Courtesy, Brooklyn Flea
When spring is in full bloom and summer just around the corner, New York City’s staple outdoor experiences make their triumphant return. Among them are the many open-air markets that dot the City. Whether you’re looking for a tasty bite or a one-of-a-kind item, you’ll find it at these events. They mostly happen Fridays through Sundays, and you shouldn’t have to venture too far from home—or wherever you happen to be staying in town—to find what you seek. Read on for five of the best spots to discover treasures new and old (and note that vendors may change from year to year).
When: Fridays, April through October, 11am–7pm
Where: Westfield World Trade Center, 185 Greenwich St., Lower Manhattan (also Saturdays from 10m to 6pm at Marsha P. Johnson State Park in Williamsburg and Sundays at Prospect Park’s Breeze Hill, both in Brooklyn)
There’s no shortage of culinary delights to choose from at the popular Smorgasburg food market. Grab a bite on your travels to or near the , or hop over the East River to Williamsburg on Saturdays or on Sundays. Whether you have a taste for a cheesesteak, empanadas, tacos, dumplings, shish kebabs, fried chicken, barbecue, wings or tasty vegan ribs from , you’ll find it here. Depending on your timing, you might score a seat on one of the Oculus’ many windowsills, a picnic table in Marsha P. Johnson State Park or a shady spot beneath a tree in Prospect Park to enjoy your meal, people-watch and maybe even make a new friend.
Courtesy, Bronx Night Market
When: Last Saturday of the month, April through October, 1–7pm
Where: 1 Fordham Plaza, Belmont, Bronx
The Bronx Night Market provides an uplifting atmosphere with its mix of live entertainment and friendly vendors. In addition to finding works from local visual artists and designers, visitors can expect a lineup of the cultural food options that the borough is most known for, including Latin and Italian, as well as soul food and Caribbean. Its location, directly across from Metro North’s Fordham station (and not far from the B, D and 4 subway trains, which stop at Fordham Road), makes it easily accessible from other boroughs—and it’s just a 20-minute ride from Grand Central Terminal on the Harlem and New Haven lines.
Courtesy, Queens Night Market
When: Saturdays, April through October, 5pm to midnight
Where: Behind the New York Hall of Science, Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Queens
Bringing together bites from all over Queens—the most diverse borough in the City—this market’s variety of affordable international cuisine is unrivaled. But while it’s best known for being a foodie’s paradise, the event is also a party in the making. The spacious layout and the good vibes created by the DJ’s selection of nostalgia-inducing hits from the 1990s and early 2000s mean it’s just a matter of time before a celebration breaks out. Visitors will also find a selection of unusual crafts, including dreamcatchers and henna body-painting. Located on the campus of the New York Hall of Science, the market is a 10- to 15-minute walk from the 111th Street stop on the 7 train.
Brooklyn Flea. Photo: Sam Hollenshead
When: Saturdays and Sundays, April through December, 10am–5pm
Where: 80 Pearl St., Dumbo, Brooklyn (an indoor weekend location in Chelsea, Manhattan, at 29 W. 25th St. is open year-round from 8am–4pm)
Beneath the archway of the Manhattan Bridge lies a prime destination for thrift shop devotees. Offerings include antique furniture, vintage cameras and an extensive assortment of leather and jean jackets. The Flea also features an array of black-and-white photography and a rainbow of art, tapestries and handmade accessories. Vendor has been known to give away sample-size (wrapped) candy to passersby, but if you’re looking for a little more sustenance before or after shopping, head to or one of the many restaurants nearby.
Courtesy, Grand Bazaar NYC
When: Sundays, year-round, 10am–5pm
Where: 100 W. 77th St., Upper West Side, Manhattan
This long-running indoor and outdoor market—around in some form since 1979—has an assortment of home decor, vintage dresses, handcrafted art, children’s books, framed photography and handmade (and wonderfully scented) skin-care products; a distinctive collection of flavored pickles; a photo-worthy display of tea and spices; and an impressive spread of food from around the world. The fried squid from Taiwanese Yummy, a market regular, is not to be missed, nor is the perfect snack for perusing—mini doughnuts from . Considering all of Grand Bazaar NYC’s offerings, you likely won’t need to go anywhere else for a good time. Still, its location, just a short walk from Central Park and the Museum of Natural History, makes it a great stop on a walking tour of Manhattan’s —and you can feel good buying from there, as the profits benefit local schools.