Made famous by their numerous appearances in television and film New York City's department stores offer a wide array of merchandise for shoppers, from cosmetics and housewares to designer fashions and accessories. Whether you're interested in the cutting-edge styles, incredible service, sophisticated decor, or a surprisingly great meal, there's a Manhattan department store for every style and budget.
More and more beloved stores are closing their doors as e-commerce and fast fashion take over the industry (we'll forever miss the Henri Bendel, Lord & Taylor, and Barney's flagships). However, there are still a handful of stores waiting to charm shoppers and sightseers alike.
Just off the southeast corner of Central Park, Bergdorf Goodman operates out of two buildings on Fifth Avenue. While the company was first founded in 1901, it didn't move it it's now famous location until 1928. The main building is a nine-floor maze of luxury women's clothing, accessories, shoes, and home goods. A little over 60 years later after that location opened, a much smaller (only three floors) men's store opened across the street. Both stores are known for classic high-end fashions and all the luxury goods you could ever desire. You can easily spend an entire day browsing the store's wares and getting lost on the cozy upper floors.
Head to the seventh floor to the impeccably designed BG Restaurant for incredible Central Park views with the famous Gotham Salad. Or visit between 2:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. for a spot of afternoon tea. If you'd rather have a meal with a side of art, visit Palette, on the Beauty Level. Designed with artist Ashley Longshore, the cafe has a small gallery in it and serves cocktails, lunch, and weekend brunch.
One of New York City's retail institutions, Bloomingdale's can overwhelm even the most seasoned shopper. Covering a breathtaking and stress-inducing, 815,000 square feet, the flagship has been on 59th Street in 1886. The Bloomingdale's app will help you navigate the massive store but it's also worth it to wander the floors and examine the racks of designer goods to your heart's content.
When you start to feel hungry you'll be spoiled for choice; there are five restaurants in the store! Try some sweet treats at Magnolia's Bakery, try sushi or soba noodles at Daikanyama, grab a quick frozen yogurt and sandwich at Forty Carrots, enjoy comfort food at Flip, or sip on a fantastic gin and tonic at Studio 59. Studio 59 is extra cool because it doubles as a filming studio. That means you can witness a Bloomingdale's video shoot while drinking a cocktail.
There are three outposts in Manhattan but you have to visit the Midtown flagship at least once.
Quite possibly the most famous department store in New York City (it was the setting of "Miracle on 34th Street" after all), Macy's features nine floors of clothing, kitchenware, and accessories. The Herald Square flagship has been in operation since 1901 and covers a jaw-dropping 2.5 million square feet, with 1.25 million square feet of retail space. That much square-footage makes this flagship one of the biggest department stores in the country. Be sure to check out the original wooden escalators connecting some of the top floors. Merchandise at Macy's is moderately priced, and the store has great sales year-round making it the ideal spot for the average shopper. However, there are still plenty of luxury items on sale.
Located across from Rockefeller Center, Saks Fifth Avenue is synonymous with true luxury. The store offers shoppers a wide array of top-quality merchandise and solid customer service, including free personal shopping, a salon, monogram studio, medspa, and florist. Open since 1924, the Saks flagship is where to go for a pampered shopping experience. It's even more magical to see during winter evenings when the building's side is covered in lights and the holiday window displays are up.
Have a meal at the two-level, Philippe Stark-designed L'Avenue at Saks. You'll get excellent views of midtown and while dining on French cuisine. After the meal grab a macaron or three from pastry chef Pierre Hermé.