NYC Markets

New York City Markets & Specialty Food Stores

Food Markets in New York City

New York City markets and specialty food stores make grocery shopping fun and interesting! Markets in NYC are diverse and varied. Some feature mainly local items while others tout an impressive selection of imported foods from around the world. Many have permanent locations but some are set up outdoors on a part-time basis.

Common Market Items:

  • Fresh locally grown fruits and vegetables
  • Breads and baked goods
  • Prepared foods for easy meals
  • Gourmet sweets and chocolates
  • Imported cheeses (nearly every market has a good cheese selection)

Grand Central Market – Midtown

Grand Central Market is a narrow market located in the busy Grand Central Terminal. It is a food enthusiast’s dream, bringing together a number of fine New York City food establishments all in one place.

Grand Central Market

Look for: The large collection of quality spices at Penzeys Spices.

Grand Central Market brings together a number of fine New York City food establishments under one roof. Highlights of the market include:

  • Murray’s Cheese for specialty cheeses.
  • Pescatore Seafood Co for lobster, caviar, and other seafood items.
  • Zaro’s Bakery for mouth-watering muffins.
  • Oren’s Daily Roast for specialty coffee beans.

Even if you don’t have an immediate need for exotic food items, it’s still fun to look around. Not everything has to be cooked – you can buy prepared foods for a meal too. There are plenty of snack options as well.

Union Square Greenmarket – Union Square

This outdoor farmer’s market is open four days a week all year long. If you want to buy and eat local, this is the place to go. Regional farmers bring in fresh produce, meat, and dairy products so the city folks can buy farm-fresh goods. There’s a large selection of organic foods.

Union Square Greenmarket

Look for: Fruit pies and apple cider doughnuts.

The market has a variety of items ranging from eggs and bread to flowers and wheat grass. Fresh fruits and vegetables are plentiful. The baked goods are excellent and there is an assortment of dairy and meat products. If you’re lucky, you may be able to pick up some free samples and even taste wine.

Zabar’s – Upper West Side

Zabar’s is a specialty food store and Jewish deli known for its smoked fish, rugelach, and other fine Jewish foods. But you don’t have to follow a Kosher diet to appreciate this place. It’s full of great stuff to try.


Look for: The upstairs, with it’s extensive selection of housewares, including a number of oddities.

5 Things to Do at Zabar’s

  • Navigate the crowded aisles and sample cheese and rye bread.
  • Order a classic New York deli sandwich at the deli counter: corned beef and pastrami on rye with coleslaw and Russian dressing.
  • Try the chocolate or cinnamon rugelach from the bakery counter, which some say is the best in New York City.
  • Take a break in the adjoining café and talk to a local as you drink a cup of coffee or eat matzo ball soup.
  • Admire the housewares collection on the second floor and dream creating a registry there.

>Various counters are set up to showcase an extensive variety of cheeses, deli meats, fish, breads, and prepared meals and side dishes. A whole corner of the bakery is just for strudel and knishes and a friendly sign says, “No Number Necessary -Just Ask For Service”.

Chelsea Market – Chelsea

Eat AND shop at Chelsea Market. Located in an old factory building, this space has been transformed into an interesting mix of shops and restaurants. And unlike many of the other markets, there is plenty of seating.

Chelsea Market

Look for: Amy’s Bread, where you can peer through the glass and watch the bakers work their magic.

One of the highlights of the market is Amy’s Bread, where you can peer through the windows and watch the bakers mix the dough and shape the bread. Other fun places include the Nutbox, where you can make your own trail mix, and The Lobster Place, an enormous seafood store with fresh crabmeat, oysters, sushi, and more.

There seems to be a disproportionately large number of bakeries, but who can complain about having too many cupcakes to choose from? It’s actually quite fitting considering the old building used to be part of a large-scale bakery itself.

There are several restaurant options but the overall atmosphere lacks a certain warm and inviting feel that most would prefer with a restaurant. We think the market is more appropriate for lunch or a snack rather than a sit-down dinner. And since there’s free WiFi, feel free to stay for a while.

In a city chock full of eye-popping tourist attractions, Chelsea Market may not be at the very top of your list, but it is certainly worth a stop if you are already in the area. It also makes a great indoor activity for bad weather days.

Fairway Market – Upper West Side

Fairway Market is a specialty food store with plenty of the usual items too. It has everything from Raisin Bran to Israeli couscous. So you can do your regular grocery shopping and get a few specialty items. Or the other way around, if you prefer.


Look for: The extensive dried fruit and nut selection that will likely blow you away.

5 Things to Do at Fairway Market

  1. Go to the dried fruit section and marvel over how many different fruits can actually be dried.
  2. Stand outside and watch the never-ending stream of dolly-pushing deliverymen and harried customers. Just be careful where you stand!
  3. Fight the crowds in the narrow aisles to look for interesting snacks and fresh foods.
  4. Check out the artisanal cheeses; Fairway boasts having an inventory of 650 different kinds of cheese.
  5. Take a trip upstairs to the café.

Fairway also serves as a general supermarket. So you can still pick up the basics like milk and cereal in addition to the specialty items. The enormous produce selection is superior to most grocery stores, and the brilliantly colored fresh-cut fruits make indulgence so easy.

New Amsterdam Market – Lower Manhattan

New Amsterdam Market near South Street Seaport is full of friendly vendors, delicious looking food, and plenty of opportunities to taste. Vendors come from New York City and surrounding areas. It is open on select Sundays, so check the website for exact dates.

Union Square Greenmarket

Look for: The samples – jam, cheese, chocolate, wine, and more!

Holiday Markets – November and December

New York City’s holiday markets are lively, inviting, and glow brightly on cold winter nights. Find beautiful gifts by local artisans and sip hot cider as you walk around taking in the festive atmosphere.

Christmas Shops

The spirited glow of the markets radiate the energy and excitement of Christmas in New York City. Artisans sell jewelry, art, clothing, specialty bath products, ornaments, and more. The food treats are hard to resist, with stands selling everything from gourmet chocolates to bratwurst to hot soup.

The holiday shops are just right for picking up a hot beverage, strolling, shopping, chatting with the vendors, and finding unique holiday gifts.

Make your holiday shopping even more interesting by getting to know the vendors. Many of the people working at the holiday shops are local shop owners and artists who would love to tell you about their products, themselves, and their artwork.

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