Visiting New York City this winter? Then get ready for awkward Christmas music, Christmas Story marathons that go on for days (yes, you’re gonna shoot your eye out), and visits to some of the best Christmas markets in New York City!
Wait, you didn’t know about all the New York City Christmas markets and that these markets were some of the best things to do at Christmas in New York City?
Blasphemy I tell you! Nah, I totally understand. When you think of Christmas markets, you daydream of Munich, Prague, Vienne, etc.
Basically anywhere with cold weather and a love of Christmas.
But Christmas markets aren’t really an American thing…til now!
Over the last ten years or so, New York City has decided to get in on the Christmas market action and make this city even MORE festive for the holidays if that’s possible.
So grab your Santa hat and a chilled cup of Eggnog:
Because we’re about to explore all of the most enchanting Christmas markets in New York City, with a few awesome New York City Christmas events thrown in for good measure.
From the Bryant Park Winter Village to the Union Square Holiday Market, you’ll see some of the absolute best places to celebrate Christmas in New York City, awkward Christmas sweaters and all! So bundle up because we’re about to visit New York City for the holidays!
How I feel any time someone mentions Christmas before the end of October.
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***PSST: You could also skip Christmas in NYC altogether and check out some of these unique Christmas destinations instead.***
Christmas Markets in New York City 2018
1. Bryant Park Christmas Market (aka Bryant Park’s Winter Village)
If I had to pick an all-time favorite, New York City Christmas market, this would be it.
Not only does Bryant Park’s Winter Village have a HUGE ice skating rink (that is way cheaper than the one in Rockefeller Center, under the New York City Christmas Tree), but there are over a hundred food and shopping stalls around the rink that transform this greenspace into a virtual winter wonderland of Christmas spirit.
Truly one of my favorite places to enjoy Christmas time in New York City. Plus:
It’s free! Okay well, the awesome winter food and goods aren’t free, but the ice skating is! At least, as long as you bring your own skates since renting them costs $20. Yikes.
Walking through Bryant Park and enjoying the veritable Christmas eutopia is always free and a total must for anyone visiting New York City this Christmas.
But if you have the cash to burn:
Then get jiggy with your Christmas spirit and frolic with me through the awesomeness of Bryant Park’s Winter Village.
First up? An epic rinkside restaurant!
Officially known as the Lodge, this ultra-hip, New York City style food hall includes an outdoor beer garden, as well as some fantastic eateries like Mah-Ze-Dahr bakery, Pierogi Boys, Good Stock, Todaro Bros, Chimney Cakes by Stackery, a S’Mores Bar by Squish, etc.
NOM! Send me a S’more, Stat! Excuse me while I use a moist towelette.
But if the Lodge isn’t impressive enough for you, there are also a staggering array of vendors for you to explore; vendors that sell everything from kids game to unique holiday gifts to jewelry to artwork and more.
I’m a one trick pony and am only interested in the food. And with good reason since some of my favorite New York City eateries will be here, places like Dulcinea Churros, Bun Ramen, Crepe Café, TopArepa, Max Brenner (best hot chocolate), DŌ, Cookie Dough Confections, and JARS by Dani.
Get ready though because the winter village opens October 27! Crazy but true!
***Looking to book some exciting New York City Christmas Tours? Then why not take a tour of the Christmas Lights in Dyker Heights? Not only will you see some of the best New York City Christmas decorations, but this tour is much easier than schlepping all the way to Brooklyn in the frigid cold, on the subway.***
2. Columbus Circle Christmas Market
A holiday market can’t get much more picturesque than this since the Columbus Circle Holiday Market literally sits on Central Park’s southwest corner, in, you guessed it, Columbus Circle.
Beginning November 28:
Stop by after skating in Central Park and disappear amidst a sea of glittering holiday lights that adorn row after row of quaint holiday kiosks.
Pause for a moment and savor the distinct smells of warm, mulled cider and freshly baked pretzels that hang in the air, calling your name.
Go ahead, you heed that call!
No one can blame you because with vendors like Wafels and Dinges, Retro NY Metro, No Chewing Allowed, and I Am Here Brooklyn, the problem won’t be visiting but getting you home (you and all those New York City Christmas Ornaments that you just HAD to have)!
3. Grand Central Terminal Holiday Market
Opening November 12, in the Vanderbilt Hall of Grand Central Terminal:
The Grand Central Terminal Holiday Market is a cozy, indoor holiday shopping experience that is a delightful respite from the hustle and bustle of Grand Central Terminal (it’s also a great place if you hate the cold).
At this market, you won’t find too many food vendors since, well, there is an entire permanent food court in the basement that sells everything from Doughnut Plant doughnuts to Shake Shack Burgers.
At this holiday fair you’ll find a variety of American made crafts that are produced by more socially conscious companies (three cheers for saving the world like Captain Planet).
With over 40 vendors to chose from:
This market offers patrons an array of items to choose from, like toys, artwork, crafts, and more; goods that are sold at a multitude of price points so that everyone can enjoy this delightful holiday event in New York City.
And Since You’re Here:
Don’t forget to explore the iconic beauty of Grand Central Terminal with a free walking tour that takes you through the fascinating history of this stunning architectural wonder.
***Looking to do some serious holiday shopping? Then why not visit Woodbury Commons? This fantastic outlet mall has a variety of designer stores where you can save up to 65% on anything you purchase! A great way to finish up that incredibly long holiday shopping list. ***
4. Union Square Christmas Market (aka Union Square Holiday Market)
Opening November 16, in the very heart of New York City:
This Christmas market brings a funky, Greenwich Village vibe to Union Square, with vendors that sell an assortment of quirky items like hand-blown glass, home goods, bags created using recycled materials, hand-crafted jewelry, a brew your own beer kit (Brooklyn Brew Shop), and more!
