Chicago’s famous Christkindlmarkt is widely regarded as one of the best German-style Christmas markets in the US.
Starting from a humble market in Pioneer Court back in 1996, today it’s a beloved fixture of Chicago’s festive calendar, with over 150 food & craft stalls to browse around Daley Plaza and Wrigleyville.
In this Chicago Christkindlmarket guide, we’ll share everything you need to know about experiencing the wonders of this market for yourself.
NOTE: The information below is compiled for your convenience from official sources, however this is still a Christmas market we haven’t been to personally. To help us improve this guide, let us know in the comments if you have any insider tips to add, and we hope to visit soon to give you a first-hand scoop of what to expect.
When is Chicago Christkindlmarkt?
The Chicago Christkindlmarkt is celebrating their 25th anniversary this year, so it’s going to be a big one!
While confirmed dates have yet to be announced, we did some snooping and saw that the planned opening date is Nov 19 (based on a comment from the official account on this Facebook post).
Historically, the Chicago Christkindlmarkt has always ended on Christmas Eve, so we can infer based on these details that the 2021 dates will likely be from Nov 19 – Dec 24. We will update this post when these dates are confirmed!
Read our full list of Christmas market opening dates in the USA for more.
Where to Stay for Chicago Christkindlmarket
Wondering where to stay while exploring Chicago’s famous Christmas market? Here are some accommodation options:
- Budget: Click here to check reviews and availability
- Mid-Range: Click here to check reviews and availability
- Luxury: Click here to check reviews and availability
Where to Find Chicago Christkindlmarket
Since 1997, the Chicago Christkindlmarket has taken place in downtown Chicago at Daley Plaza.
2019 also saw the addition of a new location – Wrigleyville, with many more festive activities to enjoy.
What to Eat at Chicago Christkindlmarket
One of the highlights of Chicago’s Christmas market is its wide array of food from around the world!
If you want to indulge in classic Christmas market treats, make sure you try:
- Glühwein – Hot wine mulled in spices (served in adorable souvenir cups!)
- Bratwurst – Roasted sausages of all kinds
- Kartoffelpuffer/Reibekuchen – Potato pancakes
- Heiße Maroni – Roasted Chestnuts
- Bretzl – a big soft pretzel
- Marzipan and chocolates
- Apfelstrudel – German/Austrian style apple strudel
- Raclette – hot Swiss cheese draped over potatoes, pickled veggies and bread
What to Buy at Chicago Christkindlmarket
There are over 100 craft vendors to choose from while browsing through Chicago’s Christkindlmarkt, and many of them come from around the world (as you’ll be able to see on their large wooden signs).
If you’re looking to load up on classic Christmas market gifts, here are some things to keep an eye out for:
- Handmade ornaments like baubles, hand-carved wooden ornaments, etc.
- Iconic German Gingerbread hearts (just don’t eat them! They’re for decoration mostly and don’t taste very good)
- Moravian paper stars
- Handcrafted gifts like candles/candle holders
- European delicacies like jams and cookies
Extra Tips for Visiting Chicago Christkindlmarket
If you’re planning to visit Chicago at Christmas time, here are some additional tips to be mindful of.
Many stalls at the Chicago Christkindlmarkt are cash only, so make sure you have plenty on you (although there are ATMs nearby).
Bundle up warm
This is an outdoor event, with the vast majority of stalls being outdoors as well, so be sure to dress up warm (and indulge in some warming drinks too while you’re walking around!)
Avoid weekends and evenings
With over a million visitors each year, Chicago’s Christkindlmarket is hands down one of the busiest festive events in the city.
Most complaints around the event tend to revolve around the huge crowds, so make sure to visit early in the season and at off-peak periods like weekdays and during the day to avoid crowds.
Where to Find More Info on Chicago Christkindlmarket
Help us improve this Chicago Christkindlmarket Guide!
Do you have a pro tip about Chicago Christkindlmarket? A particular souvenir you loved, or a delicious treat you tried? Let us know in the comments what your insider tips are for Chicago Christkindlmarket so we can help improve this guide for all future visitors.