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DNAinfo New York's Pick of the Best Holiday Markets Across the City

By Emily Frost | November 18, 2013 9:00am
 Skip the chain stores and cross everyone off your list at these New York City holiday fairs. 
The Best Upcoming Holiday Fairs
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NEW YORK CITY — Starting in November and running right up until Christmas, the city is bustling with holiday markets and fairs — with new ones emerging every year.

But shopping markets can easily become another annoying holiday chore — so DNAinfo New York has helped you track down down the best in the city. 

Holiday markets appeal because shoppers "want to buy something unique, that no one else has," explained Kerry Batty, who's part of the Etsy team, the online handmade marketplace that's running a holiday market in Brooklyn. 

That one-of-a-kind specialness that "you cannot find or duplicate at a chain retail store," is what draws crowds, she said. 

The holiday market-goers Batty has encountered "want to connect with the person who crafted the piece they're buying," she said.

"They want to give more meaningful gifts and that leads to more meaningful purchases."

Clear your weekends — here are the 14 best city markets for you to browse. 


Union Square
Nov. 21 - Dec. 24
M-F, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., Sat. 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Sun. 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. 

The Union Square Holiday Market takes over the square in late November with more than 150 vendors. For those who love the appeal of Brooklyn but don't want to make the trek, there will be a "Little Brooklyn" section of the market featuring goods from the borough. 

Bryant Park
Nov. 1 - Jan. 5
M-F, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., Sat. 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Sun. 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Bryant Park boasts that, with its ice skating rink and tree-lined alleys, the park becomes a winter wonderland. Shoppers can make their way through 125 booths of gifts, even some for pets. 

Vanderbilt Hall, Grand Central Terminal
Nov. 18 - Dec. 24

Mon. - Sat. 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Sun. 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. 

Convenient for commuters, this holiday fair with 76 booths gets more than 1 million visitors a day, organizers said.

Columbus Circle
Dec. 3 to Dec. 24

Mon. - Sat, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m, Sun. 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. 

This outdoor gift and food market has wood plank floors and picnic tables as well as a host of food vendors, including Charlito's Cocina, Bar Suzette, Seoul Lee Korean Barbecue and Mighty Balls.  

Chelsea Market, 75 9th Avenue
Dec. 17 - 23, M-Sat. 10:30 a.m. - 7:45 p.m., Sun. 10:30 a.m. - 3 p.m. 

This holiday market has the added bonus of being near tons of permanent food stalls and chain stores like Anthropologie, should you desire them. Indie favorites like Twig Terrarium and Izola will be at this year's market. 

DCTV Firehouse, 87 Lafayette Street
Dec. 14, 12 p.m. to 9 p.m. 
Dec. 15, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. 

The craft fair strives to go a little beyond your typical holiday market. As it states on its site, "the DCF transcends the line between art vs. craft and has created a place where not only can you get a wonderful knit scarf but a fine art painting as well."

At the opening night reception from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. there will be music and free beer. The next day the first 50 guests get a free tote full of goodies. 

125 West 18th Street
Dec. 14 and 15, $3

This annual holiday party, held by the feminist magazine BUST, will be giving away goodie bags to the first 500 attendees. There are more than 200 vendors, DJs playing music throughout and plenty of DIY workshops.

1047 Amsterdam Avenue
Dec. 6 -8, $6 weekdays, $7 weekends

This craft fair features more high-end objects, including pieces made of leather and glass, as well as ceramics and jewelry. 

"In a world of mass-production, imported goods and poor quality control, we offer a market where everything offered is hand made, one of a kind, made by North American artisans," the cathedral states on its site. 


The Space, 50 North 3rd Street, Brooklyn
Dec. 14 and 15, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. 

Typically, there's a line to get into this craft fair, organizers said. That's in part because the first 100 entrants get a goodie bag with "items such as small earrings, holiday postcards, bracelets, T-shirts, small prints and vendor gift cards," said Kerry Batty. 

The fair has more than 40 Etsy New York vendors selling "goods ranging from handmade clothing, jewelry, accessories and paper goods to bath and body products, toys and housewares," Batty said

Nov. 23 and 24, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
1 Hanson Place, Brooklyn

The Renegade Craft Fair strives to elevate your craft browsing experience by hosting all kinds of add-ons like a free photo booth, free music and workshops to make the fair feel more like a party, organizers said. 

Organic soaps, kids clothes, leather pouches, letterpress cards, wooden toys, elaborate earrings, and several kinds of pirate pants are on offer, among a selection of more than 200 vendors. 

69 9th Street, Brooklyn
Dec. 7, 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Dec. 8, 10 a.m. to 5p.m.

According to the website, along with a slew of handmade gifts for sale, there will be free beer for all attendees on Friday, courtesy of sponsors Brooklyn Brewery and Brooklyn Home Brew. DJ WE CAN GOT IT will be spinning tunes at the Friday kickoff party as well. 

80 N. 5th Street
Nov.30 - March, Sat. and Sun. 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

The Brooklyn Flea's winter holiday market is in a new location this year that's much larger, meaning more vendors will have booths, organizers said. 

The Flea's food operation, known as Smorgasburg, will be held with 75 food booths alongside 125 gift vendors.

And for those that like to give the gift of food, Smorgasburg vendors will have both packaged food and items for you to munch while you shop, said Brooklyn Flea staffer Eric Demby.

501 Union Street, Brooklyn 
Dec. 8, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The group the Brooklyn Makers has curated a collection of 30 artists for this holiday fair. Along with the typical slate of handmade gifts, there will tons of workshops as well for both artsy adults and grownups. 

Dec. 8, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
P.S. 29, 425 Henry Street, Brooklyn

This one-day holiday fair benefits P.S. 29 in Cobble Hill and features $5 slices of pie and an "artisan gift fair," with more than 40 vendors. The fair will have a range of specialty gifts from special glass terrariums to organic pecans to handmade batik clothing. 

Celebrity foodies Gail Simmons of Food and Wine Magazine and New York Times food writer Melissa Clark are among the judges for the pie contest. Last year, there were more than 325 sweet and savory pies on offer, said organizer Leslie Koren. 

Parents can sneak in that holiday card photo by making use of the professional photographer on hand at the fair, whose portraits start at $30. 

Or, they can park the kids at the free craft stations while they browse. Crafts are hosted by Rolling River Day Camp and Artscetera and face painting and glitter tattoos are by Kidville