About the Christkindlmarket:
The Christkindlmarket is Chicago's largest open-air Christmas festival and includes European arts and crafts, as well as brats, spiced wine and other German specialties. The only downside to this year's market will be the city's Christmas tree. Due to budget cuts, the tree will be considerably smaller this year. Normally, the tree is comprised of several large Christmas trees. This year, it will just be one tree, at least that is what I have heard. The Christkindlmarket is open daily through December 24, 2011 at Chicago's Daley Plaza.
Daley Plaza at Washington and Dearborn - 50 W. Washington is the exact address. It is recommended to take take public transportation
to the market as parking can be difficult. Nearby CTA stops include the Blue Line at Washington/Dearborn and the Red Line: State/Lake.
Christkindlmarket Dates and Times:
November 23, 2011 through December 24, 2011. Hours are Sunday - Thursday: 11 a.m. - 8 p.m.; Friday and Saturday: 11 a.m. - 9 p.m. Thanksgiving Day, November 24, 2011: 11 a.m. - 4 p.m.; Christmas Eve, December 24, 2011: 11 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Admission to the Christkindlmarket:
Admission to the Christkindlmarket is free.
Santa House at the Christkindlmarket:
The Christkindlmarket includes a Santa's House where kids can visit with Santa. Dates and times for the Santa House are November 23, 2011 from 6 p.m. - 8 p.m., November 24 (Thanksgiving Day) 11 a.m. - 4 p.m., and then November 25 - December 18, 2011 every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 11 a.m. - 8 p.m. and December 19 - December 23, 2011 everyday from 11 a.m. - 8 p.m.
Food at the Christkindlmarket:
Come hungry to the Christmkindlmarket, which includes German sausages, potato pancakes, sauerkraut, roasted chestnuts, cookies from Dinkel's, hot spiced wine, and hot chocolate.
Shopping at the Christkindlmarket:
The Christkindlmarket has several booths where vendors sell handcrafted items, including ornaments, nutcrackers, cuckoo clocks, jewelry, toys, clothing, beer steins, and more.
More on the Christkindlmarket:
The name "Christkindlmarket" originates from the mythical tale of the Christkind - a fairy-like being, dressed in a gold and white robe with a crown atop her golden locks. Depending on region and family tradition, either the "Christkind" (pronounced Kristkint) or the "Weihnachtsmann" (Father Christmas or better known as Santa Claus) will be the bearer of gifts. The tradition of the Christkind is known among German-speaking countries including Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, as well as in the Czech Republic, Italy, Liechtenstein, and some South American countries.
Inspired by the Christkindlesmarkt in Nuremberg, Germany, which began in 1545, the Christkindlmarket Chicago brings a German and European tradition with local charm to Chicago. Chicago's largest open-air Christmas festival was first held on Pioneer Court in 1996. By special invitation of Mayor Richard M. Daley, Christkindlmarket Chicago moved to Daley Plaza in 1997 and has become a stable event on the plaza ever since.
Suggested Reading: Christkindlmarket in Munich and Winter Holidays in Italy.