Best 25 Christmas markets in U.S. include a California delight

Christmas markets, those festive, twinkle-lit, outdoor celebrations complete with vendor stalls, gluhwein and delicious tidbits, date back centuries. Dresden’s Striezelmarkt, first held in 1434, is often credited as the first. Nearly 600 years later, they’re held in nearly every corner of the globe, including in cities across the United States.

Now, the travel site, has ranked the top 25 U.S. contenders. And we have quibbles, although not with the No. 3 ranking, which they awarded to San Francisco’s Great Dickens Christmas Fair. The Dickens extravaganza turns the Cow Palace into Victorian London each year — virtually in 2020 and as a drive-through this month (the virtual fun is back, too).

The BigSeven prose describes it as “not just limited to one square either – the whole of San Francisco will be transformed with lamp-lit lanes, pop-up pubs and theatre performances. Don’t forget your top hat.” Ahem, it’s has never unfolded across the entire city. It’s always been at a single venue. But this year’s event takes the fun outdoors with a drive-through route ($25 per vehicle — and a caveat: last weekend’s event was a massive traffic jam with two-hour waits in line so be prepared), tasty food deliveries to your car and a drive-in theater at the end with live music and performances. You can find all the details at

Other contenders include Nevada City’s Victorian Christmas Market (No. 9), Solvang’s Julefest (No .24) and Cambria’s Christmas Market (No. 25). If this was our list, we’d add the German Holiday Market at Mountain View’s Caltrain station on Dec. 11 to the list, too.

Meanwhile, here’s BigSeven’s top 10. Find the full list at

1.Christkindlmarket Chicago, Chicago, Illinois

2. Koziar’s Christmas Village, Bernville, Pennsylvania

3. Great Dickens Christmas Fair, San Francisco

4. Christkindlmarkt, Leavenworth, Washington

5. Union Square Holiday Market, New York City

6. Atlanta Christkindle Market, Atlanta, Georgia

7. Christkindl Market, Arlington, Texas

8. Charlotte Christmas Village, Charlotte, North Carolina

9. Victorian Christmas Market, Nevada City

10. Peoples Gas Holiday Market– Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

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