If the thought of gift shopping at crowded department stores with their fancy holiday windows makes you shudder, spend your dollars a holiday market. NYC’s best gift shopping spots have everything from ice-skating and festive eats to one-of-a-kind Christmas presents. Stay through dinner as you snack on grub from the city’s best food trucks, and make sure not to miss the tree lightings. Here are the top holiday markets of the season.
RECOMMENDED: Full guide to Christmas in New York
Best holiday markets in NYC
Not only is there free ice skating on Bryant Park’s 17,000-square-foot outdoor rink (bring your own skates!) but also more than 150 holiday shops, including a bunch of new kiosks and eateries. And after you shop and skate, warm up at spacious rink-side restaurant Public Fare. FYI: The vendors are only there until January 2, but if you want to practice your lutzes and axels with ample spinning room, try visiting during off-peak hours (open through March 4). Oct 28–Jan 2.
If there’s one alfresco shopping event worth braving the cold for, it’s this one. This European-style winter market boasts more than 150 local and national vendors hawking an impressive selection of handcrafted gifts, ranging from jewelry and accessories to leather goods and artwork. Check out the brew-your-own beer kits from the Brooklyn Brew Shop; handmade, monogrammed stuffed animals from Hazel Village; and wooden puzzles and board games from Kubiya Games. And with food vendors like Momofuku Milk Bar, Bar Suzette, Wafels & Dinges and No Chewing Allowed!, you could easily spend a whole day here. Nov 16–Dec 24.
It’s hard to imagine a more perfect excursion than going to a Christmas market in Grand Central. Gawk at the swirls of constellations on the roof inside, then check out the towering, bejeweled tree to get a new meaning of bright lights, big city. Oh, and don’t forget to pick up goods to throw the best Christmas party ever. Nov 13–Dec 24.
This retailer’s two borough run (Manhattan and Brooklny) allows any impatient DIYers to grab creative handmade presents from more than 50 talented fashion, beauty and lifestyle crafters for everyone on your list or, hell, yourself. Manhattan: Dec 8–10, at the corner of Broadway and Great Jones St from 11am to 8pm. Brooklyn: Dec 16–17, at the Brooklyn Historical Society, 11am to 6pm.
Winter Flea + Holiday Market
Guess what? The market gurus of Brooklyn Flea moved from their newish location in Soho back to their home borough after Thanksgiving. In its Industry City digs, NYC’s best-known flea market features 50 vendors hawking handmade candles that smell like Christmas, knitted scarves and hats and, of course, a fine selection of vintage duds. Stay for the 10 mouthwatering Smorgasburg spots on-site, as well as a bar boasting brews, vino and cocktails.241 37th St, Brooklyn (brooklynflea.com). Sat 25–Mar: Sat, Sun 10am–6pm.
FAD Market: Holiday Edition
This is a market you go to for the foodie in your life. Although this fashion, art and design fair has treats for all kinds of folks, those shopping for gourmands should check out the market during its final run at the Invisible Dog Art Center (Dec 16 and 17). A selection of artisanal bites such as charcuterie, chocolates and fancy finishing salts will tempt you, as will expertly designed kitchen products like chopping blocks, textiles and cheese boards. Feeling peckish? Grab bites from Katz’s Deli, Pierogi Boys and more at DeKalb Market Hall, where the market’s last weekend takes place. Various locations (fadmarket.co). Sat 2, Sun 3, Dec 9, 10, 16, 17 11am–7pm.
In a city dominated by holiday markets, leave the tastemakers of BUST magazine to curate one of the best craft fairs of the season, with DIY gifts and custom cocktails, plus classes and workshops like “Divine Dating with Tarot Society” and “Introduction to Belly Dancing.”
This annual holiday bazaar, run by the people behind the Union Square farmers’ market, features handmade items from local artisans and snacks from vendors such as Hill Country Barbecue and La Sonrisa Empanadas. Look for the market concierge to help you navigate your way through the approximately 100 booths. Nov 28–Dec 24.
On three Sundays before Christmas, Queens’ classic Bohemian Hall beer garden transforms into an NYC-centric artisan market chock-full of handmade and vintage merchandise. Past standout vendors include jewelry from Lady M Designs and delicious gluten-free baked goods. Eggnog, hot cider and roasted chestnuts are available for the peckish, too. Dec 3, 10, 17.
New Yorkers should get psyched for the mother lode of holiday craft fairs—Renegade Craft Fair—as it enters Manhattan on November 18 and 19. Only the most serious artists, tchotchke-making fiends and creative types are invited to gather and display their hand-made or bespoke goods. Check out loot from over 200 vendors as well as live entertainment from DJs and DIY opportunities. Sat Nov 18–Sun Nov 19.
Grab a gift for everyone on your list at this market curated by e-commerce site Brooklyn Makers. While a DJ spins all day, you can buy beautiful art prints, charming twee stationary and gorgeous jewelry. Grab some warm baked goods and get your purchases wrapped for free. Sat Nov 25, Sun Nov 26 11am–6pm.