New York City is always a fantastic destination, but it takes on a special magic in winter. Among its highlights is the Union Square Holiday Market, renowned for its festive atmosphere, stunning decorations and diverse food options.
This guide covers essential details, including the confirmed 2023 dates and opening times.
Union Square Holiday Market 2023
Union Square is transformed into a holiday village with over 100 chalets dedicated to holiday gifts, decorations, homewares and food, providing a complete festive shopping experience.
This year, the market places a special focus on sustainability, highlighting vendors who emphasize organic, zero-waste and eco-friendly products.
Coupons for local businesses are available at the information booth.
Union Square Holiday Market dates: 16th November to 24th December 2023.
Location: Union Square Park, 14th Street, NYC.
Opening hours: Monday to Saturday: 11am to 8pm. Sunday: 11am to 7pm.
Thanksgiving Day: 11am to 4pm.
Christmas Eve: 11am to 4pm.
Christmas Day: Closed.
New Year’s Eve: 11am to 4pm.
New Year’s Day: Closed.
Meet Santa: Yes.
Admission: Free, no tickets required.
Ice skating: Not at Union Square. Find an ice skating rink near you.
Vegan: Yes, there is a vegan stand and options throughout the market.
Gluten free: Yes, but check with individual vendors regarding potential contamination.
Pet-friendly: Yes, dogs are allowed on a lead.
Parking: Please take public transport to help limit congestion.
Reason to visit: The biggest and most beautiful Christmas market in New York.
Recommended tour: Get into the holiday spirit with this holiday lights bus tour.
Specialities: Independent makers and bakers from NYC and nearby.
Where to stay: Walker Hotel in Greenwich Village is a stylish hotel, located 2 blocks from the action.
Where to Stay
If you’re visiting New York, choose a neighbourhood that suits your interests. Greenwich Village is a popular choice for its selection of bars, restaurants and shops. It’s conveniently close to Union Square, making it an ideal place to stay.
I suggest staying at the Walker Hotel in Greenwich Village. It’s a comfortable option and only a short walk, less than 10 minutes, to the event.
If you’re looking to get further into the holiday spirit in 2023, check out my guide to the best NYC Christmas markets for additional event ideas.
What to Expect
Raw Spirit provides painstakingly handcrafted jewellery in Brooklyn. Each piece encapsulates the city’s vibrant spirit.
Soap and Paper Factory hails from just outside NYC and presents a range of scented candles and other gifts, perfect for adding a cosy touch to your home at the holidays.
Salted Baked Goods serves up an irresistible selection of cookies, brownies and other sweet treats crafted in the heart of NYC.
Macaron Parlour offers handmade, naturally gluten-free sweet macarons.
Science Seeds, based in New Jersey, creates engaging STEM projects for children, adding an educational touch to holiday gift-giving.
Esthetic Living brings a taste of Scandinavia to the city with Swedish dishcloths and homewares that add a minimalist and practical aesthetic to any home.
Gone to the Dogs, based in Brooklyn, Gone to the Dogs offers ethical and sustainable accessories for your four-legged friends, ensuring that they, too, can partake in the holiday spirit.
Palenque presents a range of Colombian specialties, allowing you to travel through your tastebuds and experience a unique culinary journey.
Oh, K-dog features special Korean hot dogs, showcasing the exciting flavours of Korean street food.
Gourmet Hot Dogs: It’s hard to imagine New York without its iconic hot dog stands. At Union Square, you’ll encounter an elevated version of this classic. Vendors prepare hot dogs featuring a fluffy, lightly sweet bun filled with savoury dogs, making a great warming treat as you browse the stalls.
Macarons: These sweet meringue-based confections might have French origins, but New York’s local bakeries put a unique NYC spin on them. They come in vibrant colours and surprising flavours, each bite delivering a crunch that gives way to a smooth, chewy centre.
NYC Cookies and Brownies: New York is known for its soft, chewy cookies and dense, chocolatey brownies. Several stalls serve these traditional baked specialties, appealing to those with a sweet tooth.
Artisanal Pizza: Reflecting the city’s Italian heritage, artisanal pizza is a must-try this winter. You’ll find thin, crispy crusts topped with gourmet ingredients, baked to perfection in minutes.
Cupcakes: Given the city’s obsession with these sweet treats, you’d expect to find cupcakes at the market, and you won’t be disappointed. There are mini and regular sizes with creative flavours and eye-catching decorations, making them a nice snack or a small gift.
Mulled Wine: Known as glühwein in Germany, this spiced, hot wine is an international Christmas market favourite. Its warmth and comforting spices are perfect for the chilly New York December weather.
Craft Beers: New York is known for its thriving craft beer scene. At the market, you’ll get the opportunity to sample locally brewed ales.
Dutch Pancakes: Proffertjes are a festive favourite. Topped with powdered sugar, they provide a sweet contrast to the hearty, savoury options at the market.
Bratwurst Sausages: Union Square vendors often cook up classic bratwurst sausages. These are typically grilled and served in a bun with a choice of sauces.
Lebkuchen: This traditional German baked treat, similar to gingerbread, is often heart-shaped and covered with a sweet glaze or dark chocolate.
Roasted Chestnuts: Roasted on an open fire, chestnuts are a Christmas market classic. These warm, slightly sweet nuts are nice to munch on as you stroll through the bustling market.
Remember that the specific food vendors can change each year, but these foods are commonly found at Union Square.
NYC tourism is a helpful resource if you’re planning a trip to the city. They can provide you with maps, brochures, and other helpful information about things to do and see in the area. Their website is also packed with helpful tips and advice for visitors, so it’s worth checking out.
Many of us are increasingly concerned about climate change and sustainability.
Choose an Eco-Friendly Hotel: If you’re visiting New York, consider staying in hotels that use renewable energy sources.
Reduce Food Waste: Aim to order only as much as you can eat at NYC’s restaurants and markets, and don’t be shy about asking for a doggy bag and taking leftovers with you.
Support Ethical Consumption: Shop from socially conscious brands, such as fair-trade and sustainable products. Be sure only to purchase what you really need and can use.
Sustainable Diets: Consider eating at some of NYC’s vegan or vegetarian restaurants to reduce your carbon footprint.
Choose Sustainable Transport: NYC’s public transport system is extensive; take advantage of the Metro, buses or even the CitiBike scheme for a greener way to get around. For trips within Manhattan, consider walking to soak up the city’s atmosphere.
If you want to leave a review of Union Square Xmas Market, please comment below.
Recommendations are independently chosen based on personal travel experiences and extensive research. This post contains affiliate links to hotels and tours in NYC, USA. This means I get a small commission from any bookings at no extra cost to you.