Preparing to tackle your holiday shopping this weekend? Here are seven Harlem spots where you're sure to find loads of irresistible gifts—and they're all in the neighborhood. (Note: This year some have Covid-related restrictions; check their websites or social media for the latest information.) From south to north:
52 W 116th St between Fifth and Lenox Aves
Lined with vendors selling goods from all across sub-Saharan Africa, this lively open-air market on 116th Street is the perfect destination for gifts like shea butter, beaded jewelry, and colorful Senegalese baskets (about $35 for a medium size). This year there are African-print masks aplenty.
300 W 116th St between Frederick Douglass Blvd and Manhattan Ave
Silvana's bohemian cafe on 116th Street doubles as a shop and stocks gifts the two owners–one from Israel, the other from Burkina Faso–have picked up in places near and far. Think bottle openers from Zanzibar next to natural soaps in scents like lemongrass.
191 Lenox between W 119th and W 120th Sts
This treasure-filled gift store offers a little bit of everything–from stylish coffee table books to luxury candles–with a strong focus on Black makers. Here's where to go for that "Black is Beautiful" mug from the Studio Museum collection.
•2219 Frederick Douglass Blvd between W 119th and W 120th Sts
•20 E 125th St between Madison and Fifth Aves
Grab a graphic Harlem-themed tee or two designed at this friendly shop with a couple of locations in the neighborhood. There are endless styles to choose from, and each comes in a range of colors and sizes for both men, women and children.
22 E 125th St between Madison and Fifth Aves
Sip on a freshly-brewed African tea or infusion while browsing the exquisitely-packaged tea blends, hot chocolates, honeys and more at this oasis on 125th Street.
515 Malcolm X Blvd and W 135th St
This sunny, modern shop at the Schomburg Center is the idyllic place to find books and gifts related to the Black experience, from Radical Dreams' clever lapel pins depicting modern-day icons like Michelle Obama to reproductions of "The Negro Motorist Green-Book," a mid-century guide for African-Americans traveling through the segregated United States.
2363 Adam Clayton Powell Jr Blvd between W 138th and W 139th Sts
Resembling an elegant Strivers' Row parlor, this three-year-old chocolate shop specializes in color-splashed truffles with evocative names like First Nite on Lenox (a mix of smoked peach jam, hazelnut praline and caramel) and chocolate bars molded to resemble Harlem brownstones—one of Oprah's Favorite Things this year.