Christmas markets, or Christkindlmarkts, are a time-honored tradition in Europe, and they’re becoming increasingly popular in the United States – especially for families! Originating from Germany, this beloved custom lets families wander through stalls selling everything from handmade gifts and trinkets to unique Christmas-themed food. While American cities don’t have quite the same history, that doesn’t mean there aren’t any great ones! From large, bustling markets in New York City and Chicago to small, quaint markets in the mountains of Colorado, there’s a Christmas market for everyone to enjoy throughout the country. What’s more, many offer family-friendly activities like visits with Santa Claus, face painting, and candy making. So if you’re looking for a festive and fun-filled day out with your family during the holidays, read this article on the Best Christmas Markets In The United States For Families!
Best Christmas Markets on the East Coast for Families
There’s nothing quite like exploring a Christmas market with your family. And if you’re lucky enough to live on the East Coast of the United States, you have plenty of great options to choose from! From the famous markets of New York City to German-inspired options in Georgia, here are some of the best Christmas markets on the East Coast for families!
Columbus Circle Holiday Market
New York, New York
A visit to the Columbus Circle Holiday Market is a must for any family seeing New York City during the holidays! In fact, it is one of the best Christmas markets in NYC for kids. Running through the month of December, this outdoor market, located adjacent to Central Park, offers a wide variety of holiday-themed merchandise. Families can browse anything from traditional German nutcrackers and wooden toys to handmade jewelry and Christmas decorations. Plus, the market is located in one of the most beautiful parts of the city, so you can enjoy some holiday sights and sounds while you shop! There’s also live music, entertainment, and plenty of food options, including roasted chestnuts, gingerbread cookies, and hot cocoa. Kids will love the bustling ambiance and the unique attractions, like Santa’s workshop.
Where To Stay In New York City With Kids
Looking for somewhere to stay in New York City with kids? In Lower Manhattan, we recommend the Millennium Downtown New York Hotel in the Financial District or the trendy Greenwich Hotel in Tribeca. In Midtown Manhattan, try the Loews Regency New York or Omni Berkshire Place, which also has a Kids’ Club. For a true luxury experience, we also recommend the nearby St. Regis New York. NYC also has lots of affordable Airbnbs and Vrbos in and around the outer boroughs.
Find more hotel suggestions on our list of the Best Family Hotels In New York City With A Pool (including 1- to 3-Bedroom Suites!)
Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park
New York, New York
Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park in New York City is an excellent place for families to enjoy the Christmas season! Open from November to January; this winter wonderland is home to the Bryant Park Holiday Shops, where over 150 vendors sell handmade jewelry, clothing, and holiday decorations. The market also has a wide variety of food options to grab a bite while you shop. Families can rent their own private igloo and enjoy the ultimate winter experience!
The Bryant Park Winter Village also boasts a kid-friendly ice skating rink with free admission, skate rentals, and even skating aids for little ones. Plus, a fun carousel to ride! Other Christmas events range throughout the season, from storytimes to arts and crafts. And nearby Macy’s Santa Land is the perfect place for little ones to visit with Santa Claus himself! No wonder this is one of the best Christmas markets in NYC with kids.
Union Square Holiday Market
New York, New York
The holidays are a special time of year when friends and family come together to celebrate. What better way to celebrate than by visiting one of the best Christmas markets in the United States? Union Square Holiday Market in New York City is the perfect place for families to enjoy the holiday season! With over 100 different vendors, families can shop for unique gifts, enjoy traditional holiday foods and drinks, and listen to live music. Plus, the convenient location in the heart of Union Square makes it easy to fit into your busy holiday schedule. Kids will love the bright lights, cute decorations, and abundance of activities nearby. Visit a cafe after exploring, or head to a local toy store like Forbidden Planet. Not to mention there’s CAMP on nearby Fifth Avenue, where kids can play on a jungle gym while they shop!
Plan a winter excursion to one of the Best New York City Christmas Activities With Kids!
