The quest for the perfect New York-themed gifts can be quite a challenge. Whether you’re on the lookout for something special for your favorite local or seeking to bring a piece of the city to someone missing it from afar, each scenario presents its own set of difficulties.
That’s where we step in! We’ve enlisted the help of our team of locals to curate a list of the best gifts from New York, both for giving and receiving, in an effort to simplify your holiday shopping experience. Whether you’re the type to meticulously plan months ahead with a spreadsheet or find yourself scrambling as a last-minute shopper (we’ve been both), rest assured, we’ve got you covered.
So without further ado let’s dive into the best New York themed gifts for this upcoming holiday season.
Visiting New York City? If you haven’t decided where to stay (yet) check out our helpful guide on Where to Stay in New York City (10 Best Neighborhoods +3 to Avoid). Don’t have time? Here’s our favorite hotel in NYC, hands down.
The Best Gifts for New Yorkers
Table of Contents: Best NYC Gifts
Table of Contents: New York City Gift Guide
- The Best Gifts for New Yorkers
- Best Gifts for Those Who Love New York
- Roundup of the Best New York City Souvenirs
- Map of Where to Get the Best Gifts from NYC
The Classic Yankees Baseball Cap
When you visit NYC, it’s inevitable that you will see thousands of NY Yankees baseball caps bopping along the sidewalk. The reason? You can find them for sale on almost every tourist hub in NYC — Times Square, Brooklyn Bridge, etc. and they’re usually very affordable. Even if you’re not into sports, the Yankees’ ball cap is one of those New York-themed gifts everyone will love (except maybe Red Sox fans).
An Iconic Coffee Cup
Do you know anyone who doesn’t start their morning with a cup of coffee or tea? Me neither. Why not surprise them with gifts from New York City that they’ll see daily, like a mug? But not all mugs are created equal; they are far from it!
I recommend getting the iconic “we are happy to serve you” mug, which you’ve probably seen in movies and shows based in the Big Apple. A mug like this is one of the best gifts from New York for that caffeine-crazed friend we all seem to have, or even yourself. I’m embarrassed to say I own three, using two for drinks and one to hold my pens.
Gift Cards (Uber/Lyft)
I used to think gift cards were a poor excuse for a gift; they seemed lazy and generic, but after moving to New York, my mindset changed. This is because real estate is a scarce commodity in NYC; we have tiny apartments! I have nowhere to put multiple throw blankets and candles, and lord knows I don’t need any more socks (thanks anyway, Mom). This is why I’ve come around to the idea of gift cards.
More specifically, I recommend ride-share gift cards; I was once gifted an Uber gift card and loved it. It’s hard for me to justify spending money on a car ride when the subway is less expensive, but getting a gift card allowed me to splurge without feeling guilty.
Without a doubt, an inflatable sofa would make one of the best gifts for New Yorkers. You often see people using them in Central Park during nice weather, sprawled out like reptiles on rocks. They’re essentially big plastic bags you fill with air for portable seating. They’re compact to store and easy to inflate without a pump. Overall, an inflatable couch is an exciting and practical gift for someone living in New York.
The Classic New York City Tote
Confession time, folks: I currently own 15 totes, and I’m not convinced I have enough. I love a good tote bag and make it a point to use them when grocery shopping or running errands (we only have one planet, right?).
This is why I consider them among the best gifts for New Yorkers. Plus, out-of-town visitors would often remark on how cute some of my NYC totes were, so I started giving them out as gifts from New York. Turns out they’re a big hit! Based on the reception received, I’m pinching myself for not thinking of these earlier as my go-to gifts from New York!
Nice Pair of Winter Boots
Winter boots are not the most common gift, but they’re arguably the most practical. If you have a loved one who lives in New York City and doesn’t have decent winter footwear, believe me when I tell you that their toes are freezing.
After my mother-in-law got me a pair of winter boots in 2020, I tried rigging Secret Santa to get her every year! They’re some of the best gifts I’ve gotten since moving to New York and are worth their weight in gold. The trick is to get boots that aren’t big, clunky, or ugly but instead something you can style and that is still practical. I got these, and after two seasons, they still have plenty of life in them.
