Christmas markets traditionally bring joy by breaking up the winter season with lights, caroling, shopping, and festivities. All of the senses are delighted with scents of ginger, the flavor of gluehwein and stollen, and the abundance of lights and songs.
Originating in Germany, Christmas markets are now found in small towns throughout the U.S. as well, highlighting the wonder of the season. Enjoy these 13 small-town Christmas markets spreading cheer throughout the U.S.
1. Greater Williamsburg, Virginia
Christmas Market On Main
Celebrate the holiday season in the Greater Williamsburg area, the birthplace of American holidays, with a variety of events. The area comes alive with festivities throughout the season.
The town of Yorktown has a Christmas market, and celebrations kick off with the Yorktown Christmas Tree Lighting, a tradition since 1945. Then there’s the Christmas Market on Main, featuring 60 vendors and holiday music, food and drink, and of course, a visit from Santa on December 3 and 4. On December 10, visit the Mistletoe Market for soups and baked goods, preserves, candles, soap, and seasonal art, plus the Toyland Parade and Riverwalk Landing Polar Express.
At the Jamestown Settlement and the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown, Christmastide in Virginia recalls holiday traditions of old with interpretative programs and musical entertainment.
In Colonial Williamsburg, enjoy the Grand Illumination and a mix of holiday events through December such as caroling at the courthouse, walking tours, a reading of “The Night Before Christmas,” and more.
2. Garrison, North Dakota
Dickens Village Festival Piccadilly Square Craft Show
Located along the north shore of Lake Sakakawea, this small town transforms into a Christmas village each year. Considered the “Christmas Capital of North Dakota,” Garrison creates an enchanting holiday experience at their Dickens Village Festival. The festival is inspired by Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol and features a Victorian-era theme and activities. Enjoy craft shows, support food and gift vendors of the Piccadilly Square Craft Show, ride the “Queen Elizabus” double-decker bus (imported from England), and watch the lighted Main Street parade at dusk.
3. Georgetown, Colorado
Georgetown Christmas Market
You’ll feel like you stepped onto the set of a Christmas movie in Georgetown. Literally. The 1980s film The Christmas Gift starring John Denver was filmed in this historic town nestled in the Rocky Mountains. At the Georgetown Christmas Market, enjoy carolers in Victorian dress, vendors selling homemade gifts such as jellies, spiced wines, ornaments, and candles, and the annual Christmas tree lighting, all set in a mountain wonderland.
4. Frankenmuth, Michigan
Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland
The small German town of Frankenmuth celebrates its heritage as “Michigan’s “Little Bavaria” with the world’s largest Christmas store, Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland. Bronner’s offers Christmas decorations and gifts at one stop. The Christmas market runs year-round with the small town of 5,000 receiving more than 2 million visitors each year.
5. Alpine Helen, Georgia
Located about an hour and a half north of Atlanta, you’ll find the Bavarian town of Alpine Helen in White County. Enjoy the sweeping mountain views, vineyards, a river that runs through town, plus cobblestone alleyways and Old World towers. The Lifetime movie Christmas Love Letter was filmed there as well.
Helen’s annual Christkindlmarkt, a German tradition, offers all the food, drinks, gifts, and treats one would expect at an authentic Christmas market. Be sure and sample the wurst (sausage), kartoffelpuffer (potato pancakes), and a glass of mulled wine, gluehwein. Located on the Marktplatz, the market will run November 26-27 and December 3-4. In addition to the market, the annual Lighting of the Village in Riverside Park is November 25.
Nikki Webster, owner of Brit on the Move, says the Helen Christkindlmarkt is one of the best small-town Christmas Markets because of its Bavarian theme. “It’s not just a Christmas market that is put up to mimic those in Europe. The setting is already European, it’s fairly cold, and it’s authentic.”
