Christmas markets are extremely popular in Europe. Their bright lights and delightful smells linger in the air for miles. It’s considered a major event of the holiday season. Did you know that such an essential European affair exists in the Windy City, too? Chicago offers a similar experience in the winter months through the Christkindlmarket. It enables even those who have never stepped foot in Europe to have a similar holiday market experience.

What does Chicago's Christmas market look like, you may ask? When you step foot in the Christmas market, you...


Listen for the hum of people chatting all around you, whether that be a pair or a large group of friends. Some vendors quietly play Christmas songs to get people into the spirit of the holiday season. Kids scream with delight as they play tag, trying to get to the booth with the roasted chestnuts the fastest.


It's hard to miss the food vendors, the Christmas trees that decorate the paths, and the bright lights strung around the edges of the small wooden booths. Vendors  cheerfully chat with tourists, providing them with recommendations for best-selling products. Families take pictures by the hand-painted glass ornaments or buy gifts. Everywhere you look, there's a new delicious-looking food to admire, too.


Wrap your hands around a warm mug filled with steaming hot chocolate or cider, which is called “Glühwein” in German. This is a staple at all European Christmas markets, and also for Chicago's. Each year, Christkindlmarket debuts a new mug for visitors to sip their beverages out of and take home as a souvenir. 


Enjoy wonderful roasted chestnuts or almonds, called “Gebrannte Mandeln” in German. Along with these options come a wide variety of drinks. Satisfy your sweet tooth with an array of vibrant frosted cookies, candy canes, gingerbread figures, and chocolate-covered fruit. If salty treats are more up your alley, try the sandwiches with different meats, or one of the German specialities you’ve never tried before. There’s something for everyone. 


Christkindlmarket's fragrance is the hardest to describe. All I can say is that it smells like Christmas. With a blend of roasted chestnuts, warm cider and waffles, this place will make you feel festive in no time. 

Christkindlmarket will surely infuse some holiday spirit into your life and your stomach. It will also prepare you for the joyous days ahead! For Northwestern students, a quick trip on the CTA Red Line will drop you walking-distance from this magical place. The market is definitely worth a trip!