Families who want to experience an authentic German Christmas market on the East Coast should head to Bethlehem, Pennsylvania! Held in Bethlehem’s PNC Plaza (at SteelStacks 645 E. First St.), Christkindlmarkt Bethlehem is a must-visit to get into the holiday spirit. From mid-November through mid-December, this tented market features more than 150 vendor booths selling everything from handmade gifts and decorations to delicious German foods and sweets. And with live performances throughout the holiday season in the Musikfest Café presented by Yuengling, there’s always something to enjoy! Kids will especially love all the holiday-specific activities, like ornament or cookie decorating, ice skating, and the chance to enjoy a visit from St. Nicholas.
Looking for more family-friendly activities in Bethlehem this Christmas? Families can embark on one of the local Christmas tours offered by the museums and historic sites in town. You can even take a Christmas stroll with a certified guide outfitted in a 1700s-era Moravian dress! Afterward, rest your feet while you explore the city by horse-drawn carriage. Then, for more festive experiences don’t miss Christmas City Village in the historic downtown area. Bethlehem is undoubtedly home to one of the best Christmas markets in the United States for families!
Discover the best Magical Christmas Towns In The Northeast To Visit With Kids!
Christmas Village in Philadelphia
Philadelphia is full of festive fun for families during Christmas! Throughout December, the city comes alive with decorations, holiday lights, and special events to get into the spirit of the season. One of the best ways is to visit one of the many Christmas markets, including the famous Christmas Village in Philadelphia presented by Bank of America. Located in LOVE Park, in the heart of Center City, it’s modeled after a traditional German Christkindlmarkt, featuring more than 110 vendors selling everything from handmade arts and crafts to traditional European foods. There’s also live entertainment, Santa Claus visits, and a wide variety of unique gifts. Kids will love sampling all the food too, from Belgian fries to raclette cheese and bratwurst. Warm up with a hot chocolate or farm-fresh apple cider, and don’t forget to snap a photo in front of Robert Indiana’s iconic LOVE statue!
Click here to find out 14 Things To Do In Philadelphia With Kids During Winter!
Where To Stay In Philadelphia With Kids
Philadelphia has plenty of places to stay as a family! The Sonesta Philadelphia boasts the largest heated outdoor pool in the city, and the Four Seasons Philadelphia has the highest pool – on the 57th floor. In the Old City, stay at the conveniently located Wyndham Philadelphia Historic District. A bit further from downtown, consider the Chestnut Hill Hotel, in a great neighborhood for shopping and dining.
Christmas Market on Main
Looking for a unique Christmas market to take the family to this year? Check out the Christmas Market on Main in Yorktown, Virginia! This two-day festive market runs in early December, showcasing a wide variety of holiday goods, foods, and activities for families to take advantage of. Stroll down Main Street and enjoy the festive decorations as you browse through the many stalls selling everything from hand-crafted goods to homemade holiday treats. Be sure to try some of the yummy food and drinks available, such as apple cider, hot cocoa, and popcorn. Kids will love listening to the live musical entertainment, making Colonial ornament crafts, or saying hi to Santa Claus. On Sunday, kids can even have cookies with Santa.
And don’t forget to pick up a souvenir ornament to hang on your tree back home! Nearly 100 vendors will line Main Street to sell ornaments, wreaths, handmade soaps, jewelry, and much, much more. Find the full schedule here. Undoubtedly, this is one of the best holiday markets in the U.S. for families.
Between the annual Virginia Beach Christmas Market, the Norwegian Holiday Festival and Bazaar in Fairfax, and the Northern Virginia Christmas Market, there are many other options to enjoy a festive Christmas in Virginia!
Book a stay near Yorktown here with Vrbo!
Downtown Holiday Market
When it comes to holiday markets, the Downtown Holiday Market in Washington, D.C., is hard to top! Open from mid-November through December; it features over 150 local and international vendors selling everything from jewelry and hand-crafted goods to delicious food and drinks. Plus, with live music and festive lights, the atmosphere is sure to get you into the holiday mood. And when you need a break from shopping, there are plenty of other activities to enjoy. Take a ride on the nearby carousel, say hi to Santa, or grab a bite at one of the many food stands. Plus, since the market is located in the heart of downtown D.C., you can also take some time to go sightseeing and visit some of the city’s famous landmarks along the National Mall.
Looking for more holiday activities in DC? Not only is DC home to one of the best holiday markets in the US with kids, but there are many other things you can do during your visit! See the Christmas tree lit up at the U.S. Capitol Building or walk along the DC Wharf! Click here to read more about the 8 Best Places In DC To Celebrate The Holidays As A Family!
Where To Stay In DC With Kids
Wondering about the best hotels in DC for families? Kids will love the indoor pool at The Watergate Hotel. Meanwhile, The Ritz-Carlton Washington DC offers a special welcome package for little ones, plus fun activities like a scavenger hunt. Families can also stay near famous attractions like The White House or the U.S. Capitol Building by booking a stay at the Hyatt Place Washington DC. Or, venture to DuPont Circle and stay at The Darcy.
Or if home and apartment rentals are more your style, check out our recommendations for the best neighborhoods to stay in DC.
For more information on where to stay in DC with kids, check out our 12 Best Family-Friendly Hotels in DC!
Peoples Gas Holiday Market
Peoples Gas Holiday Market is undoubtedly one of the best Christmas markets in the United States for families! Located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in the heart of downtown and celebrating its 11th year, this charming European-style market features close to 40 vendors selling a variety of holiday gifts and goodies. You’ll find everything from handmade holiday decorations to freshly baked cookies to one-of-a-kind jewelry. And what’s a Christmas market without some festive music? Peoples Gas Holiday Market has that covered, too, with live music performances happening daily. With a skating rink that allows you to skate around a 66-foot holiday tree a few steps away, it’s the perfect place to take the whole family for a day of holiday fun. Open daily at 11:00 am from November 18 to December 24 with free admission.
Where To Stay In Pittsburgh With Kids
Pittsburgh has plenty of places to stay with kids! Set in a historic building downtown, families love Kimpton Hotel Monaco Pittsburgh. It features spacious rooms, on-site dining, kickboard scooters, and bikes to rent. Drury Plaza Hotel Pittsburgh Downtown is another good option, located inside the renovated, historic Federal Reserve Bank building. There’s breakfast and snacks for kids, plus an indoor pool.
Book your home rental in Pittsburgh with Vrbo here!
As one of the best Christmas markets in the USA, families are sure to have a jolly good time at the Christkindlmarkt Helen! This adorable little German-themed town in Georgia is transformed into a festive winter wonderland during the holidays. At the market, running in late November and early December, families can enjoy twinkling lights, festive decorations, and stalls full of handmade goods, baked treats, and Christmas cheer! Stroll through the cobblestone streets, browse vendors, and enjoy traditional German food and drink, like stollen bread or Lebkuchen cookies. Be sure to stop by the gingerbread house display and the life-size nativity scene – both are must-sees! There are also rides for kids of all ages and activities like ornament-making. And since Helen is located in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains, families can enjoy stunning mountain views while they shop!
Reserve a home for your family near Helen with Evolve!
Savannah Christmas Market
Enjoy a uniquely Southern Christmas market experience in Savannah, Georgia! One of the best places to soak up the festive atmosphere and start your holiday shopping is the Savannah Christmas Market. Located in the Plant Riverside District, this family-friendly, open-air market runs from late November through all of December. As one of the best holiday markets in the US for families, it features local artisans and vendors selling everything from handmade jewelry to holiday decor. Plus, delicious food and drink options keep families fueled. Kids will love exploring the various stalls, seeing the gingerbread houses, and tasting some holiday treats! There’s even a special Kids’ Corner with activities like holiday card decorating or ornament-making. Santa Claus himself also makes an appearance at the market, giving children the chance to take a photo and tell him what they hope to find under the tree come Christmas morning!
