Thanksgiving weekend marks the official kick-off to the holiday shopping season, and no town does shopping bigger and better than New York City, with most stores offering major sales and Black Friday deals to lure shoppers.
The day after Thanksgiving is known as Black Friday because it marks the time of the year that puts retailers "in the black" profit-wise. Black Friday is the single busiest shopping day of the year and serious shoppers know they can score major deals during the Thanksgiving weekend. But it takes some savvy to find the best deals and strategize how to fight the crowds up and down Fifth Avenue and at other NYC shopping hot spots.
In 2020, Black Friday looks different from previous years. More deals will be available online than ever before and, since more customers are choosing to shop from home, retailers are starting Black Friday sales much earlier than normal.
Perhaps nowhere in New York City is more iconic for holiday shopping than Macy's on 34th Street. The day after the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, the Herald Square store in midtown Manhattan is one of the busiest places in the city and constantly jammed with shoppers. Look for bargains on everything from clothing, shoes, home products, and more on each of the 10 floors, and don't forget to check out the traditional window displays before you leave.
In 2020, Macy’s decided to expand Black Friday deals, extending sales online and in-store from November 16 through November 28. You can shop by category, brand, or specifically for the best deals under $20.
The upscale Saks Fifth Avenue offers deep sales and savings across the store, but you don't have to wait for the doors to open on Black Friday: In 2020, online holiday sales throughout November include same-day delivery for shoppers in Manhattan. Past Black Friday sales have included up to 70 percent off on high-end merchandise—such as Valentino bags and Versace watches—plus free gift cards with a minimum purchase. Saks Fifth Avenue opens at 9 a.m. on November 27, 2020, although Black Friday sales have traditionally lasted throughout the whole weekend.
For even more discounted holiday shopping, take a walk over to Saks OFF 5th, the Saks outlet store. It's located at 57th Street only a few blocks away from the flagship store and is filled with some of the best deals in the city.
Bergdorf Goodman, New York's venerable high-end Fifth Avenue store, is the place to find Jimmy Choo, Oscar De La Renta, Gucci, and much more. Black Friday at Bergdorf's has traditionally included free morning snacks, beauty events, shoe department giveaways, 20 percent discounts on ready-to-wear collections, and substantial gift-with-purchase offers.
The men's and women's stores are both located on Fifth Avenue at 58th Street. They are right across the street from each other, so it's easy to shop for everyone on your gift list.
Bloomingdale's, or " Bloomies" as it is affectionately known in New York, falls between Saks Fifth Avenue and Macy's on the luxury scale and offers store-wide savings via its "Big Brown Bag Sale" on the day after Thanksgiving. Deals have included up to 50 percent off your purchase, as well as take $25 off every $250 spent. Cashmere sweaters are a particular Black Friday favorite. The doors usually open as early as 7 a.m. and some special offers end by early afternoon, so if you snooze, you lose.
The flagship Bloomingdale's store is located at 59th Street and Lexington Avenue on the Upper East Side and is the largest Bloomingdale's in the city, but you can also visit the SoHo store or the outlet on the Upper West Side.
Century 21, which has been a treasure trove for discount designer brands for decades in New York City, hosts its final Black Friday in 2020. After applying for bankruptcy, the fashion warehouse is closing all of its stores nationwide and offering sales of up to 70 percent off all of the remaining items. Expect rock-bottom prices on designer goods, including one-of-a-kind showroom samples that were never even put into production. Online sales are no longer available from the company, so you'll have to visit the physical store in downtown Manhattan to take advantage of the final deals at Century 21.
The Apple Store never hosts in-store sales, so you won't see discounts on iPhones or the latest Macbook here. However, Black Friday is the one day of the year where this tech giant typically offers something to sweeten the deal, and in past years they've offered gift cards of varying amounts up to $200 when you make a minimum purchase. In 2019, the gift card deal extended throughout the entire Black Friday weekend, not just the day after Thanksgiving. Apple keeps sale secrets under wraps, so details won't likely be released until the day of Black Friday.
The architecturally-impressive Apple Stores are scattered across the city, although the iconic Fifth Avenue cube is one of the most famous stores in the world. You can shop at any one of their stores throughout the city or online.
The Shops at Columbus Circle
You can find virtually every store and brand in New York City, but The Shops at Columbus Circle is one of the most concentrated shopping experiences in the city, so you can conveniently peruse over 50 different retailers in one location. Each store offers its own Black Friday deals, but you can bet that nearly all of them will have something special going on to entice holiday shoppers. Some of the stores you can browse in this mall include H&M, Sephora, Moleskine, Lululemon, and many more.