Christmas is right around the corner, and nothing will get you in the "yowl-tide" mood more than visiting a festive market with your pooch. Streets on every continent transform into twinkling fairy tales plucked straight from the blueprints of Santa’s Village. The real Christmas miracle is that Fido is welcome at these pet-friendly markets. Try to visit during off-peak hours, keep your dog close and only bring your furry friend if he doesn’t mind being around other people and pups.
Posted by Billy Francis
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1. Christmas Village in Philadelphia
The moral of every Christmas story is that love always prevails during the holiday season. Perhaps that’s why Christmas Village in Philadelphia is held in Love Park, named for its re-creation of the famous Love sculpture by Robert Indiana. The festival organizers clearly adore pups. Fido will quickly discover a couple of vendors dedicated to pets offering a bounty of doggie Christmas treats and eats. The Village will also host Dog Fridays on December 6 and 20, which will include special canine photo shoots with Santa Claus and free treat samples.
Christmas Village in Philadelphia will be held from November 28 through December 24. The Hotel Palomar Philadelphia is just a few blocks away and welcomes pets of any size for no additional fee.
2. Tallinn Christmas Market
Tallinn, Estonia’s historic capital, is a seaside town with houses that look like they’re made from gingerbread. The cityscape makes the perfect backdrop for a yuletide marketplace. Tallinn Christmas Market, also known as Tallinna Jõuluturg, is held in the quaint town square, decorated with lights and often a white blanket of snow. The centerpiece is the huge tree in the middle. On this spot, a tree has stood every year since 1441. Explore the wooden cabins stocked with seasonal trinkets and traditional snacks before taking Fido to meet Santa Claus and his reindeer. When you’re full of holiday cheer, head to Šnelli Park, a popular spot for dog walkers. The pretty park contains a pond that was once a section of the ancient city moat.
Tallinn Christmas Market will take place from November 15 through January 7. Spend a few days in this historic city with a stay at the Hotel Telegraaf, where pets of any size are treated to luxurious 5-star accommodations in a gorgeous 19th-century building.
3. Christmas Wonderland
Singapore is one of Asia’s most sophisticated destinations. From its futuristic skyline to its expansive green spaces, the city is a vibrant and manicured jewel. This attention to detail and beauty is reflected in its annual pet-friendly Christmas Wonderland. Held at Gardens by the Bay, the already impressive SuperTree Grove becomes a glittering forest for the market. Don’t let Fido cock a leg at these unbelievable artificial trees covered in living vegetation. Christmas Wonderland contains a blizzard area, a mirror maze, a snowman swing and popular festive stalls. Most locals are bilingual, which is perfect for English-speaking travelers with pets to barter their way to some holiday bargains for Fido. You’d need days to take every Insta-worthy pic around one of the most popular markets for dogs on our list. Start with a slobbery pup kiss at Mistletoe Alley!
Christmas Wonderland will be held from November 30 to December 26. For a nearby pet-friendly hotel, look no further than the 5-star Oakwood Premier OUE Singapore.
4. Christkindelsmärik Strasbourg
The most widely adopted Christmas tradition is tree decorating. This fun task was first thought to have taken place in Strasbourg in 1605, when locals began adorning fir trees with apples. More than four centuries later, Strasbourg is the self-proclaimed capital of Christmas. The annual Christkindelsmärik Strasbourg is home to 300 different stalls and vendors where any last-minute Christmas purchases can be made. More than 2 million visitors attend the festivities every year, so leave skittish pups at home.
Christkindelsmärik Strasbourg will be held from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., from November 22 through December 30. The market is closed on Christmas Day, and only certain stalls are open from December 26 to 30. Treat your pup to a stay in a traditional Strasbourg property at the pet-friendly Hotel Rohan. The central location makes it an ideal base for two- and four-legged tourists.
5. Winter Wonders and Christmas Market
Hop on the pet-friendly metro and visit Winter Wonders and Christmas Market for your annual dose of glad tidings in Brussels this winter. The big white Ferris wheel dominates the sky, reminiscent of a snowflake shimmering under the lights. Watch the revelers try to stay on their feet on the ice rink, sample the mulled wine and see if you can unearth any treasures in the stalls with your pooch by your side. To get away from the crowds, visit Bois de la Cambre. From here, you and your pup can take a boat ride to the pet-friendly restaurant and cocktail bar, Chalet Robinson, where you can enjoy Belgian cuisine overlooking the lake.
Winter Wonders and Christmas Market will be held from November 29 to January 5. All that Christmas fun can be tiring, but your search for a pet-friendly hotel in Brussels doesn’t have to be. Just a 10-minute walk from Parc Royal, a nice place for a quick stroll with the dog, lies the centrally located NH Hotel Du Grand Sablon.