Plant Riverside itself is a fantastic place to visit in Savannah with kids. In fact, it features 13 restaurants, a 138 ft dinosaur in the lobby, and live music – just to name a few things.
Where To Stay In Savannah With Kids
Staying overnight in Savannah with kids? You can also select from other family favorites like the JW Marriott Savannah Plant Riverside District (on-site with the market!) or The Westin Savannah Harbor Golf Resort & Spa. Many people who travel in larger groups also choose to rent homes on Airbnb or Vrbo in Savannah’s surrounding areas for more space.
Here are the Best Hotels in Savannah for Families!
Best Christmas Markets in the Midwest for Families
When it comes to the holidays, the Midwest has some of the best Christmas markets in the USA. From Chicago to St. Paul, there are plenty of holiday markets perfect for a family outing. Keep reading to find out the best Christmas markets in the United States Midwest for families!
Few charming towns in the United States do Christmas better than Frankenmuth, Michigan! Modeled after a traditional German village, the whole town gets into the spirit with sparkling Christmas lights and decorations. Luckily, the Christkindlmarkt Frankenmuth is the perfect place to do your family’s holiday shopping! Open Thanksgiving weekend into mid-December, this Bavarian-themed market features more than 50 vendors selling everything from handmade toys to German food. Kids can munch on tasty items like brats and hotdogs. For parents, make sure to stop by the stand for Gluhwein, a lovely holiday wine.
There’s also live entertainment and the gathering barn will be available as a warming space. The kids’ entertainment includes meeting Santa, acrobatic elves, and snow princesses! Finally, don’t miss supporting Santa’s Giving Workshop where guests can help us package 100 care packages that will be donated to 5 different charities and nonprofits within Frankenmuth and Saginaw counties. No wonder it’s one of the best Christmas markets in the United States for families!
Once you’re done exploring one of the best holiday markets in the US with kids, you can stroll around the adorable town or take a horse-drawn carriage ride to enjoy other Christmas offerings. Don’t miss Bronner’s CHRISTmas Wonderland, one of the world’s largest Christmas stores!
Choose Vrbo to book your family’s stay in Frankenmuth here!
If you’re looking for a festive and family-friendly Christmas market in the United States, look no further than Christkindlmarket Chicago! Held annually in Daley Plaza from mid-November through Christmas Eve, this German-style market features dozens of stalls selling everything from traditional holiday decorations to delicious food and drink. This includes classic German fare and tasty hot chocolate. Whether you’re looking for hand-crafted gifts or regional specialties, Christkindlmarkt Chicago is the perfect place to find unique gifts for your loved ones – or to treat yourself! In addition to the great shopping opportunities, it also features live musical entertainment on select days. Little ones can also enjoy a visit from Santa Claus. Or, get their faces painted while grown-ups browse the charming stalls and soak up the festive atmosphere!
Chicago is a wonderful city to visit during the holiday season because there’s so much to see and do with kids! Marvel at the dazzling lights at the Magnificent Mile Lights Festival, go ice-skating at Millennial Park overlooking The Bean, or hear caroling at the Cloud Gate.
Plan a trip to one of the most Magical Christmas Towns in the U.S. for Families!
Where To Stay In Chicago With Kids
Families who want to stay in the heart of downtown Chicago will love the Palmer House, A Hilton Hotel, The Ritz-Carlton, Chicago, and the Park Hyatt Chicago. Each has unique accommodations and extra perks for families like a pool, spacious rooms, or rooms with kitchenettes. If you want to stay by the Navy Pier, check out The Residence Inn by Marriott Chicago Downtown / River North or Loews Chicago Hotel. Families also love The Langham, Chicago. Or book an Airbnb or Vrbo to spread out!
Check out our list of The 10 Best Family Hotels in Chicago or Stay at The Langham, Chicago for an Exciting Chicago Vacation with Kids!
