Sometimes you don’t need a big party, expensive gifts or days off of work to saturate your holiday mood with Christmas inspiration. I personally barely have time for nights out these days, and many of us are actually working during the holidays. You’ve got some solutions in this case, and one of them is Christkindl Market.
Now is the perfect time to go there. All you need is an hour or so, about $10-20 in cash, and at least one friend. I guarantee that you will be inspired for the whole year ahead!
Christkindl Market is a German festival with a lot of hand-made souvenirs, hot delicious Nutella crepes, and, most importantly, famous glintwein (or mulled wine). The market is located at 50 West Washington Street in Chicago and is open every day. The hours Monday through Thursday are 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., and Friday to Sunday from 11:00 a.m. until 9:00 p.m. If you decide to go there on the weekend, you will probably not have a chance to see everything, as it is super crowded. Forget about taking pictures and having your glintwein in a huge hurry.
One cold night after work, I took my friend for a quick visit to the market. The first thing I would suggest is you better dress up warm, as otherwise the Chicago winds will not let you enjoy the Christmas season night.
My friend Natalia and I only had 40 minutes to spend there, but it was not at all bad for my first visit. We got started with the east side. There you can find–and maybe take a picture with–the Christmas Tree and Nativity of Jesus. It is always the best part of the Christmas festival. Right by the entrance, you will find a kiosk with the best crepes in Chicago. Nutella crepes are my favorite. It is worth going there to try them, but do not forget that most of those places accept only cash.
When you walk in, you will not know where to start. There are so many souvenirs, chocolates and hot drinks that it is hard to decide what you want to see and try first. All you need to do is walk around and check each kiosk one by one. Believe me, you want to see all of them. The souvenirs are handmade and so are very expensive. So if you want to purchase any of them, you will definitely need more than $20.
Where you actually avoid spending a lot of money is the candy store all the way in the corner on the right (if you walk in from the east side). You will want to try all the desserts there, plus they accept credit cards. I got fresh-roasted nuts. They have a good variety of them, and they are delicious! However, don’t buy the big size: it is very sweet, and it will be more than enough to get a small portion.
At the end of the festival around the corner, Natalia and I walked into the most crowded place where they serve glintwein. You will not even know where the line starts. However, it doesn’t take you too long to get to the cashier. For $7 you will get a souvenir glass with the best in Illinois glintwein. You are going to look for a spot where you can sit or stand to enjoy your drink. Do not try to leave the market if you haven’t finished it. They won’t let you out anyway. So for only $7, you will get a glintwein with a souvenir Christkindl Market glass. I have gotten a couple of them already, and it is getting to be a real collection in my kitchen.
If you are lucky and come at the right time, you can catch a German band playing old German music. The musicians will often make you “Prost” (cheers) everyone, which is very exciting.
If you like to experiment, learn a new culture, have fun and get inspired for Christmas, you definitely should visit Christkindl Market in Chicago. My friend Natalia and I had a great time. It is the perfect place to have one drink or just coffee and take a walk around to see nice things. Most of us are rushing to get gifts for others, shop and plan our holidays, but don’t forget about yourself. It is the perfect place to enjoy the view and savor a warm dessert. Happy holidays!