Are you wishing you could spend the Holidays in a quaint German village? Then look no further than Chicago’s Christkindlmarket. It is a traditional German American Holiday market inspired by the famous age-old market in Nuremburg, Germany. You won’t even remember you’re in Daley Plaza while perusing the market. Visit shops and sample the food of authentic vendors from Germany, as well as a few local Germans. Here you can buy unique ornaments, and other rare handmade gifts like nutcrackers, cuckoo clocks and beer steins. When you get hungry you can feast on beer, stollen, potato pancakes, bratwurst, the deliciously warming spiced wine, gluhwein, and other German specialties. Sign your kids up to be in the super fun Lantern Parade, and stop by to enjoy some caroling or see the beautiful fairy-like Christkind. Whether you have just a few minutes on your lunch break, or several hours on the weekend, the Chicago Christkindlmarket will not disappoint you.

Tree Lighting and Christkind Opening of the Market

Wednesday November 23, 2011, 4:30 p.m. Daley Plaza Tree Lighting
Friday November 25, 3011, 3:00 p.m. Official Market opening

If you love crowds and the Christmas spirit, then come downtown for the spectacular tree lighting ceremony. The golden haired Christkind from Nuremberg will be there to give the official opening of the market, along with a choir and other festivities.

(credit: Heather Earnhart)

Lantern Parade

Friday, December 9th, 4:00 p.m.

Imagine the market, elbow-to-elbow, as children and their families carry delightful lanterns while singing German Christmas carols. The traditional German Wassertrager, “water carrier,” will lead the festivities, and at the close of the parade the children will receive a generous goodie bag filled with German candies and toys. I have braved single digit wind chills to participate in the Lantern Parade, because my kids wouldn’t have it any other way. It has become a Holiday tradition in our family, and I encourage everyone to join us in a fun-filled family evening. The events are sponsored by the Chicago Chapter of the German American Chamber of Commerce.

Eating at the Market

When you are craving a hearty meal that will warm you on a cold winter day, then come to the market where you can enjoy beer, Gluhwein and traditional German fare to eat. Stop by The German Grill Company, from Plauen, Germany for my favorite, the bratwurst with sauerkraut. Then hit the local but no less authentic, Dinkel’s, for a piece of Stollen or two. And before you leave the market, get some hot roasted nuts or Marzipan candy from The Sweet Castle of Neidenback, Germany to snack on for the ride home.


Shopping at the Market

This year, you should liven up your ornament collection by selecting a few novel ornaments from the Bavarian Workshop. While at the Market, you can take care of some of those items on your shopping list for others too. Maybe a wooden toy from Toy Wonderland of Dresden, Germany; a beer stein from Bayrische GlassStrasse of Zwiesel, Germany; some German lace from Meinels Stick of Plauen, Germany; or a honey candle from Bienes Honighaus of Augsburg, Germany. You can find something for everyone of any age, and even that person that’s impossible to please.

Now, find out where the Best Santas are in Chicago!

Heather Earnhart is a free-lance musician living with her husband and two kids in the Uptown neighborhood of Chicago. Read more of her work on the ChiTown Parent Blog.