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:

Novogratz holiday pop-up (Dec. 9-23)

Designers Cortney and Robert Novogratz are opening a new pop-up "guideshop" with daily entertainment and live music, as well as talks with photographers and artists. Plus you can take your pick from more than 100 pieces of furniture and decor from the Novogratz's collection. (11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday-Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. on Sunday, 446 W. 14th St.,

Young & Able holiday pop-up (through Dec. 31)

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, Refinery Hotel, 63 West 38th St.,

Turnstyle Underground Market (Through Dec. 31)

More than two dozen independent merchants have joined Turnstyle's 38 permanent shops in the subway corridor beneath Columbus Circle. On your way home from work, you can stop and pick up some Hell's Kitchen Hot Sauce, skincare from Limegreen, 787 Coffee from Puerto Rico and more. (11 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily, between 57th Street and Eighth Avenue,


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,

Garment District Holiday Market (Through Dec. 24)

The Garment District Holiday Market made its debut on Broadway this season. The lineup includes local chefs and homegrown retailers, like Honeygramz, Jianbing Company, Posh Pop Bakeshop, WOOPS! macarons and I Am Here Brooklyn. Installations of mannequin "trees" decorated with garland and ornaments by designer Miles Dallas line the market as well. (11 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily, closed on Thanksgiving, between 39th and 40th streets and 40th and 41st streets on Broadway,

Union Square Holiday Market (Through 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 U.S. 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,

Grand Holiday Bazaar (Dec. 2-24)

The Grand Bazaar's weekend market is transforming into a hot spot for the holidays. Peruse holiday-specific goods from more than 100 vendors, including Voilà Chocolat, ornaments from The Mermaids Dream and more. (Open weekends from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., 100 W. 77th St., Manhattan,

Ujamaa Market (Dec. 29)

Shop for art and handmade goods while celebrating the Kwanzaa principle of "Ujamaa," or "collective economics," and supporting black business owners. There will be live music, food, a coat drive and activities for all. (noon to 6 p.m., Vulcan Society FDNY, 739 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn,

Grand Central Holiday Fair (Through Dec. 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.,

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