20 Holiday Markets to Visit Across America

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EUROPEAN-STYLE HOLIDAY MARKETS

Rediscover the appeal of holiday shopping at one of the fun outdoor markets that pop up before Christmas. Traditional German markets, called Christkindlmarkt, have been a European staple for centuries, but there's no need to take a transatlantic flight. Many U.S. markets feature German-inspired treats and entertainment, as well as European-style gifts. Here are 20 of the best-known holiday markets across the nation.

WINTER VILLAGE, NEW YORK

This fantastical holiday shopping destination, located by Bryant Park in midtown Manhattan, combines free ice skating and more than 125 jewel-box kiosks that seem to sell every holiday gift imaginable. Winter Village (Oct. 30 to Jan. 3) opens early in the shopping season, giving visitors plenty of time to grab goodies.

DOWNTOWN HOLIDAY MARKET, WASHINGTON, D.C.

Located in front of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Downtown Holiday Market (Nov. 28 to Dec. 23) entices shoppers with lively seasonal music and entertainment as well as more than 150 regional artisans, crafters, and boutique businesses. Now in its 11th year, the market is the place to go for everything from antiques to textiles.

CRAFTBOSTON HOLIDAY SHOW

Fans of unique arts and crafts will want to stop by CraftBoston Holiday Show (Dec. 11-13), an indoor holiday market that features 175 exhibitors selling their wares, many of which are one of a kind. Comedian (and carpenter) Nick Offerman ("Parks and Recreation") will also drop in for a talk about the importance of handmade objects.

CHRISTKINDLMARKET CHICAGO

Stroll the Chicago Loop before it gets too chilly, then eat and shop to your heart's content at Christkindlmarket Chicago (Nov. 20 to Dec. 24), a traditional German-inspired outdoor market started in 1996. Christkind, a gift-giving angel from German folklore, wanders the grounds greeting children and shoppers as well as reciting a prologue translated from the original German.

CHRISTMAS VILLAGE PHILADELPHIA

Located in the city's Love Park, Christmas Village Philadelphia (Nov. 21 to Dec. 27) is modeled on traditional German markets, complete with a wandering Christkind and Santa. Vendors sell European-inspired Christmas treats such as lebkuchen (gingerbread), stollen bread, and imported gifts that can only be found at the market.

DENVER CHRISTKINDL MARKET

Now in its 15th year, the Denver Christkindl Market (Nov. 20 to Dec. 23) has European-inspired food, authentic German music, and plenty of unique gifts to leave under the tree. This year there will also by story time for children under 12.

CHRISTMAS VILLAGE IN BALTIMORE

Located in the city's Inner Harbor area, Christmas Village in Baltimore (Nov. 26 to Dec. 27) started in 2013 as a sister market to Philadelphia's fair and is already becoming a seasonal must-see. The combination indoor and outdoor market has more than 60 booths selling European-style food, drinks, trinkets, and arts and crafts in wooden huts and a heated festival tent.

TEXAS CHRISTKINDL MARKET, ARLINGTON

One of the largest open-air holiday markets in the Southwest, Texas Christkindl Market (Nov. 23 to Dec. 23) boasts more than the usual European-style food, drinks, and gifts. This Arlington destination also has a Kinder Market, with such small-fry attractions as a carousel, story times, and pony rides. For those who get chilled perusing the market, there is a heated warming hut.

CHRISTKINDLMARKT, BETHLEHEM, PENNSYLVANIA

This holiday market has been offering visitors end-of-year cheer for 22 years in the historic town of Bethlehem. Choose from about 125 vendors Thursday to Sunday, Nov. 20 to Dec. 20, and enjoy food vendors and traditional performances. Ice sculpting and glassblowing demonstrations are free to watch, while a hot breakfast with Santa is available for an additional fee.

