The world’s best and most famous department stores also have the most creative and magical holiday windows. Here are the best of New York’s holiday store windows, all of FREE to enjoy, including the interactive displays that put you in the middle fo the action.
Go early or late in the day to avoid the biggest crowds. The holiday windows remain in place until the first week in January.
Our list is alphabetical, so we won’t be accused of playing favorites, since they are all our favorites.
Barney’s New York gives us the frozen treatment this year with live ice carving demonstrations by a father-son team in one window; a transluscent, icy racetrack with racing penguins in another; and the window called Winter Brilliance, filled with fabulous Dale Chihuly glass sculptures of icicles – more than 700 fragile glass pieces assembled just for this display. Barneys New York is at 660 Madison Ave. at 60th St. Live Performance Schedule for “The Ice Carvers”:
- Monday – Wednesday: Noon – 7:30P
- Thursday – Saturday: Noon – 8:30PM
- Sunday: Noon – 6:00PM
Bergdorf Goodman is celebrating the 120th anniversary of Swarovski, the Austrian crystal company, with windows full of more than seven million glittering crystals, including a crystal-covered life-size lion, and a lavish birthday, or anniversary, party. The display is called Brilliant. For sure. Bergdorf’s is at Fifth Avenue and 57th St.
Henri Bendel honors the late Al Hirschfield, the late caricaturist noted for his black and white portraits of celebrities and Broadway stars, which decorate the walls of Sardi’s restaurant and have been published in numerous magazines. Hirschfield drawings have been translated into 3D figures including Carol Channing, Liza Minelli, Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn and Bernadette Peters. Inside the store, a Hirschfield-inspired figure of Charlie Chaplin tops the a two-story tree. Bendel’s is at Fifth Ave. and 56th St.
Lord & Taylor – Once again this year, the windows focus on vintage New York and holiday traditions sure to evoke warm and fuzzy memories. The theme is “Some of my Favorite Things”, and the window of everybody’s favorite gingerbread cookies will make you think you are smelling them baking. Lord & Taylor is at Fifth Avenue and 39th St.
Macy’s – The annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade marches downtown from Central Park West, ending at the flagship Herald Square store, where the holiday magic continues (the tradition began in 1879). The 2015 windows celebrate the 50th anniversary of the TV debut of the holiday classic A Charlie Brown Christmas, with six elaborate and scenes from the show. As this clip from the Wall Street Journal shows, the displays are interactive, allowing fans of all ages to style themselves as Peanuts characters, or play the piano along with Schroeder.
Saks Fifth Avenue – Across Fifth Avenue from the world-famous Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree, this year’s holiday display goes interactive. Create a postcard online, incorporating a playful Yeti, to be displayed on one of the digital displays. There’s also a spectacular LED light show of snowflakes superimposed on the building, and a limited edition 2015 Cadillac Escalade being offered exclusively to Saks customers, parked in one of the windows. The vehicle has functioning LED lights, which seem appear to be embedded and breaking. Saks and MasterCard collaborated on this year’s traffic-stopping windows of the Yeti Snowflake Experience.
Winter Garden – The inside of this soaring ten-story glass atrium is decorated with dozens of LED lanterns, which change color and pattern in response to commands from visitors, plus there’s a pre-set light show several times a day. Although this display is not a store window, it is so unique and so special that we are including it. Additional details here.
You can visit them all in a couple of hours, or less, because – with the exception of Barneys one block east of Fifth Avenue, and the Winter Garden in Lower Manhattan, our other favorites are all on Fifth Avenue.
Check out the best NYC holiday windows starting at the north end, at Barney’s, and walk south to Lord & Taylor, or from south to north, from L&T to Barneys.
And let us know which one is your favorite.