Christkindlmarket Chicago

Christkindlmarket Chicago

By: the Christkindlmarket Team



Welcome to the Christkindlmarket Chicago's Blog, written by your very own Christkind! Read through to learn about the Christkindlmarket behind the scenes and fun facts.






Christkindlmarket 2018 Dates and Hours

Sep 24, 2018

Since 1996,

German American Events, LLC has been bringing the beloved tradition of the Christkindlmarket to Chicago. This year, the Christkindlmarket expands its reach by opening in Milwaukee at the new Fiserv Forum, providing guests with three unique market locations to visit: Chicago, Naperville, and Milwaukee.

"Our expansion into Milwaukee provides us the opportunity to share the holiday spirit with a city that has long asked for its own Christkindlmarket," said Maren Biester Priebe, CEO of German American Events, LLC. "We are elated to see an outpouring of support and excitement about our German holiday tradition from the community. We're also excited to release our new market hours at all three locations, so families can plan ahead and for this year's holiday cheer."

Rooted in German tradition, the Christkindlmarket will turn all three locations into picturesque holiday villages featuring vendors in traditional candy cane striped wooden huts. Visitors will be delighted by live entertainment and family-friendly activities throughout the event in a magical atmosphere and will create holiday memories to last a lifetime.

Families interested in kid-friendly events like Christkind visits, Kinder Tag, and live music can find all information on the Kinder Club section of our website.

Stammtisch table reservations are now open: Visitors can reserve a festively decorated table in the warm Grand Timber Haus for two hours and choose from unique German food & beverage packages. 


Admission to the Christkindlmarket is always free.

2018 hours include:

Christkindlmarket Chicago

When: Nov. 16 - Dec. 24, 2018
Where: Daley Plaza in the Chicago Loop
Hours: Open Daily Sun - Thu 11am - 8pm, Fri - Sat 11am - 9pm
Special Hours: Thanksgiving Day: 11am - 4pm, Christmas Eve: 11am - 4pm

Christkindlmarket Milwaukee

When: Nov. 17 - Dec. 31, 2018
Where: Entertainment Plaza outside Fiserv Forum
Hours: Sun – Thurs 11am – 8pm, Fri – Sat 11am – 9pm
Special Hours: Thanksgiving (Nov. 23), Christmas Eve (Dec. 24), and New Year's Eve (Dec. 31) 11am – 4pm, Christmas Day (Dec. 25) Closed 

Christkindlmarket Naperville

When: Select days from Nov. 23 – Dec. 24, 2018
Where: Naper Settlement (near downtown Naperville and Riverwalk Park)
Hours: Open Thurs - Sun only
Thurs 11am - 7pm, Fri – Sat 11am - 9pm, Sun 11am - 6pm
Special Hours: Also open daily December 17 - 21: 11am - 8pm and December 24: 11am - 4pm

Due to construction, the Christkindlmarket Wrigleyville at Gallagher Way is closed in 2018. Please visit for more information about holiday activities at Gallagher Way.


About Christkindlmarket and German American Events, LLC 

German American Events (GAE, LLC), a subsidiary of the German American Chamber of Commerce of the Midwest, is a non-profit organization that creates and produces the Christkindlmarket Chicago, Naperville, and Milwaukee. All Christkindlmarket locations are modeled after the classic German holiday market in Nuremberg, Germany, with traditional candy-cane striped huts. These free annual outdoor holiday markets host vendors from Germany, Europe and around the world who display hand-crafted ornaments, toys and unique holiday gifts as well as traditional German foods, sweets and beverages. The markets are rich in cultural tradition and include special events, entertainment and activities that are fun for the whole family.





Christkindlmarket Milwaukee Opening this Winter

Jul 16, 2018

Christkindlmarket Milwaukee Opening This Winter at Brand New Wisconsin Entertainment and Sports Center

The Christkindlmarket Milwaukee will transform the beautiful Deer District plaza into a traditional German winter wonderland this holiday season


Contact: Morgan Kingsland | | 312-494-2177


MILWAUKEE, WI (Tuesday, June 26, 2018) — German American Events, LLC is thrilled to bring the beloved tradition of the Christkindlmarket to the most German of major American cities: Milwaukee. Visitors will experience the delight of an authentic German festival in the heart of the city at the new Wisconsin Entertainment and Sports Center. Celebrate the season with festive shopping, delicious European and German delicacies, hot spiced wine (Glühwein), fine beers, hand-crafted ornaments, entertainment, family fun and much more.