New York City Luggage Tag
New York is home to a lot of transplants, maybe more so than any other city in the United States. Since the city is the adoptive home to thousands, many of them frequently fly home to visit family. This is why a luggage tag is one of the most practical gifts for New Yorkers!
There are so many different styles to choose from, and depending on the recepeint you can go as classy or as cute as you’d like. I think the New York-themed gifts illicit a sense of nostalgia for the city, so I always go for a landmark. NYC’s yellow taxis and MetroCard are some of the most recognizable items from the Big Apple, and every time I catch a glimpse of this sturdy luggage tag, I pick one up to be gifted later.
Membership to the MET
With the number of world-class museums, it should come as no surprise that one of the best gifts for New Yorkers is an annual membership to one. My suggestion? Get one from the Metropolitan Museum of Art (the Met). With more than 2 million pieces of art spanning 5,000+ years, the Met is the largest museum in the country and the fifth largest museum in the world.
Your loved one will be well entertained here for a while. With the basic Met membership, you get to bring a friend, too, meaning this is one of those New York gifts that just keeps giving. To apply, visit their website.
Intant Film Camera
Anybody who lives in New York City will tell you friends want to visit. What I started doing is taking a photo of everyone who visits me and creating a collage of all my loved ones and the memories we’ve had in NYC. Instant film cameras are great gifts for New Yorkers and aren’t all that expensive, either. Polaroid and Fujifilm are two brands putting out great quality and economic models for as low as $50.
Custom New York Times Anniversary Book
There aren’t many brands quite as widely recognized as the New York Times, and now you can have a piece of their history. The Times is offering an anniversary book in which you get to pick a date, and they’ll create a book containing all the news paper’s front pages from that anniversary every year until the present.
For example, if my birthday is December 2nd, 1962, I’ll get every December 2nd front page from 1962 until the current year. It’s one of the best gifts from New York for anybody who keeps up with the news and likes world events.
Best Gifts for Those Who Love New York
Whiskey Glasses with Skyline
If your loved one enjoys adult beverages and the Big Apple, then this next item is going to be one of the New York-themed gifts you can get. I picked up my favorite whiskey glasses at a holiday market years ago. These ones from Amazon are similar in that they have the skyline etched onto the side and are amazing New York-themed gifts.
Personally speaking, I love nothing more than edible gifts from New York City (one of the best food cities in the world!). My go-to edible gifts from New York are either cookies from Levain Bakery (considered the best cookies in the world) or the unbelievable chocolate babka from Breads Bakery.
These gifts are also well received by my family and friends, and they often request them on subsequent visits — which tells you everything you need to know. And if you’re looking for the best edible gifts to ship to a New Yorker away from home, we’re in luck because Kat’z Deli offers care packages. You can order a birthday, Katz’s Superbox, or a “Taste of New York” package and get free shipping nationwide for orders over $100.
New York Sports Teams Gear
I know the Yankees cap may seem similar, but whereas the cap is one of the best New York-themed gifts that anybody will love, I’m now talking about dedicated sports fans. New York is home to two football, two baseball, two soccer, hockey, and two basketball teams.
That’s nine professional sports franchises that allow you to represent this city! Jerseys are always some of the best gifts from New York, but there are always key chains, bottle openers, and beer mugs, too. And if all else fails, consider gifting tickets to a game (then they’d really love you).
Pretty City New York Book
If you have someone who’s hard to shop for but loves New York, I suggest picking up one of the best photo books of New York City. This book is chock-full of inspirational and charming photos, making it one of the most charming gifts from New York City that is sure to impress. Grab a copy of this great New York City gift: Pretty City New York.
Want gifts that will remind your friends of New York on an annual basis? Look no further and pick up a beautiful Christmas ornament. Remember how I mentioned the holiday markets in NYC earlier? Well, those are typically the best spots to pick up these beloved New York gifts.
But even if you’re not visiting during the holiday, you’ll still be able to find Christmas ornaments at museum stores and souvenir shops. If you’re away from the city, consider mailing them one (I bought this one for my best friend years ago, and she still hangs it on her tree).
NYC Homesick Candle
Not every visitor leaves NYC missing the smells, but those who call the city home find it nostalgic. NYC isn’t a clean city by any means, but that doesn’t stop it from being one of the best places in the world. And before you send me hate mail, no, the candle doesn’t smell like trash day. So, if you love NYC and the (pleasant) smells that come with it, I highly recommend the NYC homesick candle; it’s one of the best gifts from New York!
