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A Guide to NYC’s Best Holiday and Christmas Markets in 2023

City Guide November 20, 2023

 

 

New York City, known for its vibrant energy and dazzling lights, becomes even more magical during the holiday season. The city transforms into a festive wonderland, with NYC Christmas markets popping up in various neighborhoods, each offering a unique holiday experience. In 2023, these markets are set to bring the spirit of Christmas alive in the heart of NYC. This guide will take you through the best holiday and Christmas markets in New York City, ensuring you make the most of your festive season in the Big Apple.

Navigating New York City during the holiday season can be a bustling experience. With the crowds and festive events, it's important to plan your visits to the Christmas markets and attractions. Utilizing services like Nannybag NYC luggage storage can make your day trips more convenient and enjoyable, allowing you to explore the city without the burden of carrying your bags.

 

Christmas in New York: A City Transformed

The holiday season in New York is a mesmerizing experience, transforming the city into a dazzling winter wonderland. As outlined in the New York Christmas guide, the city sparkles with stunning Christmas lights and towering trees, especially the iconic Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree and the glamorous displays at Saks Fifth Avenue. Amidst this festive backdrop, holiday shopping becomes a magical journey, with stores from Fifth Avenue to small boutiques offering unique finds.

The legendary Radio City Music Hall comes alive with its spectacular Christmas show, featuring the world-famous Rockettes. For a unique twist, the holiday train shows at the New York Botanical Gardens are a must-see, where model trains wind through a miniature cityscape in a festive setting, adding to the city’s holiday joys and wonders.

 

Union Square Holiday Market

The Union Square Holiday Market, an essential stop for holiday shoppers, returns November 16, operating daily from 11 am to 7 or 8 pm. Known for its handmade gifts, artisanal foods, hot chocolate, and unique crafts, this alfresco, European-style winter market features over 160 local and national vendors, making it a perfect destination for finding special holiday gifts in a joyous atmosphere.

New to the market this year is Three Bluebirds Swedish Dishcloths, a family-owned business specializing in authentic, environmentally-friendly Swedish dishcloths, designed and printed in Connecticut. These dishcloths blend practicality with sustainability, offering a charming and useful gift option.

Also making its debut is Raw Spirit, a female-led fragrance brand with a socially conscious ethos. Born from global travels to exotic locales like the Australian outback and Haitian mountains, Raw Spirit is dedicated to sustainably sourcing unique ingredients from Indigenous and marginalized communities, making their fragrances not just alluring but also meaningful.

For those seeking something truly unique in jewelry, K2 Pearls will be at the market. These pearls are a highly sought-after gemstone, known for their striking blue and white marbled patterns that resemble the majestic peaks of the K2 mountain. Each piece is a testament to the beauty and mystery of nature, making them an extraordinary gift for the holidays.

The Urbanspace Union Square Holiday Market offers a festive and unique shopping experience, where every stall and vendor tells a story, and every item has its own special charm. Whether you're looking for sustainable home goods, socially conscious fragrances, or rare gemstone jewelry, this market is a treasure trove of holiday delights waiting to be discovered.

 

 

Bryant Park Winter Village

Bryant Park's Winter Village by Bank of America in NYC, open until March 3, 2024, is a winter wonderland that embodies the festive spirit of the holidays. At the heart of this enchanting setup is the expansive 17,000-square-foot ice-skating rink, a crowd favorite that's free for those who bring their own skates.

The Winter Village, a close rival to the ice rink in popularity, is an equally captivating attraction. This year, it features over 180 kiosks, both new and returning, offering an extensive range of items. From unique holiday gifts to artisanal foods and crafts, these kiosks provide a delightful shopping experience amidst one of NYC's finest parks.

Renowned as one of the best Christmas markets globally, Bryant Park's Winter Village offers more than just shopping. It's an experience where the holiday spirit is tangible, making it a must-visit destination for both locals and tourists. Whether you're there to glide on the ice, find the perfect gift, or simply soak in the festive ambiance, Bryant Park's Winter Village is a hallmark of NYC's holiday season.

 

Columbus Circle Holiday Market

The Columbus Circle Holiday Market, situated at the gateway to Central Park, is an essential visit for anyone looking to immerse themselves in New York City's holiday spirit. This annual holiday bazaar, orchestrated by the same team behind the renowned Union Square market, is a treasure trove of festive delights.

Featuring approximately 100 booths, the market is known for its high-quality vendors who offer an impressive selection of handcrafted goods, gourmet foods, and unique holiday gifts. This year, the market boasts exceptional offerings from local artisans, including the elegant creations of Gabriella Ceballos jewelry, the innovative designs of Patches and Pins, and the stylish pet accessories and clothing from Hudson Houndstooth. These vendors represent just a fraction of the diverse range of goods available, ensuring there's something to catch every shopper's eye.