The Christkindlmarket Milwaukee will transform the plaza into a picturesque holiday village featuring around 30 vendors in traditional candy cane striped wooden huts. Rooted in German tradition, the Christkindlmarket is a place for celebration and holiday cheer. Visitors will be delighted by live entertainment and activities throughout the event, and will make holiday memories to last a lifetime. Enjoy the Christkindlmarket Milwaukee at the Wisconsin Entertainment and Sports Center’s Deer District plaza from November 17th through December 31st.


Christkindlmarket Milwaukee hours are as follows:

Sunday – Thursday 11am – 8pm

Friday – Saturday 11am – 9pm

Thanksgiving (Nov. 23), Christmas Eve (Dec. 24), and New Year’s Eve (Dec. 31) 11am – 4pm

Christmas Day (Dec. 25) Closed


Admission to the Christkindlmarket Milwaukee is always free.


For more information on the Christkindlmarket Milwaukee, visit Detailed information about vendors, events, and activities will be added as they are finalized.


About Christkindlmarket and German American Events, LLC


German American Events (GAE, LLC), a subsidiary of the German American Chamber of Commerce of the Midwest, is a non-profit organization that creates and produces the Christkindlmarket Chicago, Naperville, and Milwaukee. All Christkindlmarket locations are modeled after the classic German holiday market in Nuremberg, Germany, with traditional candy-cane striped huts. These free annual outdoor holiday markets host vendors from Germany, Europe and around the world who display hand-crafted ornaments, toys and unique holiday gifts as well as traditional German foods, sweets and beverages. The markets are rich in cultural tradition and include special events, entertainment and activities that are fun for the whole family.


Recognized by Travel & Leisure Magazine, USA Today, TripAdvisor, and 10Best as one of the best holiday markets in the world, the Christkindlmarket Chicago opened in 1996 and has grown to be one of the most beloved Chicago holiday traditions. The Christkindlmarket, now celebrating its 23rd year, features almost 60 vendors, and attracts over one million visitors each year from around the Chicagoland area, the nation, and the world. The Christkindlmarket Chicago will open this year on Nov. 16.


In 2014, the GAE, LLC team opened a second Christkindlmarket location in the suburbs, settling in Naperville in 2016, where it doubled in size and welcomed over 200,000 visitors. Featuring all the tradition, culture and fun of the original Chicago market, these locations paved the way for the Christkindlmarket’s first out-of-state location in Milwaukee.



About the Wisconsin Entertainment and Sports Center


Opening on August 26, 2018, the Wisconsin Entertainment and Sports Center (WESC) will be a preeminent sports and entertainment arena in downtown Milwaukee. Designed by Populous, Eppstein Uhen Architects and HNTB, the venue will offer incomparable sightlines, customer service and amenities. The WESC will include 17,500 seats for basketball and up to 18,000 for concerts, and will offer 34 luxury suites and three clubs. The new venue will host a diverse schedule of events, including major concerts, family shows, the Milwaukee Bucks, Marquette men’s basketball, and other sports and entertainment.


Founding Partners for the WESC include BMO Harris Bank, Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin, Johnson Controls and Miller Brewing Company. A naming rights partner will also be named. 


The Construction Manager of the venue is Mortenson Construction and the Project Manager/Owner’s Representative is CAA ICON.


For more information on the WESC please visit






Announcing the Christkindlmarket Naperville 2016

May 19, 2016

The Christkindlmarket Team is thrilled to join the community of Naperville with the new location of the suburban Christkindlmarket at Naper Settlement. Read on to learn about the new location, the organization behind the market, and to find feedback from various local sources. See you in Naperville!


The Christkindlmarket Naperville 

The Christkindlmarket Naperville will offer visitors who live in the western suburbs a chance to experience a traditional German holiday season market with all of the sights, sounds and magic as well as delicious smells and treats, wonderful handmade ornaments and gifts. Traditional wooden huts will be filled with one-of-a-kind gifts including woodcarvings and delicious German delicacies harkening back to the original Christkindlesmarkt in Nuremburg, Germany, which began in 1545.  The Christkindlmarket Naperville will open on Friday, Nov. 25 and on 21 select days in November and December it will transform the village square at Naper Settlement into a picturesque marketplace.


