Few things light up a child’s face than a new toy. Lucky for us, some of the best toy stores on the planet are right here in NYC, with enough toys to tempt the imagination of kids, and enough hands-on activities and workshops to be a tourist attraction as well as a year-round destination for those of us who live in the best city on the planet.
FAO Schwarz: Huge stuffed animals nearly as big as real lions and tigers, real people in toy soldier outfits, the chance to dance on top of the the giant piano made famous by Tom Hanks movie Big and customize your own Muppet and more. New specialty items for sale this holiday season include a limited edition Monopoly 3D board game, a Luxury Edition 3D CLUE board game encased in glass, a Swarovski Red Jeweled Classic Etch-A-Sketch and the Isaac Mizrahi Collection by Madame Alexander. This legendary store traces its roots back to 1862, when the man named FAO Schwarz started selling toys out of a shop in Baltimore. shop), FAO Schwarz is a bona fide tourist attraction. Plus, get FREE shipping home on purchases over $49. FAO Schwarz is at Fifth Avenue at 58th Street.
Scholastic Store: This is the retail store of NYC publisher Scholastic, where shelves are stocked with popular titles including Harry Potter, The Magic School Bus, Clifford the Big Red Dog and Captain Underpants. There also are craft and computer workshops, movie screenings and weekly sing-alongs. and more, including toys that make learning fun. On Broadway between Prince and Spring Streets in Soho.
American Girl Place: This flagship location for the popular dolls has a full line of clothing, furniture and accessories, plus an American Girl themed restaurant, plus a doll hair salon where the miniature people can get dolled up for the holiday. Check the website for FREE and ticketed events. American Girl Place is at Fifth venue and 48th Street.
Lego Store: There are two huge LEGO stores in NYC, with boxed toys, FREE workshop events with take-home toys, and more. The newest Lego Store is in Flatiron, on Fifth and 23rd. The other is in Rockefeller Center.
Brooklyn Superhero Supply Company: This mysterious shop, stocked with superhero novelties including capes, X-ray goggles and gallon tins of immortality, supports 826NYC, a non-profit kids’ writing, tutoring and publishing center founded by novelist Dave Eggers. So you are buying great toys and supporting a great cause. That’s called a two-fer. On Fifth Avenue in Park Slope.
And don’t forget the gift shops at the American Museum of Natural History, Brooklyn Museum and Jewish Museum for kid-friendly gifts.