Saks Fifth Avenue’s magical Snow White-themed 2017 holiday windows and light show display

Shop and Sip At These NYC Stores This Holiday Season

BY Stacey Lastoe | December 6, 2023

Few places are as magical as New York City during the festive season. From the Rockefeller Christmas Tree to Bryant Park’s Winter Village (the holiday market was recently named the world’s best) to Radio City’s Christmas Spectacular featuring the mesmerizing Rockettes, the city is as vibrant and exciting as ever around the holidays. It’s peak tourist season, but the crowds of joyful people somehow only add to the overall magic of the period.

It’s no secret that New York is one of the best places to shop, thanks to both big-name brands and mom-and-pop shops, but those in the know head to the city’s major department stores for floors upon floors of shopping, dining, and imbibing. ‘Tis the season for gifting—and indulging—and in New York, the two activities can be combined with minimal effort. And no, we’re not talking about sitting in your hotel room and raiding your minibar while you peruse online gift guides.

For a true New York experience beyond Central Park, make a department store pilgrimage where one-stop shopping and drinking establishments await. We’ve got the goods on where to spend and sip during this magical time of year.

Nordstrom Flagship

New York NY – December 21, 2022. The Nordstrom department store in Midtown Manhattan in New York decorated for Christmas. Photo via Shutterstock.

In the fall of 2019, New York finally got a Nordstrom. The flagship location on 57th Street in Midtown Manhattan provides a superb shopping experience—and not just because the shoe department on the basement level features a full-service bar in the center of the action, though this may help unwitting shoppers digest the cost of those high-end sneakers. Beverage menus are smartly strewn on display tables so you can select a shoe and a drink at the same time…two birds and all. 

In addition to the brilliance that is martini sipping alongside shoe shopping (worth noting that any non-shoe shoppers who may be tagging along can enjoy the first part of this equation), Nordstrom offers other enticing food and drink offerings. Take Wolf, helmed by James Beard Award multiple nominee Ethan Stowell who has brought Italian-inspired cuisine with a Pacific Northwest flare to the store’s second floor. The bartender makes a mean Manhattan, and the fried oysters (or really, any of the starters listed on the menu) provide fuel for more shopping escapades. But that’s not all: This year, Nordstrom has partnered with Edith’s Sandwich Counter (the original Edith’s, a bustling Brooklyn deli in the 1950s) for a limited time pop-up restaurant running through early January.

Saks Fifth Avenue

New York, USA – November 2017. Saks Fifth Avenue’s magical Snow White-themed 2017 holiday windows and light show display. Photo via Shutterstock.

We recommend starting on the 5th floor for the vast denim collection alone and impeccable customer service for the first first round of purchases, and when you’re in need or a refuel for round two, hit Honeybrains. Try a ginger citrus shot or a golden milk latte — raw wildflower honey, turmeric, cinnamon, juniper berries, peppercorn, vanilla, unsweetened almond milk — before heading to the shoe department. 

The massive shoe space takes up an entire floor and the store boasts that it’s so big it has its own zip code. It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of the sparkling stilettos and heeled leather boots, but when you’re ready to come back down to earth, go to L’Avenue. The two-floor restaurant and bar were designed by the legendary Philippe Starck, and the cozy interior—especially that of the lounge area, Le Chalet—is particularly welcoming this time of year. Weary shoppers may wish to opt for the caffeine-forward Saks’Presso Martini (house espresso vodka, lucano caffe, valrhona cocoa), but the Whiskey Coke Old-Fashioned (bourbon, citrus, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, coriander) offers a fun twist on a classic and has just enough caffeine to get you through any mid-afternoon shopping slump.

Bergdorf Goodman

NEW YORK – DECEMBER 5, 2021: Christmas windows decoration at the Bergdorf Goodman department store during Holiday season in midtown Manhattan in New York. Photo via Shutterstock.

With such a tony address as this—located on 5th Avenue and E 58th Street, Central Park is practically the historic building’s front yard—it’s no wonder locals and visitors flock to the iconic eight-story department store, formerly a Vanderbilt mansion, year-round. Holiday decorations inside and out, however, cement Bergdorf’s place as one of New York’s most memorable shopping experiences post-Thanksgiving. The window displays, which are whimsical, charming, and creative, draw onlookers. But, it’s the glamorous wares and luxurious dining options inside that make the destination a must. BG Restaurant, located on the 7th floor of Bergdorf Goodman, is iconic but evolving, offering classic cocktails like bellinis and mimosas, and an afternoon tea. Its gorgeous views of Central Park mean securing a reservation in advance during the holiday season is essential. If you miss out on snagging a table in time, try Palette. Part art gallery, part cafe, the space was designed by Kit Kemp and is the place to break for a drink (or brunch or lunch) between trying on the latest designer digs.


New York, New York, USA – December 6, 2022: Exterior of Macy’s Herald Square during holiday season. Photo via Shutterstock.

There’s a reason the largest department store in the world draws crowds throughout the year, and in record numbers during the holidays. Its annual Thanksgiving Day Parade is just the beginning, and in the weeks to follow, Macy’s holiday celebrations will impress even the grinchiest member of your group. Animated holiday windows and Santland (reservations required) are just the tip of the iceberg at this Herald Square stalwart. The current location opened in 1902 but the original Macy’s debuted as a small dry goods store in 1858 about 20 blocks south. Insiders know to break from holiday spectating and shopping by posting up at Stella 34 on Macy’s 6th floor. Views of the Empire State Building and a well-rounded wine list, or maybe a Negroni, make Stella 34 an easy place to while away a couple of hours while you rest your feet and plan the rest of your shopping day in the Big Apple.