If you want to experience what locals are eating and buying, all you have to do is hit the local market. Whether you’re seeking a quick lunch fix or gift hunting for your friends (or yourself), the following 10 markets offers the authentic New York experience and are worthy of a spot on your itinerary.
Where: 70 North 7th St, between Kent and Wythe Aves
When: Sat – Sun, 10am to 7pm, from 20 Dec 2014 – 28 Dec 2014
What you’ll find: Home to more than 100 sellers every weekend, Artists & Fleas is holding a special holiday-themed market to showcase the latest in fashion, art, design and more. Delicious treats, free gift-wrapping stations and Christmas carolers are on hand to get you into the holiday spirit. Standout stocking stuffers include used books, hand-poured soy candles and whimsical acrylic jewelry by Brooklyn artist Serene Bacigalupi.
Union Square Holiday Market
Where: 14th Street at Broadway
When: Mon – Fri 11am to 8pm, Sat 10am to 8pm, Sun 11am to 7pm.
What you’ll find: Now in its 19th year, this European-styled alfresco market hosts more than 80 vendors and is a favorite for many. Wander through the red and white booths for traditional holiday gifts ranging from local handmade leather belts and small- batch jams to bags made of recycled plastic. To fuel your holiday shopping, there are vendors selling donuts, Sicilian rice balls and lebkuchen – a traditional German gingerbread.
Where: 1000 Dean St, Brooklyn (Winter, check their website for other seasonal locations)
When: Sat – Sun, 10am to 6pm
What you’ll find: Smorgasburg (a portmanteau of “smorgasbord” and “Williamsburg”) is an extension of the Brooklyn Flea. With more than 30 vendors, have a bite at any of the startups (try Fried Chicken & Andouille Gumbo from Good Stock) or established small businesses (try Dough, Berg’n, and Lumpia Shack). Global cuisine is well represented; you’ll find Mexican, Japanese, Filipino, Moroccan and Vietnamese grub. The market is held indoors during winter and will reopen on April 2015 at East River State Park on Saturdays and Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pier 5 on Sundays.
Where: 75 9th Avenue, New York, 10011
When: Mon – Sat 7am to 9pm, Sun 8am to 8pm
What you’ll find: Housed in a former Nabisco factory, Chelsea Market hosts 35 vendors offering everything from wine to coffee, fresh fruits to seafood, ramen to sandwiches and teas to spices. If you have some time, Foods of New York Tours offers an excursion where you can sample the freshest of foods and learn the history of the market and the Meatpacking District, while Jessie on a Journey offers tours for private groups.
Where: Grand Central Terminal, 87 E 42nd St at Park Ave
When: Mon – Fri, 7am to 9pm, Sat 10am to 7pm, Sun 11am to 6pm
What you’ll find: At Grand Central Market, you can shop for fresh produce, load up on spices, get your caffeine fix, nosh on seafood rolls and snag last-minute gifts such as Li-Lac chocolates or specialty teabags from Oren’s Daily Roast. Expect the market to be packed during peak hours, but you can always take your food to go and enjoy lunch alfresco at Bryant Park two blocks away.
Where: West 39th Street between 9th & 10th Avenues, Manhattan
When: Sat – Sun, 9am to 5pm (weather permitting)
What you’ll find: Tucked between the Lincoln Tunnel and Port Authority bus ramps, this market is reminiscent of a large garage sale with more than 20 vendors hawking goods such as license plates, old records, refurbished furniture, black and white photos and tons of jewelry. There’s even old handwritten letters for sale, if you’re into that sort of thing. Most items do not have prices on them so remember to haggle.
Where: 1000 Dean St, Brooklyn (Winter, check their website for seasonal locations)
When: Sat – Sun, 9am to 5pm
What you’ll find: From November to March, the Brooklyn Flea heads indoors for warmth bringing along its eclectic host of artists, jewelry designers, furniture makers and antique dealers and Smorgasburg’s food purveyors. With more than 100 vendors, you can easily spend a day here shopping and snacking. Remember, this flea is popular so get there before noon to snag the wallet-friendly treasures.
The Market NYC
Where: 159 Bleecker St, New York / 218 Bedford Ave, Brooklyn
When: Wed – Sun, 12pm – 8pm (NY), Wed – Sun, 12pm to 7pm (Brooklyn)
What you’ll find: If buying locally made products is important to you, look no further. From t-shirts and handmade soaps to a jumble of beaded jewelry and hand-knit scarves, The Market is a haven for gift hunting. Plus, the designers here are always happy to chat and answer your questions. Check their website for the latest list of vendors at both locations.
Where: Union Square West from 15th to 17th St, New York
When: Mon, Wed, Fri and Sat, 8am to 6pm
What you’ll find: Since its inception in 1976, this market has grown exponentially with 140 regional farmers, fishers and bakers who sell their products to the city’s dwellers. Choose from a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, heritage meats, artisan breads, jams, pickles, ciders, wine, plants and more. Before you leave, visit Ardith Mae and pick up fresh goat cheese to whip up New York’s signature dessert, cheesecake.
Where: 4th St at 5th Ave, Brooklyn
When: Sun, 10am to 4pm
What you’ll find: Freshly picked bok choy, free range eggs, homemade chutneys: these are just a few of the delightful offerings at the Park Slope Farmer’s Market. If you’re craving for something savory, don’t miss the generous spread of pies, sandwiches and soups. Be sure to check out their list of vendors that are currently selling, so you’ll always be on top of your grocery-shopping list.
What are your favorite markets in NYC? Would love to hear in the comments below.
About The Author
Suhana Sol writes at SuhanaSol, a website focused on travel and social good. In 2013, she left Singapore and a job in marketing to pursue a new life in Canada.
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