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Visiting a German Christmas market is an unforgettable experience. Those who have the opportunity to travel to Deutschland during the holiday season can visit one of the hundreds of markets located around the country. In cities like Nuremberg, locals and international guests alike peruse stands selling snacks and handcrafted goods. Visitors are often found sipping on spiced mulled wine and munching on juicy sausages and sweet, gingerbread-like Lebkuchen.
Is your budget too tight or schedule too packed to visit Germany this winter? Don’t despair! The ever-growing popularity of German Christmas markets has led many English-speaking countries to begin hosting similar events of their own.
Visit one of the following German-style markets to experience the best of German culture and cuisine without the hassle of international travel!
1.) UNITED STATES: Chicago, Illinois - Christkindlmarket
Americans seeking the biggest and best German Christmas market experience need look no further than the Windy City! Here, visitors can enjoy a full German meal of Leberkäse (pork loaf), Sauerkraut, and Kartoffelpuffer (potato pancakes) followed by desserts like Stollen, a traditional German holiday cake, sweet berry Grütze, or delectable marzipan chocolates. Shop for authentic Austrian nativity scenes, Black Forest-made cuckoo clocks, and beautifully-crafted Steiff stuffed animals, many of which are presented by merchants from abroad.
The market features numerous events for children as well. Those who join the “Kinder Club” can take a passport from vendor to vendor for the chance to win a prize. A scavenger hunt, available in both English and German, is a great opportunity to teach tots about German culture, and an advent calendar offers children the chance to win prizes every day.
To spend an afternoon or evening immersed in authentic German culture and cuisine, visit the Chicago Christkindlmarket.
2.) UNITED KINGDOM: Birmingham, West Midlands - Frankfurt Christmas Market
For Brits who can’t make it to Germany this holiday season, visiting Birmingham’s Frankfurt Christmas Market is the perfect alternative. This festive bazaar is famous for being the largest German Christmas market outside of Germany and Austria. Enjoy a large glass of Schneemann Punsch, a mulled wine drink mixed with rum, cream, and amaretto, or sample traditional German sausages like a cheesy Käsewurst or spicy Currywurst with chips. Browse the stalls and purchase a few toys and ornaments to take home with you, or take a five minute walk to the Birmingham Ice Rink and “Big Wheel” ride.
Though tightened security measures have reduced the size of this year’s event, the fun is as expansive as ever at the Birmingham Frankfurt Christmas Market.
3.) CANADA: Québec City, Québec - Québec City’s German Christmas Market
French and English culture collide with German charm at Québec City’s annual German Christmas Market! Enjoy a glass of mulled wine at the Lufthansa WinterBar, followed by a slice of rum-flavored Apfelbrot or a Nuremberg-style gingerbread cookie. Buy a pair of wooden shoes lined with cowhide as a gift for your most eccentric friend or invest in a German Christmas pyramid as a new holiday decoration for your home. Children will love the market’s special kids zones, such as the Kindermarkt and Ravensburger Kinderchalet.For those looking to experience the best continental market in North America, visit Québec City!
4.) UNITED STATES: Bethlehem, Pennsylvania - Christkindlmarkt
The festive city of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania is currently hosting its 25th annual German Christkindlmarkt! This family-friendly event features over 150 stalls with handmade, artisanal crafts ranging from beeswax candles to hand-crafted leather jewelry. Purchase authentic German ornaments from the Käthe Wohlfahrt booth after enjoying a lunch of Wiener Schnitzel and Apfelstrudel. Enjoy live Christmas music while watching ice being carved and glass ornaments being blown by hand. Bring your children along to enjoy breakfast with St. Nicholas, too!For those located in the Eastern United States, the Bethlehem Christkindlmarkt is a holiday event that cannot be missed!
5.) IRELAND: Galway, Connacht - Galway Continental Christmas Market
The Galway Continental Christmas Market is the top holiday bazaar in Ireland. Featuring over 50 stalls, the market is large yet comfortably compact. Those looking for a taste of Bavaria can visit the beloved Bier Keller, located in the middle of the market. Ride the Ferris wheel and enjoy German snacks like sausage and piping-hot mulled wine. Experience a taste of Europe at large, too! This international market also features Belgian waffles, Czech chimney cakes, French crepes, and other treats from across the European continent! Explore stalls filled with both foreign wares and locally-crafted Irish goods.
To experience the best of Europe at large, visit the Galway Continental Christmas Market!
Though nothing can top a visit to an authentic German Christmas market, these amazing international bazaars truly capture the essence of the German holiday experience.
Celebrate the holidays the German way by visiting a Christmas market this holiday season! You’re guaranteed to have a fantastically festive time.
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