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Visit the Church of Sweden’s NYC Christmas Market (Julshop)

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I have so many fond memories of Christmas markets in Europe– I’ve been to many in Germany, Austria, Hungary, France and England, among others. But one of the most magical experiences was strolling the Christmas markets of Stockholm, Sweden.

Church of Sweden 5 East 48th NYC building
The elegant exterior of the Church of Sweden at 5 East 48th Street.

So imagine my delight when I learned there is a small but very authentic Swedish Christmas market right here in New York City.

Church of Sweden in NYC: Follow the Stairs to the Basement Cafe for Swedish Snacks and Shopping

Conveniently located in the heart of midtown (just a block away from the Rockefeller Christmas Tree), the Church of Sweden Cafe has truly been a hidden gem that few tourists or even locals are aware of. I only learned of it myself after seeing some social media posts raving about their homemade cinnamon buns.

Kristin eating a cinnamon roll at the Church of Sweden basement cafe
Feeling cozy and enjoying my cinnamon roll.

Luckily, my first visit to the cafe coincided with the cafe’s annual Christmas market shop (in Swedish called the julshop). While the cafe sells Swedish candy and other goods year round, the holiday market this year is limited to December 24. However, the cafe shop sells Swedish goods, favorite treats, books and candy year round.

You might feel a little apprehensive about visiting a cafe in a fully operational church– afterall, you don’t want to accidentally walk into a service. Fortunately, it’s pretty much impossible to do that and signage is very clear. When you open the front door of the church, it leads to a small hallway with a sign indicating the cafe is right down the stairs in the basement (watch my video for a virtual walk through).

Church of Sweden Christmas Market Shop Julshop Basement Cafe

When we entered the cafe (a weekday around noon) it wasn’t very busy, mostly local Swedes who are presumably affiliated with the church. Everyone was as nice as can be. The cafe is toasty warm and inviting with the string lights and holiday decor.

Snacks at the Church of Sweden Cafe: Cinnamon Rolls and More

Step up to the window to place your order. The menu is small, with a few Swedish style open face sandwiches, cardamon rolls and cinnamon rolls. Fresh coffee is also available. The menu is on the side with prices and is extremely reasonable, especially considering the heart of midtown location. Well composed sandwiches run about $12, and cinnamon rolls are $4 (and are also available to take home by the bag).

church sweden julshop nyc cinnamon roll

I loved the cinnamon roll, it was moist and crisp, but not overly sweet. I’ve had cinnamon rolls in Sweden before, so I knew what to expect and prefer the Swedish style over say, a mall Cinnabon. But take note if you haven’t tried them before– this is nothing like those gooey, frosted Cinnabons (there is no icing at all).

Swedish sandwich nyc church sweden cafe

My friend had the open face smoked salmon and loved it.

Shop the Swedish Christmas Gifts, Candy and Food Selections

Having hit several Christmas markets in Sweden, I can confirm that the market goods for sale here are pretty much identical to what I saw in Stockholm. The prices are pretty similar from what I remember (there is no huge markup) with many items under $15 or $10.

You’ll find beautifully crafted wool elves, bread boards with wooden knives, straw decorations and more. There is not a single item made of plastic.

church sweden julshop christmas market gifts

I even spied a an identical reindeer bracelet from the arctic circle that I brought home as a souvenir– though these had a higher markup. T

Food items at the Church of Sweden

As you might know if you follow my blog, I am obsessed with foreign supermarkets and try to write up a post on each country I visit for fun things to bring home as souvenir. The food selection here was basically a “best of” Swedish supermarkets.

Glogg for sale NYC Church of Sweden Christmas Market Julshop
Glogg for sale NYC Church of Sweden Christmas Market Shop Julshop

I’m unsure if after the holiday the marketplace and non-holiday items will remain, but I will certainly check back.

Church of Sweden Basement Cafe NYC Sweets Daim
My favorite candy bar I had in Sweden is available here– Daim.
swedish cinnamon rolls nyc

History of the Swedish Church

If you are curious like I was why there was such a well established Swedish church right in the heart of midtown, I did a bit of research and learned that between the years 1820 – 1900, there were 1.4 million immigrants from Sweden to America, many stopped (or stayed) in New York City en route to other destinations.

Where: Basement Cafe in the Church of Sweden, 5 East 48th Street (between 5th and Madison).

When: The cafe is open when the church is open, Wednesday to Sunday from 12 to 4 pm.

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