Read our essential guide to the best department stores in Boston—insider tips and recommendations, written by local experts. Whether you want to soak in the stylish surroundings at Louis, browse designer fashion at Neiman Marcus, or classic menswear at Lord & Taylor, Time Out's editors bring you the best of Boston's department stores.
RECOMMENDED: See the best of shopping in Boston
Entered from the Pru mall or Ring Road, the formerly staid (and much smaller) branch of the famous New York store recently got a slick revamp. The ground floor designer accessories department is arranged in mini "boutiques," while cosmetics is similarly divided up into individually labeled stands. It's a good place to snap up popular young sportswear labels such as Vince, but service can be patchy.
Macy's replaced Boston institution Jordan Marsh in 1996 (there's even a plaque outside commemorating the dearly departed store), but in fact it was more of a conversion than a hostile takeover, since Federated Department Stores, Macy's umbrella company, already owned Jordan's. Macy's sells brand-name clothing, cosmetics, housewares, furniture and lingerie, but those expecting the scale or choice of the famous New York store will be disappointed by this more modest Boston outpost.
Before a branch of Barneys opened in Copley Place, this was Boston's answer to the hip New York designer temple. Having just completed a grand move to the waterfront, Louis sells carefully selected fashion, beauty products and homeware in an exquisite setting. A variety of gifts, attractively packaged foodstuffs, fashion and home accessories is artfully displayed—you might find jeweled espresso cups and vintage handbags in the mix. A central CD station is manned by a DJ, and satellite rooms are devoted to bed, bath and cult beauty products. Also included are men's and women's collections from the likes of Marni, Dries Van Noten and Jane Mayle.
This two-level branch of the super-chic New York department store within the city's premier mall has been criticized by some for bringing a less interesting selection of labels to Boston than that of its parent store—but, given the compact size, it seems inevitable that the number of lines would be more limited. There's no doubt it's a welcome addition for style-conscious shoppers looking for contemporary designer fashion (Balenciaga, Martin Margiela and The Row, for example), shoes and accessories hitherto hard to find in the city, as well as less ubiquitous cosmetics.