Experience Christmas in New York: Best Holiday Markets

 Photo by Savannah White

Photo by Savannah White

Christmas has returned to New York City! If there is one holiday shopping event that is worth braving the cold for, it's New York City’s Christmas markets. Bryant Park Winter Village and Union Square Holiday Market are here to get the city in the holiday mood. Even with busy scheduling and holiday budgets, visiting one of these markets should certainly be on the Christmas checklist.

Bryant Park Winter Village

With a 17,000 square-foot ice-skating rink, Bryant Park Winter village gets visitors into the holiday season. With free admission, Urbanspace, the brand responsible for Union Square’s holiday market, welcomes visitors to experience a one-of-a-kind winter wonderland. More than 150 shopping kiosks and food vendors encircle Bryant Park’s ice skating rink behind the New York Public Library.

 Photo by Savannah White

Photo by Savannah White

With neatly organized shops and an endless assortment of items for sale including ornaments, jewelry, hot drinks and treats, and children's trinkets and good, there is something for every holiday shopper.

The European inspired open-air markets at Bryant Park and feature artisans both local and from around the world. The holiday shops are housed in custom designed “jewel box” kiosks.

Grab a hot chocolate and go for a walk around this festive bazaar. The winter village is the perfect setting for a low-cost but high quality date (ice-skating is free but renting skates is $20) or a great place to hang out with friends. Average drinks cost around $5.

Where: Bryant Park located on 41 W 40th St. between Sixth and Fifth Avenue.

Hours: Holiday Shops: Mon-Fri: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., Sat., Sun: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

When does it end? Jan. 2, 2018

Union Square Holiday Market

Located in the heart of New York City, Union Square Park boasts the internationally renowned Holiday Market. It’s praised as a must-visit destination for both tourists and locals alike. This market features over 70 different shops, vendors and food options.

“It’s an amazing market,” said Annie Moor, an illustrator and owner of Annie Draws Stuff, who has held a booth at the market two years in a row. “There's usually over 650 unique visitors with 3 million visits total over the course of only 5 weeks.”

 Photo by Savannah White

Photo by Savannah White

Union Square Holiday Market draws independent craftsmen and artists, like Moor, who has lived in New York City for over 13 years. This market attracts millions of people to browse through the winding aisles, enjoying the eclectic holiday experience.

“As an independent artist and entrepreneur it's a huge opportunity to get your brand out there,” Moore said.

Bundle up and wander through the spiral of shops, indulging in international Christmas themed delights such hot apple cider and German drinks and food.

Union Square Market contains everything from Celtic themed shops to organic French soaps, handmade stationery to glow-in-the-dark masks. Distinctly different genres of music play at each vendor. Each holiday shop retains individuality.

This year, with an upgraded look, Union Square boasts exciting new sections such as Urbanspace Provisions, a Warming Station, lounge, a children’s arts and craft booth, and live music.

Where: Union Square Park, 14th St & Union Square W, New York, NY 10011

Hours: 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Mon. Through Fri., 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Sat., and 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Sun.

When does it end? Dec. 24th