Pennsylvania 2 Most Euro-Centric Christmas Markets in the U.S.
When it comes to festive travel experiences, European Christmas markets stand out for their unique blend of sights and scents. Originating in Europe centuries ago, these markets were initially established to mark and prepare for the holiday season before eventually making their way to America. Each market, with its distinctive setup, offers a range of items, from handmade decorations and ornaments to artwork, as well as seasonal food and beverages.
According to the Smithsonian Magazine, the roots of Christmas markets trace back to Vienna in 1296, where Duke Albrecht I authorized 14-day fairs in December. Interestingly, despite their December timing, these markets were not originally directly tied to Christmas and lacked a religious nature. Another early example is found in Bautzen, Germany, where in 1384, King Wenceslas IV of Bohemia granted the city the right to hold a free market, allowing butchers to sell meat until Christmas.
U.S. Christmas markets evoke a genuinely European atmosphere.
Travel + Leisure magazine has compiled a list of U.S. Christmas markets that evoke a genuinely European atmosphere. From San Francisco to Washington, D.C., these outdoor markets offer a variety of holiday gifts alongside cups of hot cocoa and mulled wine.
Philadelphia’s Christmas Village is recognized as one of the experiences closest to an authentic German Christmas market in the U.S. Located at Love Park and City Hall, the market operates from mid-November through Christmas Eve, featuring over 100 vendors in wooden booths offering food, ornaments, jewelry, sweets, and crafts from around the world.
The magazine also features Philly’s Made in Philadelphia Holiday Market, with an ice rink, and a municipal Christmas tree nearby. Visitors can also ride on a Christmas Village carousel in City Hall’s courtyard.
Pittsburgh’s Peoples Gas Holiday Market in Market Square is another Pennsylvania market on the list, offering holiday goods ranging from handmade Polish folk art to Celtic Irish gifts.
The list of Euro-centric Christmas markets in the U.S. includes Christkindlmarket Chicago, inspired by the 16th-century Christkindlesmarkt in Nuremberg, Germany, and the Denver Christkindlmarket and Solvang Julefest in California, among others.
Check out the complete list here.