To enhance your shopping experience, the market provides a concierge service. This helpful feature assists visitors in navigating the booths, making the search for the perfect holiday gift both effortless and enjoyable.

 

Queens Craft Brigade

The Queens Craft Brigade, an independent, queer-owned market nestled in the vibrant neighborhood of Katch Astoria, is a celebration of local talent and community spirit. Dedicated exclusively to showcasing makers from the borough of Queens, this market is a unique platform for the area's diverse and talented artisans. Each month, the Queens Craft Brigade curates events that bring together local creators, featuring everything from stunning artwork and handcrafted jewelry to bespoke fashion and intricate crafts.

The market not only offers a shopping experience but also serves as a communal space where visitors can connect with the heartbeat of Queens’ artistic community. For the remainder of 2023, the Queens Craft Brigade has an exciting lineup of themed events:

  • November 25: Small Business Saturday: Timed perfectly for holiday shopping, this event celebrates and supports local small businesses. It's an ideal occasion for finding unique gifts while supporting the local economy.
  • December 9: Holiday Market: To cap off the year, the Holiday Market will offer a wide range of festive items, perfect for those looking for special holiday gifts or wanting to indulge in the seasonal spirit.

 

 

Cathedral of St. John the Divine

Celebrating its 25th anniversary, the annual holiday artisan market at the majestic Cathedral of St. John the Divine is a highlight of the season for art enthusiasts and shoppers alike. This esteemed event provides a platform for more than 85 skilled crafters, many of whom have showcased their work at prestigious venues like the Philadelphia and Smithsonian Museum Craft Shows.

Visitors to the market can expect to find plenty of handmade wares, each piece a testament to the artisan's unique vision and skill. The offerings range from one-of-a-kind wearable art, exquisite pottery, and fine leather goods to impressive sculpture, intricate jewelry, captivating paintings, and works in metal, wood, and mixed media. This diverse collection ensures that every visitor will find something that speaks to their taste and style.

The fine craft event is expertly organized and managed by Richard and Joanna Rothbard, who are not only the owners of An American Craftsman Galleries but also seasoned producers of notable art events. Their repertoire includes the Berkshires Arts Festivals, American Fine Craft Show Brooklyn Museum, Sarasota Art & Design Show, and the Arts Festival at Rockefeller Center. Their experience and passion for fine crafts are evident in the quality and diversity of the artisans they bring together.

Set against the backdrop of one of New York City's most iconic cathedrals, this artisan market is a must-visit destination for anyone looking to immerse themselves in the world of fine crafts and to discover truly unique holiday gifts that are sure to be treasured.

 

 

Astoria Holiday Market

As the festive season approaches, Queens’ renowned Bohemian Hall beer garden offers a unique holiday experience, transforming into an artisan market that captures the essence of New York City. This special event takes place on two Sundays before Christmas, December 10 and 17, providing an ideal opportunity for holiday shopping and enjoyment.

The Bohemian Hall market is a treasure trove of handmade and vintage merchandise, showcasing the talents and creativity of local artisans. Visitors can peruse a wide range of items, each with its own story and character, making them perfect for those seeking distinctive and thoughtful gifts.

Adding to the market's charm is Bohemian Hall's “Grandma’s Kitchen” menu. This comforting selection features a variety of homemade soups and platters, bringing traditional flavors and warmth to the winter season. A highlight of the menu is the homemade apple strudel, a delightful treat that pairs perfectly with the festive atmosphere.

The holiday spirit is further amplified with seasonal favorites such as eggnog, roasted chestnuts, and hot apple cider. These classic holiday treats not only provide warmth and cheer but also create a nostalgic and inviting ambiance, ideal for gathering with friends and family.

Bohemian Hall’s transformation into a holiday market offers a unique blend of shopping, dining, and festive cheer. It's a perfect destination for those looking to immerse themselves in the holiday spirit while enjoying the best of Queens’ local crafts and culinary delights. Whether you're browsing for gifts, savoring homemade delicacies, or simply soaking in the festive environment, these Sundays at Bohemian Hall promise a delightful and memorable holiday experience.

 

 

Other Christmas Activities in NYC

In New York City, the holiday season offers festive activities beyond the charming Christmas markets. On Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, the city is alive with a magical atmosphere. A quintessential New York experience is gliding across one of the many ice skating rinks, such as the iconic rink at Rockefeller Center, where you can skate under the watchful gaze of the famous Christmas tree.

For breathtaking views of the city's festive lights, a visit to the Empire State Building is a must. Its observation decks provide a panoramic view of the illuminated city, making it a perfect spot for holiday sightseeing. And of course, Christmas shopping in New York is an adventure in itself, with stores from Fifth Avenue to neighborhood boutiques offering festive window displays and unique gifts, capturing the essence of holiday magic in the city that never sleeps.

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