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
The cozy and festive atmosphere of an authentic French Christmas market from Strasbourg, the Marché de Noël de Strasbourg-Alsace, has taken on New York City. The newly arrived market is good for handcrafted ornaments from Strasbourg, pottery from Soufflenheim and Betchdorf, fine table linens from Colmar, and candies, jams, baked goods and more. While there, grab a cup of hot mulled glühwein, Alsatian craft beer or Hugel Family wine and snack on steaming hot chestnuts, hearty sausages and potatoes, choucroute and tarte flambée and more. Each vendor is housed in a wooden chalet shipped from overseas, too.
'Tis the season in East Harlem, which will gather the best of its businesses for a three-night market series at La Marqueta. La Fonda Boricua, Harlem Shake, Sugar Hill Creamery, Flaco Couito, the Harlem Pie Man will be on site in the savory and sweet food courts and 26 Stitches, Designs by Della, Boy Beads, Yo Soy Mia and others will be there for a little shopping. Santa and the Three Kings will stop by from 4 to 6pm and there will be live DJ performances through the night. "Through our great partnerships from across both East and West Harlem, we are able to create an event that respects the culture and rich history of El Barrio, and is also inclusive of Harlem as a whole," says Tony Rahsaan, founder of TBo Harlem (The Best of Harlem) and the Harlem Night Market. "We are excited to pull all of Harlem together on an event of this magnitude, so that you can come out and sample the best food, music, makers and artists that Harlem has to offer.”
Get a taste of Italy this holiday season at Eataly and Muzzi's mercatino experience at La Scuola inside Eataly NYC Flatiron. There, you'll find themed gift baskets, panettone cakes, desserts and Italian treats you can include in a customized gift box.
A commercial townhouse in midtown for artists and designers is launching a holiday market with more than 10 vendors (Fernanda Carri, Marc Bernstein New York, Dee Ocleppo, L'Objet, Maison Gerard, GiGi Grimstad, Carolyn Rowan Accessories, Iradj Moini, Marjorie Gordon, Kim Seybert, and more) to benefit various charities.
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.
This weekly Upper West Side marketplace, one of NYC’s oldest, goes all out every holiday season. From Nov 25 through Dec 30, drop by any Sunday to shop photographs, jewelry, furniture, beauty products, antiques and tasty eats from more than 150 local merchants—and feel really good doing it: the market supports local businesses by donating 100 percent of its profits to four of the neighborhood's public schools.
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.