Holiday Markets in New York

By Go City Expert

Shopping at the holiday markets in New York should be on everyone's holiday must-do list. From soaps to stationery, they're the place to find goodies for just about everyone in your list.

Holiday Shops at Winter Village in Bryant Park

The holiday shops at Bryant Park are on pretty much everyone’s list of must-do holiday experiences in the city. And why not? Inspired by open-air European Crafts fairs, the market features vendors from literally around the world. The little kiosks are like tiny shops, and feature goods ranging from African baskets to one-of-a-kind-jewelry handcrafted in Brooklyn and made from materials like copper and bronze. (Through Dec. 24.)

Columbus Circle Holiday Market

With its festive striped booths, the Columbus Circle Market is visually one of the most appealing holiday markets. Located right across from the Time Warner Center and nestled into the entrance to Central Park, it’s also one of the most well-located (easily accessible by public transportation.) Here, you’ll be able to browse jewelry, home goods, crafts and food—ensuring that you’ll find something for just about everyone on your list. (Through Dec. 24)

Renegade Crafts Fair

The Renegade Crafts Fair offers up everything from jewelry to paper goods to poultry (yes, poultry)—it’s kind of one-stop shopping. The fair focuses particularly on up-and-coming makers (Dec. 21 and Dec. 22 at the Brooklyn Expo, but check for dates at other locations.) Since one of those places is Brooklyn, it’s probably not surprising that you can also expect to find live DJ sets, various food offerings, and “creative installations” -- we’ll just let you wonder about that one.

Grand Central Terminal Holiday Fair

The holiday market at Grand Central is something of an unexpected pleasure—it’s a nice surprise to find artisan crafts nestled inside one of the country’s busiest train stations. The focus is on American and locally made products; it’s one of the longest running indoor crafts fairs in the city. Half of Vanderbilt Hall is taken over with clothing, artwork, toys, and home goods. You’ll also find holiday ornaments, jewelry, bath products, and even pet accessories. After all, Fido deserves a nice handmade holiday, too. (Through Dec. 24)

Union Square Holiday Market

The Union Square Market is great all year round (that produce! those jams!) but it’s especially great at the holidays. Through Dec. 24, you’ll find 150 festive artisan booths that feature works of local craftsmen and artisans. The market always has a nice community feel, which is amped up during the holidays. In addition to crafts and food, you’ll also find a Kid’s Art Studio; live music; and a warming station. It’s also got a stellar vendor selection-- check out ones like Little Brooklyn and Urbanspace Provisions. (Through Dec. 24)

Crafts at St. John the Divine Cathedral

From Dec. 6-8, the world’s largest Gothic Cathedral plays host to a crafts fair just in time for the holidays; it’s actually inspired by Medieval crafts fairs. You’ll find gorgeous jewelry, textiles, leather goods, ceramics, metalwork, wooden pieces, and more, all displayed in one of the world’s most magnificent buildings. You’ll be supporting both the cathedral as well as local artists; the very shopping experience will be uplifting. (Dec. 6-8)

Want more tips? Check out a fun way to use the New York Pass!

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What to do in New York in January

