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Holiday Happenings at Macy's on State Street in Chicago

October 22, 2016 | Events
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Exterior of Macy's on State Street at holiday time

With its delightful animated window displays, festive store décor, magical Santaland and broad range of merchandise, Macy’s on State Street is a must-experience destination during the holiday season—one that’s become synonymous with joyful family traditions. From early November through early January each year, visitors of all ages come from near and far to shop, partake in the store’s holiday happenings, sample delicious holiday dishes and enjoy a hefty dose of holiday spirit.

By observing the Great Tree and animated holiday windows, dining in the Walnut Room restaurant, purchasing a holiday shopping package, taking a special store tour and shopping the Holiday Lane, Individuals and families can immerse themselves in a heartening and memorable holiday experience. 

The Great Tree Lighting

At the 109th annual Great Tree Lighting ceremony on Sat., Nov. 5, 2016, store visitors witnessed the illumination of a 45-foot-tall tree featuring more than 2,000 ornaments and 6,600 sparkling lights in the center of the elegant Walnut Room on the 7th floor. Grammy nominated singer/songwriter Aloe Blacc helped light the tree alongside a very special child sponsored by the Make-A-Wish® Foundation. This year's tree is inspired by the theme "Reasons to Believe," and is adorned with glittering custom-painted silver and white ornaments and shimmering crystal snowflakes and icicles. Every 15 minutes, the tree comes to life with a magical animation that illuminates the room and reflects the ornaments, leaving the audience full of holiday spirit.

The Walnut Room, Holiday Menus and the Great Tree

Dining in The Walnut Room is a Christmas mainstay. First known as the South Tea Room, it opened in 1907 and guests have made it a centerpiece of their holiday itineraries ever since. On Saturday, Nov. 5, the restaurant’s majestic holiday centerpiece—the towering Great Tree—will assume its full mantle of lights and guests will have the option to sample the special holiday menu with it in heartwarming view. The Holiday menu officially begins on Tuesday, Nov. 1 and is offered until the last day of the Great Tree on Sunday, January 8, 2017. Beginning Saturday, Nov. 5 through Monday, Dec. 26, reservations in the Walnut Room are available on OpenTable. Customers may reserve their spot by checking in at the hostess desk on the 7th floor, or by using an app called "Nowait," which texts customers and notifies them of their space in line, allowing time for shopping and exploring the store. Same-day dining only.

Holiday Windows

In 1870, Macy’s created beautiful Christmas window displays in its New York outpost. It was the first department store ever to shape elaborate windows for the sheer fun and enjoyment of onlookers and, in doing so, launched an annual tradition that was adopted by retail stores around the country.

Crowds flocked to see the groundbreaking window displays at R. H. Macy & Co. at the corner of 14th Street and 6th Avenue in New York.

Each year, Macy’s stores select a fresh theme for their animated holiday windows. This year’s theme titled "Reasons to Believe," not only celebrates the spirit of the season, but also salutes nine years of Macy's "Believe" campaign—a cherished letter writing campaign which raises funds for Make-A-Wish®, the national organization that grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions. This year's seasonal spectacular pays homage to all the things that make the holiday's our favorite time of the year: family traditions, the spirit of Santa, togetherness, giving, love and the magic of the season. The windows will be on display until Sunday, Jan. 8, 2017.

Santaland at Macy’s

Some still call Santa’s home away from home “The Cozy Cloud Cottage” because that’s what it was called back in the Marshall Field days. Kids and adults have been visiting this festive in-store wonderland to share their holiday wishes and get their picture taken with the jolly fellow since 1948 and, over the years, literally millions of children have stopped by Santaland. Come meet Santa Claus on the 5th floor beginning Nov. 5th through Saturday, Dec. 24 ( excluding Thanksgiving Day).  Visit www.macys.com/events for more information and special Santaland hours.

Once you've met Santa at Santaland and snapped a holiday picture, head to Mrs. Claus' Bakery, located on the 5th floor near Santaland, for a festive holiday treat, including Santa cookies, cupcakes, candy and more.

Deck Your Halls with Macy’s Holiday Lane Merchandise

Whether you’re looking to trim your tree, entertain family and friends or tick off items on your gift-giving list, you’ll find the perfect items at Macy’s on State Street Holiday Lane located on the 6 floor—everything from shimmering ornaments, tableware, drinkware, linens and wreaths to gourmet products like chocolates, cookies and nuts. Head here to add a festive atmosphere to your home and gather special presents.

Holiday Shopping Package

The Macy’s Chicago Holiday Shopping Package makes for a perfect holiday gift—for yourself and others. For $35, you get a special Holiday tote bag containing a $25 gift card, Frango Mint chocolate sampler, a voucher for a free Macy’s holiday ornament with a $75 purchase, and the VIP Passport savings booklet with a 10% Visitor Saving Pass and offers for in-store restaurants and merchandise, as well as offers from local tour and attractions. Stop by the Visitor Information Center on the lower level to purchase your package.

Holiday Traditions Tour

The Holiday Traditions Tour is a perfect way to celebrate the holidays while learning all about the rich history of Macy’s holiday traditions. On this hour-long tour, you’ll hear about the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, the animated store window displays and the Great Tree in the Walnut Room. The tour costs $12 per person and each guest will receive a 10% Macy’s Visitor Savings Pass. Public tours take place at 11:30 am on Fridays in November and December. An advance reservation is required for groups of 10 or more.

Interior of Macy's on State Street during the holidays

This holiday season, make sure to take advantage of all the great shopping opportunities and holiday activities and sights at Macy’s on State Street.

About the Author

Meet Keri Hanson

Wine. Food. Travel. Repeat.