Guide to the best Wisconsin Christmas markets and craft fairs, including Lake Geneva, Madison and Milwaukee Christmas markets
Everybody loves Christmas, right? Of course you do – and what better way to build up to the main event than by visiting a Christmas market?
There are so many great Christmas markets in Wisconsin that you’ll be spoilt for choice.
Whether you’re looking for a small, more relaxed affair, or a grand blowout with all the trappings, there’s a Christmas market in Wisconsin waiting just for you.
In this article, I’ve included a range of options so that you can find the perfect Christmas market in Wisconsin for your taste.
There are large ones, smaller, more intimate ones, ones in cities and ones in villages, so you’re sure to find something that fits you perfectly.
Wisconsin is a wonderful place to visit all year round, but there’s something magical about the festive season when the state pulls out all the stops to ensure everyone has a great time.
If the festivities are not your thing, don’t worry as there’s lots of other great things to do in Wisconsin.
Remember, if you’re planning those winter getaways in Wisconsin take plenty of warm clothes as it gets cold.
And by cold, I mean really cold – but that means sleigh rides and snowmobiling!
Although I’ve included approximate dates, Christmas market dates change each year so check local websites for details before you set off.
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1. Sparta Kriskindlmarkt
When: Open Fridays and Saturdays for four weeks starting the last Friday in November
The Kriskindlmarkt in the small town of Sparta is a traditional European-style Christmas market in Wisconsin with a great atmosphere.
You’ll find German food and spirits (watch out for the Schnapps, it’s lethal!) and lots of other food offerings for those who don’t love bratwurst.
Beyond the food and grog, there are lots of local vendors with boutique offerings for you to browse and/or purchase.
This market stands out for the range of handmade gifts that are available here.
The market is located centrally in downtown Sparta and spreads throughout the downtown area.
There’s a range of other festive activities on as well to coincide with the market, such as a Santa Scamper, a holiday parade, and a lighting ceremony in Evans-Bosshard Park.
For the active, Sparta is a mecca for cyclists, from where you can access renowned bike trails like the magnificent Elroy-Sparta State Trail.
The trail is one of the top mountain bike trails in Wisconsin.
2. Lake Geneva Christkindlmarkt
Where: Lake Geneva
When: Weekends from Mid-November to Mid-December
While the place is stunningly beautiful year round, add some snow and everywhere looks prettier.
And why not combine a visit there with visiting one of the most atmospheric Christmas markets in Wisconsin?
Lake Geneva in winter hosts a fantastic Christkindlmarket.
Wisconsin really is at its absolute finest when events like this are staged when so much obvious thought has gone into them.
The market here takes place both indoors and outdoors.
You’ll find artists selling all sorts of goodies including handmade art, crafts, and Christmas ornaments.
All the seasonal favorites are on offer including bratwurst, gluhwein, hot apple cider, roasted nuts, pastries, and hot chocolate topped with whipped cream.
Santa also visits the kids!
Book here the best tours in Lake Geneva, WI
3. Oconomowoc Christmas Market
When: Late November
Oconomowoc Christmas market is one of the finest German Christmas markets in Wisconsin.
So, if you’re spending Christmas in Wisconsin, don’t miss out on this one.
This is an inviting, hospitable market that aims to bring old-world charm to the party, and they certainly succeed!
This is a family-oriented event with lots to do whether you’re young or old (or in between!).
You’ll find all the classic products that you’d expect from a German Christmas market.
Beyond that, they promise you’ll discover incredible gifts you won’t find in any mall or retail store.
What more reason do you need to visit?
This is a large event where the site is divided into different sections.
There’s a Christmas Village, a Holiday Party Tent, an Indoor Biergarten, a Heated Santa Tent, a Heated Shopping Tent, and a Gingerbread Decorating Station.
So, if you’re looking for things to do in Wisconsin in winter, this could be the one for you!
Book here the best vacation rentals in Oconomowoc, WI
4. Christkindlmarket Milwaukee
When: Mid-November through Christmas Eve
If you’re seeking a Christmas market, Milwaukee has an absolutely fabulous one (of course it does!).
Christkindlmarket Milwaukee is one of the best Christmas markets in Wisconsin.
And you get to spend some time in a great city with lots of other things to do for those not interested in the festivities.
Set right in the heart of downtown, the Milwaukee Christmas market is a large, lively affair that’s free to enter (always a bonus!) and very kid friendly.
There’s even a Kinder Club with loads of fantastic fun activities to keep the children entertained.
For the grown-ups, don’t miss out on the hot spiced wine, which is absolutely superb here.
After all, Milwaukee excels at the booze!
If you’re visiting Milwaukee in Winter and don’t want to join the festivities, try the Deer District with its fantastic restaurants, micro-breweries, and bars.
If you’re looking for unique things to do in Milwaukee, Christmas markets are just the beginning!
Book here the best tours in Milwaukee, WI
5. Three Kings Christmas Market
Where: Wisconsin Dells
When: Last Saturday in November
Wisconsin Dells is a fun place to visit at any time, in fact, the whole city is based upon the foundation of fun, all the time!
