UPDATED NOVEMBER 2013: A favorite tradition among many New York City-area families is strolling the city's pop-up holiday shops. These seasonal gift fairs offer a less-stress alternative to prowling the malls or chain stores during the holiday shopping season, and they feature many unique items, including everything from locally made crafts to custom-designed jewelry to handmade housewares, so you're likely to find something special for just about everyone on your gift list.
Columbus Circle Holiday Market
This annual holiday market offers items such as handmade wooden puzzles, gingerbread houses and kits, French truffles, mother and daughter apparel, and handcrafted home accessories. Local food vendors sell cider and other treats.
Hours: Dec. 3-24. Monday-Saturday 10am-8pm; Sunday 10am-7pm.
Location: Columbus Circle, Central Park South and Central Park West, Upper West Side
For more information: 212-529-9262 or urbanspacenyc.com/columbus-circle-holiday-market.
Grand Central Terminal Holiday Fair
Known for its variety, this fair features 76 vendors with a wide array of goods at all price levels, including unique crafts, jewelry, clothing, home furnishings, and children's gifts. This year marks the Centennial Holiday Fair, in celebration of Grand Central's 100th anniversary.
Hours: Nov. 18 - Dec. 24. Monday-Saturday 10am-8pm; Sunday 11am-7pm. Open 10am-6pm on Christmas Eve. Closed Thanksgiving.
Location: Grand Central Terminal, Vanderbilt Hall, Lexington Avenue at 42nd Street, Midtown
For more information: 212-340-2345 or grandcentralterminal.com.
The Holiday Shops in the Bank of American Winter Village at Bryant Park
The park's tree-lined alleys are transformed into one of the city's premiere holiday shopping destinations, with more than 125 custom-designed jewel box kiosks and food vendors selling goods from distinctive apparel to jewelry, decorative goods, and local foods.
Hours: Nov. 1 - Jan. 5. Monday-Friday 11am-8pm; Saturday 10am-9pm; Sunday 10am-6pm.
Location: Bryant Park, 40th-42nd streets between Fifth and Sixth avenues, Midtown
For more information: 212-768-4242 or theholidayshopsatbryantpark.com
Union Square Holiday Market
This famous market features more than 150 merchants selling unique gifts, including hand-blown glass housewares, locally handmade leather belts, bags and accessories made from recycled plastic, a variety of handmade jewelry, and Tibetan crafts. Food vendors will also be selling sweet and savory treats. Visit the Information Booth for help on finding your gifts.
Hours: Nov. 21 - Dec. 24. Monday-Friday 11am-8pm; Saturday 10am-8pm; Sunday 11am-7pm.
Location: Union Square, South Plaza
For more information: 212-460-1200 or urbanspacenyc.com/union-square-holiday-market
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