7 European-style Christmas Markets You Can Experience in the U.S.
While international and domestic travel are complicated right now by the spread of omicron, and getting in the holiday spirit may feel harder than usual, there's still plenty of holiday cheer to be found nearby. If you're looking for some Christmas cheer and missing the iconic holiday markets in Europe, we've found the best festive European-style Christmas markets right here in the U.S. Each one is welcoming visitors in person, but with COVID-19 health protocols in place to ensure safety.
Christmas Village, Philadelphia
The Christmas Village in Philadelphia is probably the closest you can get to an authentic German Christmas market in the U.S. Located at Love Park and City Hall, the market runs — with COVID-19 safety measures in place, of course — from Thanksgiving through Christmas Eve. Visitors can expect more than 60 vendors in timber booths selling the same wares you'd find at the European equivalent, from edible delicacies to ornaments, jewelry, sweets, and arts and crafts from all over the world. Enjoy thousands of twinkling lights and the heartwarming scent of waffles, gingerbread, and bratwurst in the air — best washed down with a hot cup of mulled wine. You can even ride a Christmas Village carousel in City Hall's courtyard.
Savannah Christmas Market
Savannah's Plant Riverside District is hosting the second annual Savannah Christmas Market. Seasonal food and crafts, live holiday music, street performers, and other entertainment are presented in a festive setting modeled after a traditional Salzburg Christmas market — a soul-warming marriage of European and Southern holiday traditions. The market runs from Nov. 26, 2021 through Jan. 3, 2022.
Denver Christkindl Market
The Denver Christkindl Market is, for the second year in a row, being held at Civic Center Park — a spacious, open-air location conducive to maintaining social distancing. Nothing brings the Christmas spirit like the classics, so enjoy steaming mugs of glühwein, as well as Bavarian-style beers and European coffee and hot chocolate. Live music, including polka, bluegrass, and schuhplattler are also on the menu. The market features iconic wooden huts housing European, local Coloradan, and international merchants, and food options include Bavarian-style pretzels, fresh smoked salmon, knödel, goulash, and Nürnberger sausages. The market is open daily from Nov. 19 through Dec. 23.
Peoples Gas Holiday Market, Pittsburgh
Downtown Pittsburgh is holding its ninth annual Peoples Gas Holiday Market from Nov. 19 through Dec. 23 to celebrate the festive season. The market is set in a beautifully illuminated Market Square, allowing for safe and socially distant outdoor strolling. Visitors can also enjoy live music as they wander the wooden chalets brimming with holiday goods including handmade Polish folk art, German-made Christmas products, Celtic Irish gifts, and even fresh Austrian strudels and bratwursts.
Missing Tivoli Gardens this Christmas? Get your fix at Solvang Julefest, which takes place annually in the Danish-American town of Solvang, founded in 1911 and continuing to uphold Danish tradition today. Solvang Julefest is open from Nov. 27, 2021 through Jan. 1, 2022 but capacity is limited this year in accordance with COVID-19 safety measures. Adding to the festive atmosphere, the entire town is decorated, too, though the market is the perfect place to get your fill of seasonal Danish foods such as æbleskiver (small pancakes dipped in jam and sugar) and gløgg (the Danish version of mulled wine).
Downtown Holiday Market, Washington, D.C.
From Nov. 19 to Dec. 23, 2021, head to the Downtown Holiday Market in Washington, D.C. for an open-air, socially distant holiday shopping village with local jewelry, pottery, paintings, and textiles on offer — a bit of European charm in our nation's capital. Visitors can shop more than 75 artisans, crafters, and boutiques, and enjoy seasonal entertainment nightly. The market is centered at 8th and F Streets NW.
To visit one of the most festive domestic destinations, head to Holland, a Michigan town modeled after the country of the same name (now known as the Netherlands). Holland's annual Kerstmarkt ("Christmas market" in Dutch) is an outdoor European-style market, complete with holiday items, traditional food, and artisan demonstrations spread across 18 wooden booths. Located at the 8th Street Marketplace, Kerstmarkt takes place on weekends from Nov. 21 through Dec. 12.