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New York City NYC Moving Guide

Where to Shop in NYC During the Holiday Season

crowd of people walking through the streets of NYC during the holidays

There's no place like New York during the holidays, as anyone who's ever visited the city from Thanksgiving to New Year's Day can attest. Bright lights, oversized Christmas trees, festive displays, a giant snowflake suspended in midtown, and décor on just about every block transform a bustling city to an enchanting wonderland in what seems like hours. Famous retailers prettify their store windows and interiors, so holiday season shopping in NYC is a one-of-a-kind experience. In the mood to browse or buy holiday gifts? Visit these stores when you’re looking to do some holiday shopping in NYC.

Holiday Markets

Winter Village at Bryant Park, Union Square Holiday Market, and Columbus Circle Holiday Market all feature local artists selling their wares. Browse through dozens of stands and find a souvenir or trinket for the loved one who has everything.

The Shops at Columbus Circle

Before or after shopping at the Columbus Circle Holiday Market, be sure to cross the street and check out the shops in Time Warner Center. One of the most spectacular visual displays in the city is at this modern mall. Shop J. Crew, Stuart Weitzman, Diesel, Williams Sonoma, and a host of other retailers for presents, and venture to Whole Foods on the lower level for fresh ingredients to prepare your holiday meal or pre-made dishes for your holiday soiree.

Fifth Avenue

view of a giant snowflake in front of a building on fifth avenue in NYC

You'll know that you're on Fifth Avenue when you spot that giant snowflake. You'll also know because you'll encounter some of the city's most famed shops, beginning around 45th Street and continuing to Central Park. From Tiffany & Co to Cartier, Louis Vuitton, and Chanel, you'll have plenty of luxury options to shop for that special someone. If you're on a budget, don't fret. Fifth Avenue is also home to the slightly more affordable Henri Bendel, as well as budget chains like Uniqlo, H&M, and Zara. While you're in the neighborhood, be sure to stop by Rockefeller Center for more holiday shopping choices. You won't be able to miss this huge landmark since it covers 22 acres. Spanning between 48th and 51 streets and Fifth and Sixth Avenues, Rockefeller Center's famed plaza is the home of New York's most iconic Christmas Tree.

“The Other Fifth Avenue” in Park Slope

Yes, Brooklyn offers fantastic shopping. In fact, Brooklynites don't need to commute to Manhattan unless they choose to. In Park Slope, you'll find the "other Fifth Avenue," where stores like Pink Olive, Bird, Annie's General Store, and O Live Brooklyn provide a slew of gift options. These mom-and-pop shops let New Yorkers keep it local and give back to their community, so that's a win-win.

Bleecker Street

inside murray's cheese shop on Bleecker street in NYC

If you have fashion-forward friends, be sure to hit the designer boutiques like Michael Kors, Marc Jacobs, and Zadig + Voltaire for their gifts. Other New York favorites include the sweet-smelling Bond No. 9 and Goorin Bros Hat Shop. And of course, Murray's Cheese, Faicco's Italian Specialties, and Grom Gelato are ideal for a nosh during your shopping spree.

Williamsburg

Just minutes from Manhattan, this trendy Brooklyn neighborhood is a hub for artisans and indie stores. Shop Fuego 718, Meme Antenna, and Catbird for one-of-a-kind gifts, jewelry, and tchotchkes. Browse Red Pearl and Treehouse, purveyors of vintage and local items ideal for your hippest family members. Other area favorites include SWORDS-SMITH, which sells fashion-forward clothing, and Mini Jake for the little ones on your list.

Holiday Discounts at Century 21

Discounters come in handy when shopping for holiday gifts, especially in a pricey city like New York. This legendary department store is unlike the others on this list (up next) because every item in the store is sold for less than the manufacturer's retail price. That means some serious savings gets passed on to you, the shopper. Find top designer labels such as Nanette Lepore, Acne Studios, and Vera Wang, ideal for your most stylish friends and family members.

Holiday Season Shopping at Department Stores

Manhattan offers several major department stores for your holiday shopping needs. For festive holiday décor and the perfect gifts, Macy's, Sak's Fifth Avenue, Lord &Taylor, Bloomingdale's, Barneys, and Bergdorf Goodman are all musts during the Christmas season.

Macy’s

The 34th Street Flagship stays packed to the gills during the holiday shopping season, but if you shop early in the morning or late in the evening, you'll find the crowds bearable. As December 25 approaches, Macy’s extends its hours and even stays open 24 hours the final days before Christmas. Be sure to check out the famous holiday window displays!

Sak’s Fifth Avenue

While you're boutique shopping on Fifth Avenue, pop into Sak's, and you might hit a sale. The first-floor fragrance department is a perfect place to find a signature scent for your special someone.

Bloomingdale’s

The flagship is at 59th and Lexington, and it's undoubtedly a fabulous store, but don't ignore the SoHo location or the outlet at 72nd and Broadway on the Upper West Side.

Bergdorf Goodman

bergdorf goodman window display of a mannequin and a dog in NYC

If you want the shopping experience to end all others, Bergdorf's is the place. The only store of its kind, BG remains the most luxurious and well-loved department store in New York City. It's worth a trip just for the cutting-edge holiday window displays alone.

About the author

Tracy Kaler

Tracy Kaler is a ballet dancer turned interior designer turned lifestyle and travel writer who blogs at tracysnewyorklife.com. A former Atlantan, you can now find her byline in The Telegraph, IN New York Magazine, TravelMag, National Geographic, Mabuhay Magazine, am New York and others. When she's not glued to her laptop, you'll find her wandering the streets of New York City or off discovering another part of the planet.

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