NYC’s best alternative holiday markets and coolest pop-up shops of 2018

Posted On Mon, November 19, 2018 By

Posted On Mon, November 19, 2018 By In Events, Features, holidays, NYC Guides

No matter how hard we try to resist the urge to do last-minute shopping, that unexpected invitation, secret Santa or gift that needs reciprocation sends us scrambling for the perfect present. Fortunately, there’s no shortage of holiday markets and pop-up shops offering a bounty of just-right goodies and crafty gifts. The big NYC markets at Union Square, Bryant Park, Grand Central Station, and Columbus Circle are the front-runners for sheer volume, but some of the best finds are waiting to be discovered at smaller, cooler neighborhood affairs.

In addition to locally-made jewelry, crafts, vintage items, artfully curated fashions, home items, gourmet goodies and other things we didn’t know we needed, these hip retail outposts sparkle with drinks, food, workshops, tarot readings, nail art, music, and family fun to keep shoppers’ spirits bright.


Image: Brooklyn Flea.

Winter Flea Market at Atlantic Center
Saturdays, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. (Smorgasburg open until 8 p.m.); Sundays, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; see site for holiday hours
Atlantic Center (625 Atlantic Avenue across from Barclays)
The fabulous Flea is always on the move, but that hasn’t stopped it from being a unique environment for shopping, eating and people-watching. Smorgasburg food vendors do crowd-feeding duty alongside the Flea’s usual bounty of vintage clothes and shoes, locally-made fashions, jewelry, furniture, lighting, home goods, stationery, collectibles, and much more with a seasonal focus on holiday fare from decorations to gifts.


Image: NY Handmade Collective.

The Holiday Handmade Cavalcade 
Manhattan: December 3-9; Chelsea Market event space, 75 9th Avenue. M-F 10:30 a.m. – 7:30 p.m.; Sat: 10 a.m. – 7:30 p.m;. Sun: 10:30 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Brooklyn: November 24-25 at The Invisible Dog, 51 Bergen Street; Dec 15–16 at the Brooklyn Historical Society, 128 Pierrepont Street; 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.
What began as a DIY event in Beacon, NY nine years ago has become a New York City winter tradition for thousands of shoppers looking for local and unexpected holiday gifts and goodies. Comprised of members of the NY Handmade Collective (formerly Etsy NY Team), the market showcases a selection of handmade wares from indie vendors, all based in the tri-state area, and promises to be your go-to stop for cute and creative items of the sort that get everyone asking, “Where did you get that?”


Image courtesy of Young & Able.

Open House by Young & Able
277 Berry Street, Brooklyn
November 2 through
 December 23; Thursday – Sunday 12 p.m. – 7 p.m.
Young & Able’s fifth holiday pop-up experience will celebrate women-led businesses with a Williamsburg, Brooklyn “open house” market featuring 50 women-led brands; they’re also hosting a workshop series taught by featured designers.


Image: Brooklyn Holiday Bazaar.

Brooklyn Holiday Bazaar 
501 Union Street + the Green Building at 452 Union Street, Gowanus, Brooklyn

November 24 & 25, 2018; 11 a.m.- 5 p.m.
This unique annual event brings together the best of local talent under two beautiful roofs. The 6th edition will be packed with fine handmade goods, delicious food, drinks, music, craft activities and more good times for the whole family on Thanksgiving weekend.

Ridgewood Market 
Ridgewood Market turned five this year, and its holiday versions promise to be, like all things Ridgewood, chill, friendly and fun, with over 40 independent and local artisan vendors, booze, food and more. This holiday market pops up in a few satellite locations this year: The Footlight music venue (465 Seneca Avenue, Ridgewood, Queens, Saturday November 17th, Saturday December 15th, 12-6 p.m.); Nowadays indoor/outdoor party spot (56-06 Cooper Avenue Ridgewood, Queens; Saturdays in December, 2 p.m. – 8 p.m.); At the historic Onderdonk house accompanied by a Christmas concert featuring Colonial songs and more (1820 Flushing Avenue, Ridgewood, Queens, Sunday, December 2nd 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.); and at PS 290Q (55-20 Metropolitan Avenue, Ridgewood, Queens, Saturday, December 8th, 2-6 p.m.


Image: Renegade Craft Fair

Renegade Craft Fair Winter Pop-Up  
Brooklyn Expo Center, 72 Noble Street
December 22 + 23, 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
The Renegade Craft Fair is a curated indie-craft marketplace showcasing the brightest talents in contemporary craft and design. Each event is curated for an eclectic offering of both experienced and emergent designers offering one-of-a-kind and limited edition goods. Join in a festive holiday weekend celebration in Brooklyn featuring the country’s foremost voices in craft and design. Shop emerging and established makers’ goods, discover rarities and remixes from local DJs, get creative while workshopping, eat from exceptional food trucks and end the day with a cocktail.


