühwein at Chicago’s Christkindlmarket is extremely popular.

You can get Glühwein or hot chocolate in a souvenir mug, which also makes for a great holiday gift (I’ve been collecting these mugs for years)!

If you’re starting to feel the chill during your visit to the market, there’s nothing better than Glühwein to warm you up. Holding a mug of hot spiced wine is better than mittens!

Fun fact: The Christkindlmarket souvenir mug dates back to the first Christkindlmarket in 1996, and if you collected all the mugs available since then you’d have 25 official mugs (not counting this year’s)!

Pretzel Haus

Pretzels Christkindlmarket

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 really excels when it comes to their stuffed pretzels like the pizza pretzel stuffed with mozzarella and tomato sauce.

And if you’re still not over all things pumpkin, get the pumpkin stuffed pretzel. Sounds weird, but it actually works!

Schnitzel & Potato Pancake House

Christkindlmarket Food

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.

Baked Cheese Haus

Baked Cheese Haus hails from the cheese state (Wisconsin) and comes to Chicago’s Christkindlmarket with one mission: to fill your plates with 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 bite into this hearty sandwich.

Christkindlmarket Restaurants

What are you most excited to see and eat at Chicago’s Christkindlmarket? Are you going for a warming mug of Glühwein 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!

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