6. Cheyenne, Wyoming
North WEST Mercantile At The Depot
Cheyenne may be known for its cowboys and the great outdoors, but it’s also a winter wonderland that transforms into a Western Winter Wonderland each year. You can shop for gifts at the North WEST Mercantile at the Depot. From November 21 to December 31, take part in the Old West Holidays with actors dressed in period costumes, a Pony Express, Santa’s Saloon and Stables, plus a visit to Kringle Ranch. The Cheyenne Christmas Parade features Western floats, horse-drawn wagons, live music, and performers.
7. Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
Located in Lehigh Valley, Bethlehem is known as “Christmas City” as it was founded by Moravians and named on Christmas Eve. The town’s streets are laden with lights and decor, just like in a Hallmark Christmas movie. It is also home to one of the best Bavarian-style Christmas markets in the U.S.
Christkindlmarkt Bethlehem features 60 artisans and vendors, live entertainment, St. Nicholas, of course, and delicious food and drink. Sample strudel, German bratwurst, and Christmas cookies, or stop by the biergarten for a hot toddy or beer.
8. New York State
Several small towns in New York State bring joy to the holiday season with festivals and Christmas markets.
Altamont Victorian Holiday Celebration And Winter Market
You’ll feel the Christmas spirit in the picturesque village of Altamont at the Altamont Victorian Holiday Celebration and Winter Market. In the past, festivities include a pet parade, wreath auction, holiday scavenger hunt, gingerbread houses, and much more in addition to the market. This year it is on December 11 — check the Altamont Community Tradition Facebook page for updates.
Dickens Christmas In The Village of Skaneateles
The Village of Skaneateles can be found in the Finger Lakes region of Upstate New York. Every Saturday and Sunday during the holidays, Dickens Christmas comes to life with live music, food, and unique shopping. You can even skate or have breakfast with Santa.
9. Sparta, Wisconsin
Known for bicycling and unique bridges, this city of just over 10,000 residents has a thriving downtown area. Sparta’s annual Kriskindlmarkt starts on Black Friday and runs on Fridays and Saturdays for four weeks. Start at the Bavarian-style information building and then enjoy European treats such as mulled cider and fresh-roasted nuts, plenty of authentic foods such as bratwurst, pretzels, and chili, and numerous vendors. There’s plenty of holiday shopping with local artisan crafters showcasing their handmade items. This year, the Brat Haus sausage hut is debuting.
10. Greenville, South Carolina
Indie Craft Parade Holiday Pop Up + Outdoor Mini Markets
Stroll along tree-lined sidewalks decorated with lights in Greenville. Ice skate at an outdoor rink that’s a mini replica of Rockefeller Center and take a ride on Santa’s motorized sleigh, which is a converted 1993 Ford Aerostar. Starting November 4, shop the Indie Craft Parade Holiday Pop Up, which runs for seven weekends. Concurrently, three outdoor Mini Markets will be held on Saturdays in November and December. Shop locally made food items, handmade crafts, holiday basketry, seasonal produce, and more from more than 90 makers.
Or visit Holiday Fair, considered to have the largest selection of arts, crafts, and gifts in the region with more than 350 crafters and commercial vendors. December 1-3 will be their 52nd year of celebration.
11. Nantucket Island, Massachusetts
Shop Santa’s Village At Nantucket Stroll
Carolers decked out in Victorian garb stroll the streets of Nantucket during the 48th Annual Nantucket Stroll Weekend, December 2-4. Sip on cider and peruse handcrafted gifts at its craft shows and Shop Santa’s Village, a European-style Christmas marketplace.
12. Santa Fe, New Mexico
Winter Indian Market
Sante Fe may not be everyone’s definition of a small town, but it’s no LA or New York. The Southwestern Association for Indian Arts (SWAIA) presents its annual Winter Indian Market at the Santa Fe Community Convention Center, December 3-4. In addition to a variety of jewelry, pottery, and ornaments from 2021/2022 juried artists, the event includes live performances, a silent auction, and a raffle. This event does require tickets to attend.