12 of the Most Charming Christmas Markets in the Midwest 


Nothing is more festive during than holiday season than strolling through a traditional Christmas market. You don’t have to travel to Europe, though, to find one. The Midwest offers up similar markets in spades.

Travelers typically associate traditional Christmas markets with snow-covered streets in Germany or Austria. But many communities throughout the Midwestern United States can trace their lineage back to such countries and still partake in some of their customs today — including that of the holiday market. Here are 12 different places you can find a classic holiday market experience without ever setting foot in Europe, from Monroe to Milwaukee. 

Christkindlmarkt Chicago 

This market is a must-visit when in Chicago for the holidays (Photo: Photo credit: Eric James Walsh)

Anyone who visits Chicago regularly during the holiday season knows about this Christmas market. It’s a staple among the “things to do” in the Windy City during the frigid months of November and December. This market is open most of November and all the way up until Christmas, with open-air festivities, warm drinks and lots of vendors selling authentic crafts and other handmade goods that make a perfect souvenir or gift for a loved one.

Daley Plaza, 50 West Washington, Chicago, Illinois

Christkindlmarkt Milwaukee

A glittering Christmas tree towers over this Milwaukee market (Photo: Photo Credit: JMKE Photography)

Christkindlmarkt Milwaukee is organized by the same folks who put on the similarly named market in Chicago, so you can expect much the same vibe — festive, fun and full of Christmas cheer. Browse the red and white-striped tents, all covered in Christmas lights, and peruse the various gifts, snacks and piping hot beverages for sale.

1111 Vel R. Phillips Avenue, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 

Christkindlmarket Des Moines

This event aims to educate as much as it entertains. (Photo: Christkindlmarket Des Moines)

For a few select days each year (this year, Dec. 6–8), the Christkindlmarket Des Moines sets up shop in a minor league baseball park in this urban hub of Iowa. The market channels the European cultures that heavily influenced the settling of Iowa more than a century ago and aims to not just entertain travelers who visit, but to also educate them about European foods, products and customs.

Principal Park, 1 Line Drive, Des Moines, Iowa

St. Paul European Christmas Market 

Browse the St. Paul European Christmas Market for a limited time only (Photo: Krivit Photo)

The sixth annual St. Paul European Christmas Market is on during weekends only, Dec. 6–22. The free event offers European-inspired bites, handmade holiday gifts and holiday decor. Of course, you can also drink your fill of Glühwein while there, aka spiced mulled wine. If you’re not into wine, you can also enjoy a German beer to wash down your potato pancakes, bratwurst, pretzel or pierogi. 

Union Depot, East Plaza, 240 East Kellogg Boulevard, St. Paul, Minnesota

The Gingerbread Shoppe

This Christmas market allows you to shop inside, away from the chilly Midwest weather! (Photo: The Gingerbread Shoppe)

Each year, Summit Produce at the Downtown Kirkwood Farmers Market puts on an amazing holiday display that they’ve christened The Gingerbread Shoppe. There, families can peruse lots of yummy holiday treats, candy, baked goods, decor, ornaments and more. Pick through some locally grown poinsettias to adorn your home, or pick out a Christmas tree from the adjacent lot. You can even find a hypoallergenic tree option, for those who want a fresh tree without the fuss, and miniature Charlie Brown trees!

Kirkwood Farmers Market, 150 East Argonne Drive, Kirkwood, Missouri

Turner Hall of Monroe Christkindlmarkt

Christmas markets are excellent places to find unique gifts for friends and family (Photo: Turner Hall of Monroe)

Turner Hall of Monroe, a historic attraction in Wisconsin, hosts a Christkindlmarkt with a Swiss flair. The Old World event is held indoors, unlike many similar events, so you can escape the cold, and features vendors offering arts and crafts, candles, soaps, decor and European-style wood carvings. Swiss baked goods and hot spiced wine are plentiful. The market is only open Nov. 29–30, but the Swiss version of Santa, Samichlaus, makes appearances both days, 11 a.m.–2 p.m.

Turner Hall of Monroe, 1217 17th Avenue, Monroe, Wisconsin

Cincideutsch Christkindlmarkt

Cincinnati, Ohio, boasts a strong German heritage, and this can truly be seen around the holidays, with the city’s Cincideutsch Christkindlmarkt held in downtown for the seventh year. Sip on some hot chocolate or hot spiced wine, or even some beer, as you munch on European-style baked goods. The market opens Nov. 24 and the opening is accompanied by a parade of local German organizations.

Fountain Square, Fifth and Vine Streets, Cincinnati, Ohio

Old World Christmas Market

The highly rated and acclaimed Old World Christmas Market at The Osthoff Resort is truly not to be missed. Within the heated market tent, you’ll find such treats as Czech glass-blown Christmas ornaments, German hand-carved nutcrackers, Turkish pashmina scarves, Estonian woolen products and Russian nesting dolls. At the market’s food court, feast on potato pancakes and schnitzel, dumplings and apple strudel. 

The Osthoff Resort, 101 Osthoff Avenue, Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin 

Germania Society Christkindlmarkt 

The Germania Society Christkindlmarkt claims that it’s the most authentic German Christmas market in the Cincinnati area, and it does offer a few features that you won’t find at other markets on this list. For example, the market features visits not just from Saint Nicholas, but also Krampus, the demon-like, anti-Santa character from German folklore. There’s also live German music and extensive shopping with many imported German items. 

Germania Society of Cincinnati, 3429 West Kemper Road, Cincinnati, Ohio

Bliss Barn Christmas Market

This Christmas market offers so much more than simply shopping and refreshments. Beyond the more than 60 vendors, expect live music, visits from Santa and amazing artwork presented by a professional ice sculptor. 

Kelsay Farm, 8271 South 100 East, Fairmount, Indiana

Kerstmarkt in Holland

Whereas many of the other Christmas markets on this list get their inspiration from Germany, the Kerstmarkt in Holland finds its roots in — where else? — the Netherlands. The Christmas market is ongoing at the same time the normal market at this location is open, so you can purchase yummy, locally-sourced food items at the same time you shop for holiday gifts.

Eighth Street Marketplace, 150 West Eighth Street, Holland, Michigan 

Kristkindl Markt in Hermann

Warm up with mulled wine and a hot cup of soup as you wander through this German Christmas market set at a winery. Carolers are on site to fill the air with even more cheer, as you shop for Christmas crafts and gifts of all types. The market is only open two days this year, Dec. 7–8.

Stone Hill Winery, 1110 Stone Hill Highway, Hermann, Missouri