The holidays are long gone, and the only thing that keeps you going is your daily mocha latte and the thought that one day, rumor has it, a season called spring will appear. But fear not! January brings its own delights (and we do mean delights, not just “things to get you through an annoying month.”) From popups to pastries, stick with us for ways to make the month fun, not just merely tolerable. Annual Brooklyn Tribute to Martin Luther King, Jr. Jan 20 Civil rights activist Martin Luther King, Jr. was known for his non-violent approach to advancing civil rights; he was assassinated in 1968. Now in its 34th year, the largest event of its kind brings together artists, activists, and community leaders at the BAM Howard Gilman Opera House to celebrate the life of the famed civil rights leader. A combination of talks, music, an art exhibit, and more, the event is free and open to the public. Winter Lantern Festival Until Jan 12 For starters, there’s the Winter Lantern Festival at Snug Harbor in Staten Island. If you still need easing away from the holiday lights and festivals, this is a good one to check out. More than 1,000 lanterns morph into incredible luminescent art and a variety of amazing shapes and figures, from plants to animals and mythical creatures. The exhibit includes eight acres of lights (!) plus interactive exhibits and live shows. The Progressive New York Boat Show January 22-26 Next up, the New York Boat Show at the Javits Center is an annual tradition, with a surprising amount to offer both boat lovers and those who are just along for the ride - figuratively speaking. The show's main draw, of course, is dozens of boats for sale, from kayaks to yachts, but visitors will also find miniature boat building for kids, food and drink, including a Nathan's hot dog cart and a Boar’s Head sandwich station, and even a career day, about jobs in the marine industry. It’s one of the many annual things to do in New York in January that marine and sailing enthusiasts should look out for. Winter Jazzfest Until January 17 Over the course of nine nights, visitors to Winter Jazzfest are treated to jazz performances at a series of venues across the city, including, this year, ones in Brooklyn. One wristband gives visitors entry to any venue—as long as it isn’t full. Visitors will have the opportunity to see more than 100 performers, including drummer/bandleader/artist-in-residence Mark Guiliana, and Brazilian musician Seu Jorge. Lunar New Year Celebration January 25 Celebrate the start of the Year of the Rat, the first in the Chinese zodiac cycle, at the Queens Botanical Garden. The Lunar New Year celebration includes crafts, activities designed for the whole family, and a lucky plant sale. FYI, the plants are lucky, not the sale. Performances are also on the docket, and past events have had such offerings as a taekwondo demonstration and a dance performance. The 39-acre site may not be as well-known as the gardens in the Bronx or Brooklyn, but this is a good opportunity to explore it, even during the winter. Tomatoland Now on Have you ever wondered what New York seems like to a tomato? No, neither have we. And yet, we now have Tomatoland, a 4,000 square foot pop-up designed to educate visitors about the environment and excess consumption. Visitors are treated to such exhibits as Refrigerator World, which highlights our use of exceas packaging; Noodle Swing, where attendees can sit in a swing suspended from a giant fork and try on costumes; and a Ketchup Pool, which offers travel in a bottle-cap car to meet some green-tomato cousins. The exhibit also includes places perfect for photo ops as well as some interactivity. [caption id="attachment_3745" align="alignnone" width="1125"] Image courtesy of Tomato Land[/caption] Frost Fest January 24 If it’s January, it must be time for...bumper cars on ice! Yes, that’s a thing, and a good one. You can spin, twirl, and bump your way across the ice at the Bryant Park ice rink, and, starting January 24, you can also take a spin if you go there for the 10-day Frost Fest, a series of programs including live entertainment, an Igloo experience, and a silent disco. NYC Broadway Week January 21-February 9 If you love theater but not the prices, check out the winter version of Broadway Week; it actually lasts more than a week. This is the time to get two-for-one tickets to some of the most popular Broadway shows around, or ones you might not necessarily attend. You may even be able to snag tickets for shows like Book of Mormon and Chicago. Tickets go fast--so you shouold be, too. Ophelia Ever had the urge to visit a NYC rooftop bar in January? No? Well, now you will. A number of sky-high bars in New York are outfitted for winter weather, including Ophelia, which sits at the top of an art deco tower and will make you feel like you’re inside a snow globe. Grab some cocktail fare, like a truffle potato wedge or a French onion slider, and an actual cocktail. Then gaze at the amazing 360 city views and enjoy the feeling that you’re inside a jewelery box. Looking for other sky-high venues? Check one out here. Looking for more ways to take advantage of the city this month? Check out The New York Pass.
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5 Steps to Beating the New York City Summer Heat

