5 reasons to visit the Kaiserslautern Christmas market
Last year was our first holiday season in Germany. My mother-in-law told me in earnest about the amazing Christmas markets that seemed to magically pop up mid- to late-November. When we spent Thanksgiving in Berlin, we found markets at almost every U-Bahn stop, church and Platz. The twinkling lights and little wooden stalls seemed to stretch endlessly. Friends leaned against the high-top tables catching up over mugs of hot beverages. It was everything I had envisioned — and really crowded.
When you begin plotting out which markets to hit up this year, there are sure to be a few big names: Dresden, Nuremberg, and maybe Strasbourg or Prague. However, you may realize that you may not have enough time to visit them all, or maybe you don’t feel like standing shoulder-to-shoulder with thousands of strangers. While the Kaiserslautern Christmas market may not be one of the larger markets, it should be on your list. Here’s why:
Test the waters
If you’re new to the area or if visiting one of the more renowned markets is making you feel overwhelmed, head to downtown Kaiserslautern to test the waters. It’s a smaller market with many of the same goods as the bigger ones and fewer crowds. It’s easier to take your time and not feel rushed.
Go during the week … or at night
The best part about this charming market being so close is the opportunity to easily visit on weekdays when the kids are in school. Invite some friends, stroll through the stalls and grab a bite to eat at one of the delicious food stalls or at a local restaurant nearby — all before the final school bell rings. If you can’t get away during the day, enjoy the festive atmosphere after work.
More than just the Christmas market
In addition to the cozy holiday market, Kaiserslautern On Ice at the nearby Gartenschau opens Nov. 18 and runs through Feb. 11. If ice skating isn’t your cup of Glühwein, take a peek inside the Kulturmarkt, located in the Fruchthalle. More than 80 artisans and vendors from around the globe will be showcasing authentic handcrafted goods and tasty treats. The Kulturmarkt opens Nov. 21 through Dec. 18.
One stop Sunday shopping
The next Sunday shopping date is Nov. 27. If you haven’t started your holiday shopping, this is a great place to begin! Not only will most shops (including the K-in-Lautern Mall and IKEA) be open, but the Christmas market and Kulturmarkt will also be in full swing. However, if you do venture out for Sunday shopping, be sure to start when the stores open. Crowds will be plentiful.
New Year’s market
If time has slipped past and you weren’t able to make it to holiday festivities, don’t fret. The Kaiserslautern Christmas market re-opens Dec. 27-30 as a Silvestermarkt (New Year market). Enjoy your last-chance for fest food this year and don’t forget your commemorative Glühwein mug to start or add to your collection.
Know before you go: The Kaiserslautern Christmas market is open from Nov. 26-Dec. 23, and Dec. 27-30. Hours are 10 a.m. - 9 p.m. Monday-Wednesday, 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, and 1-9 p.m. Sunday. For more information, visit http://kaiserslautern.de.