The Christkindlmarket Naperville joins the Christkindlmarket Chicago this holiday season. Since its inception in 1996, the Christkindlmarket Chicago has become a holiday staple for Chicagoans and visitors alike. The market, organized by German American Events, LLC., a subsidiary of the German American Chamber of Commerce of the Midwest, Inc., is one of the largest and most authentic of its kind outside of Europe.


“The Christkindlmarket team is thrilled to announce that this year’s suburban Christkindlmarket will be at Naper Settlement,” said Maren Biester Priebe, General Manager of German American Events, LLC.

“This new location offers an exciting opportunity for the market, which is free and open to the public, to expand and grow. Visitors will experience the traditional wooden huts with candy cane-striped canopies filled with goodies sold by some new and some popular vendors who are seen at the Chicago market on Daley Plaza. The Christkindlmarket Naperville will provide visitors with the festive atmosphere and charm that can be found at the original Chicago market, just a bit closer to home.”


Naper Settlement -

“Our partnership with the Christkindlmarket team is exciting and the venture fits perfectly with Naper Settlement’s mission of promoting the historic culture and significance of the great city of Naperville,” said Macarena Tamayo-Calabrese, President and CEO of Naperville Heritage Society and Naper Settlement. ”The market will enhance an already festive atmosphere provided by Naperville Sunrise Rotary’s annual Naper Lights, during the holiday season.  We are so excited to provide a home to this spectacular cultural event and look forward to watching this partnership grow in years to come.”


City of Naperville -

Naperville Mayor Steve Chirico said, “The Christkindlmarket’s history and popularity will continue to add to the prestige of the City of Naperville, making it the state’s premier suburban holiday destination. Hosting the market here helps add to the influx of visitors to our area during the holiday season and gives the Naperville community and our local businesses and partners a chance to shine even brighter.”


DuPage Convention and Visitors Bureau or Choose DuPage -

The City of Naperville is wonderfully suited for an event of the caliber of the Christkindlmarket. Located along the high-tech corridor of DuPage County, Naperville is easily accessed and already boasts a thriving visitor industry with its many hotels, beautiful parks, the Riverwalk and bustling downtown district,” said Beth Marchetti, Executive Director of the DuPage Convention & Visitors Bureau. “This additional attraction helps promote the city to a larger population who can see the market and experience all that Naperville has to offer.”


Naperville Convention & Visitors Bureau -

“The Naperville Convention & Visitors Bureau is thrilled about Christkindlmarket coming to Naperville. The venue at Naper Settlement provides the perfect backdrop for Christkindlmarket, both are steeped in history and tradition and both provide fun and entertainment."


"Naper Settlement offers an array of activities year-round, and the Christkindlmarket is one more reason to visit and celebrate the holidays in Naperville,” said Christine Jeffries, President of the Naperville Convention & Visitors Bureau.




The Christkindlmarket Naperville at Naper Settlement is free and open to the public Thursdays through Sundays beginning Nov. 25, with special extended opening days and hours leading up to Christmas Eve. Approximately 40 vendors will line the walkways and be nestled within the confines of Naper Settlement’s scenic grounds. The market will feature walk-in structures that house vendors as well as provide a place for visitors to step out of the cold, relax, shop, eat and quench their thirst with imported German beers or Glühwein (hot spiced wine) in a unique collectable souvenir mug.  Visitors will be delighted by live performances as singers, dancers, and musicians will spread the holiday cheer. The Christkind, a fairy-like being and namesake of the market, will visit every Sunday to welcome guests. 