Summer is well and truly upon us, at once awesome and yet unbearable in its glory. There’s still a few months of sun left (fingers crossed) to explore all the wondrous delights that New York has on offer. But it’s also hot. Very, very hot. All those tall, glass, sky-scraping behemoths and streets paved with tarmac mean that NYC scorches like no other. Still, you’ll want to make the most of the sunshine before it skedaddles for another half year, so here are some of the best ways beat the heat in NYC this summer. 1. Stay Hydrated Water is brilliant, isn’t it? Not only does it make up 70-odd percent of your body, it’s also pretty neat to drink too. You should be drinking 2-3 liters a day, and that’s never truer than when the sun’s beating down. Your best bet is to carry a reusable bottle around with you. Not only can you fill it up and one of the many water fountains around, but you’ll also be super environmentally friendly. Of course, if you’re already out with no water bottle of your own, you can pick one up from any number of shops and stands around town. Remember to stay hydrated on the subway too. Not all of them are air-conditioned, and the ones that aren’t can become a humid kind of hell. 2. Dress Light Dare to get those legs out in a sundress or a pair of shorts. Freedom is key – anything tight or heavy is only going to make you sweat buckets. That’s not pleasant for you. Or for anyone else who might be within smell-shot of you. Are you brave enough to don a pair of sandals or flip flops too? O’ courageous one, we salute you. 3. Hide in Air Conditioning Inside Metropolitan Museum of Art Of course, if it all gets a bit much and you want to seek the safety of a beautifully air-conditioned building, there’s plenty of inside hilarity to be had too. Fancy a little culture to go with the cold air? There’s museums aplenty. Looking for a little summer spending spree? Try the innumerable shops. Or if you’re starving, stop by a local restaurant and pray they have air-con. 4. Enjoy some Fro-Yo Ice Cream. Photo via Epoch Times As if you needed an excuse. What better way to beat the heat in NYC this summer than with the ice-cold, sugary delights of ice cream? You’re sure to find ice cream vans on most street corners, so go exploring. Vegan’s can even have their chilly taste buds sated at one of the renowned Van Leeuwen shops around town. 5. Take a Cruise Shearwater Classic Schooner. Photo via Manhattan by Sail Miss all of the hustle, bustle and blazing microclimate of the city by backflipping on to a boat. Sweet moves. If you’ve never seen the city by sea, then you haven’t even lived. There’s plenty of options too. Take a Circle Line Sightseeing Cruise, and catch a glimpse of NYC’s iconic skyline with the glorious breeze running over you. Close your eyes and imagine it. Excellent. Or go say hi to Lady Liberty on the retro Shearwater Classic Schooner. Either way, you’re bound to beat the heat in style. Them’s just some of the ways to beat the heat in NYC this summer. Any hot takes we missed? Let us know down below. Bonus Tip Chinese Folding Fan Stop by Canal Street in Chinatown and pick up one of these lovely, lightweight, handheld refreshing companions. These Chinese Hand Fans are all over Chinatown and can seriously reduce the temperature of your face, thus making you more comfortable.
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A Trip to New York City in Photos