Homesick New York City candle scent description: The distinctive scents of spring days in Central Park, fine department stores, and concrete capture the energy of the greatest city on earth
New York City in Stride
New York City in Stride is yet another beautiful book about the Big Apple. Full of stunning illustrations and helpful descriptions of notable places in New York, this is one of the best gifts I’ve ever received.
The reason? It goes over most neighborhoods in Manhattan and details spots you don’t want to miss! I enjoy perusing the pages when I have free time and find myself reaching for it before heading somewhere new. Interested? You can pick up a copy of New York City in Stride here.
New York Snow Globe
Continuing the trend of holiday-themed gifts from New York City, I recommend the timeless snow globe. Before dismissing it as a mere relic of 90s sitcoms that nobody uses, let me introduce you to someone who does: my mother.
The first time I visited the city (before moving here), she asked for a snow globe. Now, without fail, every year when I return home for the holidays, the snow globe takes its place front and center amidst a myriad of decorations adorning her living room. I feel confident in saying somebody in your life would enjoy the nostalgia associated with these cheesy but beloved New York City gifts.
New York City T-Shirt
Aside from the typical I ❤️ NY shirt everyone thinks of, there’s a plethora of clothing that pays homage to NYC. You can find shirts that have subway prints, photos of the Notorious B.I.G., or the Empire State Building in various shops across New York City.
Or, if you want to get creative, consider picking up New York-themed pajamas or socks. All this is to say that clothing is one of the safest gifts from New York. No matter who you’re buying presents for, they wear clothing (I hope).
New York or Nowhere
Allow me to introduce you to my guilty pleasure, clothing from New York or Nowhere (NYON). The phrase alone elicits a dreaminess you’d only know if you love the city and the clothing is equally charming. Now, I want to be honest with you and let you know NYON gear will cost you a pretty penny.
My last sweatshirt cost me a hefty $100, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t love it. I wear it almost daily, and the quality is heavy-duty. As a local, I constantly see other New Yorkers out, wearing a piece from NYON, and feel like I’m part of a small community within the city.
In the same way, Jeep drivers share a nod of acknowledgment when passing, I tip my hat to fellow NYON lovers. I can only imagine how much someone who dreams of calling New York City home one day would appreciate the gift.
Roundup of the Best New York City Souvenirs
- Yankee’s baseball cap
- Iconic coffee cup
- Gift cards
- Inflatable Hammock
- NYC Tote
- Heavy-duty boots
- NYC luggage tag
- Membership to the Met
- Polaroid Camera
- Custom New York Times Anniversary Book
- Whiskey glasses with NYC skyline
- Edible gifts
- NYC Homesick candle
- New York sports team gear
- Pretty City New York
- Christmas ornament
- New York City in Stride
- New York snow globe
- NYC T-shirt
- NYON Gear
Map of Where to Get the Best Gifts from NYC
Helpful (Related) Links
Christmas in New York City: 20 MAGICAL Things to Do (And 5 to Avoid!)
What to Watch in NYC for Christmas: 15 Charming Christmas Shows in New York City (2023 Guide)
Where to Shop for Christmas: 10 Cheerful Christmas Markets in New York City (Worth the Visit!)
Christmas on a Budget: 20 Free Things to Do During Christmas in New York City
The Best Christmas Trees in NYC: 15+ Captivating Christmas Trees in NYC and Where to Find Them
Where to Find Festive Cocktails: 15 Christmas Pop Up Bars in New York City (Worth Waiting in Line For)
Prettiest Window Displays: 10 Wonderful Window Displays in New York City (Local’s Guide)
What to Gift a New Yorker: New York Gifts | For New Yorkers & Die-Hard NYC Lovers
New York City Christmas Inspo: 15 Charming Christmas Movies Set in New York City
The Best Decorations: New York Christmas Decorations: Where to Find Festive Decor in NYC
Macy’s Santaland: The Complete Guide to Macy’s Santaland in NYC (Your Kids Won’t Want to Leave!)
The Most Chaotic Day of the Year: Everything You Need to Know About SantaCon NYC (or How to Avoid it!)
Hope you found our guide on the best gifts from New York useful!
Happy holidays, cheers!