Blink and it’s easy to imagine that you have been transported to a Bavarian enclave. Lights twinkle and the winter air is crisp. Charming wooden stalls beckon with artistic and delicious treats. Shoppers snack on döner kebab while children twirl across the on-site ice rink. Only the 27-ton sculpture of William Penn reminds you that you are in Center City, Philadelphia.
Taking over much of the public space that surrounds the city’s glorious City Hall, Philadelphia’s Christmas Village evokes a traditional German holiday market, right down to the bratwurst. This is fitting, given the city’s history. By the late 1700s, nearly 30 percent of Philly’s foreign-born population was German, second only to the Irish. Today, 3.3 million people across the state claim German heritage.
If your holiday fantasy budget doesn’t allow for airfare to Europe this year, this may be the next best trip. Here’s how to do it: 1) Bang out that holiday shopping list. 2) Feast on a range of European treats. 3) Hit the ice rink or garden maze. 4) Toast your amazing day with a mug of steamy glüwein or an icy adult beverage.
It’s a delicious way to while away an afternoon.
Jenn Hall writes about food and culture from a Jersey-side suburb of Philly. Follow along on Instagram and Twitter @jennsarahhall.