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The Top 30 High-End Department Stores You Must Visit

CEO Tinh Phung
Galeries Lafayette, Paris / Dimitri Destugues / wikipedia.org The thrill of stepping into a department store like Macy's during the holiday season is simply indescribable! The festive decorations, the music, the overall atmosphere - it's...

best high end department stores Galeries Lafayette, Paris / Dimitri Destugues / wikipedia.org

The thrill of stepping into a department store like Macy's during the holiday season is simply indescribable! The festive decorations, the music, the overall atmosphere - it's an ecstatic experience. Walking into a department store always gives me a warm, fuzzy feeling, especially during this time of year.

But what exactly are department stores? They are retail establishments that offer a wide variety of goods, allowing consumers to conveniently do most of their shopping in one place. From clothing and household items to toys, shoes, electronics, and more, you can find it all. Most upscale department stores even have separate counters in each department for smooth checkouts.

Now let's take a journey into the history of department stores. The concept originated in Paris in the early 1800s, inspired by flea markets. People flocked to these markets to find a wide range of items, both new and second-hand. Eventually, department stores transitioned to exclusively selling new products. In the US, the first department store opened its doors in New York City in 1825. In Europe, Le Bon Marché in Paris became the first iconic department store, still thriving today.

What sets the best high-end department stores apart from the rest? It's a combination of great aesthetics, innovation, and the ability to adapt to changing times. These stores offer exceptional customer care, personalized styling, and a wide range of services that elevate the shopping experience.

Without further ado, here are the top 30 high-end department stores you need to visit in 2023:

30. Macy's, New York City

Macy's, New York Macy's, New York / Shutterstock

Considered the largest store for over 85 years, Macy's in New York is not only famous for its wide range of products but also for its spectacular events. From the Thanksgiving Day Parade and Fourth of July fireworks to stunning Christmas window displays, Macy's never disappoints. Located on Herald Square, this eight-floor department store offers everything from clothing and accessories to household goods.

29. John Lewis Oxford Street, London

John Lewis Oxford Street, London John Lewis, London / Rex Features / independent.co.uk

John Lewis on Oxford Street is one of the most trusted retailers in the UK. With a wide range of products including clothing, accessories, baby items, and home goods, this flagship store takes personalized service to another level. Every department has dedicated stylists who ensure that your shopping experience is tailored to your taste and personality.

28. YME, Oslo

YME, Oslo YME Universe, Oslo / we-heart.com

YME is not your average department store. Located in the heart of Oslo, this trendy contemporary store combines art, design, and street fashion. The fourth floor stands out with its unique design inspired by Norse mythology, featuring sculpted wood and blackened metal. From directional international collections to streetwear-influenced labels, YME is a must-visit destination for fashion enthusiasts. Don't forget to explore their bookstore and grab a Nordic Noir book while you're there.

27. De Bijenkorf, Amsterdam

De Bijenkorf, Amsterdam De Bijenkorf, Amsterdam / iamsterdam.com

De Bijenkorf is Amsterdam's leading department store, offering customers an extraordinary shopping experience. Besides the wide range of upscale fashion, accessories, and home goods, this store stands out with its cultural involvement. De Bijenkorf organizes exhibitions, festivals, fashion shows, and concerts, making it a sought-after destination. Keep an eye out for their special sales during Crazy Days, where you can find popular products at incredible discounts.

26. Illums Bolighus, Copenhagen

Illums Bolighus Illums Bolighus / 2lp.dk

Illums Bolighus in Copenhagen is the epitome of Scandinavian style and design. Dedicated to offering everything you need for your home, from minimalist aesthetics to great overall designs, this department store has it all. Whether you choose local designers or widely recognized Scandinavian names, you'll find the perfect products to enhance your home. Make sure to visit their fourth-floor café and bakery, as well as their rooftop terrace for cocktails and breathtaking views.

25. APROPOS, Hamburg

APROPOS, Hamburg APROPOS, Hamburg / apropos-store.com

APROPOS in Hamburg is a luxurious concept store that goes beyond traditional retail. Founded in 1984, this store offers lifestyle and grooming products alongside a unique shopping experience. APROPOS focuses on enhancing your style and offers exceptional care to its customers. You can even make online orders and have them sent to the store free of charge. Enjoy a personalized and extraordinary shopping journey at APROPOS.