Post was originally published on Denise's blog at Travel with Denise. First impressions of New York Arriving at JFK Airport [spacer height="20px"] After 8 years we finally visit The Big Apple! Our dream came true, it was on our bucket list for a long time. These are our first impressions.. We just love it! After a 9 hour flight with Delta, we take a yellow cab to our hotel. The best way to see the skyline for the first time... This is my number 1 favorite city in the world and I need to go back some day! Room Mate Grace Boutique Hotel Room Mate Grace Hotel in Times Square [spacer height="20px"] Our hotel "Room Mate Grace" is a perfect place to stay in New York. A boutique hotel in the center of New York, close to Times Square (200 meters). But everything's nearby: Broadway theaters, 5th avenue, and dozen of iconic sights. After a long day you can relax at this place; chill out at the pool and poolbar. The rooms are not big, but very clean and modern. You will have a nice bathroom and the service is great! I really recommend this place! Top of the Rock / Rockefeller Center Top of the Rock Observatory [spacer height="20px"] Top of the Rock at Rockefeller Center; an amazing place with a breathtaking view of New York City and beyond. From this point you can see the Empire State Building, awesome! The excitement begins on the ground floor with the rich history and architecture of Rockefeller Center. You can take one of the glass ceiling sky shuttles for a ride to the top. When you have the New York Pass you have a free entry and you can skip the lines, perfect! You can order the New York Pass here: www.newyork.nl. The best time to visit this place is in the morning at 9.00 AM. At the top it's very small and in the evening there many tourists, but the sunset is great to see! Good luck ;) Bryant Park Bryant Park [spacer height="20px"] Bryant Park is a public park and a New York landmark. It's located between fifth and sixth avenue and between 40th and 42nd streets in Midtown Manhattan. The New York Public Library is located within the park, so when you visit the Library, make sure you walk through this park. The buildings around, the flowers and the carousel, make this place incredible! Did you know that the movie Sex and the City staged multiple scenes at the park's carousel? Times Square Times Square [spacer height="20px"] Love this concrete jungle! The most famous square in the whole wide world and one of world's most visited tourist attraction. 450.000 people daily on a busy day, that's more than then Disney theme parks! You will feel so small at this place. It's magical because of the Neon billboards and advertisements, shops, many tourists and costumed characters. At nighttime the billboards light up even more brightly than during the day, so it don't feel like night when you walk there. Do you want to make some awesome pictures without all those people? I had a jet lag so wake up at 5.00 AM, it's very quiet at this time ;) Brooklyn Bridge, Brooklyn Bridge Park & Brooklyn Heights Brooklyn Bridge [spacer height="20px"] I can give you 100 tips and recommendations, but the best one; rent a beach cruiser at Blazing Saddles. When you have the New York pass, you can rent a free beach cruiser for 24 hours. You can pick up your beach cruiser at Pier 17 (in the neighborhood of the circle line cruise) and you can drop your beach cruiser at Pier 17 or Pier 84 at Hudson River Park, it's up to you. The best way to explore New York is on a bike ride. We bike the Brooklyn Bridge, what an experience! There two sections; walk and bike. Very difficult to bike with so many people walking at the bridge, but we did it and it was great! We also visit Brooklyn Park, Brooklyn Heights, Brooklyn Heights Park, DUMBO and back over the Manhattan Bridge. You will see breathtaking views! This is the best ever, especially when you have great weather just like us :) Grand Central Station Grand Central Terminal [spacer height="20px"] Grand Central Station; official name Grand Central Terminal, with 44 platforms, more than any other railroad station in the world. This terminal is also one of the world's most visited tourist attractions, with 21.9 million visitors a few years ago. The station is not owned by Authority, but by a private company. We visit this place at the day there was a congress with Donald Trump, that's the reason why some people demonstrate. A nice thing you need to know is that you can hire an audio tour to learn more about the history. It's not only a station, you can find here shops, restaurants and a market. Really nice to visit this place, it's open daily from 5.30 AM until 2.00 AM. Empire State Building View from the Empire State Building [spacer height="20px"] One of the best places to visit in New York is the Empire State Building. I can't describe the feeling you get when you're on the top and see the view of New York and beyond. WOW WOW WOW! Also for this attraction the best time to visit is early in the morning (like 08.30 AM or 09.00 AM), it's not to crowded and you can make stunning shots! The Empire State Building was completed in a year and 45 days and finished in 1931. It stood as the world's tallest building for nearly 40 years, now One World Trade center is the tallest. Inside this building you will find art deco design. At the 86th-floor observation deck you have a 360-degree view of the city. There is a second observation deck on the 102nd floor, but you need to pay 20 USD extra when you use the New York Pass. 9/11 Memorial & Museum 9/11 Memorial [spacer height="20px"] Impressive that's the best word to describe this place.. The place where 2983 people killed in the attacks of September 11, 2001. This is a place to honor the people who have been killed. You will find two reflecting pools set in the footprints of the Twin Towers and a plaza of trees, including the Survivor tree. The underground museum tells the story of the events of 9/11, while presenting stories with 23.000 images, 10.300 artifacts and over 500 hours of video. The stories you will hear inside the museum will give you goose bumps, so sad what happens. A must see when you visit New York! Open-door Helicopter flight Manhattan View from a helicopter [spacer height="20px"] Ever made a shoe selfie with the One World Trade Center? This is the best experience ever!! An open door helicopter flight with FlyNyon. AMAZING! I wanted to give my husband a special gift on his birthday trip to New York, so I booked a flight at FlyNyon. We took the NJ Path from Manhattan to New Jersey (location of FlyNyon) and take a uber taxi to the hanger. It's possible to take you're iPhone, camera and go pro, they have straps for all your camera's. The view is spectacular! Dumbo - Brooklynn Manhattan Bridge from DUMBO, Brooklyn [spacer height="20px"] Dumbo, Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass is a neighborhood in Brooklyn and it's located between the Manhattan and Brooklyn bridges. That's what makes this area so nice, you can make pictures of the bridges from the other side. If you take a good look you will see the Empire State Building framed by the Manhattan Bridge, this pictures are made from Washington Street. Did you know Dumbo has become Brooklyn's most expensive neighborhood? It's worth a visit by bike! Statue of Liberty at Liberty Island & Ellis Island Statue of Liberty [spacer height="20px"] Some people told us, don't visit Liberty Island, because it's very busy with tourists and it's better to see Lady Liberty from the ferry. But I can tell you, I'm happy we take the free ferry from Battery Park to Liberty Island, because we had a great time! Every 20 minutes there is a ferry who can bring you back to Manhattan or Ellis Island. That skyline is so beautiful to see, I couldn't stop making pictures of it. The Statue of Liberty was smaller then we expected, but very nice to see! After Liberty Island we visit Ellis Island. The place where 12 million immigrants first entered America. We had some high expectations, but it was a disappointing. In the tv movie Hitch, you see some old books where you can find some relatives, but there are no books at Ellis Island, only 100 computers to search for relatives. That's the reason why it was a disappointing for us. Other must sees and photo gallery [URIS id=630] [spacer height="20px"] For more from Denise, visit her blog and follow her on Instagram.
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