Christkindlmarkt in Bethlehem: Ice skating, German gifts and hot toddies: what's new
- Christkindlmarkt opens on Friday, Nov. 17
- The German-inspired market offers photo ops with Santa, ice skating and family-friendly activities
- This year, ArtsQuest will offer free admission on Fridays
BETHLEHEM, Pa. — The holiday lights are up and Santa is on his way so it must be time to kick off the Christmas City season with some shopping.
Find artisan goods and other unique arts and crafts at Christkindlmarkt, the German-inspired market that opens on Friday, Nov. 17 at Artsquest’s SteelStacks.
The market will run for five weeks through Sunday, Dec. 17.
“The city of Bethlehem comes to life during this festive holiday season. Families from across the region, and beyond, come to the Christmas City to enjoy the sights and sounds of the season,” said Kassie Hilgert, president and CEO of ArtsQuest.
“At Christkindlmarkt, presented by Univest Financial, we are fortunate to have so many talented artisans and crafters (many are shoppers’ favorites that return year after year), and they truly offer a one-of-a-kind holiday shopping (and eating) experience."
Ice skating, Taylor Swift
This year, organizers have added additional shopping hours, plus a longer ice skating season.
The new rink offer mores space to practice toe loops and salchows – the expanded space, which will be 50-by-120 feet is 1,500 square feet bigger than last year.
It is located next to the holiday market and will open on Tuesday, Nov. 21 until Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Jan. 15.
Additionally, there will be special celebrations including a Taylor Swift-themed night on Dec. 13, to ring the singer's 34th birthday.
Adjacent to the rink, ArtsQuest will offer a new food and beverage tent that will include a full bar, hot chocolate, coffee, snacks and more, in a partnership with Levy Restaurants, ArtsQuest officials said.
Individual passes are available for $9, with skate rentals for $6; children 13 and younger pay $7 for admission, and $6 for rental. ArtsQuest members' tickets are $6 admission and $6 skate rental.
Christkindlmarkt features dozens of artisans' offerings containing unique, handmade gifts and holiday items, including the German ornament manufacturer Käthe Wohlfahrt.
Support local businesses such as Christmas Shoppe by Domaci, Donegal Square & McCarthy’s Red Stag Pub, Stroopies, and Eight Oaks Farm Distillery.
For a list of vendors,click here.
Glass blowing, meals with Santa
Take a photo with Santa Claus, then create some holiday crafts with the kids at the Crayon Creativity Station.
For some winter wonder: Watch as an ice block is sculpted into a work of art or create your own glass artwork with the ArtsQuest Hot Glass Experience.
For more time with Santa, the annual St. Nicholas breakfast takes place at 8 a.m. Saturdays Dec. 2, Dec. 9 and Dec. 18.
On the menu are eggs, pancakes, bacon, sausage, assorted Danish, cereal, fresh fruit, juice, coffee and milk.
Tickets for the breakfast start at $27.95 or $19.95 for aged 13 and under.
Kids can take a photo with St. Nick before participating in arts and crafts, led by an artist from the Banana Factory Arts Center.
For information, click here.
German food, holiday drinks
Warm up with a hot chocolate or if you're 21-and-over, something stronger from the bar.
Additionally, longtime food vendors such as Heidi's Strudel, Island Expressions, Flying V, Heaven on a Bun and Van Pelt Hot Dog Co., will be serving German-inspired plates (bratwurst, sausages) and snacks.
For a list of food options, click here.
Hours, free Fridays
Christkindlmarkt will open Fridays through Sundays for its first two weeks which start on Friday, Nov. 17.
It then expands its hours to Thursdays through Sundays starting on Nov. 30.
Hours of operation are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursdays - Sundays and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.
Starting on Nov, 17, admission will be free from 5 to 8 p.m. on Friday nights.
The festival normally costs $11 in advance or $12 at the door.
For info on tickets, click here.