Amidst the crowds and chaos, window and store displays provide a rare joy for holiday shoppers, especially those with kids in tow. In fact, several city department and luxury stores create such magical holiday window displays that they are worthy of their own trip. If you're able to visit one of these cities in December, be sure to check out their beautifully decorated stores.
If you're in San Francisco, head straight to Union Square for the best in holiday store window displays, including Neiman Marcus, Gucci America, Apple and, once again, Macy's, which has a very special display with adoptable cats and dogs in an effort to help the San Francisco SPCA. Be careful -- the animals are hard to resist! The window displays have helped thousands of animals find homes.
Recommended Hotel: The Westin St. Francis
The Westin St. Francis
New York City
As the first store to offer themed and stunning holiday displays, Macy's Herald Square (151 W. 34th St.) should be the first to see on a window tour of New York City. The store's six main windows, located on Broadway, bring the most "oohs" and "aahs," but its remaining 33 windows are all decorated for the season. Other not-to-miss department stores include Bloomingdale's (1000 3rd Ave.), Lord & Taylor (424 5th Ave.), Saks Fifth Avenue (611 5th Ave.), Barneys New York (660 Madison Ave.) and Bergdorf Goodman (754 5th Ave.).
Recommended Hotel: Hotel Elysee
Chicago's famed Magnificent Mile is a shopper's heaven and a Christmas window display treat. But if you really want to see a show, visit State Street, particularly Macy's, which continues New York's legacy in the Windy City. Formerly Chicago's renowned Marshall Field's, Macy's converts its seven windows along State Street and a window on Randolph Street into full storybooks. Inside, the store features a 45-foot tree decorated with 4,000 themed ornaments and more than 15,000 LED lights.
Recommended Hotel: Four Seasons Hotel Chicago
Four Seasons Hotel Chicago
Not to be outdone by its U.S. neighbor, Toronto's impressive holiday window displays in the Bloor-Yorkville shopping district are equally worthy of noses upon glass. The Hudson's Bay Company's and Holt Renfrew's Bloor Street windows are much anticipated for their fashion-forward and holiday-themed designs. Other window displays can be found at stores like Hermes, Prada, Burberry and Chanel.
Recommended Hotel: The Fairmont Royal York
The Fairmont Royal York
London, as a whole, is absolutely charming at the holidays, with Christmas markets, musical events and dazzling lights strewn about the city. And some of the best lights displays -- and overall exhibits -- can be found at Harrods. In the past, the luxurious department store, located in the neighborhood of Knightsbridge, has presented a massive snowglobe village, replica of the Tower of London and even a life-size alpine ski chalet! When you're done ogling the store window displays, head inside to enjoy hot cocoa and a pastry at Florian Cafe.
Recommended Hotel: One Aldwych
More From Family Vacation Critic:
10 Magical Hotels for the Holiday Season
10 Best Places to Escape the Snow
10 Polar Express Train Rides for Kids
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Top 5 Cities for Christmas Store Window Displays
Written by Lissa Poirot