Naper Settlement is a family-friendly outdoor history museum featuring 12 acres of learning and interactive opportunities for all ages. Located in downtown Naperville, Naper Settlement is just steps away from dining, shopping and the Riverwalk. Visitors are immersed in history as they learn about the past and how it relates to the present. Highlights include special events, programs and activities year-round. Each year, 140,400 visitors, including 35,000 northern Illinois schoolchildren, experience hands-on history at Naper Settlement. For more information, visit their website at




The German American Chamber of Commerce® of the Midwest (GACC Midwest), headquartered in Chicago with a branch office in Detroit, was founded in 1963. Their continuing mission is to further, promote, and assist in the expansion of bilateral trade and investment between Germany and the United States, especially the Midwest. As part of this, GACC Midwest has been supporting the founding and development of the Christkindlmarket Chicago, a unique event combining German-American business and culture, since 1996. GACC Midwest is an integral part of the network of German Chambers of Commerce Abroad (AHKs) with 130 offices in 90 countries around the globe. Their organization combines elements of a trade commission, a membership association, and a professional consultancy - quite a unique concept in international trade promotion. More information about German-American business, our function, projects and initiatives can be found at




Admission is, as always, FREE! 

More information, dates and times, directions, vendor and entertainment details can be found at 

Media Inquiries? Please click here. 



Celebrating the 20th Anniversary with a Fresh New Logo!

Apr 23, 2015


The Christkindlmarket team has introduced the market’s 20th anniversary celebration in the most wonderful way:  a new logo with me on it! I am so thrilled to be a part of the Christkindlmarket’s new look. Check it out!


The team at German American Services, Inc. (the organizers of the market) wanted to share a little more of the story behind the new logo:


Dear Christkindlmarket Fans,

This year will be the 20th Anniversary of the Christkindlmarket Chicago! The team at German American Services, Inc. has been so lucky to celebrate German traditions with Chicago for the last two decades. We’re excited to introduce the market’s new and improved logo to celebrate how far we’ve come as a part of this incredible city.

When the Christkindlmarket first opened in 1996, the founder Ray Lotter was inspired by the Christkindlesmarkt in Nuremberg, one of the oldest holiday markets in Germany. He, along with the German American Chamber of Commerce of the Midwest, brought all of the best elements to Chicago, including the Christkind, the red and white striped wooden booths, beautiful German goods, delicious food, and imported Glühwein. Chicago has been celebrating these wonderful traditions with us ever since! With the updated logo we are continuing that celebration while reinforcing the connection of our brand to the traditions of the Christkindlmarket.




One of the most special parts of the market, and of the logo, is the Christkind. She is a well-known tradition in areas of Germany, often taking the place of Santa Claus as the gift-giving figure during the holidays. For us, she is the symbolic figure that brought the Christkindlmarket to Chicago! In recent years, the Christkind has become a more regular visitor to the market, taking photos with guests and sharing her story. If you are a mug collector, you’ll notice she has been on every mug since 2010, and appears selectively in some older mugs. Her presence on the new logo is our way of showing how this German tradition is an integral part of the Christkindlmarket.




Another big aspect of the Christkindlmarket Chicago that has been featured since 1996 is the red and white stripes of the rooftops. The candy cane striped buildings you’ve come to know and love can be found both in Nuremberg and in Chicago. We focus on the booths in the new logo to remember the market that inspired the Christkindlmarket… and because the rooftops are the best way to spot the market from down the street! ;)

Thank you, Chicago, for celebrating the holidays at the Christkindlmarket for the past 19 years! Here’s to the 20th year being the best yet!

- Your friends at German American Services, Inc.  


Photos © Timmy Samuel / © City of Chicago / © Timmy Samuel 2006 / © Uwe Niklas,



Friends at the Christkindlmarket Chicago

Feb 26, 2015


One of my very favorite things to do is to pose for pictures with the lovely guests of the Christkindlmarket Chicago.  This year I got to meet all kinds of people, and some of them even sent in their photos for us to see after the fact.  Thanks guys!  Here are my ten favorites, in no particular order.


This lovely family comes to the Chrisktindlmarket every year for their father’s birthday. What a sweet tradition! 


I know lots of famous people, but Mozart is one of my favorite friends. The famous composer is from Austria, right around the corner from southern Germany. He made beautiful music and now helps sell his famous “Mozart Kugeln,” or Mozart chocolates! They are delicious confections made with pistachio, nougat, and the best German chocolate. 


My new friend has been visiting the Christkindlmarket since 1997 and this was her first time meeting me! It was so nice to meet you!  


Brrr, this couple must have been cold! But I’m sure they were warmed by love – so glad they visited our event on their wedding day!