24. Nordiska Kompaniet, Stockholm

Nordiska Kompaniet, Stockholm Nordiska Kompaniet, Stockholm / VRBO

Nordiska Kompaniet in Stockholm offers an unforgettable shopping experience. With a reputation for being one step ahead in terms of innovation and ingenuity, this department store is a favorite among Europeans. From the latest fashion trends to delightful culinary offerings, Nordiska Kompaniet has it all. Visit this iconic store and discover a wide range of Scandinavian brands and international collections that will make you stand out.

23. Barneys, New York City

Barneys, New York City Barneys, New York / Haruka Sakaguchi / nytimes.com

Barneys, located on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, is a luxury department store known for its elaborate and over-the-top holiday displays. Operating since 1923, this iconic store has experienced changes over the years but never compromises on delivering high-end offerings. While the original store is no longer in operation, you can still enjoy the same high-quality products at their Saks Fifth Ave. flagship store in Manhattan.

22. Nordstrom, Seattle

Nordstrom, Seattle Nordstrom, Seattle / nordstrom.com

Nordstrom, an American luxury department store, is renowned for its exceptional customer service. Despite facing challenges in recent years, Nordstrom has managed to stay afloat by innovating its retail strategy. With partnerships such as Instagram and Pinterest, Nordstrom offers a seamless online shopping experience. This department store caters to a wide range of customers and keeps up with the competitive market.

21. Paris Gallery, Dubai

Paris Gallery, Dubai Paris Gallery, Dubai / thedubaimall.com

Paris Gallery, located in the Dubai Mall, is a flagship store owned by the Paris Gallery Group, a luxury retailer leading the Middle Eastern industry. In Dubai, where luxury is a lifestyle, this department store offers over 3000 extravagant products. From exclusive perfumes to unique souvenirs, Paris Gallery has it all. Immerse yourself in the Middle Eastern taste for opulence and indulge in a shopping spree like no other.

20. Harvey Nichols, London

Harvey Nichols, London Harvey Nichols, London / rli.uk.com

Dating back to 1831, Harvey Nichols in Knightsbridge, London, stands as one of the world's oldest department stores. Renowned for sourcing the most desirable cutting-edge designer brands, this premier fashion retailer is a fashion lover's paradise. Step into their premium food and wine offerings, including luxury food markets, cafés, and brasseries. Harvey Nichols offers a wide range of collections, allowing you to find something to fit your style and budget.

19. Ludwig Beck, Munich

Ludwig Beck, Munich Ludwig Beck, Munich / TripAdvisor

Ludwig Beck in Munich is not your typical department store. Beyond clothing, accessories, and fashion items, this store prioritizes your senses and offers personalized and specialized services. From corporate fashion advice and limousine services to Christmas tree decorating, Ludwig Beck goes the extra mile. They even provide clothing labeling and on-site zip adjustments. Explore a unique shopping experience tailored to your individual taste at Ludwig Beck.

18. Jelmoli, Zurich

Jelmoli, Zurich Jelmoli, Zurich / siemens.com

Jelmoli, located in Zurich, Switzerland, is known as the "House of Brands." This upscale department store exclusively sells expensive and well-established designer clothing, shoes, and accessories. Surprisingly, their products are more affordable than expected, despite the higher cost of living in Switzerland. Explore the floor dedicated to sports-related labels or indulge in "The Gourmet Factory," a basement floor full of local delicacies and diverse counters and restaurants.

17. Cave Shepherd, Bridgetown

Cave Shepherd, Bridgetown Cave Shepherd, Bridgetown / insandoutsbarbados.com

Cave Shepherd in Bridgetown, Barbados, holds a rich heritage and is deeply ingrained in the local community. Established in 1906, this department store has undergone upgrades to keep up with the changing times. With duty-free shops and an expanded online presence, Cave Shepherd ensures that customers can access unique souvenirs and top-quality products. Discover the unique blend of traditional and modern offerings at this iconic store.

