NYC's seasonal holiday markets deliver a quintessential holiday shopping experience in the city, with massive outdoor fairs that unfold in scenic locales like Bryant Park, Union Square, and Columbus Circle (there's even a great indoor option at Grand Central Terminal, for those adverse to cold fingers and toes). Shoppers can browse an eclectic mix of boutique-style vendors, and refuel with seasonal food and drink. Here's everything you need to know about the four best holiday markets in Manhattan, so you can set out on the ultimate shopping spree for everyone on your list:
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Where: Bryant Park, W. 40th to W. 42nd sts., btwn 5th and 6th aves.
When: Runs through January 2, 2017; hours are Daily, 11am–8pm (note: some stands may close on the holidays)
Unfolding behind the majestic New York Public Library building in Bryant Park, the Bank of America-sponsored Winter Village offers a winter wonderland atmosphere complete with ample open-air shopping, courtesy of the European-inspired Holiday Shops. Browse more than 125 boutique-style vendors, including some two dozen food stands, set up in glass-enclosed kiosks. Look for many returning favorites from years past, selling jewelry, toys, clothing, imported chocolates, and stick around for some ice-skating, too—it's the only rink in Manhattan to offer free admission (note: skate rentals are extra, $20).
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Where: Union Square Park, E. 14th to E. 17th sts., btwn Broadway and Park Ave. South
When: Runs through December 24, 2016; hours are Mon–Fri, 11am–8pm; Sat, 10am–8pm; Sun, 11am–7pm
A holiday market haven for more than two decades, the atmospheric, alfresco Union Square Holiday Market welcomes hordes of shoppers each year, with more than 150 small business vendors (many of them from the NYC area) tucked behind cheery red-and-white-striped tents in Union Square. Look for artisanal food products, holiday ornaments, children's toys, original artwork, handmade jewelry, and more. Food and drink vendors are on hand, too, and there's also a new kids' section where holiday art projects are hosted in partnership with the Children’s Museum of the Arts.
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Where: Grand Central Terminal's Vanderbilt Hall, 89 E. 42nd St. at Park Ave.
When: Runs through December 24, 2016; hours are Mon–Fri, 10am–8pm; Sat, 10am–7pm; Sun 11am–6pm. (open 10am–6pm on Christmas Eve.; closed on Thanksgiving)
Perfect for days when temperatures plunge (and even when they don't), Grand Central Terminal’s majestic Vanderbilt Hall sets the stage for the annual indoor Grand Central Holiday Fair, chock-full of art, clothing, jewelry, home goods, bath and body products, toys, and more. Held here since 1993, this year's edition will feature 40 vendors with a focus on American-made products. Stick around for the annual Holiday Train Show at the nearby New York Transit Museum Gallery Annex & Store, and check out New York-made food and beverage products for the locavore in your life, at the Taste NY store (set across from track 37).
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Where: Columbus Circle, at 59th St. and Central Park West
When: Runs through December 24, 2016; hours are Mon–Sat, 10am–8pm; Sun, 10am–7pm
At the southwest entrance of Central Park, across from the Time Warner Center (and its Shops at Columbus Circle mall, with its fantastic holiday display), the Columbus Circle Holiday Market is put together by the same team behind the Union Square Holiday Market. Some 100 booths feature eclectic handmade wares and artisanal food from vendors hocking everything from hot cocoa to ethnic cuisine. Expect gift items like chocolates and truffles; jewelry from up-and-coming designers; clothing and accessories; home accessories; and more.