2024 Christmas Market Roundup

2022 Christmas Market Roundup

Visiting magical Christmas markets is a great way to get in the holiday spirit. Our team here at Remitly created this guide to the best Christmas markets in the world to help you plan your next merry trip.

14 famous Christmas markets

Here’s a quick roundup, with more detail below.

  1. Munich: Historic charm at Marienplatz, with festive delights through Christmas Eve.
  2. Frankfurt: One of Germany’s oldest markets, brimming with traditions.
  3. Nuremberg: A children’s festive dream, featuring rides and crafts.
  4. Strasbourg: The “Christmas Capital” of France, blending cultures in a festive market.
  5. Vienna: The iconic Christkindlmarkt, a hub of holiday excitement starting mid-November.
  6. Paris, Tuileries Garden: A blend of artisan gifts and carnival joy.
  7. Budapest, Vorosmarty Square: Famous for affordable crafts and local delicacies.
  8. Chicago, Christkindlmarket: American twist on a German classic, starting in November.
  9. Vancouver: Canada’s festive best, with over 80 stalls of holiday gifts and treats.
  10. Copenhagen, Tivoli Gardens: Festive lights and attractions in a stunning garden setting.
  11. Bruges, Simon Stevinplein: A luminous market in Belgium’s historic square.
  12. Edinburgh: Scottish charm with unique gifts, starting in November.
  13. New York City, Union Square: A Manhattan holiday spectacle beginning mid-November.
  14. Gothenburg, Liseberg: Swedish delights with a Santa’s village, starting in late November.

What are Christmas markets?

Also called a winter market, a Christmas market is a festival where merchants set up market stalls to sell Christmas decorations, gifts, and delicious foods and drinks.

Often, the markets are decked out in glittering lights, Christmas trees, and other decorations. Some also feature performances, light shows, and activities. For example, Santa Claus may be on hand to greet children, or they may have an ice rink set up.

In many places, Christmas markets are set up in and around well-known landmarks like an old town district’s marketplace or a town hall square.

As their names suggest, the markets occur during the Christmas season, but actual dates vary. Most Christmas markets start early in the holiday season, such as in mid or late November or the first week of December. They may run through Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, December 26, New Year’s Eve, or into the first week of January.

What is the history of Christmas markets?

Christmas markets are annual events that draw millions of visitors annually, especially across Northern Europe. Locals and world travelers alike highly anticipate them. Though these events are now part of many people’s Christmas traditions, the markets actually have secular roots.

In 1296, Emperor Albrecht issued a decree allowing Viennese shopkeepers to open their stores for one or two days in the early winter. This way, residents of Vienna could stock up on the supplies they needed to endure the cold season ahead. During the years that followed, many European villages and cities held their own winter markets. As these events grew, stalls began selling toys, baskets, woodcarvings, roasted nuts, and other goodies. This gave attendees the opportunity to buy Christmas gifts along with their winter necessities.

During the 15th century, festive gifts had become the chief attraction at the winter markets, and the European Christmas market was born.

Today, there are hundreds of Christmas markets in Europe and beyond. Read on to discover some of the biggest and best in the world.

The best Christmas markets in the world

Now that you know what Christmas markets are and how they started, you’re ready to explore some of the most well-known ones that take place worldwide. The following events stand out at some of the best Christmas markets in Europe and beyond.

Munich Christmas Market at Marienplatz

There are actually three Munich Christmas markets, but the one in Marienplatz Square in the old town is the most famous. Founded during the 14th century, it is one of the oldest Christmas markets in Germany.

The holiday market has been in its current location since 1972, when the event outgrew its previous site. Marienplatz Square makes a picturesque backdrop for the festivities with its neo-Gothic architecture that lends a historic feel to the event.

In 2024, the Munich Christmas Market at Marienplatz will take place from November 25 to December 24. Guests can visit over 130 booths and stands and pose for selfies in front of the famous Munich Christmas tree covered in glowing candles.

Like other German Christmas markets, the event has plenty of family activities, like the Himmel Werkstatt craft workshop. Live performances will provide the soundtrack for the festivities and include church choirs, brass bands, and Bavarian Stubenmusik, or traditional German folk music. Guided tours for up to 20 people are available for a fee of 150€ plus 5.50€ per person for an extra snack of almonds and mulled wine.

Europeans Christmas Market

Frankfurt Christmas Market

The Frankfurt Christmas Market is another option for those who want to experience an authentic German market. Like the Marienplatz event, the Frankfurt holiday market is among the oldest in Germany, with the first written record of its annual observance dated 1393.

In 2024, the event begins on November 25 and runs through December 22. It will be held in the Römerberg and Paulsplatz town square public spaces of Frankfurt, with locations easily accessible by bus.

