Guides Chicago Chicago Christmas Market: Info and Opening Dates for 2023

Chicago Christmas Market: Info and Opening Dates for 2023

City Guide November 20, 2023



The holiday season in Chicago is a time of enchantment and cheer, with the city transforming into a festive wonderland. At the heart of this transformation is the Chicago Christmas Market, an annual event that brings the spirit of the holidays to life in the Windy City. As we approach 2023, the anticipation for this beloved market grows, promising new delights and traditional favorites.

As the Chicago Christmas Market, an annual event loved by many, readies to bring the spirit of the holidays to life in the Windy City, Nannybag stands ready to facilitate a hassle-free visit. Located strategically throughout Chicago, Nannybag luggage storage Chicago is perfect for those visiting the Christmas Market, providing a secure and convenient place to store bags and shopping finds. This service allows visitors to immerse themselves fully in the holiday festivities, exploring the beautifully decorated stalls and enjoying seasonal treats without the burden of heavy luggage.


Chicago Christmas Market Overview

The Chicago Christmas Market, also known as Christkindlmarket, is a bustling hub of holiday activity. Located in Daley Plaza in Downtown Chicago, this market is inspired by the traditional Christmas markets of Germany, offering a unique blend of cultural heritage and festive cheer. With its vendors, the market is a perfect destination for gift shopping, offering everything from handmade crafts to gourmet foods.


Opening Dates

In 2023, the Chicago Christmas Market is expected to open in mid-November and run until Christmas Eve. These dates align with the traditional holiday market season, providing ample opportunity for visitors to enjoy the festive offerings.


Is Chicago Nice at Christmas Time?

Chicago during Christmas time is a sight to behold. The city is adorned with lights and decorations, creating a magical atmosphere that captivates both residents and visitors. From the grand Christmas tree in Millennium Park to the festive lights along Michigan Avenue, Chicago embodies the joy and spirit of the holiday season.


Nannybag - Chicago Christmas Market: Info and Opening Dates for 2023


Chicago Christmas Market 411

The Chicago Christmas Market is an enchanting blend of holiday traditions and festive cheer, a true treasure trove that captures the spirit of the season. As you enter this vibrant market, your senses are immediately awakened. The warm aroma of roasted nuts fills the air, holiday music floats through the atmosphere, and the intricately decorated stalls invite you to explore their treasures. This market isn't just a shopping destination; it's a lively embodiment of holiday traditions from around the world, brought to life in the heart of Chicago.

Central to this festive experience is the Christkindlmarket, an authentic German Christmas market bustling with activity. Held annually with free admission, this market in downtown Chicago offers a slice of German yuletide right in the city. As you meander through the stalls, you'll find vendors selling exquisite glass ornaments, traditional wooden cuckoo clocks, hand-knit gloves, and other unique gifts and crafts. The Christkindlmarket is a haven for those seeking authentic holiday souvenirs and presents.

Beyond the central Christkindlmarket, the city hosts a miniature version in Wrigleyville, perfect for those seeking a more intimate market experience. For lovers of artisan crafts, the Renegade Craft Fair showcases local talent, offering everything from handmade jewelry to unique home decor. And for a culturally rich experience, the Kwanzaa Market at Africa International House celebrates African heritage and traditions.



Gift Shopping and Artisan Crafts

Gift shopping at the Chicago Christmas Market is an experience in itself. The market features a variety of artisan vendors selling everything from hand-blown glass ornaments to bespoke jewelry and handcrafted toys. These unique items make perfect gifts, capturing the essence of the holiday spirit.


Best Things to Do for Christmas in Chicago

Aside from visiting the Christmas Market, there are numerous activities and attractions to enjoy in Chicago during the holiday season:


Ice Skating in Millennium Park

As the chill of winter descends upon the Windy City, Millennium Park becomes a hub of festive activity, drawing locals and tourists alike to its famous ice skating rinks. The McCormick Tribune Ice Rink, a staple of Chicago's winter scene, lies in the shadow of the city's impressive skyscrapers and the iconic Cloud Gate sculpture. Offering free admission for those with their own skates, this rink also provides skate rentals and free lessons on weekends, making it a welcoming spot for both novices and seasoned skaters.

But the true gem of Chicago's winter offerings is the Skating Ribbon at Maggie Daley Park. This path, unique in its design, meanders through the park's picturesque landscape, offering an unparalleled skating experience. With the Chicago skyline as its backdrop, the Skating Ribbon presents a magical journey, complete with skate rentals and a café serving hot chocolate to warm up after a session on the ice.


