Shopping the Christmas Markets in Manhattan

Christmas cheer is everywhere in New York City. Christmas tree sellers are out on public sidewalks and department store windows are inventively festooned. Rockefeller Center is filled with beautiful skaters and visitors ogling the stunningly lit tree.  But it’s the outdoor less-crowded shopping at the holiday markets throughout the city that gets me jazzed.

Union Square’s red-and-white tents are a holiday tradition.  The square between 14th and 16th streets along Broadway is packed with more than 100 shops and boutiques where you can find gifts for family and friends. The nice thing, too, is that most of the crafts are handmade and you usually won’t find them in a storefront in the city.  I love the winter accessories, jewelry and funky specialty items.  In the tradition of outdoor food markets, there are also welcome treats like hot chocolate and hot apple cider, gingerbread men, crepes and more.  And, my favorite food truck has an outpost here: Wafels and Dinges – be sure to try the Spekuloos spread (sort of like crushed Teddy Grahams) on a delicious Belgian liege.  New this year, there’s a Market Concierge to help you sort through the wonders.  Open every day from 11am-8pm until Christmas Eve.

Union Square Holiday Market

Just behind the New York Public Library at 42nd Street is Bryant Park’s Holiday Market.  This market is sprawling with more than 125 booths from around the world.  It’s a bit different from other locales because it draws holiday visitors for reasons other than shopping as well.   Manhattan’s only free ice skating rink is here and there’s also a gorgeously lit Christmas tree.  The rushing crowds make it clear that you’re in the heart of midtown, just inches away from jam-packed Times Square.  You’ll definitely want to stop by my favorite vendor Max Brenner, Chocolate by the Bald Man to grab some energizing pralines.  Open 11am-8pm during the week and 10am-9pm Saturday and 10am-6pm Sunday.

Max Brenner NYC

Further uptown is the Columbus Circle Market which sits at the corner of Central Park South and Central Park West. A bit more scattered than the other two markets, this one has lots of interesting booths including handmade games, handcrafted accessories, gingerbread houses, apple cider, clothing, and gorgeous jewelry laid out in pathways perpendicular to one another.  I picked up a gorgeous necklace at Over the Moon Jewel . Barbara Wilkinson has an amazing touch with gemstones and is willing to customize to your taste.  I had met her at the Mark’t in Madison Square Park in October.  And one of my favorite Upper East Side Mexican restaurants, Cascabel, will keep you warm with their spicy carnita tacos.  Like its Union Square sibling, this year’s Columbus Circle Market offers the services of a Market Concierge.  I didn’t see her when I was there, but I could definitely have used her help. Open every day from 10am-8pm until Christmas Eve.

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2 Responses to “Shopping the Christmas Markets in Manhattan”

  1. [...] wonder. In Bryant Park during the holiday season the park is turned into an outdoor market. It is a great place to do your holiday shopping because with so many varied handmade shops to choose from, it’s almost guaranteed that you can [...]

  2. [...] of Europe’s glitterati routinely go Christmas shopping in New York. The city’s shopping district just comes into its own at this time of year, kicking off with [...]

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