St. Paul European Christmas Market
St. Paul, Minnesota
As the capital city of Minnesota, St. Paul is unsurprisingly a hub for festive Christmas spirit and holiday cheer. One of the best ways to soak up the Yuletide vibes in St. Paul is by visiting the European Christmas Market! Open on the Union Depot East Plaza during mid-December; the market is inspired by traditional German Christkindlmarkets. It showcases charming wooden huts selling hand-crafted goods, holiday decorations, and more. Not to mention traditional European food and beverages like jaeger schnitzel, so you can be cozy while you browse. And what would a European market be without a few festive traditions? At the St. Paul European Christmas Market, you can listen to live music, watch dance performances, and even take a photo with Santa Claus himself! No wonder this is one of the best holiday markets in the US for families.
Where To Stay In Minneapolis/St. Paul With Kids
Families will love the array of kid-friendly accommodation options in or near St. Paul and Minneapolis! The Four Seasons Hotel Minneapolis is located in the heart of downtown Minneapolis and offers panoramic views of the city skyline, just steps away from shopping, dining, and entertainment. There’s also The Hewing Hotel, a boutique hotel in the North Loop neighborhood. In St. Paul, The Saint Paul Hotel is located in the historic district and features a variety of accommodations and amenities. Families also love The InterContinental Saint Paul Riverfront. Or, for something more festive, try Great Wolf Lodge Water Park Minnesota or Radisson Blu Mall of America in Bloomington.
Experience a small town in Michigan with a big Christmas spirit, Holland, Michigan! Every year from late November through mid-December, Kerstmarkt transforms downtown into a festive wonderland with twinkling lights, holiday music, and traditional Dutch treats. The highlight is the 100-foot Christmas tree, adorned with more than 5,000 LED lights. It’s a beautiful sight to behold, and also a great place to take family photos!
Throughout the market, vendors sell everything from handmade gifts to tasty food. Enjoy traditional Dutch cuisine like speculaas (windmill cookies) and pea soup. There are also plenty of vendors with handmade, locally crafted goods to browse and fill stockings with. Kid-friendly activities and events include dog sledding demos and a Sinterklaas (Dutch St. Nick) processional with lanterns, and a chance for photos afterward. There will also be a fabulous handbell duo that plays traditional Christmas music on select dates. Be sure to check the updated calendar of events for the dates when these experiences will occur.
Look here for a stay near Holland, Michigan, with Vrbo!
Cincideutsch Christkindlmarkt is a beloved Cincinnati tradition that occurs every year in the city’s downtown. Open in early November; this family-friendly event features a wide variety of vendors selling Christmas goods and goodies, as well as live entertainment and plenty of festive fun. Families visiting the Christkindlmarkt can find holiday gifts for everyone on their list at the variety of unique stalls, from handmade jewelry and toys to traditional German Christmas decorations. There’s also plenty of food and drink, including mouthwatering roasted almonds, spiced wine, and sizzling bratwurst. Family-friendly entertainment includes live music from local bands, puppet shows, face painting, and letters to Santa. The market also has a special Kids Zone with arts and crafts activities, plus a petting zoo!
Book your homestay in Cincinnati here with Vrbo!
Best Christmas Markets in the Mountain States for Families
Although not as well known as some of the other Christmas markets in the United States, the mountain states have unique and charming markets that are worth visiting. Here is our top pick for the best Christmas market in the mountain states for families!
Denver Christkindlmarket is the perfect place to find unique gifts and experience a taste of German culture without needing a passport! Nestled in the heart of Denver’s Civic Center Park, this open-air market is inspired by classic German Christmas markets; but with a festive “Mile High City” spin. From mid-November through December, the family-friendly event features aisles of vendors selling traditional European gifts, food, and novelty items. Charming red and white roofed huts showcase a variety of traditional merchandise, from ornaments and nutcrackers to jewelry and handmade Scherenschnitte paper cuts. Families can also browse a selection of unique European foods and drinks, including bratwurst, schnitzel, strudel, and Glühwein, a traditional mulled wine. A real attraction is the 100-foot “Mile High Tree, adorned with more than 5,000 LED lights!
