Holiday Shopping -- Pop Up Style!

By Mercedes Vizcaino, ZEALnyc Contributing Writer, December 5, 2016

Shopping conjures up a variety of emotions in people--they love it, hate it, or learn to cope with it. With the onset of the holidays you have new levels of anxiety thrown into the mix--the illusive search for the perfect gift. Luckily, New York City is the mecca of international retail, and it makes the act of shopping all the easier to conquer. If you're on the hunt for art, food, drink, fashion, and everything in between, we have all your destinations within reach. With new businesses cropping up in every neighborhood--many specializing in niche goods, we've rounded up the 'best holiday fairs and pop-up markets' to get those custom-tailored, one-of-a-kind gifts for your significant other, family, friends, pets and even Nana.

Urbanspace is at it again. This year they are curating the holiday shops at the Winter Village and bringing Farm To People, a collaboration of 50 small, local makers providing confections, hot sauces, spices, preserves as presents for loved ones. Plus, the Strand bookstore will set up a 400-square foot outpost - selling new and vintage books and quirky literature-themed gifts. And if you're culinary tastes weren't already satiated, Urbanspace expanded the village's gourmet options with: Home Frite, Vendy award-winner Mr. Bing, pierogies from Veselka and fresh fish tacos from Coney Shack. And as a special bonus -- there's a free ice skating rink, so your non-shoppers can practice their double axel while you shop to your heart's content. Vendors will be at the Winter Village through January 2nd. Check them out here.

Known to be the longest running indoor holiday market, The Grand Central Holiday Fair is back in a newly designed Vanderbilt Hall - now with shopping and dining options. Elegant and regal with its beautiful décor, holiday shoppers will be treated to six new vendors to this year's roster: Andrea Greer Designs - specializing in clothes with original paintings and prints, The Blue Hound Jewelry, Hardwood Creations - functional housewares made out of wood, Joy Stember Metal Arts Studio - Judaic inspired crafts, Mariella de Leeuw - Amsterdam clothing designer showcasing her women's and children's collections, and Art + Jill Handbags. Open now - December 24th. Click for full details here.

Long time collaborators, Union Square Holiday Market and Urbanspace (curators of NYC and London markets in well-trafficked public spaces) are back for their 23rd season to bring tourists and locals an exclusive shopping experience. The market boasts a collection of talented and diverse artisans, makers and chefs ready to share their creations with shoppers. New to the market this year: Annie Draws Stuff - a Brooklyn-based illustrator selling whimsical temporary tattoos, Boundless Brooklyn - model kits makers using 100% recycled materials. Union Square Holiday Market is also teaming up with The Children's Art Museum, where they have a family friendly arts & crafts booth and original programming. Open now through December 24th, view full details here.

Move over Rockefeller Center! There's a newly revitalized landmark vying for the attention of Christmas diehards; it's The South Street Seaport. Celebrating their 33rd Tree Lighting Ceremony on November 29th, one of New York's oldest neighborhoods is gearing up for the holidays with jam-packed Christmas activities: The Taylor Swift Experience, a Grammy's exhibit showcasing the artist's tour artifacts, iPic Theatres showing Christmas movie classics and last, but not least, a collaboration with the Hester Street fair outpost bringing together a collection of highly curated creators of NYC's artisanal fashion, jewelry and crafts in a lively indoor marketplace at 117 Beekman. The Hester Street Fair Presents: The 2016 Holiday Market at The Seaport District runs from November 25th - December 24th. For more info click here.

This yearly holiday market comprised of 25+ local artists and community supporters are partnering up with Wendy Mink, jewelry designer and longtime veteran of the Orchard Street Markets - to showcase an eclectic mix of wearable art, funky ornaments and hats, original art and prints, leather goods and fun hostess gifts. New this year: "Sip and Shop" on Thursdays from 5 - 7pm, the organizers will provide thirsty shoppers with wine. On Small Business Saturday (November 26th) they will host "Meet Your Maker" - an opportunity for shoppers to meet the artists/crafters behind these amazing products. New to LES POPPED NYC: Kate Burrascano of Critter City - illustrator and crafter showcasing felt ornaments and framed prints. Donna Wilson - illustrator/designer/photographer specializing in girlie and "burlesque dancers" greeting cards. For more info click here.

