With holidays just around the corner, I have been to several Weihnachtsmärkte, or Christmas markets. My favorite, and one of the most popular, is at Alexanderplatz, one of the city centers. At a Weihnachtsmarkt you can expect lots of stands selling food, knick-knacks, and winter clothing such as hand-knitted hats, scarves, or gloves.
All sorts of authentic German food is sold, such as Bratwurst and Currywurst, Raclette, and chocolate. Sugar cookie hearts are sold with phrases such as "ich liebe dich" (I love you) written in icing - they are a great snack to buy for a friend when wandering throughout the market together. There is also often Wurst (sausage) and Käse (cheese) stands, offering a great selection of fresh German food. Glühwein is also a typical German winter drink, and there are several stands in any one market selling it. As for knick-knacks, they make terrific gifts, whether it be for Christmas or a different occasion. Common are stands with pottery, small glass figurines, or snow globes. Warm wool socks and mittens are sold too, handmade by the sellers. I myself have bought a pair of wool socks, and they are so warm and cozy! Sometimes there are also stands selling fur pelts, either as clothing, rugs, or just small pieces of hide.
At the bigger Weihnachtsmärkte, such as at Alexanderplatz, a ferris wheel can be ridden for only a few euros, with an unbelievable view of Berlin. However, be sure to dress warmly, as at the top it gets quite windy!
I have been to Weihnachtsmärkte all over Berlin, mostly with friends, but also with my host family. In Schöneberg, where I live, I went to a smaller market in a park with live jazz music and places to roast Stockbrot, which is bread twisted onto a wooden stick that is then heated over a fire. I have also been to the Weihnachtsmarkt on Friedrichstraße, another city center. With lights hanging all around the stands, beautifully decorated Christmas trees, and the perfect amount of cold, my friend and I were definitely in the holiday spirit . The one I've been to the most, with a ferris wheel and right next to a five floor shopping mall, is the Alexanderplatz Weihnachtsmarkt. Ithas it all! I have gone with my friends several times, just to wander around and have the scent of delicious roasted almonds in the air.
A huge part of Berlin/German culture is going to one of the dozens of Weihnachtsmärkte, eating a Bratwurst, and spending time with family or friends. Although cold out, it is so much fun to sit on a bench with my friends at a market and really get to talk to one another, as well as to see Berliners and foreigners alike walking around enjoying the market.