Image: Greenpointers

Greenpointers Polar Vortex Holiday Market 
Greenpoint Loft, 67 West Street, fifth floor, Greenpoint, Brooklyn
Sunday, December 2, 1:00-7:00 p.m.
This might be everyone’s favorite indie holiday market, and this year’s version embraces the inevitable with a polar vortex theme; they’re expecting 3,000+ shoppers for a day full of free fun activities, live music, and shopping in one of Brooklyn’s most beautifully restored historic spaces. You can expect 60+ local crafters, artists, and food vendors, plus a photo booth, nail art, and tarot card readings in the 6,000-square-foot Greenpoint Loft, two blocks from the G train.


Image: Bust

BUST Holiday Craftacular 
Brooklyn Expo Center, 72 Noble Street, Greenpoint, Brooklyn
Saturday, December 8th, 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.; Sunday, December 9th, 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
This BUST magazine-sponsored mother-of-all-craft-markets rolls back into Brooklyn with a rainbow of goods by local artisans offering apparel, jewelry, toys, and more that you won’t find at the mall, plus food and beer at a big Greenpoint event space. BUST Craftacular events are New York City’s longest-running annual juried craft fair and indie shopping event series. This year you can take a break from shopping with classes and talks from the BUST School for Creative Living. And though it’s put on by the cheeky grrlmag, there’s plenty of stuff for guys, too.


Image: Astoria Market

Astoria Market 
Bohemian Hall and Beer Garden, 29-19 24th Avenue, Astoria, Queens
December 2, 9 & 16 from 12:00-6:00 p.m.
Astoria’s iconic old-school Bohemian Hall and Beer Garden is a great place to visit, dine, and quaff giant beers even without stuff to buy. The annual holiday market brings super Santas to Queens to mix and mingle in the Main Hall; pick up some gifts from among the art, jewelry, toys, chocolates, apothecary and beauty products, handbags, clothing and gift baskets before you settle in downstairs for drinks and goulash.


Image: Ryan and Regina Cohn via Atlas Obscura

The Oddities Flea Market
Brooklyn Bazaar, 150 Greenpoint Avenue, Greenpoint, Brooklyn
December 1 & 2; 12 – 6 p.m.
Curated by Ryan Matthew Cohn and a fabulously interesting haute oddball crew, the Oddities Flea Market is returning to the Brooklyn Bazaar from their new home in L.A. to provide two amazing days of shopping among the best purveyors of the odd, macabre, and the strange. Inside you will find an assemblage of vendors from across the country bringing you an extensive variety of joyfully peculiar items including medical history ephemera, anatomical curiosities, natural history items, osteological specimens, taxidermy, obscure home decor, jewelry, one of a kind dark art and more.


FAD market at Invisible Dog Arts Center. Image: FAD Market

FAD Holiday Pop-up Markets
Holiday Makers Market; Brooklyn Historical Society, 128 Pierrepont Street, December 1 & 2, 11 a.m. to  6 p.m.
Holiday Makers Market; City Point, 445 Albee Square West, December 8 & 9, 15 & 16, 11 a.m. to  7 p.m.
Holiday Artisanal Food Market; Brooklyn Historical Society, 128 Pierrepont Street, December 8 & 9, 11 a.m. to  6 p.m.
This holiday season, FAD Market presents a three-part market experience in the form of two thoughtfully curated makers’ markets and an artisanal food pop-up. Look forward to an amazing lineup of over 200 independent designer-makers showcasing unique handcrafted art, jewelry, apparel, bath and body care, tableware and home furnishings and indulge in locally crafted food and drinks. With a new roster of makers each week, it’s a fun-filled holiday shopping destination not to be missed.


Image: Brooklinen.

Brooklinen NYC pop-up store
119 Spring Street, Soho, NYC;  Monday-Saturday, 10:00 a.m. -8:00.p.m.; Sunday, 11:00 a.m. -7:00 p.m.  
Local bedding disruptor Brooklinen goes from URL to IRL with their first-ever pop-up shop in Soho (rather than Brooklyn, somewhat ironically). They’re “only open this winter” so cozy up while you can, talk to bedding experts, try before you buy…and enjoy a refreshing beverage.


Image: Il Buco.

Il Buco Vita annual holiday pop-up shop
57 Great Jones Street, NYC
Monday – Saturday: 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.; Sunday: 12 p.m. – 5 p.m.

Shop the famed restaurant il Buco’s collection of artisanal housewares, ceramics, and antiques, sourced in central and southern Italy by il Buco founder Donna Lennard and creative partners Antonello & Lorenzo Radi.


