Christkindlmarket has been a holiday tradition in Chicago since 1996. Modeled after the 16th-century holiday markets in Germany, the free-admission outdoor bazaar in Daley Plaza is a hub for traditional German fare, delightful warm beverages, and charming holiday vibes the entire family can enjoy. 

Here’s a rundown of what to eat, drink, and do at the 27th annual Christkindlmarket Chicago in Daley Plaza, which runs from Nov. 17 to Dec. 24, 2023. And don’t miss Christkindlmarket in Wrigleyville, a smaller, family-friendly event at Gallagher Way that runs from Nov. 17 – Dec. 31, 2023.

Sip on a hot drink

Friends at Christkindlmarket

The Christkindlmarket’s annual souvenir mug is a must-have for keeping your hands warm and sipping the market’s many hot drink options.

The mug has taken several different forms in recent years, from a boot to a snowman. But getting a mug filled with glühwein (traditional hot spiced wine) and strolling through the market is a classic Christkindlmarket activity. There are also plenty of other warm drinks to enjoy, such as hot chocolate, apple cider, and tea.

Christkindlmarket Chicago's 2023 mug
Christkindlmarket Chicago’s 2023 mug

Here are a few of the must-try sips at Christkindlmarket:

  • Imported German hot spiced wine from Original Nürnberger Glühwein
  • Pumpkin spice chai or pecan maple chai from Chiya Chai
  • Hot chocolate with homemade whipped cream from Bob’s Belgian Hot Chocolate
  • Hot cider from Stuffed Gourmet Pretzels

Eat traditional German food

Pretzels at Christkindlmarket in Chicago
Christkindlmarket; photo by True Shot Studios

You don’t need to go to Germany to sample some of its local fare, from traditional dishes to fusion cuisine. At Christkindlmarket, you’ll find tons of German street food such as currywurst — German sausage with Indian spices — and kebab. Or try a variety of authentic bites like sausages, potato pancakes, schnitzel (thin, breaded, and fried meat) and goulash (meat and vegetable stew). 

Here are just a few of the top bites not to miss this year:

  • Currywurst and kebabs from DönerMen
  • Bread rolls with fish and sour pickled herring from Rollmops
  • Potato and cheese pierogi from Pierogi House
  • Alpine-style raclette sandwiches from Baked Cheese Haus
  • Frankfurter sausages and potato pancakes from German Grill
  • Schnitzel and goulash soup from Schnitzel House

Explore all the delicious food and drink options.

Try something sweet

Photo by GAE, LLC

On the sweeter side, stock up on morsels of chocolate, candy, cookies, stroopwafels, and traditional strudels. Or follow the warm, rich scent of the holiday season to the classic sugar-coated roasted nuts and freshly made gingerbread treats. 

Here are just a few ways to indulge your sweet tooth at Christkindlmarket:

  • Gingerbread and German cookies at Sweet Castle
  • Chocolate covered fruit from Chocolate Covered Treats
  • Hot roasted nuts at Sweet Swabian
  • Made-from-scratch pastries from La Boulangerie & Co.

Shop handmade gifts and decor


Get a jump-start on your holiday gift shopping with a wide variety of perfect-for-winter items at many Christkindlmarket stalls. Find the perfect holiday gift or something to round out your seasonal décor.

  • Cozy Peruvian sweaters, gloves, stuffed animals, and more at Winterborn Alpaca
  • Woven scarves and shawls directly from artisans in India at Resham’s
  • Cuckoo clocks from the Black Forest from Fehrenbach Black Forest Clocks
  • Handcrafted animal figurines from Wooden Treasures
  • Advent calendars and all sorts of stocking stuffers at Bavarian Tradition
  • Handblown and hand-painted ornaments from Glaszauber Lauscha
  • Traditional lace tablecloths from Meinel Embroidery

Check out a full list of this year’s artisan vendors.

Explore the market early

Christkind with Ornaments
Photo by Eric James Walsh

Kick off the season with the annual ‘Twas the Night Before Christkindlmarket Preview Party on Nov. 16, 2023. This highly anticipated preview event opens the market for a ticketed group before officially launching to the general public, making it a perfect opportunity to dive headfirst into the festivities in a more intimate setting. Ticket options include food and drink tickets, plus you can catch the opening ceremony and live performances.

For the first time this year, guests can take advantage of the new express entry passes. The passes, on sale now, include priority access to the market for faster entry and less time waiting in line — plus a complimentary souvenir mug.

Explore Christkindlmarket in Wrigleyville

Gallagher Way Christkindlmarket
Gallagher Way Christkindlmarket

Can’t get enough of Christkindlmarket? In the Lakeview neighborhood, Christkindlmarket Wrigleyville includes all the market favorites — freshly roasted nuts, hot spiced wine, and tons of holiday charm — all in the shadow of iconic Wrigley Field. Inside the ballpark, you’ll find an interactive winter wonderland with an ice slide, holiday train, hot cocoa cups ride, a lodge with concessions, and an ice rink with skating and bumper cards during Winterland at Gallagher Way.