Gear up for the holidays and shop for local gifts and stocking stuffers at holiday markets sprouting up around the Twin Cities

By Claire Noack

One of the greatest traditions in the Twin Cities around this time of year is visiting holiday markets filled with seasonal cheer and the work of local artisans and businesses. From hand-painted ornaments and knitted scarves to toys and festive foods, you are sure to find the perfect gift for family members or stocking stuffers for little ones. Check out our list of upcoming markets that make for a great outing with out-of-town guests or a fun way to shop local.


Linden Hills Farmers Market moves indoors and spruces up their offerings with unique holiday gifts, winter decor, tasty treats, a Christmas tree lot and more at the Linden Hills Holiday Market at Sunnyside Gardens. With a rotating list of more than 60 food and craft vendors every Sunday from Nov. 5-Dec. 17, 9 a.m.-2 p.m., you’re guaranteed to walk away with some festive goodies.

For a different view of U.S. Bank Stadium, browse through rows of vendors on the field at the Minneapolis Holiday Boutique. Open Nov. 10-12, find every gift on your list from hand-crafted decor and gourmet food to luxury clothing and fine jewelry. Tickets cost $10 online and $12 at the door.

Get in touch with your Scandinavian roots this holiday season with the American Swedish Institute in South Minneapolis Dec. 2-3. Swedish for “Christmas market,” ASI’s Julmarknad showcases works from more than 40 local and regional artists as well as dance and music performances and kid friendly crafts. And don’t even think about leaving before you get a taste of the traditional Swedish meatballs, glögg, cardamom bread and more from FIKA Cafe. Tickets cost $10 for adults, $7 for seniors and $5 for children 6-18; the market is free for children five and under and ASI members.

St. Paul

A veritable Twin Cities staple, the Landmark Center’s Old Fashioned Holiday Bazaar has been decking the halls of downtown St. Paul with holiday cheer for 39 years. This year, from Nov. 30-Dec. 2, browse through 75 booths featuring handcrafted gifts, fine art and jewelry, and delicious treats while listing to festive music and admiring the decorations that fill St. Paul’s only castle. Tickets cost $5; ages 12 and younger are free.

Travel the world this season without ever leaving the Twin Cities, and experience a traditional open-air holiday market that you might find in Germany at the European Christmas Market in St. Paul. Find wool sweaters, ornaments from Poland, German nutcrackers, Eastern European toys, and a host of European specialty foods from schnitzel and bratwurst to mulled wine and roasted nuts at the Union Depot’s East Plaza in Lowertown Fridays through Sundays Dec. 1-10.

Grand Avenue gets in the spirit with the annual Grand Meander on Dec. 2. Window shop along the charming neighborhood shopping district, listen to carolers, take a trolley ride, pick out a Christmas tree and even have breakfast with Santa. This St. Paul tradition is an especially good place to take the kids with holiday activities and stroller friendly sidewalks, so the whole family can enjoy the fun.

Surrounding Suburbs

Eastern Suburbs: Take in winter’s beauty on your short drive to Stillwater for the city’s 25th annual Christmas at the Courthouse Holiday Bazaar on Nov. 18-19. Proceeds from this event benefit the Stillwater’s Historic Courthouse. Discover artisan goods and treats that will make for unique holiday presents for loved ones on your list, and don’t miss out on taking free photos with star of the holiday season in his workshop each day from noon-3 p.m.

Experience the magic of the season at Afton’s old-fashioned holiday celebration, Afton Village Holiday, Dec. 1-2. Hitch a wagon ride through the city, walk under the twinkling Christmas trees, ice skate in Town Square Park, support non-profits by dropping off food shelf and winter clothing items, and enjoy discounts and free snacks at local shops.

Western Suburbs: Modeled after European holiday markets, Excelsior’s Christkindlmarkt is filled with old world eats to munch on and traditional gifts to take home. Grab a drink at the biergarten; take the kids to meet their favorite pair of “Frozen” sisters; and enjoy the rest of the enchanting spectacles including a live Alaskan reindeer, parade, North Pole trolley, German music and more in downtown Excelsior, Nov. 24-26.


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