NYC Living

Guide to NYC's Best Holiday Markets

The holiday market at Columbus Circle. Source: Charley Lhasa via Flickr Creative Commons)
The holiday market at Columbus Circle. (Source: Charley Lhasa via Flickr Creative Commons)

If you are looking for original, locally-produced holiday gifts this season, skip the chains and department stores and head to one of New York City’s excellent holiday markets. Packed with handmade items from local artisans, these markets also often offer warm cider, hot chestnuts, and plenty of holiday cheer to go around. Make this year’s shopping experience festive and fun!

Union Square Holiday Market: The biggest market of them all, Union Square hosts about 150 red-and white striped stalls selling everything from gourmet pantry items to handmade jewelry and home goods. Bundle up against the cold and prepare to take your time wandering through the holly-lined aisles. It’s often crowded; try to go at off-peak hours. Until Thursday, Dec. 24. Weekdays 11-8, Saturday 10-8, Sunday 11-7.

Columbus Circle Holiday Market: Run by the same people behind Union Square Holiday market, Columbus Circle is slightly smaller but just as festive – plus it’s located in one of the most beautiful winter spots in New York City. Until Thursday, Dec. 24. Monday-Saturday 10-8, Sunday 10-7.

Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park: Bryant Park offers over 120 boutique stalls in a European-inspired open air market. Featuring artisans from around the world, local food vendors, and the piece de resistance – a 17,000 square foot ice skating rink at Bryant Park. It’s free to the public – just bring your own skates! Through Jan. 3. Monday-Friday 11-8, Saturday 10-9, Sunday 10-6.

Festive laterns at the Union Square Holiday Market. Source feministjulie via Flickr Creative Commons.
Festive laterns at the Union Square Holiday Market. (Source feministjulie via Flickr Creative Commons)

Grand Central Holiday Fair: If you prefer to do your holiday shopping inside and preferably close to convenient transportation, look no further than the Grand Central Holiday Fair. It offers an eclectic mix of art, clothing, handbags, jewelry, collectible toys, home goods and bath & body items. Stop at the Oyster Bar for lunch afterwards. Open through Dec. 24. Monday-Friday 10-8, Saturday 10-7, Sunday 11-7.

Artists and Fleas: This permanent flea market is located in Chelsea Market and also at 70 North 7th Street in Williamsburg. Offering the best in independent Brooklyn artisans: great art, design, fashion, and vintage goods. Through Dec. 31. Chelsea: Monday-Saturday 10-9, Sunday 10-8. Williamsburg: Saturday-Sunday 10-7

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Winter Flea and Smorgasburg at Industry City: The Brooklyn Flea and Smorgasburg has officially moved to a new cavernous space in Industry City and over 100 vendors sell furniture, housewares, vintage clothing, antiques, jewelry and arts & crafts. Not to mention the 40 Smorgasburg vendors selling local food and holiday treats. Pets not allowed. Open every Saturday and Sunday from 10-6.

A bagel Christmas tree ornament. Found at the Union Square Holiday Market. Source: Rebecca Bowlitt via Flickr Creative Commons)
A bagel Christmas tree ornament. Found at the Union Square Holiday Market. (Source: Rebecca Bollwitt via Flickr Creative Commons)

Roberta’s Holiday Market: Brooklyn’s coolest pizzeria hosts its very own holiday market this coming weekend. Smaller and more intimate than the more well-known holiday markets, Roberta’s features truly local artists – many from the surrounding streets of Bushwick. Expect funky jewelry, artisan home goods and some of the best pizza around. 261 Moore Street, Brooklyn. Dec. 11-13. Friday 6-10, Saturday 12-9, Sunday 12-7.

Fort Greene Holiday Market: Also this coming weekend, a carefully curated selection of beautiful holiday gifts in the Arts and Letters Building on Clermont Avenue in Fort Greene. Register to have professional holiday photos taken of you and your family! Dec. 12, 11-5.

Astoria Holiday Market at Bohemian Hall: Based in the main hall of the famous Bohemian Hall and Beer Garden, this holiday market is filled with handmade, baked and vintage goods from New York-centric artisans. It’s worth the trek to Queens. Sundays 12-6 until Christmas.

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Phoebe Pickering

Phoebe Pickering is a freelance writer and editor, natural born traveler and consummate New Yorker. A graduate of Tufts University, Phoebe has extensive experience in publishing, having worked as an assistant editor at Blue Rider Press, an imprint of Penguin, and as a literary assistant at Don Congdon Associates, a literary agency in NYC. She currently works at Furthermore, a private fund that awards publishing grants to non-fiction books about history, the arts and the environment. Phoebe has lived all over the world, but her heart will always remain in Williamsburg.