If you’re in Wisconsin Dells in Winter then why not visit the Three Kings Christmas Market?
This is one of the Wisconsin Christmas markets that cater to all ages.
There are lots of things for the kids to do including cookie decorating, free gift wrapping, and an appearance by St Nicholas himself!
You can even leave the kids at Kid’s Corner while you explore the site.
Under the twinkling fairy lights, you’ll discover all your festive favorites including traditional food and drink offerings from the old world.
There are also roving performers strolling the site to keep the spirit convivial.
Don’t forget to check out all the other amazing things to do in Wisconsin Dells.
Book here the best tours in Wisconsin Dells, WI
6. Blessed Sacrament Christmas Market
When: Late November for 3 days
This Madison Christmas market is a great option for those wishing to spend some time in the state capital.
The Blessed Sacrament Christmas Market has been running for 100 years now, so you’ll find this magnificent event steeped in history.
This Madison holiday market has an absolutely sensational range of crafts vendors selling their wares.
You’ll find jams, soaps, home-baked goodies, baskets, candy, hand-painted silk scarves, fabric fairies, botanically dyed fiber art, and fresh greenery (including Christmas wreaths).
There’s also a magnificent array of home-cooked, organic food on offer, so you won’t go hungry.
For those with kids, there’s even a free babysitting service.
If you’d like to really get into the Christmas spirit, then Madison has a historically renowned brewing industry and today is especially famed for its superb selection of craft beers.
While you’re here, enjoy all the other wonderful things to do in Madison!
Book here the best tours in Madison, WI
7. Old World Christmas Market
Where: Elkhart Lake
When: Early December
As we’ve seen so far, if you’re looking for a Christmas market, Wisconsin provides a bewildering array of options to select from.
If you’re seeking out that old-world charm, then the Old-World Christmas Market at Elkhart Lake offers all of this and more.
This is an incredibly highly-rate Christmas market that was even voted number 1 best holiday market in the USA Today’s Readers’ Choice Awards of 2018. High praise indeed.
And a visit to this marvelous market will show you why.
This market has an international flavor and is one of the best craft fairs Wisconsin has to offer.
Keeping with the international flavor, you’ll discover Czech blown-glass ornaments, Turkish pashmina scarves and shawls, Estonia woolens, Russian nesting dolls, plus German hand-carved smokers and nutcrackers.
Be sure to also visit nearby Door County because Door County in winter is truly magical!
Book here the best vacation rentals in Elkhart Lake, WI
8. Norskedalen’s Old Fashioned Christmas
Where: Coon Valley – Vernon County
When: 1st Saturday in December
If you’d like to attend a rural Christmas market in Wisconsin, then Norskedalen’s Old Fashioned Christmas is packed with rural charm.
As you might have deciphered from the name, the theme here is Norwegian, with many descendants of that nation settling here in times gone by.
This is an activity-packed event, with yule log hunts, heritage skills demonstrations, horse-drawn wagon rides (don’t miss that one!), a bell choir concert. a yule log hunt, a scavenger hunt, and, if you’re lucky, a visit from Santa.
Well, Christmas wouldn’t be complete without that!
You’ll also find traditional Norwegian food and goodies, plus craft and gift vendors. You can even enjoy a traditional Norwegian meal, complete with lefse.
Beyond the festivities, the Coon Valley is a haven for fishermen, with spring-fed trout streams providing magnificent fishing opportunities.
9. Christmas Bazaar
Where: St. Germain
The Christmas Bazaar in stunning St. Germain provides an early opportunity to get those Christmas goodies on board in anticipation of the main event.
As things get closer to Christmas, the markets become much (much!) busier, but this mid-November event helps avoid the crush.
The lakes around here look so much prettier in winter time so prepare to be amazed by the overwhelming beauty of it all.
It’s easy to see why the place is such a magnet for outdoor enthusiasts such as cyclists, anglers, snowmobilers, and hikers.
The Christmas Bazaar is a great fun event for all the family. There are a host of children’s activities, raffle prizes, and even a visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus!
She doesn’t make many live appearances (I’ve heard she’s quite shy), so be sure not to miss her visit.
If you’re looking for more winter activities, St. Germain also has some of the best snowmobile trails in Wisconsin!
Book here vacation rentals in Northern Wisconsin
10. Tinsel Trail
Where: Steven’s Point
When: Late November for 1 day only
The Tinsel Trail in Steven’s Point is one of the longest-running Christmas markets in Wisconsin. This event has been going for over 50 years now.
The event is hosted by the Steven’s Point Junior Women’s Club.
This club does some absolutely magnificent work in promoting education, preserving natural resources, and helping the elderly and disabled.
This is a group of dynamic local women who are dedicated to community involvement and enhancement.
They have also been instrumental in establishing a daycare center for mentally challenged children and supporting projects for victims of domestic abuse.
You’ll find over 250 vendors at this magnificent festive craft show.
It’s only $3 dollars to enter and all profits go to the Steven’s Point Junior Women’s Club. More power to them.
11. A Blind Horse Christmas Market
When: Early December for 1 day only
If you’re looking for a quirky, Christmas market in Wisconsin then try A Blind Horse Christmas Market.
