Stuttgart Christmas market

Crafts at the Stuttgart Weihnachtsmarkt

The Weihnachtsmarkt Christmas market in Stuttgart, Germany

You gotta love German pragmatism. The officials at Stuttgart’s 315-year-old Weihnachtsmarkt (in 2012: Nov. 28–Dec. 23; take careful measures to ensure the welfare of Lukas the donkey (saved years ago from a local butcher), his goat friends, and the assorted sheep populating the living Nativity scene.

However, the city also proudly boasts that the shepherds charged with the animals’ care bring to the market some lovely sheep ham, sheep sausages, sheep’s-milk cheese, wool socks, and sheepskin clothing.

If you can’t handle dining on the Nativity scene’s less fortunate brethren, scarf down some waffles, bratwurst, gingerbread, roasted almonds, and Hutzelbrot (fruitcake) instead amid the city’s gabled houses hung with fir branches and angels.

The massive market sprawls across several historic center squares between the Gothic cathedral and ivy-clad castle, with 280 stalls selling wooden toys, glass baubles, and nutcrackers.

In the evening, grab a warm Glühpunsch wine scented with cinnamon and vanilla and amble into the Old Castle’s Renaissance courtyard for the daily Christmas concert (6pm weekdays, 5pm weekends).

For the kiddies, the Kinderland on Schlossplatz offers rides (carousel, Ferris wheel, mini steam railway) and some hands-on holiday experiences, from a candle workshop to a “child bakery” (we’re assuming it’s the children doing the baking, not the witch from Hansel and Gretel).

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Other markets around town. This year the merchants of Calwer Strasse and its glass arcade are setting up stalls to hawk quality crafts ranging from puppets to silver jewelry.

There are also fantastic thematic markets in a pair of satellite towns, each just 15 minutes away on the S-Bahn light rail system. The Esslingen Medieval Christmas Market includes fire-eaters and live medieval music as a backdrop to costumed craftsmen creating leather apparel, calligraphy, silver jewelry, baked goods, and hand-dyed clothing (

The Ludwigsburg Baroque Christmas Market consists of tidy stalls arranged overseen by massive sets of twinkling angel wings under the floodlit facades of the baroque main square (
The Stuttgart Christmas Market

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This article was by Reid Bramblett and last updated in October 2012.
All information was accurate at the time.

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Copyright © 1998–2013 by Reid Bramblett. Author: Reid Bramblett.