The Union Square Holiday Market. Image courtesy Urbanspace
Every holiday season, New Yorkers (and tourists alike) can expect a few things: festive decorations, cold weather, hot chocolates and diverse marketplaces. From artisan products to one-of-a-kind eats, these markets offer a plethora of unique finds that never fail to tempt holiday shoppers into spending a bit more than they would like to.
Much to our satisfaction, holiday markets now seem to be on the rise, popping up in various locations throughout the city. There are simply too many to name, but we’ve put together some of our favorite, must-visit marketplaces to check out this season:
11. Union Square Holiday Market
Image courtesy Urbanspace
After much anticipation, the internationally renowned Union Square Holiday Market has finally returned. Taking place in Union Square Park and featuring over 150 vendors, this “must-visit destination” is full of unique offerings — from eclectic gifts and handcrafted accessories to gourmet snacks and quirky puppets.
This year, the market includes an upgraded look: it will present live music, in addition to new sections, including Little Brooklyn and Urbanspace Provisions, a warming station, a lounge (presented by Citi) and a kid’s arts studio. The Union Square Holiday Market is open until December 24 from 11am to 8pm, Monday through Friday; 10am to 8pm on Saturdays and 11am to 7pm on Sundays (closed at 4pm on Christmas Eve).
10. Gifted: To NY, From NY Holiday Market at Times Square
The Times Square Marketplace. Image courtesy Urbanspace
On Friday, November 24, Urbanspace — the team behind various public markets in New York City — will unveil its newest holiday market in the center of Times Square. Called Gifted: To NY, From NY, the marketplace will run through to December 22, and feature 16 independent businesses and vendors, who all had their start in the Big Apple. The lineup this year includes larger retailers and craftspeople, ranging from popular ice cream purveyors, Ice & Vice, to clothing shop, Fineapple New York, and cat accessories shop, Meow Parlour.
According to TimeOut New York, the market will also feature a life-sized gingerbread scene, creatively put together by the students of the International Culinary Center. The display will help to tell the history and evolution of Times Square, from its gritty days through to recent times. Gifted: To NY, From NY (Broadway Plaza between 43rd & 44th Streets) will be open daily from 11am to 9pm, November 24 – December 22. For more information, click here.
9. Columbus Circle Holiday Market
The Columbus Circle Holiday Market, which opened yesterday, is returning for its 15th year. Located at the entrance to Central Park, on 59th Street and Central Park West, the market offers “glittering aisles” of goods, ranging from jewelry to art. With a line up of local artisans and businesses, the featured set up will be similar to that of other notable marketplaces, like the Union Square Holiday Market.
A few standout items this year include German pastries from Sweet and Salzig, french fries from Duck Season and infographic posters from Pop Chart Lab. The market will be open from November 28 to December 24 from 10am to 8pm Monday through Saturday; 10am to 7pm on Saturday.
8. Holiday Market + Carnival on Staten Island
In spirit of the holiday season, Staten Island is offering much more than just a marketplace. The borough recently debuted a sprawling, 85,000-square-feet “Winter Wonderland,” which will be open through Saturday, December 23. Situated in Richmond County Bank Ballpark, the attraction includes a 4,000-square-feet ice-skating rink, nightly Christmas light shows, an igloo-themed bar, a mini golf course and a life-size gingerbread house that reportedly “puts the one in Madison Square Park to shame.”
After you get your dose of winter fun, make sure to check out the various vendors at the holiday market, including Coney Island Brewing Co., Peppermint Market and Pop! Universe. For more information and to purchase tickets, click here.
7. Bank of America Winter Village Holiday Market at Bryant Park
From October 28 to January 2, 2018, Bryant Park is playing host to an entire Winter Village, centered around a 17,000-square-foot outdoor (and free admission) ice skating rink. Like the Union Square Holiday Market, this village will feature more than 150 holiday shops and new kiosks.
This year, expect returning and new vendors like Mr. Bing, Baked Cheese Haus, DŌ, Bolivian Llama Party and others. You can also drop by the rink-side pop-up restaurant, Public Fare (open daily from 8am–10pm), which serves coffee, sandwiches and soup during the day, in addition to dinner and drinks during the evening. The Bank of America Winter Village is open Monday to Friday from 11am-8pm from; Saturday to Sunday from 10am-8pm.
