No matter what you celebrate, holiday markets are a fun place to get all your shopping done and actually enjoy yourself. This centuries-old European tradition is a great way to get into the spirit of the season with the all of lights, decorations, tinkling music, and the bustle of people trying to pick out of the perfect gifts. We’ve rounded up a list of our favorite annual pop-up markets across the nation so you too can experience this beloved annual tradition.
You can really feel the holiday spirit in the air at this outdoor holiday market in DC with over 150 regional artisans and boutique businesses. Pick up handcrafted gifts for everyone on your list as you enjoy lively entertainment and music. While you’re there, the churro stand is a must-visit for a sugary treat — trust us, you will not regret it.
One of the Windy City’s most beloved holiday traditions is the Christkindlmarket located at Daley Plaza downtown. The market is inspired by the 16th century Christkindlesmarket in Nuremberg, Germany and brings famous international traditions to Chicago. Shop the open-air stalls and snack on typical German fare as fairy lights twinkle all around you. Thousands of people from all over the world visit this holiday market, and you will definitely want to be one of them. It’s become such a popular market, that they’ve expanded with new locations in Wrigleyville and Naperville, IL.
More than 150 vendors come to the Union Holiday Square Market to showcase their selection of handmade jewelry, artwork, leather goods, and more. The space got an upgraded look this year, with cool new sections to browse such as Little Brooklyn, and a kid’s craft studio from the Children’s Museum. This market is definitely worth braving the cold and crowds for.
Take a trip back in time to Victorian London at The Great Dickens Christmas Fair in San Francisco. Inspired by A Christmas Carol and other works by 19th century writer Charles Dickens, the fair is a 120,000 square feet space converted into old-timey London with winding lanes, pubs, theaters, and charming shops. Meet more than 800 costumed characters out of Dickens’ books including A Christmas Carol’s Ebenezer Scrooge. This is a treasured tradition for Bay Area residents and a festive way to spend an evening.
Based on the children’s story The Adventures of Enchant: The Great Search, written by Leanne Johnston, Enchant is a holiday experience not to be missed. Beautiful huts on Christkindl Market Lane have an elite roster of vendors that carry homemade goods, gourmet treats, home décor, and more. But the market is not all that Enchant has to offer – test your navigational skills in the world’s largest Christmas light maze, skate across a frozen rink, and even get the chance to meet Santa.