Holiday markets: Find unique gifts at these alternative shopping spots

Finding the perfect holiday gift can be a daunting task, but it gets easier when handmade and locally crafted items are together in one location. Instead of perusing the mall or chain stores for an object or piece of clothing everyone has, search the winding alleys of the city's holiday markets, which are crammed full of unique trinkets, snacks and toys.

These shops can be found across the city from the markets at Union Square and Columbus Circle to the Brooklyn Flea, and the Astoria and FAD markets.

To make it even easier, we've put together a list of where you can get in the holiday spirit and find the best gifts below:

Oddities Holiday Market (Dec. 1-2)

The Oddities Flea Market is back at Brooklyn Bazaar for the holiday season with a new sponsorship by Ripley's Believe it or Not! Times Square!, which will be located in the lobby of the Bazaar with its own merch, interactive exhibits and discounted tickets to its museum. The flea market will take over three floors of the Bazaar with medical history ephemera, specimens, taxidermy, dark art, jewelry and decor. VIP access is pre-sold through Atlas Obscura for $30-$50. ($10, noon to 6 p.m., Brooklyn Bazaar, 150 Greenpoint Ave.,

Now Go Cook Holiday Market (Nov. 16-19)

Chef-wear brand Tilit is teaming up with kitchen goods brands like Jono Pandolfi USA, Chelsea Miller Knives and Field Co. to put on a holiday market fit for chefs and others who frequent the kitchen. Tilit will feature its Contra chef and wrap aprons, its bartender bag and its best-selling jumpsuit. (Noon to 8 p.m. on Nov. 16, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Nov. 17, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Nov. 18, and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Nov. 19, 198 Allen St.)

Holiday Art Sale (Dec. 10-21)

Own or buy art for $1,000 or less at the Art Students League of New York's annual Holiday Art Sale starting Dec. 11. Choose from landscapes, portraits, still life and abstract art as well as sculptures, which are capped at $1,500. Some pieces are priced at less than $100, so get there early. (Open 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on weekdays and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the weekend, 215 W. 57th St. between Seventh Avenue and Broadway)


Union Square Holiday Market (Nov. 15-Dec. 24)

With more than 100 merchants, the Union Square Holiday Market provides a plethora of creative gifts for your shopping needs. The possibilities are endless -- from handmade jewelry and leather belts to accessories made from recycled plastics. Take a break from browsing and grab a snack from one of the food vendors, because who doesn't work up an appetite while shopping? (Monday to Friday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Saturday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Sunday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.,

Columbus Circle Holiday Market (Nov. 28 to Dec. 24)

At the intersection of Columbus Circle and Central Park, another shopping hotspot can be found. This market has something for most everyone on your list. Among other items, you'll find handmade wooden puzzles, artisanal chocolates and clothing for men, women and children. Everything is handmade, made in the United States or fair trade, organizers say. (10 a.m. to 8 p.m. weekdays and Saturday; until 7 p.m. on Sundays, Columbus Circle, at 59th Street and Central Park West,

East Village Stand Holiday Market (Nov. 23-Dec. 24)

This 10-foot-by-4-foot space, which was originally a storage space, is transforming into a stand for performances, dinner parties, poetry, concerts and a place to shop for holiday gifts. Check out items from Bottleworks ( bottle lamps, pendant lights and glassware) by Joe Harrigon; handmade picture frames by Anne Edris; spiced pepitas and Applewood smoked sea salt from Taconic Trading Company; eulenspiegelchocolatelab cookies and chocolates; Black Lives Matter holiday themed jewelry and ornaments by Carla Cubit; and artwork by Baum Earth Elements. (Noon to 6 p.m., at the corner of Seventh Street and Avenue C, East Village,

Holiday Handmade Cavalcade (Nov. 24-25, Dec. 3-9, 15-16)

Formerly the Etsy NY Team, the NY Handmade Collective is back again with unique and locally crafted gifts from more than 60 independent vendors based in the tristate area. Expect earrings, ceramics, knitwear, candles, leather products, tree ornaments, art and more. (11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Nov. 24-25 at the Invisible Dog at 51 Bergen St. in Brooklyn; 10:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. at 75 Ninth Ave. in Manhattan; and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Dec. 15 and 16 at the Brooklyn Historical Society at 128 Pierrepont St.,

