Christmas Markets are high on my list of favourite things, ranking somewhere between raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens, and well above brown paper packages, no matter how they’re wrapped. They’re common in Europe, less so in the US.
Christmas Markets are held out doors, usually in a central square, and stay open from morning through early evening, every day from in late November until Christmas Eve. Booths offer Christmas decorations, food, crafts, and seasonal drinks.
Vienna does it differently from most other cities. Instead of having one big Christmas Market, it seems to have dozens of smaller ones at sites throughout the city. Almost every museum, palace, and church I visited had an adjacent Christmas Market. One of the largest was outside the Rathaus, which is the town hall. My hotel was only a couple of blocks away, so I passed through it almost every day.
The above picture isn’t from a Vienna Christmas Market. It isn’t even from Vienna.
One drawback of having many small Markets instead of one big is that the food options are nowhere near as good as they are in other cities. Years after I visited the Christmas Market in Budapest, I can still almost taste the Rosemary Goose legs I had there one evening. I’ve been thinking about them the entire time I’ve been writing this, so here they are.