With just a week to go before Christmas, many shoppers are jamming stores and spending hours online looking for the perfect gift. Maybe it is time for them to head to the splendid Christmas Markets that are popping up all over America. This would be the perfect way to find unique gifts and get totally into the holiday spirit.
Travel + Leisure has picked some of the best Christmas Markets in America. Here are a few of the ones that I would love to visit.
1. Winter Village at Bryant Park (New York City)
Located in midtown New York in the shadow of the Empire State Building, the Winter Village offers everything from winter apparel and jewelry to decorations and seasonal foods in more than 125 boutique shops dotting Bryant Park’s tree-lined paths.
Selling Point: A central ice-skating rink offers free admission (though rental skates will cost you) and special skating shows, transforming the park into a winter wonderland.
2. Downtown Holiday Market (Washington, D.C.)
From ice cream made with liquid nitrogen to piping-hot donuts, this annual market goes beyond European food traditions, taking the kind of worldly approach you’d expect in D.C. Located on F Street in front of the Smithsonian American Art Museum and National Portrait Gallery, this festive market counts more than 150 artists and crafters selling handmade goods like pottery, paintings, photo prints, and textiles.
What to Try: Spice up your Christmas outing with a savory Peruvian-style empanada from Alexa’s, and finish it off with hot cinnamon-dusted, cream-filled churros.
3. Christkindlmarket (Chicago)
Weißwurst, Frankfurter, Nürnberg, Thüringer, Landjäger, and currywurst: just a few sausages among the 70-plus types of food you can sample at this Christmas market. And they aren’t the only authentic German items for sale. Cuckoo clocks from the Black Forest region, lace from Plauen, glass ornaments from Lauschaer, and wood carvings from the Erzgebirge are examples cited by Maren Biester, vice president of German American Services, Inc., which has organized the market for roughly two decades.
What to Buy: Christkindlmarket Chicago’s Annual Mug, which bears the current year and a special design, cup color, and shape.
4. Georgetown Christmas Market (Colorado)
Donning sparkling lights and decorative greenery, historic Georgetown has been running its Christmas market for more than 50 years, with carolers in Victorian costumes, horse-drawn wagon rides, pre-Christmas appearances by St. Nicholas, and a Nordic-inspired Saint Lucia Children’s Procession. Alongside roasted chestnuts and mulled wine, you’ll find locally produced Colorado wine and Victorian antiques for sale.
Selling Point: The Christmas Market Crawl held every Saturday during the market’s run. This festive take on a pub crawl will have you sampling traditional wassail, glühwein, local wines, and other hot drinks from various vendors.
5. The Great Dickens Christmas Fair (San Francisco)
Journey back in time to Victorian London at this fair, where more than 120,000 square feet of space is converted into a miniature London Town with winding lanes, actors dressed in silk brocades, vests, and top hats, street vendors hawking roasted chestnuts, and lamplit shops selling pewter jewelry and Christmas ornaments.
Selling Point: Inspired by A Christmas Carol and other notable works by the 19th-century English writer Charles Dickens, the fair immerses you in his books and stories brought to life through characters like Ebenezer Scrooge, theater plays, and other staged activities. Tickets provide access to all entertainment.