Wrapping up warm for a visit to Columbus Circle in the heart of winter, you’re greeted by the aroma of spiced cider and the soft glow of fairy lights.
It’s the setting for a holiday market like no other, a vibrant mix of artisans, food vendors and festive cheer right in the heart of New York City.
This guide will provide you with all the necessary information for planning a visit, including the confirmed dates, opening times and key highlights of the Columbus Circle Holiday Market 2023.
Columbus Circle Holiday Market 2023
The Columbus Circle Holiday Market brims with unique finds from local artisans, making it an ideal destination for those seeking special gifts.
The rich scent of gingerbread and mulled wine fills the air as you peruse stalls filled with handcrafted jewellery, ceramics and a colourful array of seasonal knits.
Among the many food vendors, you’ll discover local specialties such as New York pretzels and hot apple cider, adding to the overall festive atmosphere of this distinctive holiday event. You’ll find a full list of specialties below.
Dates and Location
Columbus Circle Holiday Market dates: 28th November to 31st December 2023.
Location: The entrance to Central Park, at 59th Street and Central Park West.
Opening times: Monday to Saturday: 11am to 8pm. Sunday: 11am to 7pm.
Christmas Eve: 11am to 4pm.
Christmas Day: Closed.
Admission: Free, no tickets required.
Ice skating: Yes, at Wollman Rink.
Vegetarian: Yes, plenty of options.
Vegan: Yes, plenty of options.
Gluten-free: Yes, but limited.
Pet-friendly: Yes, dogs are allowed on a lead.
Parking: Please take public transport to help limit congestion.
Reason to visit: Prime city location, unmatched accessibility. Renowned for artisanal craftsmanship. Embodying New York’s Holiday spirit. Gastronomical specialties, local and seasonal.
Specialities: New York pretzels, a salty delight. Hot apple cider, seasonally warming. Freshly baked gingerbread, festive indulgence. Local food trucks are diverse and innovative.
Where to stay: JW Marriott Essex House is an excellent hotel 5-minutes from Columbus Circle.
Hotels near Columbus Circle Holiday Market
If you’re visiting New York, consider staying near the Columbus Circle area near Central Park. It’s a relaxing area to explore, and it’s near the Holiday market. This area is known for its serene greenery, which contrasts with the bustling city. The nearby theatre district, home to many Broadway shows, adds a touch of glamour to the area.
For your stay, I suggest the JW Marriott Essex, a highly-rated hotel conveniently located near the Holiday market, providing both comfort and an excellent starting point for your festive exploration.
To make your festive trip planning smoother or to add another destination to your itinerary, I’ve prepared a guide to the best NYC Christmas markets, providing detailed information, insider tips, and plenty of inspiration for a fun holiday experience.
Location of Columbus Circle Holiday Market
Christmas in Columbus Circle
Food at the Christmas Market
New York Pretzels: Not your average pretzel, New York pretzels are large, soft, and with a subtle exterior crunch. Vendors often serve them warm with a generous sprinkling of coarse salt, and they are a favourite on-the-go snack for both locals and tourists.
Hot Apple Cider: A beloved warm beverage during the winter months, hot apple cider is made by simmering apple juice with spices like cinnamon and cloves. Its aromatic warmth is perfect for sipping while browsing the Holiday market stalls on a chilly day.
Gingerbread: Quintessential to any Christmas market, stalls sell delicious gingerbread in various forms. From beautifully decorated gingerbread people to intricately assembled gingerbread houses, these spicy-sweet treats are as much a feast for the eyes as they are for the palate.
Roasted Chestnuts: The sweet, nutty aroma of roasted chestnuts is a distinctive scent that fills the air at the Christmas market at Columbus Circle. They are usually roasted over an open fire and served warm, a simple yet comforting snack to enjoy during your market visit.
Bratwurst: In honour of the international origins of German Christmas markets, you’ll often find stalls serving Bratwurst. These German-style sausages are typically grilled and served in a bun with a selection of mustards, offering a hearty bite in the midst of your shopping.
Mulled Wine: Borrowed from European Christmas traditions, mulled wine is a festive beverage made by gently heating red wine with various mulling spices, orange slices, and sometimes a touch of brandy. Its comforting warmth and heady aroma make it an ideal companion on a cold winter’s day.
Candied Nuts: Vendors at the market sell an array of candied nuts, including almonds, pecans, and peanuts. Coated in a crispy caramelised sugar shell, these sweet treats provide a satisfying crunch and are conveniently portable for snacking as you explore.
Churros: Paying homage to the diversity of New York City, you might come across stalls selling churros. These Spanish doughnut-like pastries are deep-fried, coated in sugar, and often served with a side of rich chocolate sauce for dipping.
Local Food Truck Specialities: Columbus Circle Holiday Market is also home to various food trucks offering innovative street food. From Korean tacos to vegan falafel bowls, there’s a wealth of global flavours to be discovered, making the food scene at the market as diverse as the city itself.