While visiting, purchase hot apple wine presented in a commemorative mug. Each year, the Frankfurt Christmas Market unveils a new collectible drinkware design. Guided tours of the new and old town sections of the European Christmas market are available for 19.00€ and include a roasted almond snack.

The Nuremberg Christkindlesmarkt

If you’re looking for Christmas markets in Germany that will delight young children, the Nuremberg Christkindlesmarkt, held from November 29 to December 24, 2024, is one to visit. While other German Christmas markets have activities geared toward children, the Nuremberg Christmas market is centered around them.

The holiday market’s name comes from Christkind, a heavenly figure created by church reformer Martin Luther. In southern and western Germany and neighboring countries, Christkind (not Santa Claus) brings children gifts for Christmas. Kids can meet The Christkind at the event, pose for pictures, and whisper what they hope to get for the holiday. The Nuremberg Christmas market also has carnival rides and hands-on crafting booths.

Adults will also find plenty to do at this German Christmas market. After a busy afternoon or evening touring the booths that sell handmade gifts and decorations, you can warm up with a famous mini bratwurst, crispy potato pancakes, or some freshly baked Spekulatius almond cookies. And be on the lookout for the 15-minute tours on one of the yellow horse-drawn stagecoaches.

Strasbourg Christmas Market

The Strasbourg Christmas Market is one of France’s most famous Christmas markets. In fact, the city was nicknamed “the Christmas Capital” in 1992 due to the popularity of its holiday market.

The history of the city gives the holiday market a one-of-a-kind character. Until 1681, Strasbourg was a part of the German Rhineland. As a result, the city’s culture draws on German and French traditions. The Christmas market reflects this with its mix of French and German folk music, food, and drinks.

In 2024, the Strasbourg Christmas Market runs from late November to December 24 and will feature more than 300 stalls. Special performances and activities for children take place daily throughout the festival.

Christkindlmarkt on the Rathausplatz, Vienna

Vienna is home to numerous Christmas markets, but the one held annually at the Rathausplatz is the most well-known. Called the Christkindlmarkt, the famous Vienna Christmas market is believed to draw more than 4 million visitors annually. In 2024, the event runs from mid-November through December 26.

Browsing through the hundreds of booths at the Vienna Christmas market will allow you to see and buy beautiful decorations made of glass and wood. The food is also a major draw, including local favorites like soft pretzels, Victorian-style lollipops, and giant doughnuts.

Children can enjoy the Ferris wheel and nativity scene trail, while couples can stop for a smooch and a selfie under the Tree of Hearts, a magnificent tree decorated with softly glowing red heart-shaped lanterns.

Christmas Market

Tuileries Garden Christmas Market, Paris

Throughout the year, the Tuileries Garden between the Louvre and the Place de la Concorde in France attracts tourists who wish to enjoy the picturesque gardens where Kings Louis XIII and Louis XV played as boys. In November, the area transforms into the most popular Christmas market in France. The 2024 market starts around mid-November and ends in early January.

The Paris Christmas market at the Tuileries has two main components: the artisan village featuring handmade gifts and Christmas decorations, as well as the carnival. The latter draws inspiration from Medieval fun fairs but also includes a modern Ferris wheel and other rides.

While getting into the spirit of the season at the Tuileries Paris Christmas market, visitors can enjoy delicious foods, including melted raclette cheese, sausages, waffles, and crepes. There is also an ice skating rink and an igloo of frozen champagne in the garden.

The Christmas Market on Vorosmarty Square, Budapest

Budapest hosts multiple holiday markets, but the one held in Vorosmarty Square is the most famous and commonly called “the Budapest Christmas Market.” The event typically begins around November 18 and continues for a few days after Christmas. Usually, guided tours and wine tastings are available during the event.

Due to the lower cost of living in Hungary, crafts sold at the Vorosmarty town square market tend to be inexpensive. It’s a great choice to experience an authentic European Christmas market on a budget. The market is especially well-known for items made of hand-spun lace and wooden toys.

Come hungry so you can enjoy specialties like langos flatbread, goulash, roasted chestnuts, and salami while you shop.

The Christkindlmarket, Chicago

You don’t have to travel to Europe to experience a traditional Christmas market. The Christkindlmarket in Chicago brings the holiday market to Daley Plaza. Based on the Nuremberg Christkindlmarket, the Chicago Christmas market was founded by The German American Chamber of Commerce of the Midwest Inc. and debuted in 1996. 

In 2024, the event will run from November to Christmas Eve.

A visit to the Christmas market in Chicago features vendors with handcrafted Christmas gifts and decor made throughout the U.S. and beyond. The event also hosts daily concerts and offers snacks of tasty German fare, and you’ll see Chicago aglow with twinkling lights.

