Editor’s note: This was originally published in 2017 and has been updated to reflect the current dates.
Think you need to travel all the way to Germany to experience the festivities of a Christkindlmarket? Guess again. There are three markets in the Chicagoland area that recreate the joy and community of Christkindlmarket. So bundle up (all markets are held outside, rain, snow or shine), and look forward to savoring a hot mug of cocoa (or mulled wine) and traditional German food and entertainment while browsing stalls full of handmade, imported goods and sweets. Admission is free at all locations.
Christkindlemarket Naperville is a wonderful way to experience the traditional German market but in the western suburbs. Held on the grounds of the historic Naper Settlement, I love the cozy feel this market offers. I also appreciate not having to battle city traffic and the downtown Chicago parking experience. This market offers all of the same benefits of the Chicago location — food, libations and vendors, and even the collectible, commemorative mugs.
Christkindlmarket Naperville features two large, heated tents with indoor seating (also ramp accessible for strollers), a great selection of food and beverages, and over twenty vendors. Food options include bratwurst, sausages, pretzels, potato pancakes, sauerkraut, cheese, and authentic German desserts. Both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages are served, including beers, Glühwein (served in the special commemorative mugs), cider, and hot chocolate. Even kids can join in the food festivities with a cup of Kinderglühwein (non-alcoholic, of course) or hot cocoa in a special souvenir mug. Be sure to bring cash for your food and beverage purchases; not all vendors accept credit cards. Find the full schedule of events online for Christkindlmarket Naperville.
This market is only open weekdays during December 18th to the 21st. While you are in Naperville, visit the nearby Naperville Riverwalk and downtown Naperville with many great places to shop and dine. And learn more about Naper Settlement and its 48-year history in Naperville here.
Naper Settlement, 523 S. Webster St., Naperville
Open Select days from November 23 – December 24
In its 23rd year, Christkindlmarket Chicago is a Chicago institution. This market is located at Daley Plaza, in the Loop between Washington, Clark and Dearborn Streets. The downtown Chicago location provides the same charm of an authentic German market but in the middle of the bustling city. This market is larger than the suburban Naperville location and offers weekday hours throughout the holiday season. Check the schedule of events for information about entertainment and special events.
This market tends to be more crowded during the evening, and finding a place to sit down and eat with young children can be a challenge. The indoor spaces can be narrow and difficult to navigate with strollers, and in the ornament shops, there are many fragile items within reach — I recommend scouting out the larger shops ahead of the kids. Remember to bring cash for all of your food and beverage purchases; not all vendors accept credit cards.
If you are interested in taking in a few more sights while in the city, take a walk over to Macy’s on State Street to see the holiday window decorations. The inside of the store is also decorated beautifully during the holidays.
Daley Plaza, 50 W. Washington Street, Chicago (located between Washington, Clark and Dearborn Streets.)
Open November 16 – December 24, 2018
11:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. Sunday through Thursday,
11:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and
11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Christkindlmarket Park at Wrigley
The Christkindlmarket Wrigleyville at Gallagher Way will be closed in 2018 due to construction.
For a smaller, neighborhood version of Christkindlmarket, try visiting the inaugural Christkindlmarket Park at Wrigley on the city’s north side (literally, located in the park area just outside of Wrigley Field). There is also a seasonal ice rink open here, The Rink at Winterland at The Park, and other activities scheduled during the holiday season. Here you will also find authentic German food and drinks, vendors and other scheduled activities.
Please note that public parking is very limited at The Park at Wrigley; visitors are strongly encouraged to take public transportation.
Christkindlmarket Park at Wrigley
3637 N. Clark St., Chicago
CLOSED FOR 2018
To share more about Christkindlmarket with your children before you go, download the official 2018 Christkindlmarket Scavenger Hunt. Be sure to join the Kinder Club (geared toward kids ages 14 and younger) in advance for special offers and information.
Has your family experienced a Christkindlmarket? Which one is your favorite?