New York department stores have helped make the Big Apple one of the world’s top shopping destinations. Stocking everything from cosmetics to homewares and designer accessories, they offer ample opportunity to splash the cash. The biggest draw, though, is usually the clothes. Pretty much any garment you can think of can be bought and sold in America’s fashion capital.
We’ve picked our top 5 New York department stores to help you plan the ultimate shopping trip. Just make sure you check in an extra bag on your flight to New York – you’re gonna need it on the way back!
A true shopping mecca, Bloomingdale’s is one of the most well-know of all New York department stores. Founded in 1861 by brothers Joseph B. and Lyman G. Bloomingdale, Bloomingdale’s Inc now has 35 full-line stores across America – not to mention the additional home, clearance, speciality and outlet shops. But the iconic flagship store is located at 59th Street and Lexington Avenue, occupying a full city blog in Midtown Manhattan. Claiming to be “America’s only full-line, high-end department store” it has nine floors chocked full of merchandise. Thankfully there are also four restaurants onsite where you can refuel.
This New York department store is as famous for its annual Thanksgiving parade as it is for the goods it sells. Even bigger than Bloomingdale’s, it spans an incredible 11 floors in Herald Square. Some of the top levels are actually still connected by the original wooden escalators. Founded as a dry goods emporium in 1858, shoppers now flock to Macy’s to buy clothes, accessories and homewares. It’s one of the few New York department stores specialising in mid-priced fashion, and it offers a number of exclusive designer diffusion lines. In 2012 Macy’s made headlines when it opened its new shoe department. At a whopping 39,000 square feet, it was the largest shoe department in the world at the time.
Saks Fifth Avenue
Right opposite the Rockefeller Centre, Saks Fifth Avenue draws in plenty of tourists. This is particularly true at Christmastime, when it unveils its elaborate holiday windows. Another of the historic New York department stores – it opened its doors in 1924 – Saks is the place to go for high-end retail and international luxury brands. As well as in-store boutiques from the likes of Chanel and Louis Vuitton, it also houses a 32,000-square-foot beauty emporium. Head there for facials, manicures, laser hair removal, CoolSculpting, brow services, and a whole host of dedicated make-up suites.
Barneys New York
Barneys New York is by far the chicest and most fashion-forward of all New York department stores. It’s gained a reputation for stocking progressive, and sometime hard-to-find, designers. Its more well-known labels include Balenciaga, Commes des Garcons, Balmain, Jil Sander and Dries van Noten – all beautifully exhibited as though in a gallery rather than a shop. On the ground floor you’ll find a top-notch accessories department, while Freds Restaurant, on the 9th floor, is the place to see and be seen. The bistro serves lunch and dinner daily, and you can enjoy brunch at the weekend.
Unfortunately, a challenging retail environment and soaring rent have caused Barneys financial issues this year. This has forced it to close a number of stores in other cities. However, five flagship stores – including the iconic Madison Avenue location – will remain open.
Bergdorf Goodman is actually two department stores, rather than one. The women’s shop – a popular haunt for ladies who lunch – sits on the west side of Fifth Avenue, between 57th and 58th Streets, while the men’s store is across the road. Located next door to Van Cleef & Arpels, and opposite The Plaza Hotel, Bergdorf Goodman keeps very classy company. A true Manhattan institution, it’s famed for its show-stopping window displays – and not just at Christmas. It’s also loved for its ability to showcase emerging talent alongside big-name brands. Labels like Dior, Prada and Ralph Lauren appeal to the more sophisticated, conservative shopper, while designs from Proenza Schouler and Doo.Ri give the offering a slight edge. Pop to the store’s fifth floor and you’ll find more affordable collections from See by Chloe, Catherine Malandrino and Anna Sui, as well as mid-priced fashions from Theory, AG Adriano Goldschmied and Vince.