Christmas in Chicago is truly spectacular. Michigan Avenue is ablaze with lights, the storefronts are festively decorated with great care, and the streets are filled with bustling shoppers feverishly checking off their gift lists.
But if you’re anything like us, what truly sparks the holiday season are the tastes and smells that inevitably come with it! Part of the reason Nick and I were thrilled when we were sent on our latest Mile Markers mission. Christkindlmarket is a magical space that envelops you and ignites all of your senses; we could even smell the spiced nuts from blocks away!
Located in Daley Plaza, this annual tradition has been getting Chicago in the holiday spirit for 18 years. Christkindlmarket Chicago is the largest and most renowned authentic German, outdoor winter market in the United States, attracting visitors from near and far.
Christkindlmarket offers visitors a very unique holiday shopping experience. The little shops feature one-of-a-kind, hand-blown, and hand-painted ornaments, nutcrackers, hand-carved Santa figurines, cuckoo clocks, and so much more. Each booth is more unique than the next. One could spend hours perusing each shop searching for the perfect treasure.
One of our favorite finds was the shop Dom itp. They work closely with artisans from Poland and commission them to make blown glass ornaments replicating some of Chicago’s most well known landmarks. They are indeed works of art – so detailed and ornate. From Cloud Gate (a.k.a The Bean) to the Chicago Water Tower, The El, and even The Art Institute.
After all that shopping, you’re bound to work up an appetite. (What we’ve been waiting for!) The food is traditional old-world German fare, including soft pretzels, wursts, kraut, potato pancakes with various sauces, and something else that is becoming a bit of a tradition out of Germany – curry wurst…who knew?! We were huge fans of the potato pancakes. The warm, crispy, salty, and crunchy bites made for a delightful treat
Oh, and what better way to wash down those delicious bites than a mini stein of Gluhwein! I was a Gluhwein newbie, and my verdict is – it’s delicious! The aroma sort of reminded me of sangria, but seasoned with holiday spices rather than summer citrus, and served up steaming hot instead of over ice. It warms you from the inside out and makes you forget about your cold fingers and toes! If spiced wine isn’t your thing, they have dark and light beers on tap too (German, of course) as well as hot chocolate!
Bottom line, if you haven’t been, GO! The giant Christmas tree lit up against the little red and white striped booths, with the stunning backdrop of Chicago is perfection. But bundle up, and don’t try to sneak your spicy wine off the premises.
Check out more of Nick’s photos from our trip to Christkindlmarket in this Flickr Photo Set
Open November 26 – December 24, 2013
Sunday – Thursday 11:00 am – 8:00 pm
Friday – Saturday 11:00 am – 9:00 pm
Daley Plaza – 50 W. Washington (between Dearborn and Clark Street)
Meet the Mile Markers:
Nick’s creativity, and affinity for working a camera naturally led to photography as a career at Nick Ulivieri Photography. With a prominent following on Instagram, Nick looks forward to spreading his love for photography throughout the Land of Lincoln!
She’s worked for Phil Stefani in the restaurant business for nearly nine years. A foodie at heart, Amy loves dining out at restaurants, as well as cooking at home. She’s always been adventurous with food and enjoys trying new ingredients and flavors. The same can be said for her love of travel. A love for discovery of new places and soaking up the culture that goes with it lends itself to the adventures ahead in Illinois!