Eggnog: A classic holiday beverage, it’s a creamy blend of milk, cream, sugar, whipped egg whites, and egg yolks. Eggnog is a cosy treat to sip on a cold winter’s night, typically spiced with nutmeg and sometimes given a kick with a splash of rum or bourbon.
What to Buy
Handmade Ornaments: Reflecting the artistic spirit of New York, numerous stalls at the market sell handmade ornaments. Ranging from delicate glass baubles to wooden trinkets, these unique keepsakes add a touch of personal charm to any Christmas tree.
Artisanal Candles: Locally made candles are another common find at Columbus Circle. These often come in a variety of holiday-inspired scents like balsam fir, cinnamon, and spiced apple, creating a cosy and festive atmosphere in any home.
Local Artwork: The market features numerous stalls showcasing local artists and their works. Whether it’s a vibrant cityscape painting or a unique sculpture, purchasing one of these pieces supports local talent and makes for a unique gift.
Gourmet Food Products: Specialty food items are a crowd favourite at the market. Stalls carry items like artisanal cheeses, locally sourced honey, handmade chocolates and small-batch hot sauce. Such gifts are perfect for the foodies in your life.
Handcrafted Jewellery: Many stalls sell an array of handcrafted jewellery. From delicate necklaces and bracelets to unique brooches and earrings, there’s something to suit every taste, making these items a thoughtful gift for someone special.
Locally-Made Beauty Products: Beauty products made from local and natural ingredients are also common in the Holiday markets in NYC. Organic soaps, hand creams, lip balms and bath bombs are popular purchases, perfect for creating a spa-like experience at home.
Hand-Knit Scarves and Hats: Given the chilly weather, stalls selling hand-knit items like scarves, hats, and gloves are a common sight. Not only do these make for a cosy and practical gift, but they also come in a variety of colours and patterns to suit different styles.
Unique Christmas Cards: Several stalls offer unique Christmas and Holiday cards, often hand-drawn or painted. These one-of-a-kind cards are perfect for sending holiday wishes to loved ones, adding a personal touch to your greetings.
Pottery: Handmade ceramics and pottery are other unique finds at the market. From decorative vases and bowls to charming mugs and plates, these pieces combine form and function, making them a beautiful addition to any home.
For all the helpful insights you might need while visiting the city, NYC Tourism maintains an informative space designed to assist you in making the most out of your stay.
Sustainable Christmas Tips
Many of us are increasingly concerned about climate change and sustainability. Here are a few tips on how we can travel more responsibly during the holidays.
Opt for Renewable Energy: Consider staying in a hotel that uses renewable energy sources to support the transition to lower-emission energy.
Reduce Food Waste: Mind your portions when ordering food at the market or nearby restaurants to avoid waste. You could also take a reusable container with you for any leftovers.
Support Ethical Consumption: Prioritise shopping from vendors who use ethical practices, like those selling handmade or fair-trade products. For instance, many Columbus Circle Christmas Market stalls feature locally made items. Also, only purchase what you really need and avoid impulse buys.
Embrace a Sustainable Diet: Try some of the plant-based food options available at the markets. Vegan and vegetarian dishes are delicious and have a smaller environmental footprint.
Choose Sustainable Transport: Reduce your carbon footprint by using public transport or walking where possible. Columbus Circle is well-connected by the subway and also within walking distance of many major attractions.
Pick Up After Yourself: Keeping the city clean is a simple yet effective way to contribute to sustainability. Make sure to dispose of your rubbish in the appropriate bins provided around Columbus Circle and Central Park.
Columbus Circle Holiday Market kicks off on 28th November to 31st December 2023.
The market occurs at Columbus Circle, located in Central Park’s southwest corner of New York City.
The market opens from Monday to Saturday: 11am to 8pm. Sunday: 11am to 7pm. Closes at 4pm on Christmas Eve.
New York City can be quite chilly in winter, with temperatures ranging from 0°C to 4°C in December. Make sure to dress warmly and check the weather forecast before your visit.
You can enjoy a variety of foods from both local and international cuisines. Be sure to try the hot apple cider, artisanal grilled cheese sandwiches and New York-style pretzels.
Yes, there are several hotels near Columbus Circle. I particularly recommend the JW Marriott Essex House New York for its high ratings and convenient location.
Absolutely! Columbus Circle is well served by subway lines A, C, B, D, and 1. It’s an easy and sustainable way to travel around the city.
Visiting Columbus Circle in winter is a worthwhile experience. You’ll enjoy a vibrant market filled with unique gifts and scrumptious food. Coupled with the beauty of nearby Central Park under a winter sky, your trip promises to be a unique experience right in the heart of New York City.
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Recommendations are independently chosen based on personal travel experiences and extensive research. This post contains affiliate links to hotels and tours in Columbus Circle, NYC. This means I get a small commission from any bookings at no extra cost to you.