Last Updated On: December 19, 2018
Macy’s/Marshall Field’s has always been a magical and nostalgic place for me. Marshall Field’s was the first place I visited my very first time visiting Chicago which was also my very first time celebrating Christmas in the United States. We moved to the United States from England when I was little and I had only been in America for a day or two when I first stepped into Marshall Field’s. It’s a day I will always remember and such a special childhood memory. It’s so special to me that I even wrote about it in my novel, A Girl’s Guide to Chicago.
Even as an adult I still love to visit the now Macy’s on State Street. There’s nothing quite like it during the holiday season. If you think this is just one big department store, well it definitely is, but it’s also so much more. It doesn’t matter if you are visiting Chicago for the first time during the holidays or have lived in Chicago for years. I bet you haven’t truly experienced everything there is to see and do at Macy’s/Marshall Field’s on State Street during the holiday season.
Everything to See and Do at Macy’s/Marshall Field’s on State Street During the Holidays
- The ladies used to say. “Meet me under the clock at Marshall Field’s.“ The gorgeous clocks that sit above the main entrances are most likely the first thing you will notice when you walk up to Macy’s on State Street. Thousands of photos have been taken of these famous clocks over the last hundred years and you will obviously want to take a photo as well. And you must, it’s kind of a thing to do.
- The beautiful holiday window displays. Each year is a different theme, so you will never see the same window displays twice. These holiday window displays are a great Marshall Field’s tradition that has thankfully continued with Macy’s.
- As you walk into the first floor, look up! Not only will you see all the Christmas decorations but also all the historical details from the Marshall Field’s era and what seems like endless floors of shopping. If you look, you will find details from the historic Marshall Field’s almost everywhere you look throughout the store. So be on the lookout! I also like the first floor for the jewelry and perfume departments, and lots of cozy gifts like cute hats, scarfs, and pajamas.
- The Burnham Fountain or the “The Lost Fountain” sits in the main atrium on the first floor. Its nickname comes from the fact that the plans for this fountain were found a hundred years after Marshall Field’s was built. It’s also a great meeting place for shoppers.
- The dome of Louis Comfort Tiffany (it’s the largest Tiffany mosaic in existence) which can be viewed from the 5th floor. The ladies lingerie department, naturally, has the best view.
- Visit Santa. Also on the 5th floor is Santaland. If you have little kiddies with you, this is a must so they can get their Christmas wish list to Santa.
- Write and send a letter to Santa. The stations are available on the 5th floor and 7th floor. Every letter sent to Santa, Make-A-Wish will donate one dollar. It’s a fun thing to do for both kids and adults.
- Enjoy lunch by the Christmas tree in the famous Walnut Room. This is such a Chicago holiday tradition and if you have never done it, you should definitely add it to your holiday list. My tip is to go early in the season, during the week if you can, and you will have no problem not only getting a table but one right by the grand old Christmas tree. Oh, and don’t forget to order a holiday cocktail and get the souvenir mug. If you can only go on the weekends put on your name on the list and spend the wait exploring and shopping the store. You can also enjoy a glass of wine at The Wine Bar at The Walnut Room.
- Shop unique gifts in Holiday Lane the seventh floor. Holiday Lane is always so beautifully decorated and each year it’s always different. You can shop beautiful ornaments, gourmet chocolates, and also Marshall Field’s collector’s merchandise. This year you can also see and shop the FAO Schwartz pop up. How cool to bring the nostalgic and famous New York City toy store to Chicago!
- Frango Mints Candy Kitchen. Head to the basements for tons of food items, wines, gift baskets, and plenty of Frango Mints. These chocolates are so good and one of the favorite things that were sold since the beginning of Marshall Field’s. I’m so happy that Macy’s continues this tradition. I have to get a box or two every year.
- Other dining options. If you can’t make the Walnut Room you can also dine at various other restaurants on the seventh and basement floor, including the casual bar, InField’s.
- Jump on the Subway. Did you know you can get on the Red Line subway train from inside Macy’s? Follow the signs in the basement. You just might be lucky enough the catch the CTA Holiday Train!
- Guided Group Tours. Did you know you can sign up to get a guided tour of Macy’s on State Street? This tour will show you all the Marshall Field’s hidden spots throughout the store. Tours are $12 per person and include a few goodies along the way. (Tour reservations must be made two weeks in advance.) Click here to make a reservation.