About.com: WindowsWear Walking Tour

Fashion Window Walking Tour

Not everyone can afford to shop at New York City's fancy department stores but just about anyone can enjoy perusing their offerings while window shopping.

Although you can window shop on your own, if you want to learn more about the history behind New York City's many beautiful window displays, as well as learn about the designers and current trends, WindowsWear's Fashion Window Walking Tour is the tour for you.

The tour began at Macy's Herald Square, the second largest department store in the world, where we met our tour guide inside the store at the visitors information center on the mezzanine level. It was easy to find her and she gave everyone a handy reusable shopping bag as well as a headset to make it easy to hear her throughout the tour. The headsets made it easy to hear our tour guide (which is not always the case when you're on the busy streets of New York) and also made it possible for our tour guide to narrate while we walked from place to place.

Our guide was leading her first tour, and despite her newbie status, she was confident, friendly and managed to lead our group through New York City's busy shopping streets with ease. She explained the history of window displays (who would have guessed that Ford played a role?), as well as the process that each store uses to design and install their displays. It was interesting to learn that some stores create their displays in workshops below the store (and one even has a lift that brings each display right into place), while others work off-site. I was particularly surprised to discover that Bloomingdale's actually changes each set of window displays on alternating weeks, so there are new things to see there every week! We even learned about Cynthia, the famous mannequin, who I had never heard of before, but was a celebrity in her own right.

It was fun to visit the windows at so many stores when it wasn't the holiday season -- I'm not sure I've paid close attention to the year-round window displays before and they are both beautiful and a great way to see current fashion trends.

Although there isn't time to shop during the tour, this is a great way to get an overview of New York City's major department stores and identify which stores might be the ones you'll enjoy visiting the most. After finishing up your tour, you'll be free to spend the rest of the afternoon at whichever stores seemed most appealing, whether it's the oldest luxury department store in the U.S. (Lord & Taylor's), the only-in-New York Bergdorf Goodman or at any number of fantastic stores lining Fifth Ave.

WindowsWear Fashion Windows Walking Tour Details:

Tickets: http://tours.windowswear.com Contact: tours@windowswear.com or 646-827-2288 Schedule: Wednesday - Sunday at 3 p.m. Summary: The tour covered over two miles in just under 90 minutes, leading our group from Macy's (34th/Broadway) to Bloomingdale's (61st/Lexington). In addition to visiting five major department stores, there were numerous stops along 5th Avenue and 57th Street at stores to discuss their windows. Traveling With Kids? I would skip this tour if you're traveling with young kids -- it's too fast-paced and would probably be pretty boring for them.