It's that time again. Holiday shopping in Chicago may not officially start until the Friday after Thanksgiving (here's a handy Mag Mile shopping map), but smart shoppers know that deals and steals happen early. Chicago hosts two festive markets that usher in the holiday season and supply both holiday fun and distinctive shopping treasures. Mark your calendars and make your Christmas in Chicago plans.
Christkindlmarket // Opens this Friday FREE admission
On Friday November 18, the Windy City's annual German Christmas Market, Christkindlmarket, opens with a flurry of handicrafts, gluhwein and joyful spirits. Modeled after the famous Nuremberg Christmas market, Christkindlmarket unveils its red and white roofs and dozens of vendors at Daley Plaza in the heart of the Loop, from November 18 through December 24. This is the perfect spot to scoop up traditional German wooden toys and ornaments, cuckoo clocks, homemade food gifts and more that you can't find in a department store.
- FREE admission
- Location: Daley Plaza, between Dearborn, Washington and Clark Streets
- Dates: November 18–December 24
- Hours: Open 11–8 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, 11–9 p.m. Friday and Saturday
Randolph Street Market Holiday Markets // Opens this Saturday!
On Saturday, November 19, Randolph Street Market Holiday Markets begins its annual holiday markets of antique, vintage and modern finds in the West Loop neighborhood. This sprawling flea market takes place indoors, at Plumbers Hall, and offers free parking and free gift wrapping. Roam through the hall and pick up unusual antique furniture and art, vintage jewelry and accessories and an array of handmade gifts.
The market runs November 19–20, November 26–27 and December 10–11. There's an $8 early admission fee, or $10 at the door. Visitors can also select the Wyndham-Margaritaville Vacation Family Package of $25 for 2 adults and four kids.
Randolph Street Market Holiday Markets
- Admission: $8–$10
- Location: Plumbers Hall, 1340 W. Washington
- Dates: November 19–20, November 26–27 and December 10–11
- Hours: 10–5 p.m.
There's even more holiday happenings kicking off this weekend and next — get the complete roundup at choosechciago.com/holidays.