We get it. Everyone is SO busy during the holidays. Office parties, family gatherings, shopping for an outstanding gift for your S.O. or Bestie. Tame your inner grinch and start a new tradition that is free and requires no reservations: a holiday window tour of NYC’s greatest department stores.
Ground rules / FAQ for the tour
Set a meet-up time with your friends for after work, usually 6:30 works for everyone.
Tour kicks off at Lord & Taylor (38th and 5th avenue.)
Wear layers and comfy shoes.
The tour lasts approximately 2 hours.
Pizza, pasta, salad, and lots of red wine is served at the end courtesy of Patsy’s Pizza.
Someone is running late? Start the tour anyway, they can text and catch up.
Shall we begin?
Lord & Taylor (424 5th Ave, New York, NY 10018)
Window Theme: Enchanted Forrest
In A Word: Impressive
The Experience: Adorable animated animals have over run the L & T department store. Fear not, they come in peace. Unusual use of perspective by highlighting the animals point of view. Giant video displays in the background add to the sense of depth.
Bonus Points: The critters spill out and ‘climb’ the garland draped scaffolding that surrounds the window.
Pro Tip: Look up! What could have been a problematic scaffolding has been turned into a glorious evergreen wonderland illuminated with thousands of tiny white lights. We dare you to find a more romantic spot on Fifth Ave.
Saks Fifth Avenue (611 5th Ave, New York, NY 10022)
Window Theme: Land of 1,000 Delights
In A Word: Crowded
The Experience: This is the one set of windows you have to wait in line for. Is it worth your time? Yes, because you are on a window tour and need to get up close so you can debate their merits. Thematically, these vitrines hold up the best. Visually, they can get a bit saccharin-ey, with too many bright colors and sweet treats, but it’s the holidays so we’ll forgive.
Bonus Points: While you are taking in the windows you will hear music and see lots of flashing lights. Saks building has been outfitted with a spectacular light show. If you want to see it, you’ll have to cross the street. Or watch it here.
Pro Tip: Turn around and take in the big picture view of the Rockefeller tree. Trust us, this as close as you want to get.
Bergdorf Goodman (754 5th Ave, New York, NY 10019)
Window Theme: Destination Extraordinary
In A Word: Winner
Visual Notes: This is how you DO holiday windows. Imagine the detail of a natural history museum diorama combo’d with the fashion savior faire that only this legendary department store could pull off. Take note: these are consistently the best windows on the tour. Simply breathtaking. The level of detail is insane. Is that a monkey made out of leaves perched next to a mannequin dressed in a surreal McQueen ensemble? Check and check.
Bonus Points: A verdant color palette is woven across all 5th Ave. windows.
Pro Tip: The crowd definitely thins out, so take your time and enjoy the views.
Barneys New York (660 Madison Ave, New York, NY 10065)
Window Theme: #lovepeacejoyproject
In A Word: Um …
Visual Notes: Four different ‘artists’ interpret the theme of love, peace, and joy. The best window is by Studio Job with a kicky “Love Boat” soundtrack that loops. The other windows are a mishmash of holiday themes.
Bonus Points: Barneys takes risks. Sometimes they work. Others, not so much.
Pro Tip: The same-sex action in Studio Job’s window is hot. Consider yourself warned if you have kids along for the ride.
Bloomingdale’s (1000 Third Avenue 59th Street and Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10022)
Window Theme: Light Up A Young Mind
In A Word: Awful
Visual Notes: These windows are a major bummer. No need to go into details. However, when you are approaching Lexington Ave, make sure to look up and see the red and green ombre lighting effect on the top floors of the store. Nice work.
Bonus Points: The elves at Bloomies have placed larger planters between each window. They produce a pine scent that wafts down the sidewalk. The scent is completely fake, but Bloomies gets points for doing something the other stores didn’t.
Pro Tip: Skip it.
Patsy’s Pizzeria (206 E 60th St A, New York, NY 10022)
What to order: Salad, pasta, and pizza. Wash it all down with the house red wine.
Pro Tip: The food is fine. They can usually accommodate large crowds, so no need for a reservation, especially if you go mid-week.
Ultra Holiday Pro Tip
Download this hinesighted walking tour via the Townske app. Maps are included, so no getting lost! Happiest of holidays.