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CONSTITUTION ROCKS GLASS new-york historical society
Photograph: Courtesy New-York Historical Society

10 perfect gifts from NYC museums

NYC's museums have some of the most unique and thoughtful gifts. These are our picks for 2020.

By Shaye Weaver
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New York City's museums are full of incredible art, collections and artifacts, but they're also full of beautiful, unique and thoughtful gifts. 

With the holiday season in full swing, finding the perfect gift for friends and families is of the utmost importance, especially in a year that's been so hard for everyone. Museums have also had it rough after being forced to shutter for months on end. We can support them now by finding our gifts at The Met Museum, the New-York Historical Society, the Museum of the City of New York and more. Below are 10 amazing museum gifts to consider.

RECOMMENDED: Holiday gift guide 2020

10 amazing gifts from NYC's museums

Floral impression face masks The Met Museum
Floral impression face masks The Met Museum
Photograph: Courtesy The Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Met's Floral Impressions Face Mask Set

You used to not be able to purchase face masks from The Met Store, but 2020 has brought many firsts. It's no surprise that the city's iconic Met Museum produces beautiful masks. This two-pack places art on your face—Monet's "Water Lilies" (1916–19) and Van Gogh's "Bouquet of Flowers in a Vase" (1890). They're 100% polyester, machine washable and contain an interior pocket where you can place an insert. $25.

Betye Saar journal Morgan Library & Museum
Betye Saar journal Morgan Library & Museum
Photograph: Courtesy Morgan Library & Museum

The Morgan Library & Museum's Betye Saar spiral journal

While the Morgan Library & Museum has very special items ranging from, books to tea inspired by Pierpont Morgan's favorite brew, this gift is based on its exhibition on African American artist Betye Saar. This spiral-bound journal is based on one of the artist's actual journals and features a beautiful collage and watercolor image. It has 100 blank pages ready to be filled with everything in your imagination. $17.95

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Milton Glaser Catskills poster Poster House
Milton Glaser Catskills poster Poster House
Photograph: Courtesy Poster House

Poster House's Milton Glaser Catskills poster

For the more visual creatives in your life, or for the ones who just love the Catskills, this Milton Glaser poster is a great find. It's one of the most popular iterations of Milton Glaser's "I Love NY" Catskills designs, produced for the New York Board of Tourism...and who could argue with that? There's a literal cat peeking out between the mountains. Plus, whoever receives this poster will have a piece of contemporary art history hanging on their wall—Glaser created many beloved posters, such as his psychedelic Bob Dylan image. His most iconic contribution may be the 'I love New York' logo, with the red heart replacing the word love. $200

AMNH weekender bag
AMNH weekender bag
Photograph: Courtesy American Museum of Natural History

AMNH's Vintage Logo Weekender Bag

A classic and super cool gift for someone who loves AMNH is a weekender bag with a vintage intertwined logo on it, celebrating the 150th Anniversary of its founding. It's got a roomy design and a fully-lined interior with brass finish hardware and a removable adjustable shoulder strap. $129.99 If you're looking for something a little more affordable but still classic, look no further than a sweatshirt with the vintage art deco logo for $69.99.

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Jewish Museum Rainbow Tic Tac Toe Menorah
Jewish Museum Rainbow Tic Tac Toe Menorah
Photograph: Courtesy The Jewish Museum

The Jewish Museum's Rainbow Tic Tac Toe Menorah

This fun Tic Tac Toe Menorah by Laura Cowan is a super unique and chic way to light your candles this year ($95). The Trace Menorah by Via Maris is a steel menorah that reinterprets a classic form through the use of industrial materials and process ($155). For something artsier, the chic Shana Menorah by Style Union Home is a sculpture, a candle holder, and a ceremonial heirloom in one object ($245). Not looking for a pretty menorah? JM has so many gorgeous items for the — check out the Moon Phases Challah Cover. This elegant cloth features the phases of the moon by Shari Rogoff Moraga of Leo's Dry Goods. ($124).

Tenement Museum Fire Escape Ornament
Tenement Museum Fire Escape Ornament
Photograph: Courtesy Tenement Museum

Tenement Museum' Fire Escape Ornament

This delicate ornament pays homage to the New York City fire escape—just as they connected generations of immigrant families who settled on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, the fire escape gives many an opportunity to connect with each other and the world amid a pandemic, whether it’s just a chance to get some fresh air or to clap for our essential workers at 7PM, the museum says. $19.99

There is a 25% discount on all merchandise with code SNOW as well as a special 50% off “corporate gift rate” for purchases of 20 or more on this specific item.

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tiny NYC ornaments MCNY
tiny NYC ornaments MCNY
Photograph: Courtesy Museum of the City of New York

Museum of the City of New York's Tiny Junk Food Ornaments

Classic NYC icons—Lady Liberty, the Greek coffee cup, the pigeon—are represented in these sweet tree ornaments. Get even kitschier with a set of similar food ornaments ($6.95). MCNY is also selling its Activist New York book, which puts the museum’s newest collection in the palm of people’s hands—a great resource for those activists in our lives. $40.