Such a nice message from these ladies: "I don't get to see my sister very often as I live out of state. I was in town for her wedding on December 19th. We went to the Christkindlmarket on Saturday, December 20th along with her new husband."


My friend loves Lebkuchen Herzen and the messages on them. Sharing the love of the Christkindlmarket! 


Thanks for making us a part of your tradition, guys!


There were so many sweet young visitors this year! Hey – if you start teaching them German early maybe they’ll work at the market someday! 


Yummm! I was excited to meet one of the amazing vendors who sold me delicious German food at the market! 


I may be more than 500 years old, but I know all about the modern technology used to take this picture! It’s called a hand-held telephone, right?  


If you snagged a picture with me, the Christkind, feel free to send it our way! We'd love it if you also told us a little bit about what brought you to the Christkindlmarket - tradition, food, gifts, or just getting out of the house in the winter? We've all got our reasons, tell us yours!


Until next time,

The Christkind



Sending Handfuls of Love from the Christkind

Feb 12, 2015

Lebkuchen Herzen - Gingerbread Hearts: 
Sold at most Christkindlmarkets in Germany and often decorated with well wishes and messages of love


Hallo liebe Freunde, the Christkind here again! 

Valentine’s Day is one of the best holidays out there. It’s all about sharing love with friends and loved ones, and that is the best part about the holidays!  To celebrate, I just sent a few wonderful kids a Valentine’s Day card through Lurie Children’s Hospital “Handfuls of Love” program.  It’s a lovely way to bring a smile to a hospitalized child’s face, and you can send a card for free too by clicking here!  

You can send your choice of three cards, and they're all adorable

In Germany, one of my favorite things to do is to visit children in the hospital to bring holiday cheer and smiles to their faces, especially when they aren’t able to come visit me at the Christkindlmarket in their town.  This year I was so excited to spread cheer in Chicago by visiting patients at Lurie Children’s Hospital via video!  Thanks to Georama for filming and sharing it with the kids for us! 

The kids had some great questions!

Until next time! 

- The Christkind 



Welcome to the Christkindlmarket's new Website!

Oct 15, 2014


Hello Christkindlmarket Fans!  My name is the Christkind, the namesake of the Christkindlmarket.  As you may have already noticed, the Christkindlmarket Chicago has revamped our website!  The beloved holiday tradition of the Christkindlmarket is staying the same, but we’ve brought the website into the 21st century to make it as easy as possible for you to explore our site. You can use it to learn more about the Christkindlmarket, find out which vendors you want to visit, and see what performances are coming up.  Following are a few new features of the site that might be useful while planning your visit.


Want to see what kind of events are happening and when? 

Our revamped events calendar can be filtered by date, category, or time.  It’s also printable, and event descriptions can be seen right on the events calendar page!  21st Century!! Simply go to the events page, and choose month or week to view by those time frames.  To see only events for the Christkindlmarket Chicago OR only events for the Christkindlmarket Oakbrook, click "Filter By" and choose which one you would like to see. 



Looking for things to do that are specifically for kids and families? 

In Germany, I bring presents to children on Christmas Eve, so my favorite thing is to make sure kids at the Christkindlmarket have fun things to do! The Kinder Korner page is the pride and joy of our new website.  Kids and parents alike can find activities, events, and Christkindlmarket fun facts by exploring this page.


Want to visit a particular vendor but can’t remember which?

Check out our updated vendor page!  There you'll find descriptions, the origin, and the location of each vendor.  Many are in the same spot as in previous years, but if they've moved you'll be able to see them on the map as well. 


Have a question for us?

Visit our new and updated FAQs section for the most frequently asked questions by visitors to the Christkindlmarket. If you have a question that hasn’t been answered, you can send it to us and one of our team members will answer it as quickly as possible!


Our goal is to make our website as useful for you as possible.  If there is anything about our new site that is confusing, broken, or just weird, we would love to hear about it. Contact us by clicking here with any questions or issues. We’d be happy to help.

Talk to you soon!

- the Christkind



Free Admission - Open Daily
Sun - Thu 11Am - 8Pm
Fri - Sat 11Am - 9Pm
On Daley Plaza in the Chicago Loop (between Dearborn, Washington and Clark Street)