The Joy of the European Christmas Market: Right Here in Minnesota

Holidazzle. Photo by Dusty Hoskovec
Holidazzle. Photo by Dusty Hoskovec

after a time when spirits weren’t as bright, it is our hope that together we can bring a little more joy into the world.” The team at The Northern Express

Sprinkle some extra joy onto your holiday season this year…come experience the Christkindlmarkt.

Christmas markets, aka Christkindlmarkt, are a European tradition that dates all the way back to the Late Middle Ages, the first of their kind being held in Dresden back in 1434. These are places for loved ones to gather and include open-air stalls filled with seasonal goods, music, food, and drink. Many spots in Minnesota are bringing the magic from Europe to the Midwest, here are some of the places you can check out for yourself this year. 

Duluth Winter Village

If you’re in the northern part of the state, check out The Duluth Winter Village, held for one weekend only, Saturday and Sunday Dec. 3 and 4 outside at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center on Harbor Drive in Duluth. This market focuses on supporting local vendors – only northern Minnesota local vendors are participating, and there will be 40 plus of them, selling their unique goods out of custom-built cabins! This market and festival features campfires by the lake, open skating at the DECC from 2:00 p.m.- 5:00 p.m. both days, and a petting zoo with animals from Ru-Ridge farm. Come support northern local businesses and enjoy the beauty of Lake Superior! Admission is free.  

The Landmark Center’s 44th Annual Old-Fashioned Holiday Bazaar

The Landmark Center in St. Paul is hosting their annual Old-Fashioned Holiday Bazaar for three days, Dec. 1, 2, and 3. This market has been happening for decades and is one to check out if you haven’t already. This bazaar features all handcrafted items including jewelry, woodwork, ceramics, paintings, bath products and the like, all artists with booths make and sell their own work. On Thursday and Friday night they are hosting a twilight shopping special – enjoy a complimentary glass of wine or soft drink if shopping from 4:00 p.m-7:00 p.m. those nights. The bazaar will also include festive music and delicious treats. It is only $5 to attend and children under 12 are free.

Photo courtesy of The Northern Express

The Northern Express

The Northern Express isn’t just any market, it’s a Christmas extravaganza! In its second year, this true Santa’s village will be open Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays Dec. 3-18 at Camp Fire Minnesota’s beautiful property in Excelsior. Great for the whole family, here you can interact with a colorful cast of Christmas characters, enjoy a holiday market, bonfires, a lighted Christmas tree forest, reindeer and llamas, scavenger hunts, bingo and more, all included with your ticket. Looking for extra fun? Check out the Nordic spa hosted by Cedar and Stone Nordic Sauna for a session of relaxation, and if the kids need some extra morning magic, sign up for a character breakfast! The last weekend of the Northern Express will feature a Festival of Lights Hannukah celebration. Regular admission is $20 for adults and $15 for children.

Photo courtesy of The Northern Express

Holidazzle in Loring Park

The Holidazzle is still here to dazzle us in 2022. They host their winter village every Friday-Sunday Nov. 25-Dec. 18 in our own Loring Park neighborhood! The Holidazzle in Loring Park will feature local foods, beverages and shopping from area small businesses as well as interactive art installations, kids activities, fire pits, photo ops, amusement rides and more. And yes, the man in red will be attending so you can tell him all of your wishes this year. One of our favorite attractions is the Holidazzle Yeti, an interactive illuminated art installation by local artist Chrisopher Lutter-Gardella. Don’t forget about the Saturday night fireworks happening every Saturday of the festival! The Holidazzle is a free event for all. 

Holidazzle. Photo by Dusty Hoskovec

Excelsior Christkindlsmarkt 

If you are too busy in December and need your Christmas magic early, check out the Excelsior Christkindlsmarkt being held Nov. 25, 26 and 27 in the Excelsior East Public Parking Lot. This market will kick off with the Grande Parade on Water Street on Friday morning. Here you can meet Alaskan Reindeer and Alpacas, watch a Finnish kicksled demo, hear the sweet melodies of a Christmas string concert and the River City Singers, see the children’s lantern parade, and even be enchanted by a visit from a frozen princess. Artisan and food vendors will include strudel, wellness products, toys, pierogi, vegan candles, brats, soup and much more! Tickets can be purchased for $5, for a three day pass and for extra fun you can pay $10. 

European Christmas Market at Union Depot

If you want to see the “only authentic Christmas market in Minnesota running through the advent season” come and see the European Christmas Market at St. Paul’s Union Depot, open Friday-Sunday every weekend from Nov. 25-Dec. 18.  This incredibly traditional open-air market will feature local crafters and food vendors including iPierogi, Oh Crepe! Creperie, Doodletown Toys, German-crafted Herrenhuter star ornaments, and PhoenixFire Copper Art to name a few. There will also be traditional-style live music including holiday accordion, organ grinders, a ukulele singer, and Irish dancers. This event is free of charge!

Julmarknad Handcraft Market and Festival at The American Swedish Institute: 

For a Christmas market with a Scandinavian twist, check out the American Swedish Institute’s Julmarknad, held on-site Dec. 3 and 4. Check out “Tomte Viking” Christmas ornaments by Ilrid Vikings, upcycled Nordic wearables from Steller goods, and Nordic-inspired pottery from Kilns of Flanders. There will also be pop-up musical performances, family crafts, story time, festive foods and take-home hand projects. Be on the lookout for Tomte Kajsa, he may be wandering around! This market is $10 for members, $15 for non-members, $6 for kids, and free for ages 5 and under.

Dayton’s Project Winter Maker’s Market:

Dayton’s is back for their second annual Winter Maker’s Market in their renovated Dayton’s Project building on Nicollet Mall. The winter market has been a new tradition for them since the closure of Macy’s in 2017. This market will take place every day November 17 – January 13, this is the winter market with the most open days and hours this season. They will have 64 vendors this year including Red Wing Shoes and Sandborn Canoe Co. and are even bringing back those nostalgic Christmas feelings by including their classic street-side window displays. The market is free to attend. 

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