The Union Square Holiday Market – Famous Festive Shopping Fun

New York is a prime Christmastime destination, and at the heart of it, in Union Square, the unbeatable and internationally renowned annual Union Square Holiday Market is the first place you should be heading to on your Christmas shopping spree.

Union Square Holiday Market from above. Photo by Ruwan J.

Every year for the past 40 years, the Union Square Holiday Market has been able to offer guests between 100 and 200 selected local vendors selling unique handcrafted gifts, original artwork, and beautiful accessories to inspire and brighten up the pile of presents under your tree at home (as well as the tree itself)- and this year promises to be no different!

And don’t think that just because these quality items were created by artists and entrepreneurs they will all be outrageously overpriced, no – we’ve always found very affordable options while browsing. All you need is time to really do some wandering and digging. And if you make the Information Booth your first stop after arrival, you can pick up some coupons for further discounts at local businesses too.

Entrance to the Union Square Holiday Market. Photo by Brenda T.

Open from mid-November until Christmas, the Union Square Holiday Market attracts visitors from around the globe. And it’s no wonder. Not only is it the perfect place to pick up unique and non-commercial gifts for your loved ones, it’s also packed to the brim with holiday magic, twinkling lights, and the sights, smells and sounds that only a New York Christmas can give you.

Rusty metal? No! It’s chocolate in varied and inspiring shapes. Photo by Ryan P.
There’s plenty of beautiful jewelry on sale here. Photo by Michael B.

A note on that “visitors from around the world” aspect – yes, you can expect crowds: literally millions of people fly in just to soak up some “Home Alone” vibes in the city this time of year, coming to browse the winding pathways between Union Square Holiday Market’s festive stalls. Think “Black Friday” and you’ll get the idea of numbers, especially on the weekends, though the atmosphere is much more cheerful and friendly as opposed to that frantic grabbing for goods!

If you want a quieter, less hustle-and-bustle stroll around the vendors offerings, though, we recommend you aim to get there early on a weekday, do your shopping, then spend an afternoon and evening relaxing and enjoying the music, carol singing, and other entertainment.

It can get crowded! Photo by Jen W.

Around Union Square, you’ll find dozens of award-winning restaurants with a range of global cuisines, coffee shops, retailers, and entertainment venues so you can make a real day of it – shop, eat, drink and really celebrate the season.

There are hundreds of ground-floor businesses in the neighborhood – whether you’re looking for experimental fashion or haute couture, a special book or that perfect perfume – you’ll find it here. And for fresh produce for that Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner, the year-round Union Square Greenmarket operates alongside the Holiday Market on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

Lamps, ceramics and mugs. Photo by Susan D.

The Union Square Holiday Market is best known for its artisan shops, which are grouped together in themed areas of the venue- “Little Brooklyn” or “Urbanspace Provisions,” for example.

Jewelry, artwork, candles, stationary, self-sustaining terrariums, clothing and accessories, fresh spices and teas, model-making kits, ceramics, home decor, bath and body products, novelty items, dolls and soft toys, sweets and more – if you can imagine it, you can probably find it at the Union Square Holiday Market!

The perfect evening out to get in the holiday spirit. Photo by Jen W.

And when you need a break, there is an area to warm up in on colder days and sip on a cup of soup, some deliciously energizing hot chocolate, or hot cider or Glühwein. There are also areas with live music for extra holiday cheer.

So much delicious food to be had. Imagine it and you’ll find it! Photo by Jennifer Y.

Most people head to the Union Square Holiday Market to shop for home or holiday gifts for loved ones…but there are quite a few who head there just for the food! From German Bratwurst, Korean Dog, Bao, to Poutine, Waffles and Dinges, the list goes on. Like the gifts, if you can imagine it, you’ll find it here, though there are plenty of sweet, savory, spicy and crunchy new surprises to be had too!

Open November 16 – December 24, 2023

Mondays – Fridays11am – 8pm
Saturdays10am – 8pm
Sundays11am – 7pm
Thanksgiving Day (Nov. 24)Closed
Christmas Eve (Dec. 24)4pm closing
The stalls are divided into zones. Photo by Ant B.

“Union Square remains home to some of New York City’s most beloved holiday traditions – from seasonal offerings at the renowned Greenmarket and an incredible array of new and favorite restaurants to a robust lineup of winter theater,” says Jennifer Falk, Executive Director, Union Square Partnership. “The Holiday Market enlivens the neighborhood each winter, gathering locals and visitors alike within the heart of NYC. We are looking forward to welcoming back holiday shoppers for yet another year of cherished holiday memories with family and friends.”

“This year our market has more small and local businesses than ever before,” says Urbanspace President, Eldon Scott. “Each and every vendor adds to Union Square’s holiday cheer. Whether visitors are looking to sample delicious global cuisines or shop for the holidays with friends and family, the Union Square Holiday Market is a great place to experience the best of New York!”

Three Reasons To Go To The Union Square Holiday Market

  1. You can shop for unique and personal gifts not found in department stores.
  2. You can find beautiful, fun and characterful holiday decorations for your home and tree.
  3. You can find delicious food to try, with options from around the world all in one space.

What Else Can I Do In New York City During The Holidays?

There’s so much to do in NYC during the holiday season. Book tickets to see special holiday-themed theater shows, go ice skating, visit the department store window displays, go do a selfie at the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree, or head over to Union Square Holiday Market’s fellow vending sites: Grand Central Holiday Fair for more upmarket gifts, the Columbus Circle Holiday Market, and the Winter Village at Bryant Park where you can buy crafts from local vendors while watching skaters trying out their skills on the ice.

NYC at Christmas. Photo by Onemoreroad

And when you’ve done all that, why not treat yourself to a hot springs spa to recuperate your energy for the New Year? We’ve found the best hot springs in New York State for your soaking and rejuvenation pleasure.


While we at Traxplorio do our very best to give you the most up-to-date information, we always recommend you do your own research before you travel to a particular area or visit a specific destination, and check conditions with relevant official authorities. Thanks for understanding, and enjoy your adventure!

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