16. Isetan, Tokyo

Isetan, Tokyo Isetan, Tokyo / wikiwand.com

If you're a fashion lover visiting Tokyo, Isetan is a must-stop destination. This avant-garde city is known for cutting-edge fashions, and Isetan represents the epitome of Tokyo's unique style. Discover pop-up stores, unique collaborations, and a whole floor dedicated to up-and-coming Japanese designers. With breathtaking views from their rooftop garden, you can take a moment to appreciate the city's beauty while enjoying a well-deserved break.

15. Bloomingdale's, New York City

Bloomingdale's, New York City Bloomingdale's, New York City / Ajay Suresh / wikipedia.org

Bloomingdale's, a staple of New York City, is known for its iconic "Big Brown Bags." Since its establishment over 150 years ago, Bloomingdale's has been a symbol of luxury and style. Despite changes in the way they do business, this department store remains loyal to its flagship store and offers the same high-quality products. With their own app, Bloomingdale App, they provide a digital shopping companion for a seamless experience.

14. Selfridges, London

Selfridges, London Selfridges, London / luxurylondon.co.uk

Selfridges in London is a renowned department store famous for its extensive beauty department. With its incredible range of products, Selfridges is a beauty lovers' paradise. Founded in 1909 by an American from Wisconsin, Harry Selfridge, this store offers an exceptional selection of fashion and beauty products. Whether it's high-end brands or everyday wear collections, Selfridges curates a unique and inclusive shopping experience for all.

13. Bergdorf Goodman, New York City

Bergdorf Goodman, New York City Bergdorf Goodman, New York City / Ajay Suresh / wikipedia.org

Bergdorf Goodman, located on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, is an ultra-luxurious department store and a true gem in the Big Apple. Founded in 1899, this multi-floor store offers a wide range of designer clothes, accessories, and luxury goods. With dressing rooms offering views of Central Park, Bergdorf Goodman is a dream destination, especially for brides-to-be. This department store guarantees an unforgettable shopping experience.

12. Neiman Marcus, New York

Neiman Marcus, New York Neiman Marcus, New York / pursuitist.com

Neiman Marcus, headquartered in Dallas, Texas, is a chain of luxury department stores. The New York City flagship store stands out with its additional offerings. From beauty and accessories to a spa, beauty salon, and pop-up florist, Neiman Marcus provides a unique and diversified shopping experience. Embracing on-site services has helped Neiman Marcus revitalize their sales and offer customers an unparalleled luxury experience.

11. 10 Corso Como, Milan

10 Corso Como, Milan 10 Corso Como, Milan / flawless.life

10 Corso Como in Milan stands out as a modern concept shop founded by former Vogue Italia editor-in-chief Carla Sozzani. Founded in 1990, this famous fashion and design store also houses a bookstore, a city garden cafe restaurant, a rooftop garden, and a boutique hotel. With its unique blend of art gallery and department store, 10 Corso Como offers a shopping experience like no other.

10. Takashimaya, Kyoto

Takashimaya, Kyoto Takashimaya, Kyoto / takashimaya-global.com

Takashimaya in Kyoto is a popular department store for fashionistas seeking stylish local brands. This store introduces new names and designs before they appear anywhere else in the world. For unique and interesting items that make a bold statement, Takashimaya is the place to be. With eight floors offering fashion, beauty, accessories, travel goods, and more, this department store promises an extraordinary shopping experience. Don't forget to explore traditional kimonos and local artwork, true reflections of Kyoto's culture.

9. Le Bon Marché, Paris

Le Bon Marché, Paris Le Bon Marché, Paris / Guillaume Speurt / wikipedia.org

Le Bon Marché in Paris, often considered the world's first mall, is not your typical department store. With its vast, well-lit floors filled with designer fashions and unique products, it feels more like stepping into the pages of a luxury magazine. The Galerie Imaginaire is a section dedicated to store-only available products, perfect for discovering new talent and nascent trends. Additionally, their Librairie et Papeterie is a must-visit for bookworms. Don't miss out on La Grande Épicerie de Paris, a gourmet grocer offering the freshest and best quality products.

