If a day shopping with little ones in tow sounds more like a cruel punishment than a dream outing, then take a stroll through one of the outdoor markets now in season throughout the city. At these New York spins on old-world European street markets, you’ll find everything from high-end food vendors and artisanal everything to vintage scores and live entertainment.

photo courtesy of Kate Glicksberg/Brooklyn Flea

Brooklyn Flea
In need of a hand-printed tote bag? Hunting for classic toys for the kiddos? Maybe you just have a hankering for a lobster roll. Or shucked-while-you-wait oysters. Perhaps small batch mayonnaise is your thing. Fulfill your thrifting desires at The Brooklyn Flea, a phenomenal market chock-full of quirky vendors, or eat your way through its culinary spin-off, Smorgasburg. A schoolyard in Fort Greene is where it all started and still continues with 150 vintage, antique, handmade and food vendors on Saturdays from April through November. You can also ferry over to the Williamsburg waterfront for the dining extravaganza that is Smorgasburg on Saturdays, or hit the Williamsburg Flea on Sunday, a similar scene to the Fort Greene original but with a skyline view.

Fort Greene Flea
Saturday, 10:00 am – 5:00 pm, rain or shine
176 Lafayette Ave. (between Clermont & Vanderbilt Ave.)

Williamsburg Flea
Sunday, 10:00 am – 5:00 pm, rain or shine
East River Waterfront (between North 6 & 7 St.)

Saturday, 11:00 am – 6:00 pm, rain or shine
East River Waterfront (between North 6 & 7 St.)

Dekalb Market
Downtown Brooklyn probably isn’t top of mind for a family-friendly hang­––but don’t overlook the quiet oasis created by the colorful shipping containers stacked like life-sized Lego’s that configure the Dekalb Market. The salvaging of these containers was brilliant, but retrofitting them as storefronts for local artists, food vendors (among them Caribbean, Italian, and New York-style cheesesteaks), and even an incubator garden was pure genius. There is plenty of space to wander; workshops, DJs, and other weekly events to attend; and beer and wine served Thursday through Sunday.

138 Willoughby Street (at Flatbush Ave), Brooklyn
Food (Sun. – Thurs. 8:00 am – 6:00 pm, Fri. – Sat. 8:00 am – 8:00 pm)
Retail (Tues. – Sun. 11:00 am – 6:00 pm)
Beer and wine (Sun. – Thurs. 12:00 pm – 10:00 pm, Fri. – Sat. 12:00 pm – 12:00 am)

photo courtesy of Kate Glicksberg/Brooklyn Flea

Hell’s Kitchen Flea Market
Not just for summer, this eclectic antiques and vintage markets is open weekends year-round (weather permitting) much to the delight of thrifters all over the city. Kids can learn the fine art of spotting mid-century furniture, haggling over antiques and discovering forgotten treasures at this old school flea market bustling with vendors.

West 39th Street (between 9th & 10th Avenue)
Saturdays and Sundays 9:00 am ­­- 5:00 pm, year-round (weather permitting)

Hester Street Fair
A nod to what was once the city’s largest and longest running pushcart market, Hester Street Fair offers a modern take on the bustling Lower East Side market in a sweet park. Hunt and peck for gorgeous handmade toys spun from recycled sweaters, one-of-a-kind illustrations, Mexican popsicles, fried chicken and so much more.

At the corner of Hester St. and Essex St.
Saturday, 10:00 am – 6:00 pm

photo courtesy of Paul Wagtouicz/New Amsterdam Market

New Amsterdam Market
Shop a local bounty from farmers, catchers, and butchers, and sample the delicious labor of cooks and chefs at the New Amsterdam Market in lower Manhattan. The location in the historic landmarked Fulton Fish Market, which houses the vibrant event every Sunday, is worth the trip alone—but you’ll want to grab a few provisions or a snack too. Check the calendar for special events, like the super family-favorite Annual Ice Cream Sunday on August 19th.

Old Fulton Fish Market, South Street (between Beekman St. & Peck Slip)
Sundays 11:00 am – 4:00 pm (through December 23)

Do you take the train to your favorite market or do you stick to your neighborhood locations?

— Laura House