Macy's Flower Show is an annual event held at Macy's flagship stores in New York City, Chicago, and San Francisco.
The show offers a one-of-a-kind opportunity to enjoy magnificent blossoms among beautifully-detailed sculptures and topiaries. Macy’s invites visitors to take part in flower demonstrations and other events, marvel at breathtaking floral scenes, purchase Flower Show merchandise and take advantage of free tours in select cities. The two-week exhibition is free to the public during store hours.
In 1964, Macy's California staged the first flower presentation ever held in a store environment with displays of potted plants and orchids intended to promote a cosmetics department fragrance. Macy’s Herald Square in New York would also begin staging a similar springtime event.
A few years later, setting the stage for what would become the modern-day Macy’s Flower Show, Macy’s Union Square in San Francisco created a much larger, annual event involving themed gardens, often focused on a particular country.
In the 1970's, the Herald Square store followed suit, launching its own themed Flower Show and staging it concurrently with the San Francisco event each spring. For the next 25 years, show attendees of the Macy’s Herald Square Flower Show entered a traditional English country-style garden through mock wrought iron estate gates installed on the Broadway side of the store. The show theme remained unchanged until 2002, when it began focusing on high-concept, theatrical themes that shifted every year.
The hallmark 2002 “Art of the Flower” show in San Francisco and New York drew 100,000 attendees with gardens that envisioned scenes beyond the borders of those depicted in famous artworks. It introduced three signature components of the present-day Flower Show: a central theme; an extravagant ‘bouquet of the day,’ designed by a floral or entertainment expert that changes throughout the show’s run; and a large emblematic centerpiece that welcomes visitors.
In March of 2020, in response to the widespread COVID-19 outbreak, Macy's announced that it would temporarily close all of its stores. As a result, the annual Macy’s Flower Show displays and supporting events, originally scheduled to run from March 22, 2020 through April 5, 2020 in New York, Chicago and San Francisco were canceled for the first time in the show's history.
In response to the cancellation, Macy's Herald Square donated its outdoor floral material to the NYC Parks Deptartment. The indoor material was partly donated to the Luis Girter Botanical Garden in Richmond, VA, and to the Delancey Street Foundation's location in Brewster, NY. Macy's State Street donated its items to two local organizations, Chicago Commons and Envision Unlimited. The material in Macy's Union Square was donated to the Delancey Street Foundation in San Francisco.
Macy's has stated that the flower show will return in spring 2021, reusing the previous year's theme of "Voyage to Oceanum". A statement released in March 2021 on the Flower Show's website revealed further details, including a later starting date from May 2nd, 2021 to May 16th, 2021. The statement read:
"Join us at our flagship store in New York City for a Floral Celebration of Fortitude. Just as flowers blossom year after year, so do we. The promise of tomorrow sprouts with millions of beautiful blooms. Let us lift your spirits & inspire a renewed feeling of optimism with a lush springtime salute to growth, color & the hope for a brighter year ahead. Check back soon for more exciting details!"
Past Show Themes
The Painted Garden (2013)
The 2013 Flower Show took place between Sunday, March 24th and Sunday, April 7th. The majesty of Asia came to life via the brilliant colors, aroma and textures of flora in The Painted Garden. Welcoming spectators into the radiant splendor was the show’s stunning, multicolored, 10-foot tall painted Elephant. Beautifully festooned in brilliant hues and planted with thousands of dazzling live flowers, the Elephant centerpiece will sport ornamentation in the grand ceremonial style of India.
The Secret Garden (2014)
The 2014 Flower Show took place between Sunday, March 30th and Sunday, April 13th. Titled The Secret Garden, the floral extravaganza offered spectators a peek behind the magic and majesty of lush landscapes. Greeting spectators into the floral fantasyland are Macy’s dramatic estate gates. These 14-foot tall wrought iron gates set the scene, framing the first spectacular garden and its centerpiece, a 12-foot tall floral gown that will leave fashionistas in awe.
Art in Bloom (2015)
The 2015 Flower Show took place between Sunday, March 22nd and Sunday, April 4th. The show's theme of Art in Bloom brought spectators into a multi-dimensional floral wonderland featuring incredibly landscaped gardens that celebrate the deep connection between art and nature. The showcase began as spectators were welcomed by a stunning re-interpretation of the famed David sculpture in a garden inspired by the Pop Art movement. Serving as the centerpiece of this avant garde floral exhibition, the Renaissance era sculpture incorporated pixel mapping projection technology to bring David to the new millennium. From impressionism and cubism to abstract displays, various art styles guided the landscaping of Macy’s Flower Show creating a one-of-a kind, striking floral tour de force.
America the Beautiful (2016)
The 2016 Flower Show took place between Sunday, March 20th and Sunday, April 3rd. Celebrating the nation's natural beauty, the show's theme of America the Beautiful transported spectators from the bright hues of the Southeast’s tropical blooms to the Northeast’s coastal grasses, and from the Midwest’s fruited plains to the cactus-lined deserts of the Southwest, among other landscapes. Taking root throughout the stores on countertops, specially-designed architecture and even full-scale auditorium presentations, Macy’s Flower Show was uniquely staged at each of the five locations nationwide. Spectators were welcomed by a unique floral interpretation of Lady Liberty’s iconic torch, which served as the centerpiece of the exhibitions.
The 2017 Flower Show took place from Sunday, March 26th through Sunday, April 7th. Titled Carnival, the theme of 2017’s exhibition transported more than a million spectators into a world of imagination, filled with brilliantly-hued flora expertly landscaped into breathtaking gardens that bring the magic of a traveling roadshow to life. At the center of the spring celebration, a colorful two-tiered carousel complete with animated column horses bloomed with thousands of rhododendrons, bromeliads and other exotic flora, welcoming guests into the funhouse atmosphere. As spectators walk through the midway, they saw a kaleidoscope of color as the world of Carnival reveals classic fair favorites, including a roller coaster, bumper cars, a Ferris wheel and games of whimsy, all recreated using more than 5,000 types of florals and plants.
Once Upon a Springtime (2018)
The 2018 Flower Show took place between Sunday, March 25th and Sunday, April 8th. The show, known as Once Upon a Springtime, transformed the iconic stores into enchanted gardens where the beauty and renewal of the spring season meets the whimsy of a fairytale journey. The themed celebration brought to floral life an original twist on classic fairytales, creating a world of personified flora and fauna, princesses, evil queens, fairy godmothers, and noble knights that lead spectators on a wondrous journey. As visitors enter each show, they had the ability to choose their own adventure, based on how they begin their trip through the floral fantasy land. From a towering castle where the Princess resides to a meadow of brightly colored flowers, an enchanted forest, and lush lagoon; spectators played a part in Spring’s triumph over eternal Winter.
Journey to Paradisos (2019)
The 2019 Flower Show ran from Sunday, March 24th through Sunday, April 7th. Transporting fans into a multi-dimensional world of space, adventure, and discovery through florals and eccentrically landscaped gardens, Journey to Paradisios celebrated the wonder and mystery of the cosmos. The galactic journey spun a cosmic tale of Space Flight Director Lucy Ryder and her discovery of the planet Paradisios – a pristine exoplanet, untouched by human technology and filled with resplendent plant life. Ryder and R.H. Macy IV (a pilot-turned-cosmonaut and the great-great-great grandson of Macy’s founder) set out on the adventure of a lifetime as they discover the planet’s extraterrestrial beings and fantastic flora.