Located in the sleepy village of Kohler in the heart of Sheboygan County, this annual event places the focus heavily on craft products.
Among the products on offer, you’ll find hand-crafted jewelry, beauty products, metal art, wall art, wooden creations, holiday crafts, among a whole plethora of other well-crafted goods.
There’s also a range of gourmet food on offer, plus fantastic wine being served up in The Winery.
You can also enjoy some seasonal cocktails while enjoying the seasonal music being played in the surroundings of this beautiful property.
Kohler is known for its fantastic golf courses, so if that’s your thing, you’ll be spoilt for choice around here.
Make sure to explore all the other fun things to do in Sheboygan!
Book here the best vacation rentals in Sheboygan, WI
12. Christmas Market at the Barn
When: Early December for 1 weekend
Historic Elkhorn was designated as the seat of Walworth County in 1846 – but today, it’s home to one of the finest Christmas markets in Wisconsin.
Christmas Market at the Barn is a laid-back event that runs for one weekend only in early December.
It’s a great place to purchase that perfect Christmas gift for even the most difficult to buy for.
There are numerous local makers who set up stalls for the weekend.
You’ll find several artisans, craft product vendors, and even junkers, ensuring you secure that one-of-a-kind object.
Elkhorn is actually known as ‘The Christmas Card Town’.
The reason for this being, in times gone by (well, the 1950s), the beautiful park that surrounds the County Government Center used to be adorned with unusual Christmas decorations.
Guess the name just stuck.
Book here the best accommodation in Elkhorn, WI
13. New Glarus Christkindli Market
Where: New Glarus
When: 1st weekend in December
Another of the Christmas markets in Wisconsin that run throughout the first weekend in December is the New Glarus Christkindli Market.
This outdoor market is one of the prettiest winter festivals in Wisconsin.
Here, you’ll find all the usual Christmas lights and music.
There’s also a great selection of local vendors operating from the attractively decorated mini chalets.
You’ll find a variety of high-quality, locally made gifts on offer, there are also horse and sleigh rides, Santa appearances, and carol singers.
New Glarus is known as America’s Little Switzerland, so as you can imagine, there’s a heavy Swiss theme running through this event.
New Glarus is incredibly proud of its Swiss heritage, with its chalet-style architecture worth the visit in its own right.
Downtown, you’ll find two museums, specialty shops, and restaurants serving Swiss food.
14. Christkindl Market, Menomonee Falls Downtown
Where: Downtown Menomonee Falls
When: Mid-December for 1 day only
Every year, for one day only, on the corner of Main Street and Appleton Avenue in Menomonee Falls Downtown, you’ll find the fantastic Christkindl Market.
This is a great fun event for all the family that’s hosted both indoors and outdoors so there’s no need to worry if the weather will hold out.
In the tradition of all great German Christmas markets, you’ll discover a glut of German food and live music.
There’s also German dancing to keep you entertained. All the tropes are covered, with a beer stein lift contest and gallons of Glühwein.
There’s a Santa’s Workshop, where the kids can get their photo with the man himself.
There are even carriage rides on offer. What more could you ask for?
Menomonee Falls is a great village with a fantastic community spirit, so get yourself along and join in the fun.
Book here the best accommodation in Menomonee Falls, WI
15. La Crosse Annual Holiday Fair
Where: La Crosse
Another of the longest-running Christmas markets in Wisconsin is the grand La Crosse Annual Holiday Fair, which has been in operation since 1964.
It’s apparently the area’s largest craft show, and admission is only $2 so go along and find out for yourself.
There are hourly door prizes for all those that enter.
If you do go along, you’ll find Santa & Rudolph on hand for photos, carol singers, and all the traditional holiday music to get you in the festive spirit.
This event is targeted at children, so you’ll not be surprised to learn that there are so many activities to keep the little ones entertained while their parents peruse the array of local artisanal products on offer.
If that’s not your thing, La Crosse is a pleasant city on the Mississippi River where you’ll find unique shops, lively entertainment, great restaurants, museums, and art galleries.
Book here the best vacation rentals in La Crosse, WI
As we’ve discovered, the Christmas markets in Wisconsin really do offer something for everyone.
From smaller family-oriented events in sleepy villages to bustling Glühwein and Steiner bashes in the state’s thriving metropolises, whatever you’re looking for, there’s that perfect Christmas market waiting just for you.
If all that festive cheer isn’t your thing, don’t worry, Wisconsin’s a great place to visit at any time but there’s a special magic in the air during the winter.
Just remember to take some warm clothes!
Short FAQ About Best Christmas Markets in Wisconsin
Is there a Christmas market in Milwaukee?
Yes, the Milwaukee Christmas market (Christkindlmarket Milwaukee) is one of the most popular in the state.
Where has the best Christmas markets in the USA?
In my opinion, the Wisconsin Christmas markets are some of the best in the country!
Is Christkindlmarket cash only?
While there might be some stalls at the Christmas markets in Wisconsin that have the ability to accept cards, many are cash only. So be sure to bring along plenty of cash when shopping at any of the Christmas markets Wisconsin has to offer.
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