Nov. 7th: Macy's Shopping & Lunch at The Walnut Room

Visit The Fascinating History of Macy’s on State Street in Chicago

Shop at Macy’s State Street
Recognized as a National Historic Landmark and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Macy's State Street is a Macy's flagship destination. Join generations of Chicagoans as you shop and dine your way through this historic building and the Water Tower store on Michigan Avenue, both filled with top American fashion brands and more.

Lunch at the Walnut Room
The world-famous Walnut Room was the first restaurant ever opened in a department store. With Circassian wood paneling imported from Russia and Austrian chandeliers, the 17,000 square foot dining room is both elegant and comfortable. Conveniently located in the heart of the Chicago theatre district, the Walnut Room is an excellent choice to take a break from shopping or for a meal and a glass of wine before the show.

Store highlights:

  • The Great Clocks
  • The Walnut Room
  • The Tiffany Ceiling
  • Great Granite Pillars
     

The grand architectural features of Macy's on State Street in Chicago are evidence of its rich history of retail innovation and success.
Visitors who pass through the majestic portico have an opportunity to step back in time via several examples of rare and exquisite craftsmanship—the spaces are peppered with opulent architectural features ranging from sparkling Austrian chandeliers and Circassian walnut wood panels to a flowing indoor fountain and an awe-inspiring domed glass ceiling. The store’s grand edifice, which evolved over a 22-year-period (1892-1914), is a fitting framework for a retail enterprise that was responsible for many notable innovations. The building contains several atria and was designated a National Historic Landmark and listed on the National Register of Historic Places in June of 1978. Renowned as a forward-thinking manager, Field was the first major retailer to offer revolving credit; money-back guarantees and unconditional refunds; free delivery; female staffers; a European buying office; a bridal registry; in-store dining; and in-store book signings. 

The Tiffany Ceiling
Visitors to the Macy’s store can’t help but look up when walking through the building’s first-floor cosmetics department—it provides a distant view of a shimmering vaulted ceiling that covers 6,000 square feet and comprises 1.6 million pieces of iridescent glass. The 5th floor provides an up-close view and it’s simply jaw-dropping.

Macy's Chicago Great Clocks
According to legend, Marshall Field decided that this corner should have a clock after he discovered notes wedged in the corners of the store’s new glass plate windows that pinpointed times and places to meet friends, family members and business associates. Field determined that a clock could serve as a rendezvous spot for shoppers and also make them mindful of the time. As a result of the clock’s soaring popularity, a second clock was added at the corner of State and Randolph in 1902. For five years the designs of the clocks didn’t match, but in 1907, the original clock at State and Washington was replaced with one that is identical to the second clock.

The Burnham Fountain
Another captivating architectural element in the store is the Burnham Fountain, also known as the “Lost Fountain.” It’s made of 6 tons of cast iron and holds 700 gallons of water.

The Walnut Room
No one who enters the Macy’s on State Street store would want to miss the grand Walnut Room restaurant with its stunning Circassian Walnut paneling (installed over 100 years ago) and Austrian chandeliers. The creation of the restaurant is attributed to a Mrs. Hering, an enterprising sales associate in the Millinery (Hat) Department. The story goes that she shared her lunch, a homemade chicken pot pie made from her grandmother’s recipe, with a hungry client who was so grateful that she convinced Mrs. Hering to make more pies and invited friends to dine and view the latest hats the next day. Marshall Field’s is said to have heard the laughter emanating from the back room of the millinery department, taken a look at what was going on and determined that he should open a tea room. Mrs. Hering’s chicken pot pie, handed down from her grandmother’s recipe, is still one of the most popular dishes on the present-day Walnut Room’s menu.