6. Birmingham’s Frankfurt Christmas Market
England’s second city is the setting for one of Britain’s best-loved markets. Twinned with Germany’s Frankfurt, the city borrows a bounty of German traditions for Birmingham’s Frankfurt Christmas Market, the largest authentic German Christmas market outside of Germany or Austria. Pretzels, schnitzels, bratwursts and roasted almonds are on the food menu, and Fido will drool when he sees the giant Frankfurter sausages being served.
Birmingham’s Frankfurt Christmas Market will be open from November 7 through December 23. Book a room at the Britannia Hotel, located just minutes from the market and New Street Train Station.
7. Toronto Christmas Market
The distillery district in Toronto once housed a large whiskey distillery. Nowadays, the buildings contain a number of hip bars, boutiques and restaurants. The cobbled streets surrounding the Victorian-era buildings become the canvas for a real-life Advent calendar during the Toronto Christmas Market. Bring your merry mutt along to shop for carefully crafted tree decorations, interesting knickknacks and delicious traditional food.
Toronto Christmas Market will be held from November 14 to December 22. Begin your Christmas escapade by checking in at the elegant and pet-friendly Omni King Edward Hotel, located close to the market and two blocks from a park.
8. Ulmer Weihnachtsmarkt
Bigger isn’t always better, as your Chihuahua will tell you. Ulmer Weihnachtsmarkt is located in a small medieval city in Germany and is full of charm and tradition. Located in the central square, the Christmas market takes place next to Ulm Munster, the tallest church in the world. Model train enthusiasts can marvel at the miniature locomotives making their way around the snowy track. If your pooch is well-behaved, you can take her to look at the nativity set with real-life animals. Ulm is a quiet market, which makes it the destination of choice for dogs who don’t like crowds.
Ulmer Weihnachtsmarkt will be held from November 25 through December 22. If you want to stay close to the market during your visit, reserve a room at the centrally located and pet-friendly Ulmer Munster Hotel.
9. Budapest Christmas Fair and Winter Festival
Quaint and colorful, the Budapest Christmas Fair and Winter Festival is worth the trip to Hungary’s capital. The traditional market has been held since 1998 and welcomes more than 800,000 revelers to soak in the sparkling lights and joyful atmosphere. What sets it apart from most markets is the care and attention that goes into the wares on offer. Handmade items are delicately prepared and selected for display on the shelves of the vendors’ stalls.
Budapest Christmas Fair and Winter Festival will be held from November 9 through January 1. There are many grand pet-friendly hotels in Budapest but few are as celebrated as the Nouveau-style Danubius Hotel Gellert, which has hosted U.S. presidents and European royalty.
10. Christkindlmarket Chicago
Dogs are welcome in the outdoor areas of Christkindlmarket Chicago, where they can join the million tourists who visit Chi-town for the festivities every year. Inspired by the 16th-century Christkindlesmarkt in Nuremberg, Germany, Chicago's version is known for the vendors’ high-quality gifts and food. Fill your stocking with Christmas cheer, commemorative Chicagoan baubles and scrumptious snacks. Unfortunately, Fido will have to miss out on the inside areas, such as the warming tent, Timber House and walk-in booths.
Christkindlmarket Chicago will be held from November 15 through December 24. Spend the night just down the street at Staypineapple, An Iconic Hotel, The Loop. Before heading to the market, stand on the viewing hill and watch your pup play at the nearby Mary Bartelme Dog Park.
11. Poznan Bethlehem
Poznan Bethlehem welcomes one and all for festive fun. Located in the historic city center's Old Market Square, this market feels like a trip back in time. When the town hall clock strikes noon, the city’s most famous four-legged residents, two small mechanical billy goats, butt their heads together high in the tower. In the square below, stalls sell traditional craft items, delicious delicacies and warm mulled wine to the crowds. The best time to visit is during the International Ice Sculpture Festival, December 8-9. Using chainsaws and tools, contestants from around the world turn giant blocks of ice into stunning works of art.
The Christmas Market in Poznan will be held November 16 through December 22. Due to Polish law, dog owners must keep their pets leashed and have a muzzle on hand for walking through big crowds. There’s so much to see and do in this historic town full of Renaissance-style buildings, you’ll want to reserve a room nearby. The Sheraton Poznan Hotel is pet friendly and right in the heart of the city.
12. Les Lumières de Noël
Staggering illuminations dominate the night sky at Les Lumières de Noël in Montbéliard. The whole town becomes a canvas for delightful holiday displays. If a bright red Santa Claus isn’t enough for you, you can always say hello to the real one, who attends the festivities every year. And keep an eye out for the street performers entertaining the crowds on stilts. Don’t forget to walk the side streets with your pooch to discover every single hidden gem.
Les Lumières de Noël will be held from November 23 to December 24. This is the busiest time of year for local hotels. How about a stay in a caravan or a tiny home instead? Check out these nearby pet-friendly VRBO rentals.