The best holiday markets NYC has to offer

At a holiday market, NYC offers the best decorations, food and winter activities to get you in the merriest of moods
Holiday Markets
Photograph: Erin Kestenbaum
By Jennifer Picht, John Marshall and Time Out New York editors |
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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.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to Christmas in New York

Best holiday markets in NYC

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Photograph: Courtesy Angelito Jusay Photography
Things to do, Markets and fairs

Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park

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.

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Photograph: Courtesy WinterFest
Museums, Natural history

WinterFest at the Brooklyn Museum

icon-location-pin Prospect Park

WinterFest, a mega winter village and holiday market in Brooklyn, takes Christmastown to the next level. Located outside of the Brooklyn Museum's grounds, the 40,000-square-foot attraction is a festive wonderland. Go for the: Mulled wine and hot chocolate as well as a beer garden serving multiple brews, a Santa Land starring Mr. and Mrs. Claus for photo ops and a performance stage where you can catch free shows. Stay for the: North Pole-like features like an Enchanted Tree Maze filled with sparkling Christmas trees, the "Snowzilla" side and the Giant Snowglobe (yes, you can step inside to enjoy the magic.)

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Renegade Craft Fair
Photograph: Courtesy Renegade Craft Fair
Things to do, Markets and fairs

Renegade Craft Fair in NYC

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. 

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Photograph: Courteys MTA/Patrick Cashin
Things to do, Literary events

Grand Central Holiday Fair

icon-location-pin Midtown East

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. 

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Photograph: Filip Wolak
Art, Public art

Union Square Holiday Market

icon-location-pin Greenwich Village

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 Momofuku Milk Bar, Bar Suzette, Wafels & Dinges and No Chewing Allowed!. You could easily spend a whole day here. Open November 15 through December 24. 

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Photograph: Liz Rees/Urban Space
Attractions, Public spaces

Columbus Circle Holiday Market

icon-location-pin Midtown West

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. Nov 28–Dec 24.

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Photograph: Ieva Sireikyte
Things to do, Markets and fairs

BUST Holiday Craftacular

icon-location-pin Brooklyn Expo Center, Greenpoint
icon-calendar

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 "Incense Making 101" and "Meditation Through Movement and Hooping." 

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Etsy Holiday Handmade Cavalcade
Photograph: Courtesy Etsy
Shopping, Gifts and stationery

NY Holiday Handmade Cavalcade

icon-location-pin Multiple venues
icon-calendar

This retailer’s multiple weekend run at various locations 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. Go for the: Free goody bags of products, coupons and surprises from the vendors and sponsors, which shoppers have scored in the past. Fingers crossed it's the same deal this year! Stay for the: Cocktails that are usually available for purchase during the Chelsea Market fair, and selfie opportunities in the holiday photo booth. 

Check out our Winter Village video

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