Courtesy of Downtown Bethlehem Association

Get into the holiday spirit at these European-style Christmas markets.

Christkindlmarkt Bethlehem, PA

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Christened “Bethlehem” on Christmas Eve 1741, this tradition-steeped town holds one of the most authentic Christmas markets, featuring artisans and glassblowers making glass ornaments on site. Beyond sweet-smelling candied almonds, you’ll also find home-style kettle corn, stuffed pretzels, dipped fruits like caramel apples, and a slew of barbecue options. In addition to sitting on Santa’s knee for the quintessential photo op, kids can also share breakfast with St. Nick. 

What to Try: Blowing your own intricately decorated glass ornaments to hang on your Christmas tree.

America's Best Christmas Markets

Christkindlmarkt Bethlehem, PA

Christened “Bethlehem” on Christmas Eve 1741, this tradition-steeped town holds one of the most authentic Christmas markets, featuring artisans and glassblowers making glass ornaments on site. Beyond sweet-smelling candied almonds, you’ll also find home-style kettle corn, stuffed pretzels, dipped fruits like caramel apples, and a slew of barbecue options. In addition to sitting on Santa’s knee for the quintessential photo op, kids can also share breakfast with St. Nick. 

What to Try: Blowing your own intricately decorated glass ornaments to hang on your Christmas tree.

Courtesy of Downtown Bethlehem Association

America's Best Christmas Markets

The aroma of mulled wine, gingersnaps, and roasting chestnuts draws shoppers to Christkindlesmarkt in Nuremburg, Germany. But you don’t have to hop the pond to savor that kind of Christmas market—you’ll find similar treats in Chicago and across the U.S.

Outdoor markets have become an annual tradition stateside, with handmade goods that make a refreshing alternative to the holiday big-box shopping craze. “A Christmas market is by nature more personal and social—a unique experience indeed,” notes Karlfried Bergner, minister of communications and culture at the German Embassy in Washington, D.C.

Related: The Best Places to Spend Christmas

At New York’s Union Square Holiday Market, for example, a dedicated “Little Brooklyn” section highlights the borough’s finest, including DIY beer-making kits from Brooklyn Brew Shop, bow ties from Dap Kitsch, and Natural OliveWood’s bread bowls and cutting boards.

Artisanal woodwork, glittering ornaments, vibrant knitted winter wear, jewelry, toys, and spicy homemade jams are staples of other markets. At the Christkindlmarkt in Bethlehem, PA, you can even blow and design your own intricate glass ornament for your Christmas tree.

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