There’s also live music and more entertainment throughout the market. Take advantage of the new “Kinder Wunderland” for children, including s’more-making stations and yard games. Plus, fun penguin-themed mugs are for sale for little ones! There are also family days every Sunday, featuring events like readings of holiday books by local news anchors.
Where To Stay In Denver With Kids
There are plenty of accommodations in Denver to fit the entire family. Stay at one of the best-themed hotels on the West Coast when you book a cute Circus-themed room at The Curtis Hotel! Or, pick a convenient, no-frills option near downtown, like Embassy Suites by Hilton Denver Downtown Convention Center. Families also love the Gaylord Rockies Resort & Convention Center, The Grand Hyatt Denver, and the Hilton Garden Inn Denver Tech Center.
Continue your research on one of the 13 Best Denver Hotels For Families With Kids!
Best Christmas Markets on the West Coast for Families
Families who want to experience a festive and magical Christmas market on the West Coast this year should look no further! From bustling city markets in California to quaint small-town ones in Washington, there are plenty of great options for finding unique gifts, enjoying holiday activities, and savoring delicious food and drink. So why not visit one of these holiday destinations for kids in the United States? Stay tuned to learn more!
Solvang Julefest is a must-see for families looking to get into the Christmas spirit! With its picturesque setting, this charming Danish village in California springs to life during the holidays with traditional Julpynt. The town seems straight from a vintage postcard or Hallmark movie, so it’s worth a visit beyond the market. Then, beginning in late November, a month-long holiday celebration kicks off with a traditional Christmas tree lighting ceremony, followed by live entertainment and caroling. Throughout the month, families can browse a variety of vendors selling handmade gifts, holiday decorations, and festive foods. There are plenty of activities to enjoy with kids too, such as horse-drawn trolley rides, visits with Santa, and cookie decorating contests. Be sure to try some of the delicious Danish food and pastries at Olsen’s Danish Village Bakery too – it’s all part of the experience!
From Sacramento Christkindlmarkt to Great Dickens Christmas Fair in Daly City, there are many other Christmas markets in California! Some are smaller, while others boast a German theme, so if you’re traveling the state, check out more of the best Christmas markets in the United States for families!
Where To Stay In Solvang With Kids
For a European-style stay in Solvang to complement your visit to one of the best Christmas markets in the United States for families, check out the Mirabelle Inn, a cozy, upscale hotel located at the foot of the Santa Ynez Mountains. Families who want somewhere bigger to stay near Solvang can also consider booking an Airbnb or Vrbo accommodation to have enough space for everyone.
A truly unique Christmas experience awaits your family in Leavenworth! Nestled in the Cascade Mountains of Washington, this quaint town, Bavarian-inspired city will turn into an idyllic Christmastown. Starting at the end of November through Christmas Eve, Christmastown features live music, vendors, and more. They will also have family-friendly entertainment and activities throughout the season. Stop at the Gazebo in the heart of town for live choirs, carolers, bands, and other musical groups. Kids can spend their time visiting Santa, writing letters to share their gift wishes, and munching on yummy snacks. Then, don’t miss checking out Santa’s costumes from around the world on display or the Gingerbread House Exhibition. Families can even sneak in a family picture at one of the holiday-themed selfie stations. Finally, Leavenworth will be completely lit with over half a million lights!
Where To Stay In Leavenworth With Kids
Need somewhere comfortable to stay in Leavenworth with your kids? Check our Airbnb or Vrbo for some options!
We hope you liked this list of the Best Christmas Markets In The United States For Families! From coast to coast, these unique Christmas markets offer a chance to get into the holiday spirit with your family and support local businesses too. Enjoy visiting a Christmas Market in the United States with your kids!
*Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, some of the attractions, accommodations, or things to do on this list may be closed. Please ensure availability before making your decision.
*This post may contain affiliate links that may earn us a small commission, at no additional cost to you. Affiliate links in no way inform the hotels, sights, products, or other recommendations included in our articles. All opinions and recommendations expressed here are compiled from submissions submitted by the generous members of our Families Who Love To Travel community.
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