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 at the best holiday markets in NYC. Crowded department stores may have fancy Christmas window displays to entice you, but the these winter bazaars offer many perks such as free-admission ice-skating, mouthwatering treats for purchase, Christmas tree lightings and more in addition to one-of-a-kind gifts for your loved ones.
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Best holiday markets in NYC
While you may normally associate a subway trip with stressful commutes and navigating crowded cars, you’re in for a change of pace this holiday season in NYC that might change your mindset about heading underground. The Turnstyle Underground Holiday Market is back for its third year connected to the 59th St-Columbus Circle station. For the uninitiated, 18 seasonal vendors are about to join the 39 permanent underground eateries, shops and kiosks inside the bustling corridor. The pop-up market should be perfect for those times you’re racing home from work, and on your way to a holiday party empty-handed, probably thinking something like, Damn it's cold out. I wish I didn't have to leave the subway to find a decent gift. Luckily, now you won't have to. (And you won't have to show up to a party empty-handed, looking like a real grinch.) Among the participants this year are Harkiss Designs, Felix Z Designs, Me Oui, Tibet Handicrafts, Toffee Sticks, Inaya, All of the Things NYC, New York Makers and a few full-on holiday ornament kiosks—forever a great gift for mom or those new apartment owners. You can also count on existing kiosk vendors like Salted Baked Goods, Baked in Color, Hell’s Kitchen Hot Sauce, Sleet and Sole, Modern Opus, Sweetwater labs and Volang in the festive subterranean space. You don't even need to swipe a MetroCard to get inside the market!
In a city dominated by holiday markets, leave the tastemakers of BUST magazine to curate one of the best craft fairs of the season. Go for the: Cute DIY gifts and custom cocktails. Stay for the: Classes and workshops like "Make Your Own CBD Topical" and "DIY Macrame Wall Hanging." This year's edition is happening on Dec 7-8 from 11am to 7pm.
Just before Halloween weekend, The Winter Village at Bryant Park debuted a new rinkside pop-up eatery and drinkery called The Lodge which sells grub and drinks from 12 restaurants. Go for the: Cozy après skate-style ambiance while you munch on wholesome eats by Pierogi Boys followed by dessert from the S’Mores Bar by Squish. Stay for the: Army of shopping vendors (there are more than 170!) to snag handmade, unique and New York City-specific gifts for your family and friends.
It’s hard to imagine a more perfect excursion than going to a Christmas market in Grand Central. Go for the: Chance to 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. Stay for the: Chance to grab goods to throw the best Christmas party ever. Open through December 24.
New Yorkers should get psyched for the mother lode of holiday craft fairs as it enters Manhattan on November 17 and 18. Go for the: Artists, tchotchke-making fiends and creative types who gather and display their hand-made or bespoke goods. Stay for the: Loot from over 200 vendors as well as live entertainment from DJs and DIY opportunities.
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. Go for 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. Stay for the: Food vendors like Veselka Pierogi Bar hailing in from Greenpoint, Arancini Bros, Sigmund's Pretzels. You could easily spend a whole day here. Open November 15 through December 24. Closed Thanksgiving Day and at 4 PM on Christmas Eve.
This annual holiday bazaar near Central Park is run by the people behind the Winter Village ar Bryant Park, the Union Square Holiday Market and others. Go for the: 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 more than 100 booths.