You won’t meet one person in Rochester who will say anything but fantastic things about Sibley’s.

Considered the Macy’s of upstate New York, Sibley’s was a beloved department store in the heart of downtown Rochester, New York. Located on the corner of East Main Street and Clinton Ave., it was a destination for shoppers all across Western New York and beyond. 

Sibley’s closed in 1990, leaving Western New York regulars with only their memories of the famous store. But one memorable part of Sibley’s is coming back  just in time for the holiday season. 

Sibley’s Department Store In Rochester, New York

SIbleys Rochester NY in 1909

You’d be hard-pressed to find a place like Sibley’s today. For several years in the 1900’s, the massive 13-acre retailer was the largest department store between New York City and Chicago, and they sold everything you could possibly want and then some. 

More than just typical retail items like clothing, shoes, housewares, shoppers could purchase their produce, meat from the meat counter, and goodies from their popular bakery. After a day of shopping, you could meet your parents under the large clock in the middle of the store and grab a hot dog and some frozen custard before you headed home with your bags of goodies. 

When the store closed in 1989, Rochester residents were devastated. Many still love to relive their fond memories of the iconic store - especially ones of visiting Sibley’s during the holidays. 

Sibley’s During The Holidays

Sibley’s downtown was always bustling, but Christmastime is when the store really shined. 


Thousands of people would flock to Sibley’s during the holiday season to gaze at their incredible Christmas displays in the storefront windows. Inside the store was even more magical - toy Lionel trains circling around, a festive man playing kazoo in the toy department, and of course, Santa, ready to take the letters you wrote him and get a picture with you on his knee. 

Sibleys Christmas Interior

One of the most popular attractions at Sibley’s during the holiday season was their mesmerizing display of animatronic elves, reindeer, toys, and other characters from the North Pole that came to life, called Sibley’s Toyland. 

Sadly, like the store, Sibley’s holiday display was long gone for decades. However, nostalgic fans of Sibley’s are finally able to see their beloved Toyland once again for a limited time. 

Sibleys Toyland

Sibley’s Toyland Returning To Western New York

After finding dozens of the store's figures in the basement of the old store, Ken Greene, VP of commercial development for the now-named Sibley Square, painstakingly restored them to their former glory. 

Greene told Rochester’s News 8 WROC

“With all of the chaos that’s going on around the world, to be able to come in and get just simple joy from these animatronics around this holiday season, I think nothing could be better than that.”

Sibleys Toyland Santa

The revived Sibley’s Toyland and it’s animatronics are now on display inside the Sibley Building, where the original department store was located, at 250 E. Main Street in Rochester. If you want to take a peek back into Western New York history or reminisce about spending Christmas at Sibley’s in your childhood, you have until January 31st to pay Sibley’s Toyland a visit. 

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Gallery Credit: Kadie Daye via Public Facebook Thread

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