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  • Writer's pictureLucas Kihmm

Christkindlmarkts: Vienna vs. Chicago

Christkindlmarkts in Vienna (left) and Chicago (right). (Photos by Lucas Kihmm).

Christmas time is here: Happiness and cheer.

From late November to early January, people around the world celebrate the Christmas season. Lights, decorations, and trees are put up around the city to get into the holiday spirit.

Christkindlmarkts (Christmas markets) originated from Germany in the 1500s. It was an opportunity for the community to come together and enjoy the holiday season with one another. These markets included beautiful Christmas lights and vendors selling ornaments, boutique items and food. Ice skating was also included in some locations.

The Christkindlmarkts have now spread around the world and are a holiday essential for families and friends.

Two cities with a large Christkindlmarkt scene are Vienna, Austria and Chicago, Illinois, USA. This article will point out the key highlights of each market.

Vienna, Austria

Vienna becomes an epicenter for travelers seeking the Christmas spirit during Christmas time. Christkindlmarkts are scattered around the entire city with the opportunity to enjoy colorful lights, holiday foods, ornaments and ice skating.

Christkindlmarkt stand (Photo by Lucas Kihmm)

One of the largest markets is at Rathausplatz Square near the downtown area of Vienna.

Viennese Christkindlmarkt mug (Photo by Lucas Kihmm)

A popular beverage to get at the Christkindlmarkts is Weihnachtspunsch (Christmas Punch), which is a hot, sweet tea. There are a variety of different flavors to choose from such as mango, orange and raspberry.

They are sold at nearly all the markets in the city. They typically include alcohol such as rum or Glühwein (mulled wine). However, they sell it without alcohol as well.

Additionally, one of the most collectible items to take home is a Christkindlmarkt mug. Each market has a specific type of mug that they give to their customers with their beverage.

The mug usually requires a €4–5 deposit, with the opportunity to get your money back if you choose not to keep it.

Chicago, Illinois, USA

The Chicago Christkindlmarkts started in 1995 when the German Chamber of Commerce wanted to seek ways to promote bilateral trade between Germany and the U.S.

Today, there are two main Christkindlmarkts in Chicago: the main market located at Daley Plaza in the downtown area and another at Wrigley Field, home of the Chicago Cubs.

Christkindlmarkt at Wrigley Field. (Photo by Lucas Kihmm).

2022 Chicago Christkindlmarkt mug. (Photo by Lucas Kihmm)

Just like the markets in Vienna, they are known for the fun atmosphere, Christmas ornaments, hot beverages, food, and boutique items.

There is an opportunity to ice skate at the Wrigley Field Christkindlmarkt only.

As for the mugs, they are just as collectible as the ones in Vienna.

There is usually one type of mug for the city, and they typically range from $10-12. There is also an opportunity to get the beverage without buying the mug as well.

People who desire to get into the Christmas spirit should consider visiting these Christkindlmarkts.

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