No one does Christmas better than Bethlehem, PA. And there’s no better holiday shopping, dining, entertainment destination than Christkindlmarkt. The seasonal attraction is just a snowball’s throw from The Sayre Mansion. We took a trip to check out the place hailed by Travel + Leisure magazine as one of the best holiday markets in the nation.
What’s in Store
Located on the Steelstacks campus, Christkindlmarkt is housed in four massive heated tents. For the five weekends prior to Christmas, over 200 artisans drawn from 10 states assemble to showcase and sell their wares. The event began 27 years ago as a nod to Old World traditions of Bethlehem’s founders. Open air holiday markets are customary in places such as Germany, Austria, Italy and France.
Shop ‘til You Drop
Twinkling lights, Christmas trees, dangling snowflakes and garland create a festive setting. Inside the tents, aisle after aisle overflows with unique, handcrafted gifts. Browse clothing and accessories that range from cozy pieces from the Alpaca Fleece Company to apparel featuring your favorite sports team. There are all kinds of glassware, pottery and kitchen tools as well as rustic and upcycled furniture and décor. You’ll also find treats, toys and gear for your family pet. Shop for specialty food items such as handmade English toffee, handcrafted artisan cheeses, savory bacon jam and all kinds of candy. Don’t miss the exquisite collection of handmade ornaments, nutcrackers and collectibles direct from Germany at the Kathe Wolfhart booth- a perennial Christkindlmarkt favorite.
Although shopping is the main attraction at Christkindlmarkt, there are plenty of other things to see and do. The Outdoor Village at PNC Plaza is the newest addition. The area is home to a collection of artisan huts nestled in the shadow of the former massive blast furnaces. Several fire pits and private igloos offer a fun and cozy spot to enjoy the offerings from food vendors and food trucks. A large portion of one tent serves as a seasonal food court. Choose from a variety of snacks, sandwiches, specialty food and goodies. There’s traditional fair food as well as European favorites from vendors such as Heidi’s Strudel offering authentic strudel and German roasted almonds. Dine at large cafeteria style tables while a rotating lineup of performers provides live entertainment.
A Flurry of Activity
The Hot Glass Experience lets visitors create their own glass ornament. Each session lasts 20 minutes and requires and additional charge. Visit with St. Nicholas and have a photo taken with the Jolly Old Elf Himself in the Artisans’ Tent. Watch professional artists carve intricate pieces from blocks of ice before your eyes. At the Crayola Creativity Station families can make holiday-themed crafts with guidance from a teaching artist. There are many other activities and entertainment scheduled throughout the duration of the event.
Christkindlmarkt continues to grow in size and scope, drawing nearly 100,000 people in recent years. Since The Sayre Mansion is within walking distance of all the festivities at The Steelstacks, you can spend your days exploring the Christmas City and return to the elegant luxury of our historic mansion at night. Stay in guestrooms that exude Gilded Age grandeur while offering every modern convenience. Review our packages and specials to help plan your stay. Then, book your unforgettable holiday getaway.