This internationally known outdoor holiday bazaar sits in the midst of colorful red and white striped tents with over a hundred vendors against a backdrop of the lavish Shops at Columbus Circle. The bazaar features handmade items from local artisans such as chocolates and truffles, organically certified products, wooden puzzles and high-end clothing for men and women. The Columbus Circle Holiday Market is open from November 29th - December 24th. For updates on new vendors click here.

Now in its 9th year, The Etsy New York Handmade Cavalcade is a craft lover's dream holiday event. Comprised of a diverse group of independent artists, artisans, designers and crafters from the Tri-State area, this market thrives on supporting local artists creating high-quality, handmade wares: Everything from jewelry, to clothing to beauty products and baby goods is included. They will host a "Sip Shop" event on December 8th and will give free swag-bags to the first 100 shoppers. RSVP to enter the holiday market free, otherwise: $2 entrance fee at the door. For more info click here.

Opt for double the fun! Artists & Fleas are back with their pop-up bazaars; one is situated inside the Chelsea Market and the other in Williamsburg's trendy North 7th Street in Brooklyn, steps from the waterfront. In both locations, you'll find a twist on traditional gifts handcrafted by 100+ independent vendors; which include vintage clothes and jewelry, beautiful baubles and much more! On December 15th, from 6 - 9pm Artists & Fleas will host their "Sip & Shop" party at the Chelsea Market with Sixpoint beer and catering by Chef Cava. On December 17th and 18th, the Williamsburg location will have Andrea Wien, host of "We Could Make That" podcast, create DIY gift baskets featuring food items from various makers, Chef Cava will be on hand to cook small bites and provide free cocktails with a purchase of $25 and over. Check out full details here.

Fashion junkies will get their fix at the Real NYC Designer Market this holiday season. Their "Real Gifted Holiday" event, featuring over 30 designers and artists come together to sell their unique home accessories, fashion and jewelry lines, one-of-a-kind handbags and boots. Some of the talented designers highlighted are: Sara Keiser, with her alpaca/goat hair and Mongolian lamb leather leggings, reversible silicone metallic necklaces by Si.Sabtisobel and wearable art designs by Alicia P. Open now through December 31st. For full details click here.

If you want to forego the hustle and bustle of Manhattan's Holiday Markets and stay local - to discover what your neighborhood has to offer, then check out The Astoria Holiday Market at the Bohemian Hall and Beer Garden. This beloved Queens holiday marketplace is back not once, but on three separate dates to indulge in distinctive baked goods, clothing and accessories, toys, and jewelry on December 4th, 11th and 18th. Sip on all the assortment of beers, eggnog and hot apple cider, the Bohemian Hall and Beer Garden will be serving and hosting this year's Astoria holiday Market. Complete details here.

If winter has you craving the outdoors and nature, then The Queens Botanical Garden's holiday events will fulfill your needs. On December 4th they will host the Christmas in the Garden & Tree Lighting event. Get into the holiday spirit with this free program, additional fee for photos with Santa required. Plus, don't miss The Queens Botanical Garden's Green Holiday Blowout Sale featuring steep discounts on unique books, toys, and jewelry, plus holiday botanical crafts for the whole family. Sale runs December 3rd - December 11th. Complete details here.

Staten Island Arts presents the St. George Holiday Market - bringing 28 local vendors to the ferry terminal. The event welcomes Staten Island residents, commuters and tourists that use the St. George Ferry Terminal, plus anyone curious to find out about the creative community in the borough. The artists and designers will showcase handmade apparel, accessories, jewelry, skincare, pet care, original artwork and specialty books. Vendors featured: AhhCandles by Sarah Benalene, Komari Bath & Body by Yolanda Berry and Shibori Dyed Silks by Janice Patrignani. View complete vendor line-up here.

Mercedes Vizcaino, a Contributing Writer with ZEALnyc, writes about lifestyle and cultural events in and around New York City.

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