New York City's glittery, enchanting department store windows are a sight to behold during the Christmas season. The festive window display tradition dates all the way back to the 1870s, according to Macy's, the first retailer to start the trend. You can plan your own walking tour see some of the most popular New York City, department store, holiday window displays at the city's landmark department stores.
The window displays are almost always on view shortly before Thanksgiving and remain up until just after New Year's Day, so they can be experienced by visitors throughout the holiday season. Many stores even host a special event to mark the unveiling of the year's designs, and in recent years, there has been a greater amount of commercial support for the windows, with merchandise, books, and themed souvenirs available for sale at the stores.
AddressBloomingdale's, New York, NY 10022, USA
The windows at Bloomingdale's are typically unveiled in late November just before Black Friday so they can be enjoyed by holiday shoppers throughout the season. Although the window displays along Third Avenue are also decked out for the holiday, the ones along Lexington Avenue are the ones you really want to see, as they feature the annual theme. Lately, they have included interactive elements, so make sure your smartphone is charged to fully enjoy the experience.
For the 2019 season, Bloomingdales has put on a space-themed display with a futuristic reimagining of the store's famous art-deco facade.
Continue walking south along Fifth Avenue, and you will find the holiday windows at Bergdorf Goodman along Fifth Avenue from 58th to 57th streets. These windows never fail to impress; they usually feature antiques and couture fashions in beautifully designed scenes.
The theme during the 2019 season was "Bergdorf Goodtimes," featuring scenes of revelry made out of different materials like neon, needlecraft, and Italian marble. They way the displays are arranged also creates the illusion of peeking into a room from the ceiling.
Between 49th and 50th streets, the Saks Fifth Avenue holiday window displays are unveiled in late November and are a great choice for visitors with children, because they are often designed around a seasonal book for children and feature playful animations. Saks usually features a quite impressive lighting show on the facade of the building that visitors can enjoy throughout the evening.
For 2019, Saks honored the Disney movie Frozen 2, using its six main windows to summarize the movie's plot of Elsa summoning her power through the spirits of wind, fire, water, and earth..
Macy's has two sets of windows with holiday displays, six total, one set on Broadway between 34th and 35th streets, and another set along 34th Street. During peak hours, more than 10,000 people per hour will pass by the windows usually featuring iconic New York City holiday scenes and encapsulating the feeling of the season.
Macy's holiday window decorations typically make their appearance in early November. Each year Macy's has windows depicting scenes from Miracle on 34th Street (in recent years they have shifted to "Yes Virginia," the animated movie based on the same story) and a second set of windows with a changing holiday theme. These are perhaps New York City's most famous holiday window displays and are always on view in time for visitors in town for Thanksgiving.
For the 2019 season, the windows loosely followed the theme "Believe in the Wonder of Giving" with a new twist. This year's story line follows the adventures of Santa Girl on her mission to inspire everyone to be more like Santa Claus. There are many interactive elements where children can touch, smell, and even hold a conversation with some of the window displays characters.