The nice thing about holiday shopping in New York is that you don’t need to head to the mall, or go to crowded, big box stores, like Best Buy. That’s because a number of festive, seasonal, outdoor markets pop up each year, and the best part is — due to the number of awesome food vendors that invariably flock to each— you can even nosh while you shop!
Union Square Holiday Market: UrbanSpace has officially installed their iconic candy-striped tents in Union Square, providing festive shelter for over 100 vendors, who’ll peddle their handmade goods until Christmas Eve (great news for last-minute shoppers)! Pick up puzzles and brainteasers beautifully crafted from wood at Kubiya Games, and optically animated artwork from Eye Think Inc., while you sip on healthy vegetarian soups from Taste of Persia, or nibble traditional German gingerbread from Leckerlee.
Columbus Circle Holiday Market: If you’re more of an uptown guy or gal, UrbanSpace is also behind the equally impressive market at Columbus Circle along Central Park. Browse holly-wreathed booths, selling everything from finger puppets and ornamental oil dispensers to silk scarves and spray-painted, mounted poems, and satiate yourself with sweet and savory crepes from Bar Suzette, ramen from Hong Kong Street Cart, and raspberry-matcha sandwich cookies from The Baking Bean.
Holiday Shops at Bryant Park: Bryant Park effectively transforms into a winter wonderland each season, erecting a ring of attractive, glass-enclosed kiosks flanking the glittering ice skating rink, backlit by twinkly lights from their very own Christmas tree. Visit more than 125 artisans such as Surya Brasil, selling organic skincare products, and Angelrox, featuring environmentally-friendly clothing, with a sinfully rich hot chocolate from Max Brenner in one hand, and a gooey grilled Cuban sandwich from ‘wichcraft in the other.
LIC Flea and Food Holiday Market: Running every weekend from now until December 21st, this is the largest market in Queens (and one of the largest in New York), boasting over 55 vendors in a giant warehouse space. Browse antique jewelry from Paradox Thrift Shop, or commission a family portrait from C3Brix made entirely out of Legos, while you snack on Candied Jalapenos from Little Bird Chocolates and Meatball Sliders from Bill’s Balls, snap photos with Santa, and listen to live tunes from the Dandy Wellington Band.
Hester Street Holiday Fair: Located at One Penn Plaza, the holiday offshoot of this popular market features over 30 vendors selling one-of-a-kind products (think limited edition necklaces from Draugsvold Jewelry and handmade quilts from Rasvany), and of course, tons of great eats — this is where Grub Street holds their annual food festival, after all! Look for small-batch marshmallows from Squish, hot pear cider from Frittering Away, and grilled chorizo sandwiches from Charlito’s Cocina.
Brooklyn Pop-Up Holiday Market: Check out the “Sell by the L” holiday offerings at this pop-up market in Bushwick, featuring interesting gift ideas, like vintage cufflinks, bejeweled soaps, and fun nibbles such as dairy-free chocolate and push pop cakes. Still feeling unenthusiastic about spending the afternoon shopping? They’re even offering complimentary pours of sangria and mimosa, to help get you into the holiday spirit! Let’s face it: Alcohol and shopping always go well together.