23 Dec Christmas Market at the Holidazzle Village
I’ve always wanted to visit a traditional European Christmas Market, but we have never been traveling in Europe at the right time of the year. So when I heard about the new holiday market in downtown Minneapolis this winter, I knew some investigation was necessary. We ended up making a couple of visits to the Holidazzle Village and enjoyed the new event that replaced the holiday parade.
Up until this year, the Holidazzle event consisted of a light up parade that would twist and twirl its way along Nicollet Mall. It was a yearly tradition that was greatly loved, but honestly, as much as we enjoyed the parade, it is nice to see an attempt to revamp the holiday celebrations in the city.
Our first visit to the market happened to coincide with one of the colder days we’ve had so far this winter—the “feel’s like” temperature was -14°F and the wind was absolutely brutal. We didn’t want to miss out on a chance to hang with some friends though, so we bundled up and made our way downtown for some festive holiday fun. Our second trip to the market fared much better; we saw temperatures above zero, so we were able to enjoy ourselves a bit more without needing to run into the warming house quite as often.
The Holiday Market is set in Peavey Plaza where food, drink, and shopping huts line the plaza. Treats and snacks consist of pastries, roasted nuts, candies, various sausages, potato pancakes, soups, pretzels, cheese, mulled wine, beer, cider and more. We tried a few different items, but my favorites were the roasted almonds and the potato pancakes. The samples of fried cheese were also to die for—my favorites were the garlic and jalapeno, and I am tempted to head back just to buy a package or two. The only problem with buying some is that I would probably consume it way too quickly, and that really doesn’t need to happen, especially around the holidays.
Weekend events rotate each week and range from fireworks, glass blowing demonstrations, ice-skating, and dog sled exhibits. Throughout its month long run, there is also music, performances, reindeer, carousal rides and story time for children in addition to the regular market festivities.
In our opinion, weeknight evenings are the best time to visit as the area is much more festive all lit up and sparkling with lights, plus you won’t have to deal with the weekend crowds. The entire Holidazzle Village area is located along Nicolet Mall between 10th and 12th streets from Thanksgiving weekend until Christmas Eve. Admission is free; however, if you do visit the market portion of the event (which seems to be the most entertaining part), you need to pay a one-time admission cost that ranges from $3 to $6 depending on your age and time of visit. If you plan on returning to the market sometime during the month, make sure to keep your ticket as return admissions are free.
Although the village is yet to become a well-oiled machine and sadly there have been many negative reviews, I hope it will continue to grow into a fantastic holiday experience in the coming years. In our opinion, some things that could change for next year would be to drop the admission fee (no one needs to pay to shop!), and harnessing even more vendors and entertainment would up the ante and help keep visitors around longer. Whatever the case, we are excited to stop by again next year to see what has changed and taste even more delicious treats.
Have you ever been to a Christmas market?