Each holiday season, Chicago’s Daley Plaza -- in the heart of the city’s business district -- transforms into a small German village to celebrate the tradition of Christkindlmarket. This holiday market festival began in Nuremberg back in 1545 and remains a popular holiday tradition throughout Central Europe today. Chicago’s own Christkindlmarket has been around since 1996 and attracts some 500,000 visitors during December. The market offers unique crafts and gifts for sale as well as German food and drink and a variety of entertainment. This authentic German market is the largest of its kind in the United States -- and remains true to its roots with 70% of the vendors speaking German as well as English.
From cuckoo clocks and hand-blown glass ornaments to jewelry and toys, visitors are sure to find special holiday gifts they wouldn’t find in department stores. Food items include sausages, sauerkraut, potato pancakes and pastries. Enjoy some German beer or keep away the winter chill with a cup of traditional Gluhwein -- a hot spiced wine served in Germany around the holidays.
Christkindlmarket is open daily from 11 a.m. - 8 p.m. (until 9 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays) through Dec. 23 and 11 a.m - 4 p.m. on Christmas Eve.
Hotels in the Chicago area start at US$71 during the holiday season.