6. Astoria Holiday Market
In Queens, the Astoria Market offers a plethora of handmade and vintage goods. The artisan market, based out of the Main Hall of the Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden, is being transformed for the holidays on three Sundays in December (3rd, 10th and 17th). Head there between the hours of 12pm and 6pm and scout for unique art, jewelry, clothing and much, much more.
In addition, Bohemian Hall will offer its “Grandmas Kitchen” menu, which includes savory eats like pork and sausage platters and homemade soups. And, in celebration of the holiday, you can expect to find eggnog, hot apple cider and other festive treats.
5. Garment District Holiday Market
Image courtesy Urbanspace
One of the newest holiday markets to make its way to New York City is located in the Garment District (Broadway, from 40th & 41st Street). Headed (yet again) by the Urbanspace team (in collaboration with the Garment District Alliance), the marketplace will run from 11am to 8pm, seven days a week, until December 24.
TimeOut New York spotlights a few vendors, including Jianbing Company, which will be dishing out authentic Chinese food, as well as Posh Pop Bakeshop and WOOPS! (for any dessert lovers out there). Make sure to also check out the holiday art installation that features mannequin “trees” decorated with ornaments and garland.
4. Grand Central Terminal Holiday Fair
Escape the hoards of bustling commuters and find some time to visit the Grand Central Terminal Holiday Fair, taking place in the historic Vanderbilt Hall. Selected for their focus on American-or-handmade products, forty unique vendors are presenting their wares, ranging from African crafts to Christmas ornaments.
As one of the longest-running, indoor holiday fairs in New York City, the Grand Central Terminal Holiday Fair offers visitors refuge from the cold as they carry out all their holiday shopping needs. This year, it operates for six weeks, from November 13 to December 24 (Monday to Friday from 10am to 8pm; Saturday from 10am to 7pm and Sunday from 11am to 6pm; Christmas Eve from 10am to 6pm).
3. The Holiday Handmade Cavalcade
If you’re seeking handmade, artisan goods, the Holiday Handmade Cavalcade is the place to go. Comprised of members from the New York Handmade Collective (formerly Etsy New York Team), this marketplace highlights 70 indie vendors from the tri-state area.
There will be four unique events this year, taking place in four separate venues. It all kicks off with “Making New York-Small Business Saturday/Weekend Market” at the Brooklyn Art Library in Williamsburg (Saturday November 25 and Sunday November 26). Following that, NYHC artisans will present “Making New York-A Hands-on History & Shopping Experience” at the Chelsea Market’s event space (November 27 to December 3), in addition to two more events: one in Manhattan (684 Broadway, at the corner of Great Jones) from December 8 to 10, and another at the Brooklyn Historical Society (December 16 to 17th). Don’t forget to RSVP!
2. One-Off Holiday Market Events: Oddities Holiday Market, Renegade Craft Fair
Courtesy of the Oddities Flea Market
In addition to the longer running holiday markets, New York City is full of pop-up marketplaces and one-off events. Our picks this year include the Renegade Craft Fair, the world’s largest curated showcase of independent craft and design, and the Oddities Holiday Flea Market, a weeklong-long event that brings together “all sorts of peculiar items,” including medical history ephemera, anatomical curiosities and osteological specimens.
This year, the Renegade Craft Fair is bringing together 150 vendors for each of the three holiday pop-ups it is hosting. They will take place at Industry City (Factory Floor, 274 36th Street) on December 2-3, 9-10 and 16-17. The Oddities Holiday Flea Market will be open to the general public from 12pm to 6pm on December 2 and 3 at the Brooklyn Bazaar venue (150 Greenpoint Avenue).
1. Gingerbread Village at Madison Square Park
Gingerbread Village in Madison Square Park 2016
Gingerbread Village returns to Madison Square Park, presenting a life-size gingerbread house that is decorated with a “frosting” covered roof, peppermint sticks, gum drops and all manner of other trimmings. The interactive installation, presented by Taste of Home, a food and entertainment brand, allows visitors to embark on a” journey of sight, sound and motion.” Hashtag #holidayheritage and have your Gingerbread Village photos displayed on a large digital screen.
Gingerbread Village at Madison Square Park is a free event, opening on December 9, and will remain on view to December 23, 2017. Madison Square Park is located at the intersection of Fifth Avenue, Madison Avenue and Broadway at 23rd Street. Follow Gingerbread Village at Madison Square Park on Facebook. While you’re there, step across the street to view the new installation, Flatiron Reflections, on the 23rd Street/Flatiron Triangle.
Next, check out our 2017 NYC Ice Skating Guide.