While it may seem hard to believe, the holiday shopping season is already upon us and if predictions are right, this one’s going to be a doozy. Here in the States, many stores opened their doors on Thanksgiving morning, for the first time ever, and Black Friday bargain hunters camped out at their favorite stores only to exit with wagons filled with presents.
While we here at Trippy love giving, we don’t always love facing a crowded mall, and so we’ve compiled a list of our favorite holiday markets around the world where you can sample crafts, gifts and even treats from the best and brightest creative holiday minds of their host cities.
Union Square Holiday Market; New York City, New York
Like the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade or the tree at Rockefeller Plaza, the Union Square Holiday Market has reached bonafide tradition status in the city that never sleeps. It’s a great place for harried New Yorkers and tourists alike to slow down a bit, have a piping hot cup of homemade apple cider, and peruse the stalls that feature work by local artisans. Insider tip: for a really great overhead view of the whole thing, head up to the second floor of the Whole Foods across the street.
Great Dickens Christmas Fair and Victorian Holiday Party; San Francisco, California
It’s just like Dickensian London without the cold and hunger! Now in its 44th year, this market/fair offers visitors the full-on Victorian experience including parlour games, carolers, and a “Saucy French Postcard Tableaux Revue” for the adults. Shoppers can pick up some really unusual gifts like antique maps, hand-crafted stained glass, and one-of-a-kind ceramic pieces.
WeihnachtsZauber, Gendarmenmarket; Berlin, Germany
In a country that is to Christmas markets what New Orleans is to Mardi Gras, it’s hard to choose a favorite. That said, the Gendarmenmarket in Berlin is pretty darn hard to beat, both for it’s beauty and it’s almost electric atmosphere. With over 150 merchants and food vendors there’s a lot to see and eat. If you’re still around for New Year’s Eve, take in the fireworks for just 10 euro.
Gabrielskloof ‘Our Favourite Things’ Market; Gabrielskloof Wine Estate, Botrivier, South Africa
You won’t find snow at this market but you will find a small group of about 30 vendors selling crafts and local delicacies (including oysters). It might be one of the few holiday markets on earth where shoppers wearing flip-flops outnumber those with boots.
Christmas Market on the Avenue des Champs-Elysées; Paris, France
As if Paris could get more charming, in mid November, the city’s most famous boulevard is transformed into a truly picture-perfect stretch of food stalls, craft sellers, and hot wine vendors. There’s even a mini-ice skating track if you’re game. While you’re there make sure you check out the goings on at the nearby Petit Palais and Grand Palais exhibition spaces, both of which always have something interesting going on.
L’viv Christmas Fair; L’viv, Ukraine
While holiday celebrations take place all over this up-and-coming Ukrainian tourist destination, the main market takes place in the town’s charming main square. Set up to look like rows of little wooden bungalows, the shopping stalls are at their best at night when, like the square itself, they’re lit up for late-night shoppers. Selling everything from traditional Montanka dolls to hand-painted eggs, the fair is just one of the many ways Christmas is celebrated here. Festivals, concerts, and even parades go on all through December and even into the new year.
Did we miss your favorite holiday market? Tweet at us and let us know all about it!