8. Shinsegae, Busan

Shinsegae, Busan Shinsegae, Busan / haeahn.com

Shinsegae in Busan, South Korea, holds the title of the world's largest department store. Spanning two buildings over 3 million square feet, this store offers an unparalleled shopping experience. Alongside upscale and luxurious stores, the complex features an ice rink, indoor golf range, spa, rooftop garden, and mega food courts. With a rich history dating back to 1930, Shinsegae guarantees a shopping spree like no other.

7. La Rinascente, Florence

La Rinascente, Florence La Rinascente, Florence / rinascente.it

La Rinascente, located in Florence, Italy, is a must-visit high-end department store. Set in one of Europe's most visited cities, La Rinascente combines luxury brands, exclusive products, and a breathtaking rooftop café. After hours of shopping, head to the café and enjoy stunning views of the Duomo. With six floors showcasing perennial favorites, local lines, and international upstarts, La Rinascente offers an unrivaled mix of high-quality fashion and design.

6. Central at Central World, Bangkok

Central at Central World, Bangkok Central at Central World, Bangkok

Central at Central World in Bangkok, Thailand, is an extraordinary megastore located in one of the largest malls in the country. With seven levels of pure luxury and a modern lifestyle, this department store reflects current trends. Its industrial-edge design, vibrant colors, and pop-inspired graphics create a shopping environment like no other. Each level is dedicated to different items, from women's clothing and shoes to beauty and children's toys. Don't forget to explore their modern food court, offering cuisines from around the world.

5. GUM, Moscow

GUM, Moscow GUM, Moscow / advantour.com

GUM, located in Moscow, Russia, is an elegant department store commissioned by Catherine II. This architectural masterpiece was designed by a Neoclassical Italian architect and features a stunning glass skylight. With three levels covered by a massive glass roof, GUM offers a luxurious shopping experience. From high-end merchandise to the beautiful aesthetics of the building, GUM stands among the top department stores in the world. Explore this renowned store and indulge in Russian style shopping.

4. Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, Milan

Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, Milan Galleria Vittorio Emmanuele, Milan / Federico Di Dio / unsplash.com

Galleria Vittorio Emanuele in Milan, Italy, is the world's first shopping mall. This iconic landmark combines luxury shopping with stunning architecture. Dating back to 1877, the Galleria offers opulent interiors, an iron and glass dome, and high-end designer shops and restaurants. Strolling through the rooftop walkway provides breathtaking views of the city and a true Milanese experience. Capture the iconic scenery with your camera and create memories that last a lifetime.

3. KaWaDe, Berlin

KaWaDe, Berlin Kaufhaus Des Westens, Berlin / kadewe.de

KaWaDe, short for Kaufhaus des Westens, is the largest department store in Europe, located in Berlin, Germany. Spanning over 645,834 square feet, this grand department store offers a unique shopping experience. Despite being partially destroyed during World War II, they preserved the structure and rebuilt it to its former glory. Immerse yourself in the vast variety of products, from clothing and accessories to a breathtaking glass-roofed food hall. Discover the "House of Brands" and indulge in the ultimate shopping spree.

2. Harrods, London

Harrods, London Harrods, London / harrods.com

Harrods in London is one of the most famous department stores in the world. With its motto "All Things For All People, Everywhere," Harrods offers an unmatched shopping experience. This opulent department store caters to all your needs, from fashion and accessories to home goods and fine dining. Explore multiple departments, visit their food hall or one of the 27 on-site restaurants, and immerse yourself in luxury and style at Harrods.

1. Galeries Lafayette, Paris

Galeries Lafayette, Paris Galeries Lafayette Paris Haussmann / alerieslafayette.com

Topping our list is Galeries Lafayette in Paris, a world-renowned department store that offers an unparalleled shopping experience. Established in 1895, this iconic store features 10 stories of luxury beneath a stunning stained-glass and steel dome. The art nouveau staircases and intricate details throughout the store create a unique and artistic atmosphere. With a wide range of designer brands and exclusive products, Galeries Lafayette guarantees a shopping experience you will remember for a lifetime.

These are our top 30 high-end department stores that deserve a spot on your travel bucket list. While there are many more outstanding stores around the world, we hope you enjoyed discovering these exceptional destinations.