Post overview: Roundup of the best toy stores in New York City
A lot of families that visit the Big Apple with their children in tow make it a point to pick up a memorable souvenir from a famous toy store in New York City.
A small toy is a great way to commemorate a fun trip to NYC, so I’d like to share my personal list of the best toy stores in New York City. I have a two-year-old niece and have spent my fair share of time perusing various NYC toy stores in search of the best gifts for her, here’s a rundown of the best.
Visiting New York City? If you haven’t decided where to stay (yet) check out our helpful guide on Where to Stay in New York City (The best neighborhoods for first timers +2 to avoid). Don’t have time? Here’s our favorite hotel in NYC, hands down.
Let’s start this list with the cutest bookstore in New York City, Grandma’s Place in Harlem. Founded by a retired school teacher that taught herself to read before becoming a school teacher for three decades, Grandma Dawn understands the importance of a proper education.
Thankfully, she isn’t shy about perusing her hidden agenda — making every kid a reader — and does so through her charming book and toy store.
You’ll feel the immense love poured into this inviting children’s store the second you walk through the door. What originally started as a literacy center has slowly morphed into a joyful store. Equally focusing on a well-curated selection of books (focusing on inclusiveness) and educational toys, there’s no denying this is the most beloved toy stores in New York City.
Expect to find striking dollhouses, nostalgic games, beautiful dolls, wooden puzzles and a plethora of engaging books. The entire goal is to ignite the imagination, rather than distract with electronics. Kids love exploring the store as much as parents love supporting the mission, this is a unique NYC toy store you can feel very good about supporting.
Address: 84 W 120th St, New York, NY 10027
If you’re looking for nostalgia-inducing toy stores in New York City, I highly recommend visiting Playing Mantis (and can’t resist swinging by whenever I’m in the neighborhood). Offering an splendid selection of timeless toys from all over the world (think wooden cars, handmade dolls, etc.) this is the place to go if you’re looking for toys that don’t require batteries.
In fact, this entire New York City toy store specializes in battery-less children’s toys in an effort to encourage creativity and imaginative play. Mission accomplished. This is a great toy store in New York City for anyone reminiscing about the good ol’ days. Make sure to check out the handmade textiles as well, they have some stunning pieces.
Address: 32 N Moore St, New York, NY 10013
Aptly named Kidding Around is one of the cutest toy stores in New York City and was voted Best Indie Toy Store in by New York Magazine in 2009. Largely thanks to their impressive collection of board games and toys that strive to inspire engagement.
The store is sectioned off by themes and offers enough variety to keep children between the ages of one and ten entertained for a while. Worth mention: They have the best selection of hand puppets I have ever seen, the alpaca is downright irresistible!
Address: 60 W 15th St, New York, NY 10011
If your kid loves mystery and adventure then you need to make a beeline towards CAMP store, the most creative toy store in New York City. They have several locations throughout the city but the Flatiron store takes the cake.
Upon entering, an employee will kindly greet you and ask if you’ve visited before. Regardless of your answer they will ask you if can find the secret door. Once found, children (and adults) are encouraged to enter the second space, which is ripe for exploration.
Inside the hidden door is a spacious 10,000 square-foot interactive space that encourages children to touch and play. You’ll find everything from climbing structures to immersive rooms where children can partake in a hands-on activity. The irresistible intrigue makes this one of the most unique toy stores in New York City.
Norman & Jules
Ask any local about the best toy stores in Brooklyn and Norman & Jules is bound to grace the list. Offering a colorful selection of handmade toys, musical instruments, wooden toys and crafts, this place is such a joy to explore. It’s a very popular NYC toy store for babies, infants and kids.
I especially enjoy supporting Norman & Jules because of their commitment to support local businesses. They feature local Brooklyn designers with an emphasis on sustainability.
But if that’s not enough, the welcoming staff are some of the kindest in New York and the large selection ensures you’ll always find what you’re looking for. Make sure to ask about the fun play area tucked in the shop’s backyard, which may be open during your visit.
Address: 68 3rd St, Brooklyn, NY 11231
When it comes to iconic toy stores in New York City, it would be inexcusable to skip FAO Schwarz. In operation since 1862, FAO Schwarz is officially the oldest toy store in America.
The original location closed in 2015 but recently re-opened in a new 20,000 square foot location at Rockefeller Plaza. All of the classic attractions have made their return, from the dance-on piano made famous by Tom Hanks in Big to the exemplary clock tower.
FAO Schwarz lives up to their reputation of being a premier destination for children. They specialize in sparking the imagination and have the toys and activities to prove it. Visitors are encourage to participate in a plethora of free daily activities like book readings, magic shows and music performances guaranteed to entertain your child.
With so much to do, you can trust me when I tell you this popular New York City toy store is worth a detour.
In operation since 1862, FAO Schwarz is officially the oldest toy store in America.
