A Christkindlmarket, or Christmas market, is a street market that is open during the weeks leading up to the holiday. This outdoor shopping/dining experience originated in Germany back in the Middle Ages but can now be found in cities around the globe. In Chicago, the Christkindlmarket can be found at the Daley Plaza. In 2016, a second location popped up on the grounds of the Naper Settlement in Naperville.
The Christkindlmarket in Naperville is smaller in scale to the one in Chicago but it is just as quaint. It is open Thursday – Sunday through December 16 and then it is open daily through Christmas Eve. Also, bonus – it is free. Admission AND parking.
We did not have any food that night, but they have a number of stands with a variety of options. Austrian specialties, cheeses, crepes, Belgian waffles, pierogi, chocolates, pretzels, cookies, and candies. There are also quite a few options for beverages. Belgian hot chocolate, beer, wine, and ciders. We tried the Honeycrisp apple cider and the salted caramel cider (whipped cream topping). And of course we had to buy the signature Christkindlmarket mug.
There are craft vendors as well. Some of them have very unique pieces of jewely, wood carved statues, and hand knit creations. If you are a fan of the “Pirates of the Caribbean” movies, I found the snowblowing/ski mask that you didn’t know you needed:
And then there are the ornaments and other Christmas collectible. Do you collect Nutcrackers or buy them for someone who does? Check out this selection:
How about white lace ornaments?
Or just ornaments in general? If you gift special ornaments each year or participate in an ornament exchange (it’s a thing. It’s not my thing, but it’s a thing), you need to hit this market. Every size, color, shape you can imagine. Or theme. Animals, sports, occupation, hobby. The list goes on.
Click here for a full list of vendors and what they offer.
There were no choirs or other groups performing the night we were there but, you could plan your night around some additional entertainment as well.
When you have finished eating/drinking/shopping, take a stroll through the Naper Lights display. It is right there on the property. Multiple light displays, some set to music, can be found on this short walk. It’s just festive, so why not?
This holiday event is only open until Christmas Eve so get out there while you can!