Bright lights, the smell of spices, and the sound of Christmas carols are just a few things I love about visiting Christmas markets. There is something special about people gathering together and fighting the chill in the air to celebrate their love of the holiday season. Christmas markets can turn even the biggest Scrooge into a playful kid again.
However, not all of us can make the trip to the famed European Christmas markets. Even though Christmas markets in the United States don't have the notoriety of their European counterparts, they are still fantastic.
Here are some of the best Christmas markets to visit in the United States.
If there is one Christmas market in the USA that has become famous overseas, it is New York's Union Square Market. It draws millions of visitors each year from all over the world.
The festive atmosphere has fun activities for children and adults. It also includes many performances and concerts. Having trouble finding a perfect gift for that special someone? There are over 150 vendors and stalls selling everything from hot cider to art. This market offers a wide selection that guarantees something for everyone on your list. If you are visiting New York during the holidays, then Union Square Market is a must.
Where: The market is in Union Square Park and is open from November 17th – December 24th.
Hours: Monday – Friday: 11 am – 8 pm, Saturday: 10 am – 8 pm, Sunday: 11 am – 7 pm (closed on Thanksgiving).
The Capital's Christmas market is known for its odd, yet, tasty food such as the savory Peruvian style empanada, black donuts, and liquid nitrogen infused ice cream. If you are looking for handmade presents, this market is a great option. There are over a hundred artists from around the area showcasing their craftsmanship throughout the market.
They sell everything from pottery to paintings. The Downtown Holiday Market offers fun foods and great shopping which makes it one of the best Christmas markets in America.
Where: The Downtown Holiday Market is located on F Street and runs from November 25th - December 23rd.
Hours: Opening hours are 12 p.m. - 8 a.m. daily.
A Christmas market that has a little twist. Visit the Dickens Christmas Fair and take a journey back to Victorian London. Over 120,000 square feet seamlessly transforms into the enchanted world of Charles Dicken's classics. Actors dressed in Victorian era clothing roam around in character. Visitors can wander the lamp lit streets, visit loud pubs, indulge on roasted chestnuts, or shout humbug at Ebenezer Scrooge.
There are also theaters portraying some of Dicken's masterpieces. Dickens Christmas Fair is unlike any other Christmas market in the world.
Where: Cow Palace Exhibition Halls, 2600 Geneva Avenue, Daly City.
When: Open just five weekends from November. 19th - December. 18th from 10 a.m. - 7p.m. Unlike the other Christmas markets, you need to purchase a ticket.
What makes the Arlington (Texas) Christmas market stand out is the family friendly entertainment. Watch your children's eyes widen in wonder as they explore shops filled with magical toys, puppet theaters, acrobats dressed as elves, and dancing snowmen. There is also a peppermint village, tube rides, lantern parades, and puppet building workshops.
This market has plenty for the adults as well, most notably shopping. There are several vendors featuring high-quality handmade items and winter goods.
Where: Globe Life Park, Arlington, Texas.
Hours: The market runs November 25-December 23, 2016. Monday-Friday 12 p.m. - 8 p.m.; Saturdays 10a.m.-10p.m.; Sundays 12p.m. - 7p.m.
The Old World Christmas Market emulates the old traditional markets of Germany. This market only last ten days, but it is packed with charm. Stroll through heated tents engulfed in the smell of evergreens and roasting almonds. You will not be able to resist the traditional German food, and handmade goods such as nutcrackers, nesting dolls, and blown glass. This is the most authentic market on the list.
Where: The Osthoff Resort, Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin
When: December 2 - 11. Open from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
You do not have to travel to Europe to visit some amazing Christmas Markets; there are some right here in America. These are some great options for discovering creative gifts, family entertainment, and the magic of the holiday season.
Note: Available plans and coverages may have changed since this blog was published.
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Stephen Schreck is a world traveler, nomad, and adventure backpacker. Knowing a life of aimlessly wandering the globe in search of adventures was the only life for him he set out to make his dream his reality. Currently he is trying to conquer his fears and tackle his bucket list. Follow Stephen's adventures at A Backpacker's Tale or on social media on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram.
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