Cycling to the Christkindlmarket

As winter slowly but surely creeps in, one must take full advantage of any and all lingering above-freezing days. Such was the case today.  As the sun shone brightly and the temperature hovered above 40 degree, Mr. Dottie and I met up with our friends Dan and Janet for a leisurely ride downtown. That’s three Omas and a vintage Raleigh, taking it nice and easy.

We rode the inner lakefront path, a dirt and gravel trail that meanders along Lincoln Park, but eventually jumped on city streets at the Gold Coast and into the bustling Loop.

Our destination was the Christkindlmarket, a traditional German holiday market that sets up shop each year in Chicago’s main plaza. The market is a wonderful use of public space, filled with beautiful booths, Christmas trinkets and delicious sweets.

A particular treat that many people enjoy at the market is the Gluhwein, a hot mulled wine.  While it sounds good in theory, I thought it tasted quite nasty. I still drank every drop and I got a commemorative cermamic boot mug out of the deal, so it was totally worth it. :) As you can see, I hauled around my Basil pannier, which was not the best idea. Should have gone with the basket and purse set-up.

There are lots of delicious sweet treats to go with the alcohol.  Very yummy stuff like fresh roasted nuts, Bavarian gingerbread, baked pretzels, fried apples and chocolate covered marshmallows.

By the time we had our fill of holiday cheer and German junk food, the sun was already setting and the sky grew darker and darker as we rode along the Lakefront Trail, all before 5 pm. (Photo below is from Dan – thanks! – the rest are from my vintage film camera.)

Don’t you love the holidays? I hope everyone else is taking advantage of these final days of November!

{You can read about last year’s cycling trip to the Christkindlmarket here.}

  • Glocal Girl

    just found your blog and already love the first post i read… bike riding to a christmas market! i’m originally from california and have moved to amsterdam, holland due to the graces of love and just attended my first northern european christmas market. so unlike anything i’ve experienced at home but happy to see that chitown partakes in this fun tradition!

    Glocal Girl

    • Dottie

      Sounds like a great adventure! Now your blog is giving me even more reason to daydream about moving to Amsterdam.

  • Nuresma

    Your photo with Mr. Dottie is so cute!
    And the market seems very nice too. This year I’m very excited with Christmas and I’m planning to visit two or three Christmas markets.

  • Simply Bike

    Beautiful photos, as I already said in Flickr. I’m amazed at how authentic the Chicago market looks compared to all the German and Austrian ones I’ve visited. I am so happy to get to see this and enjoy it vicariously :) This is one of my favorite things about the holidays in Germany/Austria – the Christmasmarkets.

    PS: And I *love* Gluehwein…Dottie, really? A thumbs down? ;)

    • LC

      I was thinking that too… was the Gluehwein really bad? The first time I tried it I too thought Gluehwein was bad, I then had the fortune of been asked to try it again and it was delicious! Sometimes a Gluhwein stall may not be so good, but another one further along may change your mind! (I think there are five or six places you can get Gluhwein in Manchester xmas market, and they all taste different! Mad uh?!)

      On a cold, cold evening, with friends, there’s nothing more cosy to stand all close together holding this super hot drink and smelling/drinking its fragrant concoction =) makes me feel all xmassy!

      • Jennifer

        Ah, you’re all making me nostalgic for German Christmas-time. I agree that Glühwein is an acquired taste but all it takes is to try it maybe three times to become a convert. That’s what happened to me anyway!

  • Bill

    OK, that Dutch bike looks so comfortable. I may really need to try one of those for my next bike, and I hear they ship to you. Riding straight up also must let you take in the wonderful scenery.

    The German market looks great, reminds me of my trip to Germany, making me homesick.

    Bill Carter, CPA
    Atlanta, GA

  • Amanda Z from NYC

    Your look is Novemeber-Biking perfection!
    I rode my bike for the first time in Fall yesterday and I wore double sweat pants, two hoodies, mismatched gloves…let me tell you…

    You looked fab!

    • Amanda Z from NYC

      November* <–whoops

  • Aaron

    Is the saddle on your Oma crooked (nosed right)? Or is it one of those every-Brooks-is-different things?

  • Niklas

    Looks like a great time. Your trip remind me of a trip my wife and I took to Srausburg while we were living in Paris. Your so lucky to be living in a culturally diverse large city to have something like this.

  • Maureen

    Looks like all of you had a wonderful time, with awesome bikes and sweet German confections. As always I love the photos. Did you buy any presents? Enjoy the nice weather while you still can!

  • Please excuse

    Please ignore Sandbox post




    So, yup, Spring Comes To Chicago the poet says, and I believe him. In fact I’d write McGrath and tell him how thoroughly I enjoyed his book if only I knew the address in MIAMI to which he had absconded.