Christmas Magic at the Market

Michaela Reif, Scoop Editor

Nothing quite represents the beginning of the holiday season like a trip to the Chicago Christkindlmarket in Daley Plaza. Squeezed into the heart of the theater district, the market is always jam-packed with both shoppers and browsers who can peruse a large selection of gifts, foods, drinks and keepsakes. This variety of offerings has allowed the market to garner an excellent reputation over the years, and this year’s rendition appears to be no different.


When I visited on November 30th, it was definitely still early in the season for the market, especially considering the late Thanksgiving, and I found the entire experience to be less crowded than years prior. I also stopped by near closing, at approximately 8:30p.m. Visiting early and at odd hours appears to be the key to having a less hectic experience. Hours are listed on the website, and closing times vary based upon day of the week. Sundays through Thursdays the market closes at 8, while Fridays and Saturdays the hours extend until 9. The market always opens at 11a.m.


After arriving at the plaza, I began to investigate the various shops. Some storefronts were different from the ones I had seen last year, but for the most part, most of the more famous and prominent vendors had returned. This included the famous hot chocolate served in souvenir mugs and the warm, candied nuts. Although the lines for these two items were often ridiculously long, both the locals and I will attest that the wait was worth it. The hot chocolate was an authentic, homemade treat, and it was perfect for carrying around while shopping. The nuts were also an excellent choice for eating while walking, and they came in a variety of both sweet and savory flavors.


Beyond the popular classics, the market also offers a variety of other holiday staples. Additional shops include those for ornaments, scarves, wooden toys, stuffed animals and hand-crafted decorations. Most of the booths indicate a country of origin (most commonly Germany), that expresses the location in which the product is made in or historically originates from. 


The market also offers more substantial food options. Featured items include polish sausages and potato pancakes. Much of the food is styled after traditional German dishes. Food is slightly overpriced and seating is hard to come by, but purchasing the food is partly just for the ambiance. 


Overall, the Christkindlmarket is a necessity for Christmas-time celebrations. It is constantly bustling, dynamic and full of energy, so even those who visit annually are bound to see something new. Check out the official website for directions, hours and to preorder the souvenir mugs.