Hey, want to go to Germany for the holidays? Then make your way downtown to Daley Plaza and experience one of my favorite annual events, the German Christkindlmarket.
I can’t wait for this yearly tradition that gives Chicagoans that “Christmasy,” holiday feel. Right in The Loop at 50 W. Washington and Dearborn, the Daley Plaza will be lit up with multitudes of colorful lights and a huge, exquisitely decorated tree.
The entire plaza becomes transformed into a German village, complete with gifts shops, eateries, music, and fun.
I used to live in Germany and this market is full of the flavor of Bavaria. Brings back a lot of memories. You can even practice your German– several of the vendors come direct from Deutschland, bringing with them their wares.
The German market is free but bring some cash for shopping. Stop by my favorite place– the ornament shop. I could stay in this store for hours! There are hundreds of unbelievable unique tree ornaments in a variety of shapes and colors. They are awesome! Of course there are other gift stores that carry lots of ideas for holiday gifts. It’s guaranteed you will find something great and unique.
The food is pretty authentic, too. I head straight for the wiener schnitzel. Yum! Then I like to stop by one of my special shops and talk with a family that makes the trip to Chicago from Augsburg (where I used to live), get the scoop on the Bavarian city, then order a miniature stein of Gluehwein, a popular hot, spiced wine. Keep the mug as a souvenir. There is hot apple cider as a delicious non-alcoholic beverage to keep you warm as you walk around the market.
More food. More fun. As in German strudel, sausages, potato pancakes, churros, pretzels (with mustard, yeah!), hot dogs, and more. You know you can’t go home without a taste of German chocolate. Oh yeah, how could I forget–gummy bears. Don’t worry, you’ll find something you like to eat.
Get the kids involved in the lantern parade. Let them hold one of the lanterns, then look around and see the “village” lit up. There are entertainment and goody bags for them also.
The great thing about the German Christkindlmarket is mingling with your friends and neighbors, or busy Chicagoans in the downtown area. The air is crisp and clear. The shopping is great. The atmosphere is friendly. Come out, meet the merchants and say “guten tag” to your friends. Starts Nov. 24 and runs all the way until Christmas Eve.