Christkindlmarket Chicago is an annual Christmas market modeled after the German markets in Nuremberg, Germany, that attracts more than one million visitors per year.

It's such a popular Chicago holiday tradition that they added a Naperville Christkindlmarket in 2015, and a third location in 2017 at the Park at Wrigley. While the Wrigleyville location won't be returning in 2018, they've added a Milwaukee event. That just makes sense, considering that city's giant German population.

If you're looking to attend this fun and festive event, we've got all the information you'll need to know before you go.

Christkindlmarket Chicago

History of the Christkindlmarket

The Chicago Christkindlmarket traces its roots to the original German festival, which began in Nuremberg in 1545. Four and a half centuries later the German American Chamber of Commerce of the Midwest dreamed of bringing a similar market to Chicago.

In 1996 the first market was held on Pioneer Court, and the following year it moved to Daley Plaza, and it's been there ever since.

German steins at the Christkindlmarket in downtown Chicago

 

Vendor at Christkindlmarket in downtown Chicago

Shopping at the Christkindlmarket

When you're looking for unique gifts for the holidays, or just want something for yourself, you can shop to your heart's content at this open-air market. Browse stall after stall of holiday gifts, including toys, decorations, and ornaments. The vendors come from all over the world. Shopkeepers from Germany, Poland, the Ukraine, Peru, Ecuador, and Canada travel to this Chicago Christmas market.

You can get hand-painted glass ornaments from Ernstthal, wooden Christmas decorations from Dresden, and traditional Slavic nesting dolls from Kharviv. You can even purchase hand-carved wooden nativity scenes from Bethlehem.

TLTip: The Christkind is an angel that led parades during the holiday season. Traditionally robed in gold and white, she would distribute gifts to children like Santa Claus, even delivering the gifts on December 24 while the kids are still sleeping. 

Nuts and candy vendor at the Christkindlmarket in Daley Plaza in downtown Chicago

Food & Drink at the Christkindlmarket

The food and drink at the Christkindlmarket is exactly what you'd expect from a German market. You can get a variety of sausages, sauerkraut, fried potatoes, and potato pancakes. Bratbus from Nurnberg serves recipes that have been handed down for three generations.

There's a vendor from Stuttgart that offers noodles and kabobs, and the Schnitzelhaus serves schnitzel. Stop into the Sweet Castle for roasted nuts and gingerbread, as well as chocolates and candy to take home with you. If it gets too cold (hello Chicago winter), you can warm up with tea from TeaGschwendner or some hot spiced wine or Bitburger beer.

Christkindlmarket Naperville

Hotels near Christkindlmarket

Since you're going to the market, why not stay someplace nearby? Here are a few hotels near Christkindlmarket Chicago, Naperville, and Milwaukee. Click on the name of each hotel to read reviews and check rates.

Chicago

To find discounted parking with Spothero, click on "Edit" below and enter the dates you'll be visiting Christkindlmarket Chicago:

Naperville

Milwaukee

Christkindlmarket 2018 Dates and Locations

  • Christkindlmarket Chicago
    • Daley Plaza, 50 E Washington St
    • November 16 - December 24, 2018
    • Mon - Thurs 11am to 8pm, Fri - Sun 11am to 9pm
  • Christkindlmarket Naperville
    • Naper Settlement, 523 S Webster Street
    • November 23 - December 24, 2018
    • Thursday through Sunday only
      • Thursday 11am to 7pm
      • Friday - Saturday 11am to 9pm
      • Sunday 11am to 6pm
      • Also open December 17 - 20 11am to 8pm and December 24 11am to 4pm
  • Christkindlmarket Milwaukee, Wisconsin
    • Fiserv Forum, 1111 Vel R Phillips Avenue 
    • November 17 - December 31, 2018

 

Christkindlmarket Chicago is one of the most cherished of Chicago holiday traditions. Visit yourself and find out why!

One of Chicago's most cherished holiday traditions is the Christkindlmarket. Check out this guide to know before you go.