New York City undergoes a magical transformation during the holiday season. Locals and out-of-towners alike rush towards the metropolis’ foremost festive destinations, from the Rockefeller Center’s beacon-of-the-season Christmas tree and ice-skating rink to the dazzling home light displays and decorations in Dyker Heights.
And, of course, there’s the shopping. An ideal retail destination any day of the year, New York sees a hidden world of enchanting holiday markets come to life once the weather turns chilly. Allow us to take you on a tour: whether you prefer mainstay markets in major locales like Grand Central Station and Bryant Park, thrifty spots in less-frequented neighborhoods, or secret-ish spots tucked away inside cathedrals, we’re here to make sure you’re in-the-know.
Union Square Holiday Market
This European-style winter market is where you’ll find items that strike a perfect balance between quirk, luxury, and eco-consciousness. You’ll find more than 160 local and national vendors here, from gourmet chocolatiers to jewelers who employ the use of unconventional materials to socially conscious fragrance brands that source ingredients from Indigenous and marginalized communities (Raw Spirit, a new vendor this year).
Union Square Holiday runs every day until December 24th from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 or 8:00 p.m.
Bryant Park Winter Village
Come winter, Midtown’s Bryant Park transforms into a wonderland of ice skating, holiday shopping, and festive eats. Over 170 kiosks featuring both local and international vendors make up the Bryant Park Winter Village. Even for those without the stamina for heavy shopping, there’s plenty to do: the 17,000-square-foot ice skating rink is free to use, provided you bring your own skates. Try your hand at Bumper Cars on Ice, or put your feet up in a cozy private igloo.
Bryant Park Winter Village runs from October 27th to March 3rd, 2024.
Harlem Night Market
As the sun sets, Harlem Night Market comes alive: colorful banners adorn stalls, mouthwatering aromas fill the air, and shoppers bargain-hunt to tunes curated by Ted Smooth and DJ Stormin’ Norman. A true embodiment of Harlem’s rich food scene as well as its indefatigable energy, Harlem Night Market is a celebration of community and creativity. Those in search of a one-of-a-kind holiday shopping experience will find just that here.
The Harlem Night Market is open the first three Saturdays of December, from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Activities for kids will be available from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., including a visit from Santa.
Crafts at the Cathedral
If you find yourself beneath the vaulted ceilings of the historic Cathedral of St. John the Divine this winter, you’ll be met with an explosion of artistry. Admire the palatial architecture while admiring the wide variety of goods available from local artisans, many of whom have exhibited in the Philadelphia and Smithsonian Museum Craft Shows. Consider this a way to add a spiritual and/or educational bent to your holiday shopping, and to score some enviable wearable art.
The market is held from December 1st-3rd. Be prepared to purchase a ticket beforehand; all proceeds go towards the Cathedral and its programs.
For a market comprised of blended examples of fashion, art, and design, look no further than FAD Market. Located in several different locations across the city, FAD Market brings a diverse and fascinating group of designers and artists together to share their work with the community. The result is a dynamic marketplace where visitors can explore the latest fashion trends, discover cutting-edge art, and acquire design-forward pieces for their homes. This is the ideal place to shop for your hippest friends and relatives.
FAD Market takes place at Empire Stores in Dumbo from November 27nd – December 22nd, and at the Invisible Dog Art Center in Boerum Hill the first three weekends of December. Admission is free, and dogs are welcome.
Brooklyn Navy Yard Holiday Market
The uniformly grayscale industrial buildings of Brooklyn Navy Yard may not exactly scream “merry and bright,” but its Holiday Market certainly does. Here, you can browse the wares of more than 200 vendors, selling locally made goods of every variety. The Lay Out, a Brooklyn-based community organization, has curated 75 small Black-owned brands for this year’s holiday market. The group also sets up a gift-wrapping and shipping center right in the heart of the market, so you can buy a gift and send it off in one go.
The Brooklyn Navy Yard Holiday Market takes place the first weekend of December between noon and 5 p.m. at Assembly Road and Gee Avenue.
Grand Holiday Bazaar
Nestled on the Upper West Side, the Grand Holiday Bazaar is, as the name suggests, a grand affair. As one of New York City’s oldest markets, they go all-out every year. With over 350 local vendors showcasing their handcrafted goods, those seeking unique holiday gifts will find a haven here. Families, couples, and solo explorers will find joy in strolling through aisles of jewelry, furniture, beauty products, antiques, and holiday treats.
The Grand Holiday Bazaar runs every Sunday from November 26th – December 23rd, and donates all of its proceeds to four of the neighborhood’s public schools.