Prepare for the smell of roasted nuts, fresh pretzels, bratwurst, hot spiced wine, and festive music beneath the glitter of Christmas lights.
During the winter months, annual traditions like Christkindlmarkt become our shining lights in times of darkness, early nightfall, and chilly temperatures. As Chicago’s notorious winter sweeps through the city the festive season counters it with jubilance and cheer. Which made the absence of sipping Glühwein in Daley Plaza during the pandemic all the harder to swallow.
But worry not, Chicago’s German-inspired annual Christmas market is just around the corner after making a much-needed return last winter! The 26th edition of the beloved Christmas market will take over three locations across town starting this Friday, November 18th.
Keep reading for a look into the annual event, start times, and much more.
This year both the Christkindlmarket at Daley Plaza and the Christkindlmarket Wrigleyville are returning, along a Aurora location– all of which will again be welcoming guests into villages to peruse handmade gifts whilst enjoying German food and beverages beneath the snowflakes and glistening lights.
Prepare for the smell of roasted nuts, fresh pretzels, bratwurst, hot spiced wine, and the magic of festive music all in the coziest of atmospheres. The annual souvenir mug is a fun keepsake, and the perfect way to keep you warm as you wander around the space. Grab a hot spiced wine and head to the booths for the perfect holiday gift options. Or, opt for hot chocolate, warm apple cider or any number of tea.
All three markets are set to return on this Friday with The Christkindlmarket in Daley Plaza and Aurora set to remain open through Christmas Eve on December 24 and The Wrigleyville edition in Gallagher Way running until New Year’s Eve.
Since the inaugural Christkindlmarket in 1996, it has become a staple event and grown to be one of Chicago’s biggest tourist attractions during the festive season, usually drawing over 1 million visitors each year. International and local vendors flock to help provide an authentic and atmospheric experience at the German-style outdoor market.
Delicacies such as mulled wine imported from Germany, cheerful live entertainment, and a unique shopping experience make the Christkindlmarket a much-anticipated festive highlight.
What are the market hours?
Sundays through Thursdays from 11 AM to 8 PM, Fridays and Saturdays from 11 AM to 9 PM, and special hours on Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve from11 AM to 4 PM
Fridays and Saturdays from 11 AM to 10 PM, and Sundays from 11 AM to 7 PM with special hours including Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve AND New Year’s Eve from 11 AM to 4 PM, November, 21 & November 28 from 2 PM to 9 PM and December 26-29 from 11 AM to 9 PM.
Thursdays: 11 AM to 7 PM, Fridays and Saturdays from 11 AM to 9 PM, and Sundays from 11 AM to 6 PM. Special opening hours include December 19th through December 21st from 11 AM to 7 PM and Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve from 11 AM to 4 PM.
As for what visitors can expect, the market is basically the embodiment of Christmas cheer with an old-school feel. Festive booths sell hundreds of handmade items from sparkly ornaments to intricate hand carved lights, to booths bustling with spiced cider, fragrant teas from Chicago Teahouse, Himalayan Chai, and Chiya Chai, and other cheerful gifting options like advent calendars, hand-woven scarves, wooden figurines, and hand painted ornaments shipped from Germany.
For those who can’t make it down to Chicago’s Christkindlmarket events, there will be a virtual marketplace on the event’s website offering delivery nearer to the opening dates.
Daley Plaza, 50 W Washington St, Chicago, IL 60602
Gallagher Way, 3635 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60613
Aurora RiverEdge Park, 360 N. Broadway, Aurora, IL 60505
[Featured image from Shutterstock]