Young & Able holiday pop-up (Nov. 2-Dec. 23)

New York Makers has teamed up with Pop Up Nation to shine a spotlight on gifts and items from women-owned businesses this holiday season. More than 100 female designers will have their wares on sale, including clothing, jewelry, ceramics, beauty products, stationery and more. (noon to 8 p.m. daily, Brooklyn location to be announced,

Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park (Through Jan. 2)

When you're not sharpening up your ice skating skills at the park's ice rink (which is free), browse the Winter Village shops. There are more than 150 different stalls selling handmade crafts, artisanal food and goods from around the world, including rugs, jewelry, yogawear, ceramics, body lotions and teas. (11 a.m.-8 p.m. weekdays and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on weekends, 40th and 42nd streets between Fifth and Sixth avenues,

Grand Holiday Bazaar (Nov. 25-Dec. 3)

The Grand Bazaar's weekend market is transforming into a hot spot for the holidays. Peruse handmade, holiday-specific goods from more than 150 vendors, plus 100 percent of the profits go to four local public schools with more than 4,000 children. (Open weekends from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., 100 W. 77th St., Manhattan,

FAD Market Holiday Edition (Dec. 1-2. 8-9, 15-16)

FAD Market's "Holiday Edition" can be found at three different Brooklyn locales each weekend in December from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and promises to show off "one-of-a-kind" items from more than 150 independent designers of art, jewelry, clothing, bath and body care, and more. It will also host a holiday artisan food market with more than 40 vendors of handmade chocolates, sweets, baked goods and more. That will be held on Dec. 8 and 9 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Brooklyn Historical Society. (Located at City Point's Prince Street Corridor at 445 Albee Square W. and at the Brooklyn Historical Society at 128 Pierrepont St. on Dec. 1-2 and 8-9;

Crafts at the Cathedral (Nov. 29-Dec. 2)

The 22nd annual show is back with pottery, art, glasswork, jewelry, woodworking and leather products, in Synod House of the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine. The first day will coincide with a celebration of the cathedral's 125th anniversary. ($10, 6-9 p.m. on Nov. 29, 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Dec. Nov. 30, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. on Dec. 1, and 1 to 6 p.m. on Dec. 2, 1047 Amsterdam Ave.,

Sugar x Spice Holiday Makers Market (Dec. 16)

More than 30 independent vendors from the borough will be selling their handmade wares at the Brooklyn Bazaar. (1 to 6 p.m., 150 Greenpoint Ave.,

Grand Central Holiday Fair (Dec. 12-24)

Kill two birds with one stone while traveling through Grand Central Terminal. On your way home from work, take advantage of the roughly 40 vendors selling wares in Vanderbilt Hall. There are gifts for him and her, and for kids on two and four legs. (Closed Thanksgiving Day; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. weekdays; 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturdays; and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sundays, 89 E. 42nd St.,

Give-back Gift Shop (Nov. 25-27)

In time for Giving Tuesday, this interactive pop-up shop in Bryant Park will feature charitable gifts, farm animals, water and relief kits for families, with proceeds going to World Vision's programs across the country and globe. You'll be able to pet a goat, learn about the need for clean water, build a relief kit for homeless people, go inside a Mongolian ger and learn about child sponsorship in a virtual reality station. (11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.,

Astoria Market ( Dec. 2,9,16)

This weekly market transforms into a holiday haven. Head to Astoria to shop from dozens of vendors selling an array of handmade wares including jewelry, stained glass, ceramics, knitwear, leather boots and baked goods. (noon-6 p.m., Bohemian Hall, 29-19 24th Ave., Queens,

BUST Craftacular Holiday Craft Fair (Dec. 8-9)

Who knows what handmade gems you'll find at the indie-minded market from the femme-minded magazine? The Craftacular will take over the giant Brooklyn Expo Center, where you can browse the wares of more than 200 crafty sellers of knitwear, food, vintage goods, art and DIY workshops, demos and lectures. (11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Brooklyn Expo Center, 72 Noble St., Brooklyn,