THE GREAT DICKENS CHRISTMAS FAIR, SAN FRANCISCO

Go back in time to Victorian London at the Great Dickens Christmas Fair (Nov. 21 to Dec. 20) as it turns three acres of San Francisco into a Dickensian fantasy. This event goes beyond holiday gifts to include hundreds of costumed characters singing carols, dancing, and reenacting the famed "A Christmas Carol." There's also plenty of food inspired by old England to try.

COLUMBUS CIRCLE HOLIDAY MARKET, NEW YORK

Try a handmade pretzel while browsing Manhattan's Columbus Circle Market (Dec. 1-24), located on the edge of Central Park West. This holiday tradition for tourists and locals alike features about 100 booths filled with artisan gifts and treats galore. A market concierge helps visitors pick must-visit spots.

CINCIDEUTSCH CHRISTKINDLMARKT, CINCINNATI

Cincinnati is holding its 4th annual traditional German market, Cincideutsch Christkindlmarkt (Nov. 27 to Dec. 20). Vendors will be offering authentic German fare such as glühwein (hot spiced wine), as well as unique European-inspired gifts and holiday decorations for sale.

GEORGETOWN CHRISTMAS MARKET, COLORADO

Enjoy an old world-style holiday fair set against the stunning backdrop of snowy mountains at Georgetown Christmas Market (Dec. 5-13). Enjoy carolers, performers, and a visit from jolly old St. Nick while shopping for the perfect gifts for all those on your list.

LEAVENWORTH CHRISTKINDLMARKT, WASHINGTON

Pacific Northwest residents can get into the seasonal spirit at Leavenworth's 20th annual Bavarian-style holiday market during Thanksgiving weekend (Nov. 27-29). The event features the Christkind angel, Santa, and Mrs. Claus, who together usher in the start of the market and the Christmas season. Enjoy holiday gift shopping as well as traditional Bavarian foods.

UNION SQUARE HOLIDAY MARKET, NEW YORK

Want a socially conscious gift? Union Square Holiday Market (Nov. 19 to Dec. 24) in Manhattan lets sellers apply Artisan Pledge stickers to products that meet an earth-friendly standard. Visit any of the more than 150 booths, grab a snack from vendors such as Momofuku Milk Bar, or just enjoy the positive vibe.

OLD WORLD CHRISTMAS MARKET, ELKHART LAKE, WISCONSIN

Take a break from the seasonal hustle and bustle to visit this European-style market at the lovely Osthoff Resort in Elkhart Lake. What makes the Old World Christmas Market (Dec. 4-13) unique is that it's both a market and a getaway -- visitors can book family-friendly packages that feature sleigh rides, children's holiday craft workshops, and more.

CHRISTKINDLMARKT, ALPINE, GEORGIA

This traditional Christkindlmarkt gives Southerners a chance to get their dose of European holiday markets. Now in its 8th year, the event runs the first two weekends of December (Dec. 5-6 and 12-13) and features everything from gifts and holiday decorations to a variety of sweet and savory foods.

PEOPLES GAS HOLIDAY MARKET, PITTSBURGH

This market (Nov. 20 to Dec. 23) claims to be one of three markets in America based on the original Christkindlmarkt in Nuremberg, Germany. Shoppers can browse gifts and indulge in treats as they walk among chalet-style vendor booths. The market also supports the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, helping the needy in surrounding areas.

MIFFLINBURG CHRISTKINDL MARKET, PENNSYLVANIA

The Mifflinburg Christkindl Market runs only the weekend of Dec. 10-12, but those few days are packed with holiday tradition. This year Bremen, Germany, will be the featured city for the market, which will use "The Bremen Town Musicians" by the Brothers Grimm as a decorating motif. Enjoy perusing holiday items while snacking on roasted chestnuts, gingerbread, and German sausage.

TOMBALL GERMAN CHRISTMAS MARKET, TEXAS

The traditional holiday market gets a Texas twist at the Tomball German Christmas Market (Dec. 11-13). Tomball, the sister city to the German town Telgte, offers free parking and shuttle service, plus free hayrides for kids. The open-air market hosts 175 merchants, and bluegrass bands, folk dancing groups, and cloggers (as well as German beer) will be on tap.