With COVID-19 spiking across the country and public health officials urging caution, families need to be very careful about planning their holidays this year. Unfortunately, this means that many of our favorite holiday activities have been canceled, or extremely curtailed to ensure that all the participants are as safe as possible. After seeing COVID numbers spike this spring, none of us are eager to return to those dangerously high numbers.
Thankfully, there is still one tradition that many cities have been able to continue safely: the holiday market. Every year, cities like Chicago, Washington, D.C., Denver, and New York City host dozens of small Christmas and holiday markets, with vendors selling gifts, food, and other treats for the festive season.
Our Favorite Holiday Markets to Visit in 2020
Since they’re outside, organizers have been able to promise that some events will continue this year, along with safety precautions like social distancing, temperature checks, and strict capacity limits.
Here are some of our favorite Christmas and holiday markets around the United States. If you are visiting, be sure to wear your mask whenever you are not eating or drinking, and be aware of your surroundings so that you can properly distance yourself from other shoppers.
Bryant Park Winter Village – New York City
Bryant Park’s Winter Village has been a beloved holiday tradition. This year, organizers have worked tirelessly to keep it going for the 2020 season, with enough public health measures to ensure the safety of vendors and attendees.
Visitors can still come and skate in New York City’s only free admission skating rink, as long as they book a time in advance. Afterward, tired skaters can buy gifts from vendors in open-air kiosks, and eat treats like gingerbread, mulled wine, and hot crepes.
The market is already open, and runs until January 3.
Downtown Holiday Market – Washington, D.C.
This year, Washington, D.C.’s Downtown Holiday Market is taking over two city blocks to ensure that their shoppers and vendors have enough space to enjoy themselves safely. More than 70 vendors will be present, including many with ‘Made in DC’ products created by Black and minority-owned businesses.
Safety measures at the market include widely accessible sanitizing stations, social distancing, and contactless payments.
Visit the market 12-8 p.m., November 20 to December 23.
Christkindl Market – Denver
Denver’s traditional German Christkindl Market will be held this year in Civic Center Park, to give vendors and visitors plenty of room to spread out and shop safely. To warm yourself in the cold Denver winter, pick up a hot cup of Glühwein or hot chocolate, and shop your way through their artisan marketplace.
The market opens at 11 a.m. and goes on until 7 p.m. on weekdays, and upto 9 p.m. on weekends. Be sure to visit it before it closes on December 23.
Christmas Village – Philadelphia
If you are looking for authentic and delicious European food, plenty of vendors, and a gorgeous historic carousel, head to Philadelphia’s Christmas Village. This year, it opens on Thanksgiving Day and will be bustling through Christmas Eve, with shoppers eager to buy jewelry, ornaments, and other gifts.
COVID-19 safety protocols include mandatory face coverings, adjustments to the layout to encourage social distancing, and helpful social distancing ambassadors to guide the crowd safely.
For adults looking for a bit of a break, the Philadelphia Christmas Village also hosts a Beer Garden featuring tasty grilled sausages, beer, and more.