Experience the Dortmund Christmas market
Dortmund's remarkable Christmas tree structure is composed of 1,700 evergreens rising 15 stories above Hansaplatz. Nearly 50,000 lights are necessary to fully illuminate the tree at night — a spectacular sight that is visible for several blocks. The tree isn't the only thing that's big; this market has more than 300 stands and a stage with daily performances.
Christmas market dates: Nov. 17-Dec. 30, 2017. The market is only open 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Christmas Eve.
Helpful hints: The market is a 10-minute walk from the main train station and is near the Reinoldikirche, Westentor and Stadtgarten-2 U-Bahn stations. Christmas workshops for children are typically fully booked in advance; ask at the Christmas Village if there are any last-minute openings.
Beyond the market: Near the fest, Zum Alten Markt is a cozy tavern serving regional specialties and beers. Stop in at the two malls and a large TK Maxx store, all close to the market, if you still have holiday shopping to finish.
Take the hop-on-hop-off bus to explore the city in under two hours; the bus does not run Dec. 24-25.