NYC Christmas Markets

Visiting the Christmas markets in New York City is an essential activity during the holiday season in New York. It’s a great activity if you’re traveling solo. There are a number of markets, but the top three are at Union Square, Bryant Park, and Columbus Circle. While it’s possible to see all three in one day, I like to do them in separate afternoons, looking at all the stalls and eating some great food at a more relaxed pace. If you don’t have the time, you can do Union Square and Bryant Park, which are just a few subway stops away from each other, or combine the market at Columbus Circle with a walk to Rockefeller Center to see the Christmas tree and the Saks Fifth Avenue light show.

Union Square Christmas Market

Open November 18th through December 24th, closed on Thanksgiving Day and closes at 4pm on Christmas Eve.

Located at Union Square, there are numerous stalls to shop for Christmas gifts and something special for yourself, whether it’s a colorful lantern, decorative Czech egg, or a hand-knit cap at Nirvana Designs.    

To warm up grab a cookie and some hot chocolate.  When you get more hungry, make sure to get a freshly grilled bratwurst at German Bratwurst.

For a full list of vendors, see here.


  • M-F 11am – 8pm
  • Sat  10am – 8pm
  • Sun  11am – 7pm

Bryant Park Christmas Market

October 29th through January 2nd

The Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park is a must-see holiday destination.  In addition to the Christmas market there is an admission-free ice-skating rink with its own Christmas tree, and The Lodge which is a bar and food hall with stands like Stout. 

The market has apparel, art work, home goods, holiday décor, and more. 

Every year I come to get a raclette sandwich at the Baked Cheese House, it is my holiday tradition.  You can snack on donuts and hot apple cider, get arepas or churros, or sip on hot chocolate by Max Brenner.

For a full list of vendors, see here.


  • M-F  11am – 8pm
  • Sat-Sun  10am – 8pm

Columbus Circle Christmas Market

November 29th through December 24th

The market at Columbus Circle is smaller than the two markets above, but it makes up for that by being located at the entrance to Central Park. 

After browsing through the stalls, maybe picking up a nice pendant necklace, you can sip on some gluhwein (this market is one of the few that allow alcoholic gluhwein, the German spiced wine drink), and then take a walk through the snow in Central Park.

For a full list of vendors, see here.


  • M-Sat  11am – 8pm
  • Sun  11am – 7pm

Rockefeller Christmas Tree and Saks Fifth Avenue Light Show

If a walk through Central Park is not on your list that evening, you can head the other way down Fifth Avenue for some of the best window shopping in the world.  Stores like Harry Winstons and others light up their buildings with magnificent designs. 

The walk is topped off by a stop at Rockefeller Center to see the world-famous Rockefeller Christmas tree.  If that isn’t magical enough, turn around to watch the Saks Fifth Avenue Light Show.

To top off the evening, if you have the energy, you can skate at the iconic Rockefeller skating rink, and have dinner and drinks at the Rainbow Room [30 Rockefeller Plaza, 65th floor, (212) 632-5000].  For a full list of places to eat at Rockefeller Center, see here.

Those are just some brief highlights of the must-sees. Visting the markets is a chance for you to make your own special memories and traditions. There is nothing like the holiday magic of a Christmas in New York City.

Date of trip:  every Christmas since 1993

Published by Irena Springer

I am a travel blogger who loves to make the most out of each and every trip.

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