You don’t have to travel too far -- OK, just about 130 miles northeast -- to experience a taste of German culture. Philadelphia’s Christmas Village, located at Love Park (1500 Arch St.), offers those of us without frequent flyer miles the chance to browse through 50+ wooden booths selling traditional German foods, crafts and holiday gifts.
The village, modeled after traditional Christmas markets in Germany, features both local and German vendors at the park's outdoor market.
With vendors selling crafts ranging from hand-blown ornaments to jewelry to toys, you're sure to find that perfect gift or seasonal good. German vendors will be selling genuine Erzgebirge, nativity sets and pewter ornaments, among other items.
If you're craving strudel or other German speciality dishes, be sure to snack on Christmas sweets like lebkuchen (gingerbread) and spekulatius (traditional German spice cookies). If you're in need of a meal first, take your pick of bratwurst with sauerkraut, Gluhwine (mulled wine), soups, crepes and waffles.
Live performances (daily at 1, 5, and 5:45 p.m.) feature local choirs, bands and solo performers. Sundays are designated family days at the village, when kids can get their faces painted and enjoy the expertise of a resident balloon artist.
Christmas Village is open through Dec. 24 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sun.-Thurs. and from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Fri.-Sat.