Image courtesy of New York Magazine/The Strategist.

I Found It at the Strategist: A Holiday Pop-Up Shop
347 West Broadway, NYC
November 8 – December 30, Monday-Sunday 11:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
The holiday gifting season is showtime for New York Magazine’s cool stuff-hunting publication The Strategist; This year they’ve taken a batch of their vetted gift recommendations and made them fully three-dimensional in a holiday pop-up shop: I Found It at the Strategist. You’ll find a selection of goodies to touch, inspect, play around with and, of course, purchase. It’s a chance to to discover holiday gifts, new products, and weird and wonderful things you didn’t know you needed (like a chlorophyll mask that took over the internet or a charcoal-infused face towel).

Image: The Better Shop.

The Better Shop ethical market 
155 Grand Street, Brooklyn
November 1 – December 30, 7 days a week, 11 a.m.- 7 p.m.
Filled with ethically made goods, The Better Shop is an oasis of sustainability in the mad dash of holiday shopping. With lush plants and warm hardwood floors it’s both approachable and cool with a distinct Brooklyn edge. The Better Shop is like walking into your best friend’s pad – if they traveled the world and had impeccable taste.

Best Made Co. Holiday Outpost
111 North 6th Street, Williamsburg, Brooklyn
November 15 – December 31, Monday – Saturday 11 a.m. – 8 p.m., Sunday 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.
A Brooklyn outpost of superauthentic goods emporium Best Made Co. is offering select items from its shelves (think axes and overalls) plus a selection of wreaths and trees available for purchase while supplies last.


Image: Google

Google Hardware Store
131 Greene Street, NYC
Through December 31. Monday – Saturday 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Sunday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Alongside the retail launch of the Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL last week, Google opened a pair of “Google Hardware Store” pop-up shops in New York and Chicago. You can browse through all the latest additions to the Made by Google lineup and see how they work in person, buy some products, and participate in interactive workshops.


Image: So Holiday Shoppe Object Marketplace

So Holiday Shoppe Object Marketplace
Industry City, Sunset Park, Brooklyn
Friday, November 30, 4 p.m – 8 p.m.; Saturday December 1, 10 a.m – 7 p.m.; Sunday, December 2, 10 a.m – 7 p.m.
For three days, SHOPPE OBJECT takes over two floors at Brooklyn’s Industry City for the launch of SO HOLIDAY. Expect more brands, designers, and makers, plus new product launches, exclusive offerings, one-offs, discounted items and more at this lively curated shopping event.

Image: Snowe Home

Snowe Home pop-up
168 Fifth Avenue, NYC
Monday -Saturday 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.; Sunday, 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Chic online home goods shop Snowe takes it offline with a pop-up location in Manhattan’s Flatiron District. A veritable”Museum of Staying Home,” the shop is filled with a bounty of goodies you’ll want to bring home with you, including bedding, post-bath luxuries, flatware, cocktail gear, dinner party essentials, uncommon scents and more.


Image: Wild One

Wild One pop-up shop 
242 Lafayette Street, NYC
Monday – Friday 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.; Saturday & Sunday, 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Another online shop gets real for the holidays: Wild One makes quality products for pets and their people. Which is perfect for the four-legged people on your gift list.


Image: Art Students League

Art Students League Holiday Art Sale
Art Students League: The Phyllis Harriman Mason Gallery, 215 West 57th Street, NYC
December 11 − 21 , Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday: 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
More than 425 works will be on sale at the Art Students League of New York for prices as low as $50. Every December, art-lovers and gift-givers bring home great values, choosing from a wide variety of works by emerging artists. Paintings and prints—landscapes, portraits, still lifes, and abstractions—sell for no more than $1,000.

East Village Stand Holiday Market
Corner of 7th Street and Avenue C, East Village, NYC
November 23 – December 24; Opening reception and performances: Friday, November 23, 6 – 8 p.m.
The East Village Stand Holiday Market is a 10-foot x 4-foot former storage space on the corner of 7th Street and Avenue C in the East Village. The location of this unusual little space makes it possible to use the front and entire corner outside of the stand for performances, dinner parties, poetry and concerts, which are planned for the coming days. Customers can, of course, purchase handmade, local, artisan and vintage gifts and partake of the food and drink that will be served along with all the fun.


Image: Wayfair

Wayfair holiday pop-up
Westfield Garden State Plaza, Paramus, N.J.
Through January 2, 2019
While it’s neither indie nor in a cool East Village storage space, lovers of online retail giant Wayfair might be excited to know of this pop-up “experience” in the Westfield Garden State Plaza in Paramus, N.J. In addition to customer service and “home design experts” ready to answer any questions, visitors can sample more than 100 fabric swatches to create their own custom furniture, and more.

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