When you’re looking to cross some names off your holiday shopping list in a hurry, well-known department stores like Macy’s and Nordstrom certainly come in handy, offering a wealth of last-minute gift options. But for those who prefer a calmer and more customized shopping experience, a host of smaller NYC shops are ready to deliver. Whether you want to browse for gifts in a relaxed setting or treat yourself to something with a local touch, you’ll find just the place with our guide.
Hit this London import—NYC’s largest record store—for the music-lover in your life. This space is roomy enough for a day’s worth of rummaging, though you’ll find that its stockpile of indie rock titles as well as international releases is well organized. The store mainly specializes in new releases, categorized by genre, though they do carry a secondhand catalog that will impress even seasoned record collectors.
Also try: Black Gold for vintage vinyl and antiques; Academy Records for classical or R&B records; Earwax for more obscure releases
Though the main floor can get crowded, the basement, second floor and third floor (which houses the rare book collection) at The Strand provide a library-like atmosphere for anyone searching for new, used or rare titles. Expect a lot of history, art and fiction here.
Also try: Rizzoli Bookstore for art tomes; Word for indie fiction; Books are Magic for kid lit
Russ & Daughters
Operating since 1914, this Lower East Side institution is known for its smoked fish, bagels and varieties of cream cheese, prime ingredients for a savory gift basket. There’s plenty else to tempt you: babka, dried goods like fruits and nuts, and chocolate rugelach, for a start.
Also try: Bedford Cheese Shop for over 200 cheese choices; Eataly for Italian imported goods; Le District for artisanal French food
Head to this avant-garde Soho boutique if you’re looking to shop at your own pace. Across two floors of cutting-edge clothing, bags and accessories for women, Kirna Zabête offers a clean layout and lots of space to roam. Find items from Re/Done, Tibi and Chloé as well as from up-and-coming brands like Alex Mill and RTA.
Also try: Concrete + Water for international labels; The RealReal for secondhand luxury; 10 Corso Como for gifts that blend fashion and art
Zero Waste Daniel
The spirit of Williamsburg is perfectly encapsulated at this eco-conscious store where Daniel Silverstein, an alum of NBC’s Fashion Star, designs clothing from pre-loved fabrics. Take your time perusing gender-neutral apparel and accessories made from scraps in this laidback shop.
Also try: Only NY for skate- and streetwear; Best Made Co., which specializes in outdoor gear; RRL & Co., Ralph Lauren’s rugged work-wear brand
Walking into Catbird is like stepping into a well-organized jewelry box. All the delicate gold rings, bracelets and necklaces are neatly displayed behind glass shelves, elevating the glitter factor. The boutique is small, but its dainty pieces have an outsize appeal.
Also try: Mejuri for intricate fine jewelry; Scosha for handcrafted statement pieces; Love Adorned, where uncommon jewelry is found alongside home goods
This Williamsburg shop could double as a greenhouse thanks to its abundance of lush plants, some of which are rare. Add crystals, botanicals, blankets, rugs, vintage clothes and beauty products to the selection, and you have a well-curated array of gift options to please the choosiest recipient.
Also try: Mociun for thoughtfully made home goods; Fish’s Eddy for kitschy glasses and dishware; Roman & Williams Guild, a trove of tasteful artisan-made items
Toys and Games
You’ll be just as awestruck as the little ones on your list during a visit to this specialty toy emporium. It spreads out over two floors, which are packed with toys from around the world alongside giant stuffed animals, storybook characters and toy soldiers. When you’ve settled on the perfect present, reward yourself with a treat from the extensive candy selection.
Also try: Nintendo Store for vintage and new Nintendo products; American Girl Place for all your American Girl dolls and accessories; Loot Comic Shop for kid-centric comic books