The holiday season is simply not complete without a visit to a Christmas market, a steaming cup of hot chocolate in your hands, festive tunes in your ears, and an abundance of shopping opportunities for everyone on your list. You'll find it all in Chicago, where the Christmas markets make for postcard-perfect scenes. These are our favorites:
This traditional German-American market is the largest open-air Christmas festival in Chicago. Located in the heart of the city, you can expect to find some of the best gifts and food in the area (think: hand-made pewter ornaments, German cookies, silk scarves from Nepal, and Celtic-inspired woolens). Because of its popularity, 2016 will be the first year the market will be open at a second location: in the Chicago suburb of Naperville, about an hour drive out of the city.
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For more information on the market, head to the Christkindlmarket website.
Randolph Street Market
The Randolph Street Market offers a solid mix of one-of-a-kind gift options, including antiques, jewelry, and housewares for all budgets. The market spans three weekends: November 19 and 20, November 26 and 27, and December 10 and 11. The cherry on top? Free gift wrapping.
For more information on the schedule and vendors, head to the Randolph Street Holiday Market website.
Renegade Craft Fair
This market is perfect for early bird shoppers—and by early bird, we mean those of you who don't wait until Christmas Eve to get all of your shopping done. Taking place December 3 and 4 this year at the Bridgeport Art Center, you'll find booth after booth of young creative types selling incredibly cool items, like leather satchels, hand-woven textiles, and one-of-a-kind pieces of jewelry. Aside from the market in Chicago, Renegade had a number of additional holiday market locations: New York City, Portland, Denver, London, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Austin, and Seattle.
For more information on this market, head to the Chicago Renegrade Holiday Craft Fair website.
Lycée French Market
For one weekend every year, the The Lycée Francais de Chicago campus transforms into a French market. Expect to find home goods, jewelry, and wooden art pieces—all with a French spin. Pro tip: take a break from shopping to take in local chef cooking demos and live entertainment.
For more information, head to the Lycée French Market website.
For $10, you'll have access to this Polish-inspired Christmas market and festival, where you can sample holiday treats while finding gifts for everyone on your list (plus a few for yourself). The vendor list is always full of local makers, meaning your gifts are sure to come with a back story.
For more information, head to the Holidose Holiday Market website.