Strand Bookstore, Real Weird Art, and Made from Coins (super neat coin jewelry) will all be there and I am super excited. Meaning, I better get a sugar daddy, ASAP, so he can indulge me and buy me all this neat stuff.
An enchanting shopping experience that makes you want to brave the polar vortex of doom so that you can truly feel the spirit of a New York City Christmas day.
But with all that cold, you’re gonna lose a ton of body heat. Therefore, you’ll obviously need some extra calories, just to keep you warm of course!
Calories don’t count during the holidays, which is great since Milk Bar (OMG, dreams really do come true! Get the birthday cake truffle), Plenty of Good (Coconut Macaroons), Squish Marshmallows, La Sonrisa Empanadas, Dulcinea Churros, and Breezy Hill Orchard will all be here, enticing me with their divine, culinary creations.
But if that isn’t enough awesome for you:
The Union Square Holiday Market also offers visitors access to a warming station, a lounge area, a children’s art center, and live music, making this the perfect holiday destination for locals and visitors alike.
***Looking for another holiday event in Manhattan? Then check out the Holiday Crafts Fair at St. John the Divine Cathedral on West 110th Street, in Morningside Heights. This fair is held between November 29th and December 2nd and showcases the talents of amazing local craftsmen.***
5. Artists and Fleas at Chelsea Market
I love Chelsea Market, but even more so during the holiday season.
Throughout this magical time of year, the Artists and Fleas permanent, indoor market is holidayified (yup, I made up a word. Just think Christmas on steroids).
This normally awesome collection of pop-up markets gets even better as independent artists and designers create super hip items that have a little extra holiday flair.
Home to more than 30 shops:
This holiday market, beneath the Highline, offers visitors the chance to browse an assortment of funky, holiday items, while in an unconventional retail environment.
And with new sellers arriving each week:
There’s no telling what you’ll find since there’s always something new to explore.
6. Winter Flea and Holiday Market
During the Winter/Holiday Season:
The incredibly hip and super popular Brooklyn Flea and Smorgasburg outdoor markets are moved inside, to the heated comfort of Atlantic Center, at 625 Atlantic Avenue.
Open Saturdays and Sundays (Beginning November 3 and 4):
This iconic NYC flea market will get a holiday upgrade and begin to sell an assortment of cliched, holiday items that we all know and love; things like scented candles that smell like happiness, I mean Christmas, knitted scarves, and a ton of vintage clothes that will help you get your hipster swag on.
And don’t forget the food!!!
With 10 onsite, Smorgasburg food vendors, feel free to indulge in a Moscow Mule (or ten because I know the holidays can get rough), as well as some Smorgasburg faves like Big Mozz and DO (deep fried cookie dough), Wowfulls (Hong Kong egg waffle), Baonanas Banana Pudding, Bolivian Llama Party (french fries), and Bona Bona (ice cream topped with a torched marshmallow).
Okay, I don’t know if these vendors will be there for a fact, but a girl can dream. Sigh
***Hey, the holidays come but once a year! So why not do it up right with a Manhattan Holiday Yacht Cruise that offers patrons jazz, cocoa, and carols! I mean really, all I need is a cup of cocoa and some SMOOTH jazz and I’ll be good to go. If you yearn for something a bit more traditional, you can also check out the Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall. ***
7. BUST Magazine Craftacular and Food Fair Holiday 2018
Umm, who doesn’t like belly dancing, glitter bombs, and past lives, all rolled into one zany yet amazing holiday event?
I know I do!
Okay, before you think I’ve gone totally coo coo for Cocoa Puffs, let me explain!
BUST is a feminist magazine that hosts an inspiring, holiday craft fair, filled with vintage crafts, insane DJs, Artisinal food, fun prizes, DIY activities, feminist talks, wellness classes, and more.
Held in the uber-trendy neighborhood of Greenpoint, Brooklyn, this event celebrates all that is DIY culture, between December 8th and 9th, at the Brooklyn Expo Center.
This year, the BUST School for Creative Living is teaming up with the BUST Holiday Craftacular, to orchestrate an event filled with DIY crafts like cross-stitch, macrame, etc.
Patrons can bring home the very items that they made; a great reminder that the holidays are not just about gifts but about the experiences that we create.
***Looking for some holiday cheer in Queens? Then look no further than the Astoria Market! This holiday market transforms the Bohemian Hall beer garden into an Artisanal food hall and vintage craft fair combined, with markets being held on the first three Sundays of December.
8. Renegade Craft Fair
You know that with a name like Renegade Craft Fair, it has to be good! Am I right?
Well, in this case, I am since craft lovers all over the tristate area rejoice when this craft fair comes to Industrial City, in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, for the holiday season (Psst, I found conflicting fair dates so check the website for more details).
Why you may wonder?
Well, only the creme de la creme of crafting artists are invited to attend and sell their exquisite, handmade goods at this event. And with over 200 vendors in attendance, you’ll definitely find more than one something to love.
They even have a super snazzy DJ, a refreshing assortment of Artisanal food and drinks, and a slew of DIY crafts for children of all ages.
So get ready cool kids because we’re gonna party like it’s 1865. Yeah, I’m about as hardcore as a jello mold.
***Looking for more holiday fun in Brooklyn? Then check out the Brooklyn Holiday Bazaar on November 26 and 27. Here, vendors sell an assortment of art prints, stationery, and jewelry to holiday shoppers of all kinds. Not only that but they’ll even wrap your presents for free! Just grab a baked good though because obviously you’re gonna need your strength after all that shopping. I mean, those holiday shoppers can be vicious! ***