 Moonlight moment puzzle
 Moonlight moment puzzle
Photograph: Courtesy New York City Transit Museum

Transit Museum's Moonlight Moment puzzle

This was the year of puzzles. This glamorous 1,000-piece puzzle by Jasu Hu features travelers moving through the city as they commute toward their destinations. Hu captures a glimpse of energy as people travel with the moonlight. $19.95

More NYC gifts

RGB t-shirt
Photograph: Elle Street Art

The best NYC-themed gifts for the holidays

Shopping

If you want to know what to buy a New Yorker, our NYC gifts for the holidays are a good place to fill out your list. Of course, the ultimate gift would be an in-unit washing machine and dryer (a New Yorker can dream!), but that's a pipe dream. Sure, an envelope comprising a gift card for them to blow at either one of the best restaurants in town or on a pair of tickets to see one of the hottest shows on Broadway would slay this holiday, but our NYC-themed suggestions are a bit more creative than that. Anyway, here’s our NYC shopping list including items that show off some of the best New York attractions.

RECOMMENDED: The full holiday gift guide

Illustrations by John Devolle

The best gifts for New Yorkers this holiday season

Shopping

Holiday shopping in NYC can be downright enjoyable (see: Holiday markets) and sometimes overwhelming (see: department stores). But once Thanksgiving dinner is over, it's time to start checking off your holiday shopping list. You may have already scored presents for your mom, your significant other and your kid sister. But what about these out-of-the-ordinary but just-as-indispensable NYC giftees in your life? In the spirit of giving, gift these important but often overlooked New Yorkers a present they will surely appreciate this holiday.

RECOMMENDED: The full holiday gift guide 2020

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Classic harbor line Holiday Cocoa Cruises
Photograph: Courtesy Classic Harbor Line

Epic experience gifts in NYC for adventurous people

Shopping

When themed socks and evergreen-scented candles just aren't cutting it for gifts this holiday season, an experience you can only have in New York City is key to a memorable gift exchange. Giving an experience is more personalized and fulfilling and caters to your loved ones' interests. Book a tour that offer behind-the-scenes access to the top New York attractions for your history buff dad or snag tickets to the new Fotografiska museum for your art-loving bestie. Better yet: join them and share the experience together! And if you really can't resist wrapping something up, you can always pick up a few stocking stuffers.

RECOMMENDED: See the full holiday gift guide 2020

Photo: Courtesy of Cinephile LLC

16 killer gifts for movie lovers

Movies

In the wake of Covid-19, it’d be a gamble to take your sweetie to the best movies out right now this holiday season. Besides, as of November, only a few select theaters outside of the city are operating at 25 percent capacity. And since Dune has been delayed until next year, don’t risk it. Instead, consult our handy guide of gifts for movie lovers and create the perfect home theater experience for the little Kubrick in your life this Christmas in New York. Then you can fire up one of the best holiday movies in peace, knowing that you’ve got the final cut and all your cinephile’s film needs are met.

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Gifts for Music Lovers
Photograph: Shutterstock

Unique music gifts for the music lover in your life

Music

Regardless of the season, New York offers endless gifts for music lovers: While we can't snag tickets to great NYC concerts right now, the city boasts the best music stores and best record stores to keep any audiophile toe-tapping. Around the holidays, sorting through gift options for the music aficionado on your list can be a pretty daunting task. Fortunately, we've saved you some time by collecting our favorite music-related present ideas—from the best portable-speaker bargains to the coolest new box sets.

RECOMMENDED: The full holiday gift guide 2020

store interior
Photograph: courtesy Porter James/ Adaptations NYC

Where to buy NYC gifts for the holidays

Shopping

Searching for Christmas gift ideas for someone who’s one of a kind? Luckily, so are the NYC gifts from New York’s brick-and-mortar shops. Before you start pinning through your BFF’s Amazon wish list, take a moment to sift through the unique gifts that can be found at the best places to go shopping in NYC. To get you started, we’ve curated a list of home decor stores with stunning antiques, the best bookstores with cute-as-hell merchandise, and more only-in-New-York gift shops with extraordinary presents.  

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Tiffany & Co. holiday windows 2013
Photograph: Courtesy Jessica Lin

The best places for Christmas shopping in NYC

Shopping

Whether you get your Christmas shopping done in October or you’re a Christmas Eve procrastinator, we know exactly where you should go in NYC. From major department stores and big-name brands to specialty shops and home goods stores, here are the best places for purchasing holiday gifts. Check off everything on your shopping list with ease, then buy yourself a gift—you deserve it.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to Christmas in NYC

Bryant Park winter village
Photograph: Angelito Jusay

The best holiday markets open in NYC this year

Shopping

Shopping for holiday gifts for your clan can be stressful, so you might as well enjoy yourself while hiking up that credit card balance. And you will, as long as you nab presents from vendors at the best holiday markets in NYC. While fancy Christmas window displays may entice you, these winter bazaars offer many perks such as free-admission ice-skating, mouthwatering treats for purchase, supporting local small businesses this year and more in addition to one-of-a-kind gifts for your loved ones.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to Christmas in New York

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