If department stores with their holiday windows leave you cold, spend your winter at a holiday market. NYC’s best holiday shopping spots have everything from ice skating to vintage goods for 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 125 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 5). Oct 29–Jan 5
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 17–Dec 24
Brooklyn purveyors set up shop across the river at Artists & Fleas’ seasonal pop-up bazaar, situated inside Chelsea Market. Expect to find trendy and noncommercial holiday-themed gifts vetted by husband-and-wife team Amy Abrams and Ronen Glimer, who ensure that every item from the 30-plus vendors is locally made and well crafted. Enter the building at the corner of Tenth Avenue and 15th Street.
It’s hard to imagine a more romantic 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 14–Dec 24
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 29–Dec 24
On three Sundays before Christmas (Dec 4, 11, 18), Queens’ classic Bohemian Hall beer garden transforms into an NYC-centric artisan market chock-full of handmade and vintage merchandise. 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 4, 11, 18
Enjoy nature, music, food and shopping for a full day at the Queens Botanical Garden’s holiday marketplace. Children can participate in a variety of activities, from a garden tour to interactive crafts, and parents can impress the whole family with unique gifts come holiday season. Make sure you stay for the tree-lighting ceremony, too. Dec 6
Check out this hip outpost of Brooklyn Flea market to satisfy your need for quick eats and wrap up your last-minute shopping. Along with 75 vendors selling vintage clothing and craft goods, there are 25 of your favorite Smorgasburg vendors, so yes, you should shop on an empty stomach.
This recently opened alfresco bazaar was cool for the summer, but now that it’s actually cold outside, it’s moving indoors for a fully decorated holiday bonanza. Before you hunt for handcrafted goodies from a variety of local designers, get toasty with spiked hot cocoa. And once you’ve nabbed unique items for the whole fam, celebrate by taking a whirl on the dance floor and grooving to a DJ brought to you by party organizers Supply New York. Sat Dec 3–Sun Dec 11
Screw packed malls; sift for presents in a cool Bushwick warehouse, where more than 40 vendors hawk their wares, and enjoy music from live DJs as you check off everyone on your list. Afterward, warm up with shots of whiskey or a glass of vino. And back by popular demand is a super-festive photo booth, where you and your pals can re-create those awkward family photos—and toast that you’re not actually, you know, with your fam. Sat Dec 3–Sun Dec 4
This retailer’s week-long run 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. It pays to be an early bird at this one—the first 100 shoppers on Saturday and Sunday will go home with a free goody bag of products, coupons and surprises from the vendors and sponsors. We recommend hitting the fair on Thursday night between the hours of 6:30 and 9pm as well—there will be a Sip 'n' Shop event with Brooklyn Brewery, where you can enjoy cocktails and pose for selfies in the holiday photo booth. Mon Dec 5–Sun Dec 11
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 from Christine Joy Design, charming twee stationary from Hart Paper Co. and gorgeous jade jewelry from Sparkle Farm. Grab some warm scones from Ovenly and get your purchases wrapped for free. Sat Nov 26–Sun Nov 27
New Yorkers should get psyched for the mother lode of holiday craft fairs—Renegade Craft Fair—as it enters Manhattan on November 12 and 13. 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 12–Sun Nov 13
Feminist mag BUST is known for its DIY sensibility, so it’s no surprise that its giant craft extravaganza highlights some of the best hand-made goods out there. The $3 admission fee grants you access to hundreds of sellers peddling everything from vegan beauty products to restored vintage duds. Pop in to build your own flower crown, take and ugly Christmas sweater selfie, get a holiday manicure and more. The first 300 guests receive free swag. Sat Dec 10–Sun Dec 11
Shopping inside a German beer hall? God, it’s good to live in New York. Head to Queens and peruse a bevy of local merchants at this late-night shop, where you’ll find sassy housewares like a cactus plant in a vase that reads DON’T BE A PRICK, in addition to other gorgeous ceramics. Apart from the obvious beverage of choice (lots and lots of brews in steins), there are warm cocktails and savory grub to fuel your gift-hunting endeavors. Sat Dec 17