Entertain Your Holiday Guests in Union Square

Photo by @opoline

Photo by @opoline

Don't scramble to find last-minute things to do with your friends and relatives visiting for the holidays! Check out our go-to list of free activities, off-Broadway hits, must-visit eateries and more to impress your guests.

Holiday Shopping

Browse the neighborhood's unique markets to find gifts, gourmet foods, and fresh ingredients. The Union Square Holiday Market, operated by Urbanspace, has over 150 artisan vendors selling everything from kids' toys, to handmade jewelry, to winter wear, to hot churros and crepes. Even if you finished your holiday shopping early this year, wandering the aisles and browsing handmade gifts will keep you and your guests in the holiday spirits this December. 

Union Square Holiday Market Hours*

11:00 AM to 8:00 PM Monday through Friday
10:00 AM to 8:00 PM on Saturdays
11:00 AM to 7:00 PM on Sundays

*Closes Dec. 24th at 4 PM

The Union Square Greenmarket is another one-stop destination for all the local fruits and vegetables your holiday table needs. Browse the market selections from 8 AM to 6 PM on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays for fresh produce and baked goods that your guests will love. Note that the Greenmarket will be closed on Monday, December 25th in observance of Christmas. 


Off-Broadway Shows

East 15th Street is home to three off-Broadway performances. See Billy Crudup perform in the hilariously engaging one man show Harry Clarke at the Vineyard Theatre. Experience magic and illusion at In & Of Itself from executive producer Neil Patrick Harris at the Daryl Roth Theatre. Take your littlest visitors to see The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show that brings Eric Carle's beloved books to life with life-size puppets the whole family will love. 

Movie Theaters

Escape the winter cold and head inside for a movie and popcorn at some of our favorite Union Square movie theaters, especially on Christmas Day: Regal Cinemas Union Square 14, Cinema Village, Quad Cinema, and AMC Loews

Dining Out

Union Square is home to countless phenomenal restaurants, from gourmet to grab + go, and even some with a Michelin Star. Show off neighborhood favorites, or take them to these new eateries. 

Try TsuruTonTan, Union Square's new Udon Noodle Brasserie - the Japanese restaurant chain's first location in the United States. Their steaming bowls of udon are the perfect way to warm up after a day exploring the neighborhood. 


Head in to Babu Ji, a new Union Square favorite bringing a fresh approach to classic Indian dishes. Their regularly changing menu spans Indian street food, cross regional curries and tandoori specialties. 

Photo by @babuji

Photo by @babuji

Enjoy classic Italian cuisine on the go at Pasta Flyer, now open on 6th Avenue. Customize your carbs by mixing and matching their hand-made pasta shapes with delicious sauces like pesto, marinara, and Nonna's meat ragu. Plus, you'll be eating just minutes after you order with their quick service style. 

Photo by @pastaflyer

Photo by @pastaflyer

Not to be missed is Breads Bakery on East 16th Street. While you're there to pick up their famous sufganiyot (jelly donuts for Hanukkah), use our USQ Holiday Combo Deal: any soup, small sandwich or salad, and beverage for $15. Download our 2017 Holiday Guide to get this deal plus discounts to lots of other neighborhood favorites.

Free Activities

If you're all shopped out, check out some of these free attractions for guests on a budget. 

A new Google Pop-Up store is open just for the holidays, through December 31st. In-store currently are several of the tech giant's latest personal and home use devices available for you to test run and take home - such as the Pixel 2, Pixel XL, and Google Home Mini. Discover interactive exhibits that change seasonally. 

Learn the history of our neighborhood on a free walking tour: Union Square: The Crossroads of New York, sponsored by the Union Square Parntership. Join us every Saturday at the Abraham Lincoln Statue at 2 PM for this engaging discovery through the park led by the historians at Big Onion Walking Tours. Explore the social and political history of the neighborhood and learn about the people and events that shape this vibrant community everyday.

Burn some of those holiday calories with free fitness classes at Lululemon and Athleta. Every Sunday morning, Lululemon Union Square hosts free yoga classes, including mats at no charge. Instructors rotate on a monthly basis, and classes begin Sunday's at 9:30 AM. Athleta Union Square has debuted a new fitness studio under their store and is offering completely free programming like fitness, yoga, and even classes for kids.


Whatever you end up doing with your guests, don't forget to share your experiences! Tag your festive photos with #USQHoliday for a chance to win prizes and giveaways in our holiday contest through December 25th.