Whether you're in Manhattan for pleasure or business, there are dozens of experiential stores to check out. Some double as community hangouts, some serve as learning experiences and some are just for the fun of it.
Here are 22 to hit up next time you're in the Big Apple.
Address: 565 5th Ave.
The sportswear retailer's fifth avenue location has everything from a juice press to a set of bleachers for customers to watch games on, and also includes a print shop where guests can customize clothing. A miniature track is set up on one floor, where customers can take a run or get their stride analyzed, and another floor includes a turf field with soccer balls, kettle bells and other workout equipment.
Address: 68 Prince St.
"It's a great spot to understand more about the construction and wool fabric used in the brand's top-selling footwear," Katie Smith, retail analysis and insights director at Edited, told Retail Dive in an email. "As the brand is direct-to-consumer, this is often the first time a consumer interacts with the product. Though the store's small size and large crowd can feel overwhelming, the selection of free colored laces at the storefront means everyone leaves feeling bonded with the brand."
Address: 7 W 34th St.
As one of Amazon's 15 physical bookstore locations, the store offers well-lit shelves of physical books as well as demos of devices such as Echos, the Fire TV, e-readers and tech-enhanced toys. A look inside gives shoppers an idea of how Amazon views physical retail and its connection to its online marketplace.
Address: 75 Rockefeller Plaza
The 40,000 square-foot flagship, unveiled in November 2017, features interactive experiences like party options in the café, a content hub showing the company's videos and a Girl-and-Doll Salon, where girls can book appointments with their dolls for hairstyling, ear piercing and manicures. It also features a design studio, where customers can customize their dolls and outfits, and select girl-sized products for themselves.
Address: 151 W 34th St., Herald Square
This high-tech, high-touch showroom, which just announced a partnership with Macy's, is located inside Macy's Herald Square and is focused on emphasizing the brands it curates. The shop-in-shop concept is designed to fit in nearly any retail store and it employs highly trained store associates that know brands as well as the manufacturers, allowing them to engage with customers at a higher level.
Address: 627 Broadway
Casper's small location on Broadway — despite also offering blankets, sheets and pillows — functions more as a showroom space for the company's mattresses, which are set up in small tree house-like setups throughout the store. Customers are encouraged to lie down on the beds, close the curtains that substitute for doors in these small spaces and even take a nap to help them better feel out the product.
Address: 560 Broadway
The shoe spot has a customization lab on the bottom floor, where customers can select different fabrics, laces and designs to tailor shoes to their own preferences, as well as a spacious main floor, with shoes grouped together by collection. It's "old old school," Manolo Almagro, managing partner at Q Division, told Retail Dive in an interview. "People can tell you the history of each shoe."
Address: 640 5th Ave.
Opened in December 2017, the new appliance flagship demo store is a clear example of a brand engaging with its customers in an educational and experiential way. Shoppers can test out the Dyson supersonic hairdryer, the company's foray into the beauty space; and the Dyson V8 vacuum, among other high-tech products.
Address: 28 Prince St.
This is the first of two physical locations for the e-commerce darling, which once promised it would sooner fold operations before going brick and mortar. The new store, opened in December 2017, features T-shirts, cashmere, denim and shoes from a brand focused on transparency in its supply chain.
Address: 123 Lafayette St.
As one of the most disruptive beauty brands, a look inside one of the e-commerce brand's two physical locations, opened November 2017, offers a theater-inspired experience. The store features the brand's entire line of skincare and makeup products as well as interactive mirrors and a unique fragrance experience. Employees weave through the products in pink jumpsuits and are prepared to help customers with product selection or anything else that comes up.
Address: 337 Lafayette St.
This concept has a cool kid, sneakerhead vibe, completed by the rows upon rows of street shoes lining the windows and circular in-store sneaker displays. Store associates help customers locate a particular shoe and are also well-informed on the history of each line. One of the floors even features a "treat bar" with ice cream and shakes for customers to enjoy.
Address: 597 5th Ave.
Opened in July 2017, the concept space is nestled in an 8,000-square-foot store. The area aims to immerse customers in the community of Lululemon, offering an experience over a specific purchase. The store offers "zen pods" as well as a list of self-guided meditations.
Address: 611 Broadway, Suite 401
The e-commerce darling known for shipping curated boxes of women's workwear to customer homes has two showrooms in the city. These stores are all about service. Customers book appointments in advance and arrive to find pre-pulled items in a "curated closet" according to style and size preferences. Customers are offered a glass of champagne while they talk about options with stylists and leave the store empty handed, having only to wait for purchased items to arrive at their doorstep.
Address: 475 5th Ave.
An aroma lab on the top floor wafts calming scents into the air at this Muji storefront, while soft music plays in the background. The whole store is a pitch for organization, with products carefully set up in boxes, cylinders or other containers. This location also features an embroidery station, where customers can personalize products either for themselves or as gifts.
Address: 529 Broadway
"Nike is redefining the purpose of physical store evolution in a day where e-commerce is so prevalent," a spokesperson for McMillanDoolittle told Retail Dive in an email. "They created a retail format that is part store, part brand museum by opening the five-story, 55,000-square-foot space loaded with technology, from customizable sneakers to a Kinect-powered basketball court."
Address: 235 W 57th St
"It's a bold move from Nordstrom to open a men's only as its first store in New York City, but the retailer has been able to offer a truly exciting experience to the menswear customer," Edited's Smith said. "Not only is the segment in boom, but Nordstrom has created a truly compelling destination where convenience and brand mix are top priorities. The store is also trying new technology out by using AR tools to project the shopper's image onto store mannequins."
Address: 251 Centre St.
"This store is a total physical embodiment of the brand. It's fresh, uncomplicated and relatable. Walking in, you get the brand instantly, the layout is concise and product is color merchandized for ease of shopping," Smith said.
Address: 684 Broadway
This store, which bills itself as "the world's first gender-free store," organizes clothing mainly by color, and sizes are listed by number rather than "small," "medium" and "large." A section dedicated to makeup uses gender-inclusive marketing, and the space also hosts a coffee shop, some tables and a small hangout area for customers to relax.
Address: 80 Wooster St.
This small, boutique-like location features racks in all sizes that pull out of the walls, leaving the majority of the store open and spacious. There are also collections of clothing marked out by descriptors like "Street Athlete," "Rare Finds" and "Sleek and Chic," along with select brands like Burberry, which get their own racks. The downstairs portion of the store also includes a coffee shop and a dining room table-like setup for customers to enjoy a coffee and relax.
Address: 112 West 34th St.
Opened in April 2017, the store emphasizes beauty services and classes for a more experiential visit that lets shoppers experiment and play with products. Shoppers can get a 15-minute touch-up, 45-minute makeover or 90-minute customized consultation. Classes range from how to contour and highlight to how to identify the right skin care solutions. These concept shops are heralded as a leader in forward-looking experiential retail store concepts.
Address: 101 Greene St
The Sonos showroom in SoHo is a small, intimate space filled with small pentagonal rooms for customers to test out the sound quality in by watching film trailers or listening to their favorite music. "They're totally curated rooms," Almagro told Retail Dive. "They’ll have a fully-decorated dorm room or a living room where you can just sit down and experience the sound."
Address: 144 10th Ave.
The store concept, recently acquired by Macy's, was in between themes when Retail Dive visited in early June, but is always worth a stop when open. "This store changes its entire concept every few months, and the entire assortment switches to match the latest theme," Smith said. "Events align. Every time the customer goes back, there's an entirely different experience, which is how destination retail should be."