Chicago is a city found in the U.S. state of Illinois and is the country’s most populous city, just behind New York City and Los Angeles. While it is a popular destination, winter here can be a drag; Chicago experiences longer nights, whipping winds and colder temperatures.
However, despite the gloomy weather, the city comes alive with a variety of events in celebration of the Christmas season. In fact, it is known for its range of Christmas markets and occasional stalls where both locals and tourists can shop and take in the holiday season.
If it is your first time visiting the Windy City and are interested in shopping or are wanting to celebrate the holidays with your friends or family, visit one of these Christmas markets in Chicago on your trip.
This guide provides essential information so you can plan your visit accordingly. Don’t forget to leave your bags at a Chicago luggage locker to avoid any inconvenience. Once you've stowed your things, you have your hands free to shop!
The Christkindlmarket is, without a doubt, the most popular holiday market in Chicago and one of the best places for some festive shopping and entertainment. Established in 1995, this German-themed Christmas market takes place in multiple sites across Chicago - Aurora, Daley Plaza and Gallagher Way.
Known all over the world, the Christkindlmarket was inspired by the market of the same name that was founded in the city of Nuremberg in Germany. Here, you can find hundreds of vendors selling everything from souvenirs to seasonal food such as mulled wine, potato pancakes, and hot spiced wine.
The market is held every year from mid-November until late-December; for 2022, the Christkindlmarket will return to the Daley Plaza and will take place from November 18 to December 24. The one in Gallagher Way, just across Wrigley Field, will also run during the same period but with special opening days from December 26th to 29th.
The third site of the market in Aurora, situated near Riveredge Park, will also run from November 18th to December 24th. The opening hours vary from one site to another and also depend on holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve. For more info, visit the Christkindlmarket official website and check the detailed schedule.
What to do near Christkindlmarket Chicago
Located not far from Christkindlmarket is Millenium Park, Chicago's most famous public park, and is home to some of the city's most recognizable landmarks, such as The Bean, the Boeing Galleries and the Jay Pritzker Pavilion. It is the perfect location for some downtime or some family fun with the kids.
Randolph Street Holiday Market
Randolph St., found in the trendy Magnificent Mile neighborhood in downtown Chicago, serves as the home of the famous Chicago Antique Market and is one of the city’s best retail destinations. While it is open practically year-round, Randolph Street has a festive holiday market held during December at Plumbers Hall.
For 2022, the Christmas market will return on December 17th and 18th; here, visitors can shop from over 100 stalls and vendors selling everything from fashion items and vintage objects to ornaments and jewelry. There is an admission fee of about $10 but the market offers free parking for shoppers.
What to do near Randolph Street Holiday Market
After a productive day of shopping, you may want to check out the National Hellenic Museum nearby. One of Chicago's best museums, the facility is dedicated to promoting the cultural traditions of Greece and shining a light on the Greek-American experience.
One of A Kind Holiday Show
The One of a Kind Holiday show is Chicago’s Christmas market bonanza and is the ultimate venue for Christmas shopping and entertainment in the city. The event, which has been held for over two decades, takes place at the Merchandise Mart and features hundreds of artists and creatives looking to sell their products. It's one of the best places to browse and shop for unique items that you won't find in regular shops.
The One of a Kind show was created to showcase Chicago’s creative community. Here, you can expect all sorts of products such as handmade items, ceramics, furniture, paintings, ornaments and other Christmas delights.
Aside from some shopping, guests are also treated to programs such as live music performances, artist demonstrations and workshops. This 2022, the holiday market will return for its 21st year and will be held at the Merchandise Mart from December 1 to 4.
What to do near One of A Kind Holiday Show
After you browse the stalls in the market, you can take an excursion or catch a show at the nearby Chicago Theatre, which hosts a wide range of performances throughout the year. They also offer a guided tour of the building where you can explore the backstage and learn about its rich history.
Renegade Craft Fair
If you are someone that likes to spend on local crafts and handmade artifacts, then the Renegade Craft Fair is one of the holiday events that you should not miss when in Chicago. This annual pop-up Christmas market is held every December and features over 3,000 merchants and 100 independent artists and designers looking to showcase and sell their creations.
The Renegade Craft Fair attracts an average of 300,000 visitors every year. Purchase a wide range of products such as clothing, silverware, artwork, jewelry, handicrafts and so much more. This 2022, the fair will take place on the 17th and 18th of December and will be held at the Morgan Manufacturing building. There is an admission fee of around $12 and the market will be open from 11 AM to 5 PM.
What to do near Renegade Craft Fair
If you've worked up an appetite after some serious shopping, head over to Time Out Market Chicago, a 50,000-square-meter food court that hosts multiple stalls selling cuisines from all over the world.
Chicago Artisan Market
The Chicago Artisan Market is a curated, pop-up market that is dedicated to highlighting the best of the city’s food, art and fashion scene. The market is held multiple days throughout the year and features homegrown businesses selling everything from local delicacies to handmade goods.
This holiday season in 2022, the market will take place on November 26-27 at Ravenswood and on December 11 at Fulton Market. For a full list of dates and more options, visit the Chicago Artisan Market's official website.
What to do near Chicago Artisan Market
If you want to stimulate your mind after a full day of shopping, check out the nearby WNDR Museum. This interactive museum showcases a range of unique installations and multi-sensory exhibits that provoke one's curiosity. Artists whose works are on display at the museum include Yayoi Kusama, Alex Israel and Barbara Kruger.
Don't Miss Holiday Season in Chicago
Even with its unfavorable winter weather, Chicago remains to be one of the liveliest Christmas destinations in the country. Whether you are alone, with your friends, or with the whole family, the abovementioned Christmas markets in Chicago are some of the best places to spend your holiday in during your trip.
Now you are ready to enjoy the Christmas Markets in Chicago. For more things to do in Chicago, check out these other guides: