• Family Guide To Navigating NYC’s Bustling Holiday Markets

    What to expect at the season’s glorious pop-up shops—fun to browse with or without a shopping list!

    By Angela Bunt

    Jones Lang LaSalle/Grand Central Terminal

    Nothing says NYC holiday spirit like the many markets that pop up this time of the year. If you’re shopping for gifts—or just want to treat yourself after a long year—the citywide tents are chock full of knick-knacks, clothing, jewelry, toys, and more. Whether you’re hunting for something craftsy, zany, or delicious, here’s a mix of the famous classics and smaller gems that we love:

    December is cold—so thank goodness for Grand Central Terminal’s holiday markets, the city’s only indoor Christmas shops. Known for their exceptional mix of products and merchandise, this holiday pop-up provides New Yorkers with the perfect chance to nab a gift when they are heading to or from work. This year, Christina’s World—a custom-designed, hand-painted glass ornament company—will be on tap, donating their proceeds to charities like the Dana Farber Cancer Institute. Through December 24, Grand Central Station, grandcentralterminal.com

    Holidays are all about food. Those who want to buy gifts for their foodie friends should head to the Union Square holiday market, known for local food and one-of-a-kind crafts. This year, look for Brooklyn-based Nunu Chocolates’ debut for something sweet or for or everybody’s favorite Momofuku Milk Bar. Through December 24, Union Square West, unionsquarenyc.org

    Bryant Park’s Holiday Shops has a heavy focus on clothing, style, and accessories, perfect for your fashionista friends. For “cuddle up on the couch” comfort wear, check out Hand by Hand’s collection; for something snazzier, NYC Touch offers a range of bejeweled or fur-lined hats, scarves, and gloves. And don’t forget to grab some cider while you marvel at the jewel box-esque shops! Through January 6, 40th Street & 5th Avenue, theholidayshopsatbryantpark.com

    Brooklyn Flea’s “Gifted” holiday markets have got hipster gifters covered. Held in a former bank with 70-foot mosaic vaulted ceilings and a customer service desk-turned-coffee bar, this Brooklyn boasts unique shopping experiences like Spring, the DUMBO design shop that will feature animal ornaments made of bone china all the way from Staffordshire, England. Every weekend starting November 24, 10am–5pm, 1 Hanson Place, brooklynflea.com

    Designed in the tradition of the Northern European holiday market, it doesn’t get much more beautiful than the holiday tents at Columbus Circle. The markets, which will set up shop at the Southwest entrance of Central Park, features over 100 booths lined with items made from many local merchants. Take the ladies of The Jam Stand, for instance, who hail from Brooklyn and will have adventurous flavors for sale in the markets. November 28 to December 24, Central Park West & Central Park South, urbanspacenyc.com

    During this season of giving, Astoria Market teams up with Handcrafting Justice—a program that provides access to Fair Trade crafts and goods made by women around the world—to present the first ever Carroll Street Holiday Markets. Gifts from the 2,500 square-foot Hall at the Old First Reformed Church will provide money to artisans working to get their families out of poverty. December 1, Carroll Street & 7th Avenue, astoriamarket.com

    Have a hankering for DIY projects and crafts? The Holiday Handmade Cavalcade craft fair, hosted by Etsy New York, features over 35 local artisans, designers, and crafters, who all live locally and sell their goods through the popular website. Amidst the stationery, don’t miss Brooklyn Owl, who specializes in felt headbands, hair clips, and decorations, or Pinot, which makes clutches, wristlets, and wallets. December 1 & 2, 50 North 3rd Street, handmadecavalcade.com

    Not to be confused with the midtown tents, the Columbus Avenue Holiday Market will be held in the beautiful Church of St. Paul the Apostle, encompassing over 45 vendors and 9,000 square-feet of unique and vintage crafts. Be on the lookout for mosaics, handmade pillows, and artwork that will line the walls of the church. December 10, Columbus Avenue between 59th & 60th Streets, facebook.com/ColumbusAvenueMarket

    Come one, come all to the South Slope Holiday Craft Fair, which takes place this Saturday, December 15. The event, which will feature a raffle, artisan jewelry, and delicious bites from Kimchi Taco Truck, is being held at the public elementary school P.S. 10. All proceeds from the fair will benefit the school, so it may be the one holiday market in which you can buy yourself a gift and not feel guilty! This craft fair is also perfect for children, as it will include face painting, portraits, and free art workshops.  December 15, 511 Seventh Avenue
    between Prospect Avenue and 17th Street, southslopecraftfair.com

    For the fifth year in a row, the Brooklyn Craft Central Holiday Market will set up shop in Park Slope, offering up some of the finest in food vendors and drink specials, and – oh yea – shopping! Featuring pottery, porcelain, wool knits, jewelry, and art, not only can you find gifts that look like they were plucked straight from a Crate & Barrel, there will also be gift wrappers on-site to wrap up your purchases for you before you head home. The event is being held over the next two weekends, with different vendors rotating in and out, so be sure not to miss it. September 15-16, 22-23, 622 Degraw Street in Park Slope, Between 3rd and 4th Avenue, bkcraftcentral.com

    Kicking yourself for leaving your holiday shopping to the last minute? Open just days before Christmas, the Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden’s 3rd annual Christmas market in Astoria is just for procrastinators. You can even peruse the crafts, art, jewelry, toys, and more from over 40 artisans while enjoying a beer—no stress! December 22 & 23, 29-19 24th Avenue, bohemianhall.com

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