holiday guide 2018

Market Report: Where to Buy Unique Holiday Gifts This Season

The Holiday Handmade Cavalcade. Photo: Courtesy of the Vendor

Holiday Handmade Cavalcade
The Invisible Dog, 51 Bergen St., nr. Boerum Pl.; Chelsea Market, 75 Ninth Ave., nr. W. 15th St.; Brooklyn Historical Society 128 Pierrepont St., nr. Clinton St.
Open: The Invisible Dog: Saturday, November 24–Sunday, November 25, 11 a.m.–6 p.m.; Chelsea Market: Monday, December 3–Sunday, December 9, Sunday–Friday, 10:30 a.m.–7 p.m., Saturday, 10 a.m.–7 p.m.; Brooklyn Historical Society: Saturday, December 15–Sunday, December 16, 11 a.m.–6 p.m.
Admission: Free

This beloved annual gift bonanza started as a DIY event and has become a must-visit for shoppers looking for the sort of quirky, crafty finds that Etsy (one of the event’s sponsors) has built an empire on. This year’s festivities will take place at three different locations, kicking off with a market at The Invisible Dog gallery the weekend after Thanksgiving. This will be followed by a weeklong setup at the Chelsea Market that will also include interactive craft demos from Blick Art Materials. Finally, the market wraps up at the Brooklyn Historical Society mid-month for last-minute shoppers. And note, it pays to show up early for this one: There will be goody bags for the first 20 purchases each day.

Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park
Bryant Park, 42nd St. at Sixth Ave.
Open: Saturday, October 27–Wednesday, January 2; Monday–Friday, 11 a.m.–8 p.m.; Saturday–Sunday, 10 a.m.–8 p.m.
Admission: Free

Winter Village at Bryant Park is a one-stop holiday destination for shopping, skating, eating, and drinking. The carefully curated vendors offer a wide array of gifts, from beauty products imbued with Dead Sea minerals to luxury leather goods and watches, plus winter garb that you might want to put on right away. After your shopping is done, refuel with hot apple cider and a sweet Nutella crepe (or a savory Beijing-style one from Mr. Bing). Winter Village offers the only free admission ice skating in the city (skates and helmet not included) and is also debuting a bar called the Lodge this year for apres-skating imbibers.

Artist and Fleas
88 Tenth Ave., at W. 15th St., Chelsea; 70 N. 7th St., nr. Kent Ave., Williamsburg; 568 Broadway, nr. Prince St., SoHo
Open: Chelsea: Monday–Saturday, 10 a.m.–9 p.m.; Sunday 10 a.m.–8 p.m.; Williamsburg: Saturday–Sunday, 10 a.m.–7 p.m.; Soho: Daily, 11 a.m.–8 p.m.
Admission: Free

This bicoastal flea market is slowly adding new locations, bringing in more independent artists and merchants to showcase their wares. This holiday season, the permanent shop in Chelsea and the weekend market in Williamsburg have been joined by another year-round location in Soho. All are great for the curious and creative who dread traditional retail shopping, boasting unique home décor, handcrafted jewelry, and screen-printed tees.

Union Square Holiday Market by Urbanspace
Union Square Park, 14th St. at Broadway, 212-460-1208
Open: Thursday, November 15–Monday, December 24; Monday–Friday, 11 a.m.–8 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m.–8 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m.–7 p.m.
Admission: Free

Even though it’s a major tourist draw, the Union Square Market is still worth checking out for New Yorkers seeking quality homemade crafts and gourmet foods. The rotating artisan vendors create a maze of booths to weave through in search of holiday finds like wagwear for pet lovers, stacks of books for bibliophiles, and wines and cheeses for eager hosts. They’ve even designed a map so you can strategically make your way to Little Brooklyn (featuring all handmade products from Brooklyn businesses), the kids’ art station, or the warming and seating area by the George Washington statue for a shopping respite.

Smorgasburg + Brooklyn Flea’s Winter Market
Atlantic Center; 307 Kent Ave., nr. S. 3rd St., Villain
Open: Saturday, 11 a.m.–8 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m.–5 p.m.
Admission: Free

Brooklyn’s largest flea is collaborating with Smorgasburg again for an indoor winter weekend market that will run through the end of March. Settled inside the Atlantic Center, there will be 25 Smorgasburg stands, including the fan-favorite Ramen Burger, and 25 retail vendors, offering eyewear, concert tees, and other vintage wares. Coffee, espresso drinks, and a full bar will also be onsite and there’s even a bocce court for some family friendly fun.

Grand Central Holiday Fair
Vanderbilt Hall in Grand Central Terminal, 42nd St. at Park Ave., 212-340-2583;
Open: Monday, November 12–Monday, December 24: Monday–Friday, 10 a.m.–8 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m.–7 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m.–6 p.m.
Admission: Free

Roughly a million visitors make it through Grand Central daily, and the hasty commuters and focused shoppers alike can find holiday gifts at this bustling indoor fair. For six weeks, these 40 vendors will be selling highly giftable goods like handbags, ornaments, artwork, and photography.

Columbus Circle Holiday Market by Urbanspace
Columbus Circle, 59th St. at Central Park West
Open: Wednesday, November 28–Monday, December 24; Monday–Saturday, 10 a.m.–8 p.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m.–7 p.m.
Admission: Free

Fifteen years in, Columbus Circle Holiday Market by Urbanspace is still drawing crowds to shop for artisanal crafts, foods and drinks. Ranging from extra virgin olive oil from Turkey to candles that can be used as body lotion after they melt, there are gifts for everyone up and down these crafty aisles.

Astoria Market Holiday
The Main Hall of the Bohemian Hall, 29-19 24th Ave., nr. 29th St., Astoria
Open: Sunday, December 2; Sunday, December 9; Sunday, Dec. 16: 12 p.m.–6 p.m.
Admission: Free

Based out of the Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden, this holiday pop-up will be bustling with local Queens’ vendors offering an eclectic mix of art, jewelry, housewares, and baked goods. There also will be a “Grandma’s Kitchen” menu available, with holiday treats like eggnog, chestnuts, homemade soups and platters of pork and sausages.

Young & Able: Open House
277 Berry St., nr. S. 1st St.
Open: Friday, November 2–Sunday, December 23; Thusday–Sunday, 12 p.m.–7 p.m. (hours subject to change based on events)
Admission: Free

Young & Able is partnering with Lonny Magazine and Campaign, a custom made furniture company, for their fifth year in the pop-up market game. The three-story townhouse takeover in Brooklyn encourages the idea of community driven spaces by featuring mostly local entrepreneurs and hosting a variety of talks, workshops, and gatherings. This year, they’ve gathered 60 female-led brands focusing on lifestyle goods, textiles, handmade fashion, and home goods to table in their immersive showroom.

I Found it at the Strategist: A Holiday Pop-Up Shop
347 W. Broadway, nr. Grand St.
Open: Thursday, November 8–Sunday, December 30; Daily, 11 a.m.–7 p.m.
Admission: Free

New York’s very own Strategist has launched its first holiday pop-up shop, to the delight of all the readers who scroll through its obsessively curated round-ups. The online emporium will now allow you to sift through the expert-recommended products, hold each one, and ask, Does this item spark joy for me? You can preview the finds, from Rio Viera-Newton–approved snail essence and glow-producing moisturizers to cozy pajamas and warm bathrobes here, but stop by the store to find much more. There will also be exclusive tote bags available, as well as free gift-wrapping and live events and panels.

Holiday Markets in New York City