New York City is a playground for all ages, and that extends to the retail experiences it offers for children. With a variety of stores that cater to different interests—from whimsical toy stores to educational bookshops—our city is second to none when it comes to finding the perfect spot for kids to explore and parents to find those special items that spark joy and imagination in their little ones.
Our list of the top kids’ stores in the city isn’t just based on quantity but the quality of merchandise and the shopping experience itself. These stores are destinations that offer more than just products; they provide an adventure. The iconic FAO Schwarz, for example, doesn’t just sell toys; visiting the store is an event in itself with interactive displays and life-sized stuffed animals that dazzle children and adults alike.
When we seek out the best toy stores in New York City, we look for those that strike the perfect balance between innovative, educational, and classic toys. We appreciate establishments that cater to a variety of age groups and interests, ensuring that every child can find something to love. From family-operated boutiques in Nolita to speciality toy stores in the East Village, our city’s diverse range truly has something for every family to enjoy.
Iconic Toy Stores in NYC
We recognize that when it comes to iconic toy stores in New York City, four names stand out as destinations that offer not only toys but memorable experiences for children and toy enthusiasts alike. These stores have become landmarks, beloved for their unique product offerings and immersive environments.
FAO Schwarz sets the standard for a dreamy, larger-than-life toy shopping experience. Situated at 30 Rockefeller Plaza, it’s an empire of play, boasting classic toys, plush animals, and interactive activities. Known for its grand piano and exclusive product range, it is a must-visit for anyone seeking that quintessential New York toy store feeling.
American Girl Place
American Girl Place is a sanctuary for fans of the brand’s iconic dolls and books. Here, you can find doll personalization options and a diverse selection of accessories and matching clothing for dolls and their owners. The store offers an engaging and personalized experience that extends beyond mere shopping, making it a cherished destination on Fifth Avenue.
The Disney Store in Times Square captures the magic of Disney with an impressive selection of toys, clothing, and collectibles. This store is a haven for Disney lovers, featuring life-sized character statues and a wide array of merchandise celebrating beloved Disney franchises.
Lego Flagship Store
LEGO aficionados will marvel at the LEGO flagship store located at 636 Fifth Avenue. This haven for builders of all ages features an abundance of LEGO sets from various themes and exclusive models. The store also provides unique experiences with large-scale models and play areas, making it much more than just a place to shop for LEGO bricks.
In these storied establishments, we find the heart of NYC’s toy culture—a place where imagination and play come together to create memories that last a lifetime.
Local Favorites and Specialized Shops
In our exploration of New York City’s best spots for children’s shopping, we’ll take you through some local favorites renowned for their unique collections and specialized toy offerings. These stores have remained steadfast in their dedication to providing high-quality and often educational toys that cater to a variety of interests and age groups.
Kidding Around has cemented its place as an independent stalwart in the NYC toy scene. Opening its doors in 1989, this family-owned store charms parents and children alike with its diverse range of toys and games, including educational toys that make learning fun.
- Types of Toys: Classic, Educational
- Highlights: Family-operated, diverse selection
Mary Arnold Toys
As the oldest continuously run toy store in NYC, Mary Arnold Toys offers a trip down memory lane with a blend of timeless classics and modern favorites. Known for their quality and personal touch, they provide a shopping experience that stands out in today’s digital world.
- Types of Toys: High-Quality, Classic
- Highlights: Oldest toy store, personal service
Boomerang Toys stands out for its thoughtful collection, which includes a variety of wooden and educational toys. They are committed to engaging youngsters’ minds and fostering creativity through their carefully curated selections.
- Types of Toys: Wooden, Educational
- Highlights: Creativity focus, varied collection
West Side Kids
For over 30 years, West Side Kids has been a fixture in the Upper West Side community. They offer an array of high-quality toys, specializing in both the fun and the formative, ensuring they have something to catch the eye and stimulate the intellect of every child who walks through their doors.
- Types of Toys: Educational, High-Quality
- Highlights: Community-focused, diverse educational range
Each of these stores brings its own charm to the landscape of kids’ shopping in New York City, providing rich experiences that are as special as the toys they sell.
Innovative and Interactive Play
In New York City, we’re seeing a trend where children’s stores elevate the shopping experience into interactive and engaging adventures. These spaces are not just about purchasing toys; they’re destinations offering inventive play, crafts, and games that foster imagination.
Camp combines retail with engaging experiences tailored for children and their families. We’re talking about a store that blurs the line between commerce and play. They host a series of events and activities that transform shopping into an interactive affair, complete with themed play zones and crafts workshops. Birthday parties at Camp are memorable events filled with fun activities and personalized details.
The Camp Store is a boutique within Camp that curates an assortment of products aimed at enriching the imaginative play experience. Here, kids can find a range of toys from creative crafts to innovative games that encourage learning through play. Every visit feels new with their rotating themes and merchandise, ensuring that the sense of wonder is as fresh as their inventory.