The Chicago Christmas market has an area reserved especially for kids called the Kinder Club. Each day, the club hosts holiday-themed activities and events. One of the most popular is the Lantern Parade, where children receive a lantern and a goodie bag and then walk through the market singing traditional carols.

Vancouver Christmas Market

The Vancouver Christmas Market is Canada’s most famous holiday market. With over 80 stalls, it’s a one-stop shop for buying gifts. When it’s time to warm up, you can visit the Alpine Lounge, a heated tent selling food and drinks like hot chocolate and knedla.

In addition to shopping and refreshments, the Vancouver Christmas Market is home to numerous attractions. Among the most popular are the walk-in Christmas tree made of tens of thousands of twinkling lights and the picturesque Lover’s Lane path decorated with lights and mistletoe. Kids can participate in a playful scavenger hunt, and concerts and singalongs are usually held every evening.

Dates for 2024 have yet to be announced at the time of writing but typically run from mid-November through Christmas Eve. Single tickets and season passes for the event are available online.

Woman holding a candle during Winter Holidays

Tivoli Gardens Market, Copenhagen, Denmark

Year-round, the Tivoli Gardens amusement park in Copenhagen, Denmark, attracts locals and tourists with its gorgeous gardens, historic architecture, and thrilling attractions. During the holiday season, the theme park gets a festive makeover with fairy lights, Christmas trees, and dozens of market stalls.

Rides open during the market, and the theme park hosts special events for families in its Glass Hall Theatre and Tivoli Concert Hall. To tempt your tastebuds, the market offers many traditional sweet and savory foods inspired by Danish holiday traditions, like gingerbread hearts, marzipan, Aebleskiver, rice pudding, and roast pork sandwiches.

In 2024, the Christmas in Tivoli Gardens market will run from November through December. Tickets are available to purchase online.

Simon Stevinplein Market, Bruges, Belgium

In its old town square named after a famed mathematician, the city of Bruges, Belgium, holds one of the best Christmas markets in Europe. Market stalls selling a variety of decorations and gifts fill the area surrounding the monument to Simon Stevinplein.

At the market, you can work up an appetite skating on the ice rink that glows with fairy lights. Then, sample delicious foods and drinks like hot mulled wine, hot punch, golden waffles, and hot chocolate. There is also a beautifully illuminated Light Experience Trail to explore at the event.

In 2024, the Bruges Christmas Market will begin at the end of November and continue through the first week of January. The event is free for all, though you’ll need to pay a small fee for some activities like the ice rink.

East Princes Street Gardens Market, Edinburgh, Scotland, UK

As part of the Edinburgh Winter Festival, the East Princes Street Gardens Market sees the old town of one of Scotland’s most beautiful cities transformed for Christmas. The street gardens become home to hundreds of stalls selling unique items, including many Harry Potter-themed gifts.

While you shop, you can sip the world-famous mulled irn bru, a carbonated soft drink considered by many Scots to be the national drink of Scotland. A Ferris wheel illuminated by fairy lights adds to the fun, and light shows and other performances are scheduled throughout the event.

The 2024 Edinburgh Winter Festival will occur from November through January. Entry into the market is free, but there are fees for some activities.

Union Square Holiday Market, New York City

The Union Square Christmas Market brings the fun of European Christmas markets to one of the most picturesque parks in Manhattan. In 2024, the Christmas market in NYC will take place from mid-November through Christmas Eve and will feature more than 180 booths full of gifts made by artisans and artists.

While shopping, visitors can enjoy live musical performances. Street food and hot beverages are sold onsite, and a warming station is available on cold days. The Union Square location of the market is easily accessible via subway so that you can check out other holiday attractions like the famous tree and skating rink at Rockefeller Plaza.

Liseberg Christmas Market, Gothenburg, Sweden

The Liseberg Christmas Market in Gothenburg, Sweden, offers something for people of all ages. Adults can sip Scandinavian mulled wine and cocktails at a bar made of ice, while kids can explore Tometbyn, a recreation of Santa’s village.

After you shop dozens of market stalls, you can visit the Christmas buffet serving traditional Scandinavian fare. There’s even a roller coaster lit up with fairy lights on-site.

Dates for the 2024 Christmas market have yet to be released, but the event typically begins in late November and runs through the end of December.

How to find a Christmas market near you

Booking a trip to one of the above Christmas markets is a great way to experience a new city or country and get into the season’s spirit. However, you may not have to travel so far to enjoy the fun of a Christmas market.

To find Christmas markets near you, search online for the words “Christmas market” and your city. You can also check local government websites and community groups on Facebook. Keep an eye on the newspaper, too, as many print publications run stories about upcoming holiday markets in local areas.