I love Chicago during the Christmas holidays. The streets are adorned with lights and garland. People are friendlier. Giving back is on the forefront of folk’s minds. And there is always something to do.
One of my favorite things to do in the city during the holidays is to visit the Christkindlmarket. The Christkindlmarket is a traditional German-American holiday located in Daley Plaza. This year the market opened on November 23rd and will stay open until December 24th. Fun facts about the market:
- Inspired by the Christkindlsmarket in Nuremberg, Germany (dating back to 1545)
- Christkindlmarket has been held in Daley Plaza since 1997
- Admission is free
- There are special parades and live music performances
Being 75% German I feel it’s my annual duty to go. Good thing I like to do it! One benefit of attending the market is finishing up Christmas shopping…especially for all of your German relatives! Kelly and I enjoy going through the ornament shops and admiring all the beautiful glass ornaments. Usually at least one or two will make it in my shopping bag. Visitors will also be amazed at the variety of original German products for sale from cuckoo clocks to beer steins to lace table runners. You’ll be sure to find something that’s unique and authentic.
Another reason I love the market is the food. Traditional German food might be a slight weak spot in my belly. Even though I’m slowly starting to come around to sauerkraut…but let’s be honest sauerkraut is an acquired taste. Definite go to dishes at the market are the potato pancakes. To accompany the pancakes my recommendation is for applesauce over sour cream, but you can decide. Another tasty treat is a traditional bratwurst with sauerkraut. Please don’t insult it by adding ketchup. Mustard is the only condiment companion to this German staple.
Need something to drink? Grab a boot, well it’s a very small tasty boot filled with Gluhwein from Nuremberg. Gluhwein is hot-spiced wine and is delightful on a cold winter night. If that’s not your style, have no fear! Grab a pint of Spaten Lager or Bockbeer. Still not quenching your thirst? You can always get a mug of hot chocolate or cider.
If you’re still hungry check out the sweet shop filled with rows of candy, stolen or marzipan. Or you can get your choice of hot roasted nuts to munch on as you meander through the vendors.
Next time you’re downtown check out Daley Plaza. What are you waiting for? Be transported temporarily to Germany via authentic drinks, food and shopping. It’s a very affordable stay-cation in your own backyard.