Why Christkindlmarkt is One of the Best Holiday Markets in the U.S.

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

In light of the unique challenges this year, there are some changes to ensure the event goes on safely. While Christkindlmarkt will still take place on the Steelstacks campus, the event will have a sprawling open-air market layout with over 80 artists and artisan huts spread throughout the area. Festivities begin October 8 and will run Thursday through Sunday until November 29. Vendors will change each weekend offering visitors a different experience each time. Expect autumn themed gifts and home decor during October. Come November, the event will take on a decidedly more holiday feel with a variety of fine art, gifts and collectibles. The event began 28 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 during the holidays. Booths overflow 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.

Eat, Drink & Be Merry

Although shopping is the main attraction at Christkindlmarkt, there are plenty of other things to see and do. Several fire pits and private igloos offer a fun and cozy spot to enjoy the offerings from food vendors and food trucks. A seasonal food court offers 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 in the Biergarten, which offers an array of beers. In November, visitors can purchase a separate ticket for Outdoor Dining and a Show. A special holiday-themed menu is accompanied by a variety of live entertainment with two seatings throughout the day.

A Flurry of Activity

St. Nicholas arrives at Christkindlmarkt on November 7. He’ll be present every Saturday for storytime and socially distanced photos. On Sundays families may enjoy a new virtual experience- “Cooking with Santa” via zoom. There are many other activities and entertainment scheduled throughout the duration of the event.

Your Home for the Holidays

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.