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Christmas market on the Gendarmenmarkt Berlin Germany

The World’s Most Tempting Holiday Markets

Article by Gillian Scott 12.07.2017

Whether you’re charmed by the twinkling lights, soothed by carols or refreshed by traditional treats, holiday markets around the world have something to tempt you away from home during the Christmas season.

Budapest, Hungary

Nov. 10-Dec. 24

Budapest’s oldest and biggest Christmas Fair is in Vorosmarty Square, in the heart of the city. Gift stalls are only open until Dec. 24, but the food stalls — featuring cinnamon pastries, sausages, mulled wine, grilled vegetables and potato dumplings — stay open until Dec. 31. Every Sunday, an Advent candle is ceremonially lit. At nearby St. Stephen’s Square, visitors can ice skate, watch a laser show on St. Stephen’s Basilica’s façade or visit the holiday market there, where Hungarian artisans sell traditional crafts. The Ritz-Carlton, Budapest features holiday package options that include accommodations, breakfast, dinner and options like a hot stone massage or a skate rental voucher.

Chicago, Illinois


Nov. 17-Dec. 24

Chicago’s original Christkindlmarket, inspired by the Christkindlesmarkt in Nuremberg, Germany, grew so popular that in 2016, it was expanded to two locations: the original on Daley Plaza, and the second in the suburb of Naperville. There is also now a third market at Wrigley Field. All three markets offer crafts and other gifts, traditional German food and drinks, and holiday entertainment. The Ritz-Carlton, Chicago celebrates the holidays with a Signature Afternoon Tea at Torali café, with three seatings a day, Fridays through Sundays through Jan. 7.

Shoppers at Chicago German christkindlmarket winter festival open air outdoor holiday season market

San Francisco, California

Nov. 18-Dec. 17

San Francisco’s Cow Palace Exhibition Halls transform into Victorian London lanes on pre-Christmas weekends for The Great Dickens Christmas Fair. The fair features pubs, dance parties, music halls, theaters and shops. More than 800 costumed characters, some from the pages of Dickens’ novels, wander the lanes. If you’re in the mood, you can even don your own Victorian costume. General admission is $30 for adults, $14 for children and free for children under the age of 5. On weekends after Thanksgiving, The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco gets in on the holiday action with a Teddy Bear Tea to benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation.


Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Christmas Village

Nov. 23-Dec. 24

A relative newcomer to the Christmas market scene, the Christmas Village in Philadelphia will be celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. Located at LOVE Park, the village is modeled after traditional Christmas markets in Germany, featuring 80 booths selling food, sweets and drinks, as well as gifts like ornaments, jewelry and crafts. The village is just a few blocks away from The Ritz-Carlton, Philadelphia. After strolling through the market, head back to the hotel for hot chocolate at Aqimero. Served only from noon to 10 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday from Nov. 24 through Jan. 5, the specialty hot chocolate menu features indulgent beverages at $12 a cup (for another $5, you can add the indulgence of the liquor of your choice).

Christmas Village at LOVE park in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Barcelona, Spain

Fira de Santa Llúcia

Nov. 24-Dec. 23

Vendors at Barcelona’s Fira de Santa Llúcia have been peddling crafts and culinary delights for more than 230 years. This year’s fair features 287 stands, with sections focused on Nativities and figures, greenery, crafts and traditional caroling instruments. This year, just steps from the fair at the Frederic Marès Museum, is a 35-square-meter Nativity scene. If you’re in town for the holidays, enjoy Christmas dinner at one of six restaurants at Hotel Arts Barcelona. Two of them — Arola Restaurant and the two-Michelin-starred Enoteca Paco Pérez — are offering special Christmas menus in the days up to and following the holiday.

The Christmas Market, Fira de Santa Llucia, in the Gothic Quarter, on Placa de la Seu, in Barcelona, Spain.

Berlin, Germany


Nov. 27-Dec. 31

With the Deutscher Dom on one side and the Französischer Dom on the other, the Gendarmenmarkt Christmas market is located in what some call Berlin’s most impressive square. Large craft tents feature wood carvers, leather workers, dressmakers and more. There’s also a variety of art, snacks and gourmet offerings, and entertainment every day.

The Ritz-Carlton, Berlin celebrates the holidays with extensive brunches and a Christmas buffet. A St. Nicholas Afternoon Tea in the Tea Lounge on Dec. 9 gives kids a chance to meet the big man himself.

Christmas market on the Gendarmenmarkt Berlin Germany

Shanghai, China

Dec. 1-3

Shanghai’s longest-running Christmas market is the Christkindlmarkt at Paulaner Bräuhaus Expo. Styled after a traditional German market, it features decorated wooden huts peddling produce and handicrafts, as well as seasonal treats like mulled wine, gingerbread, sugar-roasted almonds and sausages. The Pearl, a historic theater, also hosts a weekend Christmas market (Nov. 25-26), but with a French theme. The Ritz-Carlton Shanghai, Pudong, will have a tree-lighting ceremony on Dec. 1. The hotel’s four restaurants are offering holiday specials, from seasonal afternoon teas to festive Christmas dinners.

Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Dec. 15-27

The Souk Festive Market at Madinat Jumeirah has a holiday market and a North Pole train for kids, but also features more adrenaline-filled options like slides, bungee jumping and trampolines. If all the excitement leaves you worn out, The Ritz-Carlton, Dubai is offering a special holiday-themed treatment at its luxury spa — a warming scrub and soothing back massage, all with the seasonal scent of sweet sugar, cinnamon and spice.


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Plan Your Stay in These Destinations

  • Budapest

    Location Budapest, Hungary

    Experience A 20th century building set in one of Europe’s most beautiful cities.

    • Views of St. Stephen’s Basilica & Erzsébet Square
    • Located steps from the River Danube
    • UNESCO World Heritage Buda Castle nearby
  • Chicago

    Location Chicago, Illinois


    • Exclusive shopping along Michigan Avenue
    • Skyline view atop water tower place
    • Centrally located in Gold Coast District
  • San Francisco

    Location San Francisco, California


    • Landmark building located steps away from iconic attractions
    • Largest full-service Club Level in the city
    • Regional wines and farm-to-table cuisine
  • Philadelphia

    Location Philadelphia, PA

    Experience Classic luxury in a historic setting.

    • Newly renovated guest rooms & suites, meeting spaces and lobby
    • Located in the heart of Center City Philadelphia
    • Iconic landmark hotel in a historical bank building
  • Barcelona

    Location Barcelona, Spain

    Experience A beachfront hotel overlooking the Mediterranean

    • Mediterranean and city views
    • 5 outlets, including a two Michelin-starred restaurant
    • The highest spa in Barcelona
  • Berlin

    Location Berlin, Germany

    Experience A striking hotel in the vibrant Potsdamer Platz quarter.

    • Fantastic views of the Tiergarten
    • Minutes from historic Berlin attractions
    • An exceptional on-site restaurant
  • Shanghai, Pudong

    Location Shanghai, Pudong, China

    Experience Shanghai’s commercial and financial epicenter, Pudong.

    • #1 Hotel in Asia by readers of Condé Nast
    • Highest rooftop bar in China
    • Luxurious shopping at Shanghai IFC Mall
  • Dubai

    Location Dubai Marina District, UAE

    Experience Inspiring views on the coast of the Arabian Gulf.

    • Pristine beaches at your doorstep
    • Exceptional restaurants to enchant the palate
    • Luxury resort amenities and spa experiences