Address: 30 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY 10111
If you find yourself exploring the charming streets of Greenpoint, Brooklyn make sure to pop into Greenpoint Toys. This iconic New York City toy store is store jam-packed with high quality specialty toys and fun educational games that appeal to children of all ages.
Serving Brooklyn for more than thirty years, it’s safe this family-owned shop knows their audience. They carry popular brand names and offer free (and fast) gift wrapping.
Address: 738 Manhattan Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11222
Mary Arnold Toys
Ask any New Yorker about their favorite charming toy stores in New York City and I guarantee they will mention Mary Arnold Toy. In operation since 1931, this is the second-oldest toy store in New York City.
Plus, it’s the oldest continuously run toy store in America (because FAO Schwartz temporarily closed in 2015).
This is one of the best toy stores in New York City ans is as quaint as it gets. They offer a great variety of high quality toys that span the gamut, from nostalgic classics to the newest craze. Plus, a lot of the toys are centered around education, making this a great place to shop for toys in NYC if your kiddo is learning a new skill.
Local’s Tip: Mary Arnold Toys hosts a lovely story time and sells great children’s books.
Address: 1178 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10028
West Side Kids
West Side Kids is a family-run toy store that has been serving the Upper West Side since 1981. This is my neighborhood toy store and I pop in whenever I’m in need of a quick surprise for my niece.
They have a vast selection of children’s books, educational toys and wooden trinkets. Most of the items in this store are centered around New York City, which makes this a great place to shop for souvenirs for kids. It’s a great one-stop-shop and the friendly staff are the sweetest in town.
Address: 498 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10024
Boomerang Toys is a family-owned shop beloved by the community. New Yorkers have been shopping here for educational toys for almost 20 years thanks to the first-rate customer service and top-notch toys.
The owner of the shop takes great pride in the carefully curated selection of toys which are especially selected to inspire creative play. In fact, every single toy in the store is handpicked by the owner with intention.
The knowledgeable staff are always kind and eager to help. They can answer any question and offer great suggestions for those that need help picking out the perfect gift. Let them know what you’re after and they’ll guide you in the right direction.
Whether you’re looking for old-fashioned wooden toys, science kits, colorful instruments, puppets or books, you’re sure to find it at this beloved New York City toy store.
Address: 119 W Broadway, New York, NY 10013
Mini Jake is not your typical NYC toy store, not even close. The items in this spacious space span the gamut, you’ll find everything from furniture to clothing and charming children’s toys. They sell a great variety of brands, which an emphasis on minimalist brands.
So if you’re looking for some inspiration for a nursery or simply in search of a newly released children’s book, you’ll probably find it at this lovely New York City toy store.
Address: 178 N 9th St, Brooklyn, NY 11211
Specialized Toy Stores in New York City
Lego Flagship Store
How many cities have an entire toy store dedicated to LEGOs? If you’re visiting New York City with a young one in tow, swinging by the LEGO Flagship store is non-negotiable. This epic NYC toy store is what dreams are made of! Think impressive life-sized LEGO creations and fascinating decor.
The store is located in the heart of Midtown, right across the street from St. Patrick’s Cathedral, one of the most beautiful churches in New York City — making it an easy stop while exploring the Big Apple.
Build-A-Bear Workshops are popular throughout the country, but the children’s store in New York City is exceptional. Kiddos are able to customize their own stuffed animal of choosing before picking out outfits and accessories. The entire process is interactive and fun, ensuring that kids stay engaged.
Address: 22 W. 34th Street
American Girl Place
The American Girl Place store in NYC is a dream destination for many young girls. Filled to the brim with American Girl dolls (and services), you can easily spend two hours in this store without realizing it. The store has an in-house salon that offers haircuts for dolls and people alike.
Offering exciting events like teatime and brunch, you can make an appointment to spoil your kiddo at one of the best toy stores in New York City.
Make no mistake, Toy Tokyo is the best toy store in New York City for action figures. Kids and adults alike will find themselves in toy heaven the second they walk through the door.
Expect to find a great selection of action figures, collectibles and Japanese imports. The store is small but spans two floors, with the basement focusing on anime. This is the place to let your geek flag fly high!
Address: 91 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003
New York City Best Toy Stores
In sum, these are the best toy stores in New York City:
- Grandma’s Place Harlem
- Kidding Around
- Greenpoint Toys
- Camp Store
- Norman & Jules
- Playing Mantis
- Boomerang Toys
- West Side Kids
- Mini Jake
- Mary Arnold Toys
- FAO Schwarz
- The LEGO store
- Build-a-Bear Workshop
- American Girl Place
- Toy Tokyo
Map of the best kid’s toy stores in NYC
And there you have it my friends – a quick roundup of the best toy stores in New York City. I hope you enjoyed the guide.
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Ex-Brit turned Manhattan resident since 2008.