Chicago’s Christkindlmarket: Daley Plaza’s German Christmas Market Sells Crafts, Food, and Wine

For those who can’t make it to Germany’s charming Christmas markets this season, a variant of the warmly decorated huts selling everything from steaming glühwein and sauerkraut to Black Forest clocks and warm wool hats can be found annually in Chicago. The 2009 Christkindlmarket marks 14 years of Chicago’s German holiday tradition.

Chicago’s Christkindlmarket Vendors and Gifts

Market vendors come from all over the world to offer Chicagoans and faraway visitors original handicrafts and country specialities, whether they be food or non-edible gifts. Long lines snake their way to the popular glühwein vendors who specialize in making the traditional, hot spiced drink made to warm browsing market-goers from frigid Chicago temperatures.

The Christkindlmarket makes a great stop for lunch, dinner, or even a quick snack. German specialties like schnitzel, sauerkraut, and sausages, not to mention sweet chocolate covered fruit and marzipan can be found at vendor stalls. As an American touch, hot dogs, fries, and pizza are also sold. German beer and wine tents are a welcome respite from the cold. As a reminder to visitors, all open alcohol must remain on the premises.

Chicago’s Christkindlmarket makes holiday shopping a bit easier and more pleasant than going into a string of stores, as many of the market vendors display just that: unique gifts for children, women, and men. German vendors offer hand-blown glass holiday decorations, ornaments, cuckoo clocks, beer steins, and lace items, while Russian, Polish, Irish, Ecuadorian, Nepalese, and Moroccan vendors display specialty items from their respective countries.

Directions to Chicago’s Christkindlmarket in Daley Plaza

As parking is difficult to find near Daley Plaza, public transportation is preferable. Once in Chicago, the red line “L” train to the Lake stop or the blue line to the Washington/Dearborn stop gets visitors within a few blocks of the market. Located at 50 W. Washington Street, the Christkindlmarket is difficult to miss with its giant Christmas tree, red and white striped vendor stalls, and Daley Plaza’s signature untitled Picasso sculpture.

Chicago’s Christkindlmarket Dates and Hours

Opening on November 25 with the Christmas tree lighting ceremony and ending on December 24, Christmas Eve, the Christkindlmarket has regular daily hours:

Sunday – Thursday: 11:00 am to 8:00 pm

Friday and Saturday: 11:00 am to 9:00 pm

Chicago’s Christkindlmarket presents a welcome festive atmosphere to the city’s normally busy streets. People from all over the world come to browse original gifts, sip glühwein from the market’s signature green boot mug, taste German flavor from a variety of dishes and be transported into another, not only German, but international holiday environment.


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