LATEST PAPER
36° Good Evening
36° Good Evening

NYC holiday markets

The mere mention of those two words, holiday shopping, can bring terrifying flashbacks of claustrophobic malls filled with frantic consumers moving about to a soundtrack of screaming children and wretched seasonal songs. (Really, "Grandma Got Run over by a Reindeer," again?)

It doesn't have to be that way. And some places, it isn't.

These NYC holidays markets seek to turn that shopping frown upside down, offering unique experiences filled with independent-minded vendors selling an eclectic array of goods.

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

With more than 100 merchants, the Union Square
Photo Credit: Getty Images / Andrew Burton

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., urbanspacenyc.com)

Astoria Market

This weekly market transforms into a holiday haven
Photo Credit: Astoria Market

This weekly market transforms into a holiday haven for three Sundays. Head to Astoria to shop from around 40 vendors selling an array of handmade wares including jewelry, stained glass, ceramics, knitwear, leather boots and baked goods. (Bohemian Hall, 29-19 24th Ave., Queens, Dec. 3, 10 and 17, noon-6 p.m., astoriamarket.com

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

At the intersection of Columbus Circle and Central
Photo Credit: Erin Kestenbaum

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, urbanspacenyc.com)

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

Who knows what handmade gems you'll find at
Photo Credit: BUST Craftacular

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, bust.com)