Build-A-Bear is a household name that delivers a personal touch to the toy-buying experience. At their NYC location, children can dive into the immersive process of creating their plush friends. The process is a blend of play and creativity as children choose, stuff, and customize their bears, making the final product much more than a toy—it’s a companion born out of their imagination.
Toy Tokyo stands out for collectors and kids alike with their eclectic mix of unique and often hard-to-find toys. Their selection includes collectible figures, vintage toys, and the newest trends in the toy industry. Playing Mantis – a line of toys that Toy Tokyo might carry – embodies nostalgic charm and hand-crafted quality, inviting both children and adults into a world of imaginative play.
Unique and Quirky Finds
Discovering the perfect item for children in New York City’s myriad shops can be a delightful treasure hunt. We’ll guide you through a selection of stores known for their unique and quirky finds, where the gifts often encompass handmade toys, personalized gifts, and quality products that are as distinctive as they are delightful.
Specialties: Cultural books, educational games
At Grandma’s Place, we find an inviting atmosphere filled with culturally diverse books and educational toys. This store specializes in unique gifts that not only entertain but also educate and inspire young minds.
Specialties: Modern furniture, innovative toys
Mini Jake offers a sleek selection of modern children’s furniture alongside innovative toys. Here, we often see parents and their kids excited by the personalized gifts that stand out for both their creativity and quality.
Specialties: Handcrafted items, eco-friendly products
Greenpoint Toys is our go-to for handcrafted toys that are safe for children and the environment. Their selection often includes items made from natural materials, which are not only unique but also serve as responsible choices for conscious consumers.
Location: East Village
Specialties: Handmade dolls, whimsical playthings
Dinosaur Hill celebrates the whimsy of childhood with its range of handmade dolls and imaginative playthings. Their commitment to stocking quality products that can’t be found just anywhere makes them a treasure trove for those seeking something truly special and offbeat.
Fashion and Accessories for Kids
In New York City, we discover a variety of stores that specialize in providing distinctive fashion and high-quality accessories for children. From unique clothing to the perfect pair of shoes, these shops cater to all the needs of families looking for something special for their little ones.
At Little Moony, we find an exquisite array of children’s clothing that combines comfort with style. This store is well-regarded for its chic designs and array of sizes suited for children. Quality is the cornerstone of their offerings, ensuring that clothes are not just fashionable but also durable and kid-friendly.
- Clothing Range: The store features everything from everyday wear to more formal attire.
- Accessories: Alongside clothing, Little Moony provides a selection of accessories to complete any child’s outfit.
Shoes at Grandma’s Place
Shoes at Grandma’s Place stands out for its specialized focus on children’s footwear. The importance of the right fitting shoes for growing children can’t be overstated, and this shop emphasizes both the health and style aspects of good shoes.
- Shoe Variety: Offering shoes for different occasions, from sports activities to formal events.
- Uniqueness: When it comes to gear for little feet, the place prides itself on a unique selection that caters to individual preferences and needs.
Bookstores and More
We understand that enriching the minds of children with literature is as important as entertaining them with playful experiences. Our focus in this section is to highlight a New York City store where books meet play, offering the best in children’s literature along with a carefully curated selection of toys.
At Playing Mantis, we uncover a fusion of whimsical toys and enchanting books that captivate the imaginations of children. This store brings artisan-crafted toys from around the world to our local New York City neighborhood, ensuring that the toys are not only fun but also bear cultural significance and crafted quality.
- Books: Playing Mantis showcases a collection of children’s books that pair perfectly with their toys, aiming to inspire young minds with stories and characters that leap off the page and encourage play.
- Toy Stores: It’s a haven for those seeking out unique, hand-crafted toys that stand out from the mass-produced items found in larger retail toy stores.
Each toy and book in their collection is selected with a keen eye for stimulating a child’s creativity and intellectual development. They understand that a good toy store does more than just sell products—it fosters learning and growth through play.
Planning Your Visit
When planning your visit to the best kids stores in New York City, consider the array of special events and activities they might offer, as well as the party supplies and services that can enhance any birthday party or celebration.
Events and Activities
Many of New York City’s children’s stores provide more than just shopping; they host events and activities that can create an engaging experience for your family. For instance, some stores might offer storytelling sessions, themed craft workshops, or even hands-on educational activities. Keep an eye on your favorite store’s calendar or sign up for their newsletters to stay informed about upcoming events.
Party Supplies and Services
If you’re organizing a birthday party in NYC, you’ll find an array of stores that offer a variety of party supplies and services. From themed decorations and balloons to curated goody bags and tableware, the right store can become a one-stop-shop for all your party needs. Stores specializing in party supplies often provide personalized services as well, like custom invitations and event planning assistance to ensure your child’s birthday is as special and unique as they are.