Holiday Lights Tour

No holiday season in Chicago is complete without witnessing the city's transformation into a luminous wonderland. Downtown Chicago, including the renowned Magnificent Mile and State Street, is adorned with festive lights, adding a sparkle to the city's already vibrant night scene. Guided holiday lights tours offer a cozy and informative way to enjoy these stunning displays, perfect for those chilly Chicago nights.


Christmas Around the World at the Museum of Science and Industry

One of Chicago's most beloved holiday traditions is the "Christmas Around the World" exhibit at the Museum of Science and Industry. This exhibit presents a global celebration of the season with over 50 trees and displays, each representing different cultures and their holiday traditions. The grand four-story central tree, surrounded by a forest of smaller, culturally themed trees, is a sight to behold, adorned with thousands of lights and ornaments.


Daley Plaza: The Heart of the Market

Daley Plaza, the primary location of the Chicago Christmas Market, becomes a center of festive activity. Here, visitors can stroll among the charming wooden huts, each offering a range of holiday goods, from traditional German items to local Chicagoan crafts.


Chicago Botanic Garden and Maggie Daley Park

The Chicago Botanic Garden and Maggie Daley Park are also must-visit destinations during the holiday season. The Botanic Garden hosts a special holiday event with unique light displays and seasonal activities, while Maggie Daley Park's Skating Ribbon provides a unique ice skating experience amidst the city skyline.


The Walnut Room and Michigan Avenue

A visit to the Walnut Room, a historic dining room in Macy's on State Street, is a Chicago holiday tradition. This elegant space is famous for its grand Christmas tree and festive decorations. Additionally, Michigan Avenue, known as the Magnificent Mile, is a prime spot for holiday shopping, with its shops and boutiques decked out in festive decor.



Discover the Magic of the Holidays at Chicago's Zoos

Experience the wonder of the holiday season in the heart of Chicago with ZooLights at Lincoln Park Zoo. This historic zoo transforms into a spectacular winter wonderland, illuminated by millions of colorful lights. As you wander through, you'll be captivated by moving light displays, all beautifully synchronized to music.

It's more than just lights; ZooLights includes a variety of special events to enhance your holiday spirit. Enjoy enchanting holiday concerts, a sensory-friendly evening tailored for guests with sensory sensitivities, and an exclusive adult’s night out for some festive fun without the kids. The magic of ZooLights makes it an essential holiday tradition in Chicago, perfect for families, friends, and couples alike.

Just a short drive from the city, Brookfield Zoo's Holiday Magic offers its own dazzling display, a beloved local tradition for over four decades. As you stroll through the zoo, you'll be surrounded by more than two million twinkling lights, creating an unforgettable holiday ambiance.

The highlight is the mesmerizing 600-foot-long Tunnel of Lights, where thousands of colored bulbs dance in harmony with music. This enchanting experience is a feast for the senses, inviting visitors of all ages to immerse themselves in the joy and wonder of the season. Whether you're continuing a family tradition or starting a new one, Holiday Magic at Brookfield Zoo is a must-visit destination during the holiday season in Chicago.


Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony

Celebrate over a century of tradition at Chicago's official Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony in Millennium Park. This November event marks the beginning of the holiday season with a spectacular tree adorned in twinkling lights. The ceremony, more than just a lighting, features live performances and a breathtaking fireworks display.

Located near Michigan Avenue and Washington Street, the tree stands as a glowing centerpiece through January, offering a perfect holiday photo opportunity. While there, don't miss the chance to ice skate in the park, creating a complete Chicago winter experience under the festive lights of this historic and beloved city tradition.


& Best for Last, Things to Eat in Chicago

During the Christmas season, Chicago offers a variety of festive and comforting foods that reflect the city's diverse culinary traditions. Here's a list of treats you should try when in Chicago during the holidays:

Peppermint Bark

A holiday favorite, featuring layers of dark and white chocolate infused with peppermint, often found at local chocolatiers.

Hot Chocolate

Many Chicago cafes and restaurants serve rich, decadent hot chocolate, often topped with whipped cream or marshmallows, perfect for the chilly weather.


This traditional German mulled wine can be found at the Christkindlmarket in Chicago, offering a warm, spiced beverage ideal for holiday strolls.

Roasted Nuts

Candied or spiced roasted nuts are a common find at holiday markets and a perfect warm snack for walking around the city.

Gingerbread Cookies

Bakeries around Chicago craft various gingerbread treats, from classic cookies to elaborate houses.

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