Christmas Shopping in New York City

Ah, New York City - the Big Apple, the city that never sleeps , the perfect place for a Christmas shopping trip. Sure, New York in winter is cold, but it's also beautiful and festive. United Airlines has daily flights to Newark, so getting there is a breeze. And, once you're there, New York has so many options for gift shopping. The obvious stops are the city's many department stores - Macy's, Barney's, Sak's - with their lavish holiday windows, but there's a lot more to Christmas shopping in the city. Our picks will help you combine sightseeing, culture and shopping into one magical holiday experience.

Museum stores

The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Guggenheim Museum both have tastefully curated stores, featuring art-inspired jewellery, books, posters and decor. The gift shops at the Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art lean towards the more whimsical, chock-full of unusual design-focused items.

For New York specific gifts, visit the New York Historical Society shop, which stocks NYC-themed calendars, jewellery and books. The Tenement Museum, housed in an old tenement apartment building on the Lower East Side, offers a small but well-selected range of home accessories that celebrate the city, including skyline dinnerware and bookends. The Jewish Museum store stocks everything from witty items like bagel and lox earrings to Jewish-themed children's books. The gifts at the New York Transit Museum store may be the most unique; many of them feature the city's iconic subway map.

Holiday Markets

New York City's holiday markets are artisanal and lots of fun. They're no German Christmas market, but they are great places to explore and shop. Bryant Park and Union Square both have open-air markets with hundreds of vendors selling handmade crafts and yummy food. If the cold gets to be too much, you can head to Grand Central Holiday Fair, the city's only indoor holiday market that takes place inside Grand Central Station. There's a whole range of jewellery, ornaments, toys and crafts, with a nod towards more luxury and high-end designers.

Edible Souvenirs

The obvious New York food souvenir is a bagel, but bagels don't hold up well in transport. Instead, try buying some bialys, the stouter, hole-less cousins of the bagel. Bialys are just as delicious, more unique and more flavourful (they're usually baked with a dollop of sauteed onions in the centre). They also travel much better. Try the ones at Kossar's Bialys or Hot Bread Kitchen.

For an iconic New York food experience, head to Zabar's, a family-run food business since the 1930's. Located on Broadway, their shop is the perfect place to get gift baskets, black and white cookies and the famous babka pastry - a buttery chocolate or cinnamon bread.

If your sweet tooth still isn't satisfied, visit Dylan's candy bar, a brightly coloured candy emporium on the Upper East Side. Founded by Ralph Lauren's daughter, this sweet mecca carries over 7,000 kinds of candy. You can mix and match your own bags of lollipops, gumballs, chocolate bars and more. They also boast the world's largest gummy bear; weighing in at 5 pounds, he'll keep your friends and family on a sugar high for days.

Brooklyn Boutiques

Tourists often forget to include Brooklyn on their New York itinerary, but its bounty of independent shops is a must see. Take a day to wander through the borough's neighbourhoods, stopping and shopping as you go.

In Williamsburg, Huitzilli sells a range of crafts sourced from Mexico - woven textiles, silver jewellery, handmade masks and leather bags. Shen Beauty in Carroll Gardens is a beauty-lovers dream, with high-end or small batch products you can't find anywhere else.

Owl and Thistle General Store in Crown Heights has a nostalgic vibe and creative gifts, most of which are local or fair trade. If you're looking for books, the PowerHouse Arena in Dumbo doubles as a bookstore and events space, stocking photography, art and children's books.

In Park Slope, Lion in The Sun is beloved for its stationery and greeting cards, while Neda in Cobble Hill is a treasure trove of local womenswear designers. For Brooklyn-made gifts, visit one of By Brooklyn's two branches in Williamsburg and Carroll Gardens, which exclusively sell local products, including preserves, linens and decorative knickknacks

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