7 European-style Christmas Markets You Can Experience in the U.S.
Visit one of these European-style Christmas markets right here in the U.S. — no passport needed.
With many of Europe’s Christmas markets canceled and international travel still complicated, getting in the holiday spirit may feel harder than usual, but that’s no reason to miss out on the merrymaking during the most wonderful time of the year. Bundle up and get ready for some Christmas cheer: These festive European-style Christmas markets feel just like the real thing, but they’re 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 in 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 Christmassy carousel in City Hall’s courtyard.
Savannah Christmas Market
Savannah’s annual Christmas on the River celebration has been canceled this year, but luckily, the newly opened Plant Riverside District stepped in and is hosting the first 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. 27 through Jan. 3, 2021.
Denver Christkindl Market
The Denver Christkindl Market is celebrating its 20th anniversary of bringing the traditional European Christmas market experience to Denver, but this year, it’s held in 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. 20 through Dec. 23.
Peoples Gas Holiday Market in Pittsburgh
Downtown Pittsburgh is holding its ninth annual Peoples Gas Holiday Market from Nov. 27 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 such as 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. 30 through Jan. 3, 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).
Need more hygge? The annual Christmas Fair in Brooklyn’s Danish church is open Nov. 14 through Dec. 13 and operating under limited capacity, but still with plenty of traditional Danish Christmas treats, decorations, and crafts.
Washington, D.C. Downtown Holiday Market
From Nov. 20 to Dec. 23, 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.