Best holiday markets

Take note, procrastinators: It's not too late to give inspired gifts. Shop the unusual indie wares found at these seasonal bazaars.

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  • Photograph: Fumihiko Sugino for Artists & Fleas

    Artists & Fleas

  • Photograph: Virginia Rollison

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    Astoria Market

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  • Photograph: Andrew Fladeboe

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    The Holiday Gift Shops at St. Bartholomew's

  • Photograph: Andrew Fladeboe

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    The Holiday Shops at Bryant Park

  • Photograph: Alexandra Strada

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    Union Square Holiday Market

Photograph: Fumihiko Sugino for Artists & Fleas

Artists & Fleas

Artists & Fleas Brooklyn Holiday Bazaar
Founders Amy Abrams and Ronen Glimer will again curate a special holiday-themed bazaar, only three blocks away from Artists & Fleas' original spot. Expect to find trendy and noncommercial holiday-themed gifts vetted by the husband-and-wife team, who ensure that every item is locally made and well crafted. Your accessory-obsessed bestie will flip for hats and gloves by Dusty Rose Vintage ($20--$100). Dates and location TBA; call 917-301-5765 or visit artistsandfleas.com for more information.

Astoria Market
The main hall at this popular Queens haunt transforms into an NYC-centric artisan market that's chock-full of handmade and vintage merchandise. Up to 40 vendors rotate in and out for each event, selling unique gifts you likely won't find anywhere else. Check out local artist Bridy Crawford's print of the Hell Gate Bridge, hand-painted on messenger bags ($65), and M Voli E hand-crocheted bags ($120--$160) and jewelry ($20--$70). After you've checked off every recipient on your list, head downstairs to Bohemian Hall's restaurant for traditional Czech dishes, like the award-winning, slow-roasted beef in vegetable gravy ($14) or homestyle pork topped with sauerkraut and a dollop of sour cream ($14). 29-19 24th Ave between 29th and 31st Sts, Astoria, Queens (astoriamarket.com). Nov 6, 20, Dec 11, 18 noon--6pm. Through Fri 24.

Columbus Circle Holiday Market
Though this market is very similar to Union Square's in feel and decor (Urban Space produces both of the outdoor bazaars, in addition to Brooklyn's DeKalb Market), the Columbus Circle fair, located at the southwest entrance of Central Park, stands out as a foodie headquarters. Last year, local eateries like Pies & Thighs and Fatty Crab offered snacks; this year's vendors have yet to be announced, but we're guessing more delicious eats will be available. You'll also find unique, handmade items from local artisans. Columbus Circle, W 59th St at Central Park West (212-529-9262, urbanspacenyc.com). Daily 10am--8pm. Nov 30--Dec 24.

Grand Central Holiday Gift Fair
At first glance, this bazaar—held in Grand Central Terminal's elegant Vanderbilt Hall, which boasts 48-foot-high ceilings, gorgeous marble floors and glittering chandeliers—might appear to be a hotbed for overpriced goods. But despite the swank setting, there are tons of options for every budget, and although up to 1 million people pass through this terminal every day, it doesn't feel like an overstuffed mall on Black Friday. 42nd St between Vanderbilt and Lexington Aves (212-340-2345, grandcentralterminal.com). Mon--Sat 10am--8pm, Sun 11am--7pm. Nov 23: 10am--8pm. Dec 24: 10am--6pm. Closed Thanksgiving Day. Nov 14--Dec 24.

The Holiday Gift Shops at St. Bartholomew's
Considering that this outdoor market is attached to a church, you'd expect it to be brimming with granny-appropriate religious paraphernalia. Yes, there are a few Nativity sets on the scene, but you'll be pleasantly surprised to find that the 30 or so vendors at this small bazaar have a pretty diverse selection, selling everything from wooden wine-bottle holders painted with Australian aboriginal art ($30) to Alabaman designer Tom Sharp's graphic tees ($20) and neon-hued Lucite earrings ($15). This year, additional markets will be open at South Street Seaport (daily 10am--9pm; Nov 14--Dec 31) and Times Square (daily 10am--10pm; Nov 10--Dec 31); visit the website for locations and more information. 325 Park Ave at 50th St (212-809-5200, nycstreetfairs.com). Daily 8am--8pm. Nov 14--Dec 24.

The Holiday Shops at Bryant Park
More than 125 vendors set up shop in Bryant Park each holiday season, as part of this 10-year-old European-inspired market. Vendors sell their wares out of glass-encased kiosks, resembling an upscale outdoor minimall: If you're looking for the ultimate in artisan one-stop shopping, this is the place to be. Everything from clothes and accessories to food and home decor is up for grabs, so you might want to carve out an hour or two to peruse the jam-packed offerings at the nearly ten-acre park. look for Metal Park's futuristic sculptures made from recycled materials, and original etchings and photography by Brooklyn collective the Walking Art. After you're done inflicting serious damage on your bank account, unwind with a twirl around the free-admission skating rink (skate rental $14), or get a great view of the park as you dine on steamed dumplings ($8) and slow-baked homestyle chicken potpie ($16) at the two-story, glass-enclosed restaurant Celsius. Bryant Park, 42nd St between Fifth and Sixth Aves (212-661-6640, theholidayshopsatbryantpark.com). Mon--Fri 11am--8pm, Sat 10am--9pm, Sun 10am--6pm; free. Through Jan 8.

Union Square Holiday Market
This mazelike market boasts more than 100 merchants, selling a wide variety of snacks, accessories, clothing and novelties under red-and-white--striped tents that are dripping with festive garlands and decorative bows. Along with the large selection of sweets—everything from Momofuku's Crack Pie ($5 per slice) to Stuffed Artisan Cannoli's signature treats (three for $5)—we came across something we had to get our mitts on every time we turned our heads. Guys will appreciate Brooklyn Brewery's beer-making kits ($40). For the ladies on your list, scoop up Ava Love burnout tees screen-printed with a dreamcatcher ($40), and Astrid Schumacher studded suede wristlet bags ($25). Frazzled shoppers will want to take advantage of the Market Concierge, who will answer any questions you may have about vendors at the fair, and even offer recommendations for nearby restaurants and shops. Union Square, 14th St at Union Sq West (212-529-9262, urbanspacenyc.com). Mon--Fri 11am--8pm, Sat 10am--8pm, Sun 11am--7pm. Nov 18--Dec 24.

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