New York City is known around the world for its amazing shopping opportunities. Shopping in New York City is fun year-round, but the shops really come alive during the holiday season. While each store has its own unique way of decking the halls, you'll see plenty of twinkling lights and holiday greenery as you hunt for the perfect gifts.
The iconic, multi-level department stores of midtown are destinations in their own right, especially during the holidays. Check out these five stores on your next holiday visit to New York. Whether you're looking to cross some names off your list or just doing some window shopping, these shops will have you feeling festive.
Make sure to bring your walking shoes on this shopping trip. Covering nearly 2.2 million square feet, Macy's Herald Square is one of the biggest stores in the world. With nine floors of retail space, Macy's has something for everyone. There are restaurants and coffee shops on nearly every floor, including Stella 34 Trattoria, an elegant Italian restaurant with great views of Herald Square.
The holiday season at Macy's kicks off with the iconic Thanksgiving Day Parade through midtown Manhattan. Santa steps off his sleigh on 34th Street and takes up residence in Santaland, an elaborate rendering of the North Pole on the eighth floor of the store. Admission to Santaland is free for all ages, and professional photos with Santa are available for purchase. Once you've made your way through Santaland, head downstairs to shop for awesome toys and gifts. Don't forget to check online for coupons!
Want to get on the cutting edge of fashion? Head uptown to Madison Avenue and 60th Street for a trip to Barneys. A mainstay on the New York fashion scene since 1923, Barneys features high-end labels, such as Balenciaga, Burberry, and Valentino. With such high-profile designers (and clientele), it's a great place for a little style inspiration. Need to update your look before a night on the town? Barneys also features a blow dry bar and eyebrow styling studio.
Barneys' commitment to innovation in style extends to their annual holiday window displays. They frequently collaborate with iconic names in the entertainment industry, such as Jay Z and Disney, to create displays that truly tell a story. Their 2014 display, a collaboration with director Baz Luhrmann titled "Baz Dazzled", featured live performers breakdancing and ice skating in custom designs. Be sure to check out this year's display.
Located on the corner of 58th Street and Fifth Avenue, Bergdorf Goodman's flagship store is quite the historic location. The department store was built in 1928 on the site of the Cornelius Vanderbilt II mansion.1 Built in the Beaux-Arts style, this fashion behemoth belongs more on the streets of Paris than it does on those of midtown Manhattan. Inside, the shelves are stocked with luxury items from handbags to skin creams. It's hard not to get a little lost in the aisles.
Bergdorf's window displays are always a treat, but they are particularly fabulous during the holiday season. Some of the most talented artists in the world work for weeks to create these intricate displays that center around a new theme every year. This artistry and attention to detail make Bergdorf's the crown jewel of the displays along Fifth Avenue. The store's location also makes it a convenient stop for visitors heading to Central Park.
Located right above the Lexington Ave/59th Street subway station, Bloomingdale's is probably one of the easiest department stores to get to in New York City. The Art Deco exterior of this iconic department store may evoke the 1930s, but inside the aisles are full of today's hottest styles. If you work up an appetite from all that shopping, don't worry: Bloomingdale's features six restaurants and cafes, including Magnolia Cupcakes.
The holiday displays at Bloomingdale's are always something to see. The building's top floors are draped with fairy lights visible from several blocks away. The window displays are always festive, telling a stylish story the whole family will enjoy. The unveiling of the Bloomingdale's holiday display is always a great event and open to the public. Stars like Idina Menzel have helped kick off past holiday seasons, so keep an eye out for more details about this year's event.
Going skating at Rockefeller Center this holiday season? Warm up across the street at Saks Fifth Avenue when you're done. This iconic shop in the heart of midtown features gorgeous styles and gifts for everyone on your list. Cafe SFA on the shop's eighth floor is perfect for those looking for a meal with a view.
Every year, Saks tries to outshine a certain neighboring tree with their holiday displays. The building's exterior is decked with garland and fairy lights, putting even the biggest Scrooges in a festive mood. The intricate scenes in each window tell a story that charms families from near and far. Braving the crowds around this busy attraction is definitely worth it.
With all this shopping, you'll need somewhere to rest and store your haul. Luckily, there are several hotels in Midtown that will keep you close to the action. The New York Hilton Midtown is conveniently located just a few blocks from Rockefeller Center, while The Strand Hotel is just steps away from Macy's and the Empire State Building. You'll also need to refuel between trips to the department stores. While many of the department stores have their own dining options, there are plenty of places to eat nearby. Check out Patsy's Italian Restaurant on 55th Street for some old world Italian fare, or Junior's for Brooklyn classics and some amazing cheesecake.
Wherever you choose to stay, shop, and dine, make sure your next trip to New York is protected with domestic travel insurance from Allianz Global Assistance.