Everyone loves a good toy store. Kids love to play and explore, and adults love to feel like they’re stepping through time back into their childhood.
But what exactly makes a toy store great? That depends on who you ask. Luckily, there’s something for everyone in the United States.
The 22 Best Toy Stores in America in 2023
Looking for board games? Comic books? Video games? Electric toys? Mind games? Building blocks? Whatever it is you’re searching for, there’s bound to be a toy store tailored to you somewhere among the countless shops located across the United States.
We couldn’t possibly cover all of them, but here’s a rundown of 22 of the most interesting toy stores in the country and why we (and your kids) will love each one.
1. Playthings, Etc. (Butler, PA)
Located in a futuristic-looking metal building in a suburb just north of Pittsburgh, Playthings, Etc. is the self-proclaimed “World’s Coolest Family Toy & Hobby Store.”
The inside of the store matches its otherworldly exterior, with a space-age theme that houses more than 6,000 different toys.
2. Charles Ro Supply Company (Malden, MA)
If your kid (or you!) loves trains, you may want to look into taking a trip to Boston. Located in a suburb just north of the city, Charles Ro Supply Company calls itself “America’s Largest Train Store.”
Charles Ro claims to be the largest Lionel dealer in the world and the top train dealer in the country. They say they offer one of the largest selections of G, O, O27, S, HO & N scale model trains in America.
3. American Girl Place (Chicago, IL)
There are 12 locations across the country, but the largest and most impressive American Girl Place is located in the heart of downtown Chicago. The store is any doll-loving kid’s dream.
It has a salon for both the child and their doll to get their hair done and a café with small chairs for the child’s doll to sit next to them while they enjoy a tea party.
But most interestingly, it has doll doctors to help fix any damage that may have occurred to the doll, and two floors full of new dolls, accessories, and matching outfits to peruse.
4. Toy Joy (Austin, TX)
Toy Joy is located in Austin, TX, and it stays true to the city’s “weird” reputation. It boasts three self-proclaimed “coolest toy stores ever” located throughout Austin.
The company describes itself as a “less typical children’s retailer” that carries a variety of weird knick-knacks and exotic goods that are great for both kids and adults. They sell just about any toy you can think of, new or old, and some you’ve probably never dreamed of.
5. LARK Toys (Kellogg, MN)
LARK Toys is a long-beloved toy store that ranks high. According to the company’s website, it’s been featured on:
- USA Today’s list of the 10 Best Toy Stores in the World
- Travel & Leisure’s list of the World’s Greatest Toy Stores
- WCCO Viewers’ Choice’s Best Toy Store in Minnesota
- Reader’s Digest’s list of the 10 Coolest Toy Stores in the World
Run by a local family, LARK Toys allows visitors to take a look behind the scenes and watch toys come to life in the workshop. It also features activities like mini-golf, a carousel, and cozy reading nooks in addition to the traditional shopping experience.
6. Ambassador Toys (San Francisco, CA)
Ambassador Toys is a specialty toy store in San Francisco specializing in dolls by Madame Alexander and bears by Steiff. The company says it has been named the best toy store in San Francisco, Palo Alto, and Truckee multiple times.
While the company’s storefront closed permanently due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it still has an online store open for anyone looking to purchase a doll or bear. The collectible items can run for anywhere from $50 to $600 apiece.
7. The Dinosaur Farm (South Pasadena, CA)
The Dinosaur Farm is proud to be “Not Your Ordinary Toy Store.” Located in South Pasadena, this shop is any dino lover’s dream. The online shop is strictly dinosaurs, but the in-person storefront features some non-prehistoric items as well.
It’s been named the Best Independent Toy Store in Southern California by L.A. Parent, named Best Toy Store by Pasadena Weekly, named L.A’s Best Toy Store by New Times Weekly, and featured on Forbes Traveler’s list of 10 Amazing Toy Stores.
8. Archie McPhee (Seattle, WA)
Archie McPhee calls itself “a Mecca for connoisseurs of the strange” and one of Seattle’s weirdest attractions.
The store is named after the founder’s great-nephew-in-law and opened after his business selling rubber lizards and other strange items outgrew his garage in Los Angeles. He moved to a storefront in Seattle in 1983 and never looked back.
Decades later, the store continues to offer a myriad of strange items you won’t find anywhere else. It’s worth checking out if you’re in the area – and make sure you take a look at the disturbing Wallingford Beast!
9. FAO Schwarz (New York City, NY)
One of the more historic stores on the list, FAO Schwarz has been selling toys in the Big Apple since 1862. The larger-than-life emporium that calls itself “the world’s most iconic toy store” and has been featured in movies like “Big” and “Home Alone 2: Lost in New York.”
FAO Schwarz offers toys for kids of all ages, from birth to adulthood. And if you visit the New York City location, you can play the same giant piano Adam Sandler played in “Big.”
10. Toys “R” Us (New York City, NY)
Toys “R” Us closed most of its in-person stores in 2018, but the New York City location reopened in December 2021. It’s more than just a toy store– it’s an all-day adventure.
In addition to the toys, this location has a giant indoor Ferris wheel, an animatronic T-Rex, and a variety of NYC landmarks made of LEGO. It’s fun for all ages, and a great spot to add to your New York trip itinerary.
11. LEGO Store (Bloomington, MN)
Though there are 91 LEGO Store locations across the country, the biggest one is the company’s original storefront, located in the Mall of America.
The store features many larger-than-life LEGO sculptures (including one that rises multiple stories), a Pick A Brick wall where guests can select whatever colors and sizes of bricks they want, a station to create your own Minifigures, an interactive building area, and more.
12. Finnegan’s Toys & Gifts (Portland, OR)
Finnegan’s Toys & Gifts offers a wide variety of toys for all ages. They claim to focus on “toys for the future scientist, engineer, designer, or goofball.”
The in-person storefront is temporarily closed while they look for a new location, but Finnegan’s is still selling toys online, with local pickup or shipping available.
13. Smart Toys and Books (Knoxville, TN)
Smart Toys and Books focuses on developmental toys that help encourage kids to learn and explore through hands-on play. They offer toys for several developmental stages, including independent play, cooperative play, motor skills, visual, creative, language, logic, and music.
The storefront has a 2,000-square-foot indoor playground, a 9-foot-tall pirate ship, art classes, a myriad of hands-on play stations, and a party room.
14. Big Fun Toy Store (Cleveland Heights, OH)
Big Fun Toy Store started in 1991 with a hodgepodge of odd old collectibles and has grown over the years into an Ohio favorite.
Located in a suburb east of Cleveland, the storefront is filled with tributes to the city’s history, including flooring from an old bowling alley, light figures from an old department store, and display cases from an old jewelry store.
The store calls itself “a veritable cornucopia of delights, a cathedral of counter-culture, a warehouse of nerdabilia and nostalgia.” They also buy and sell vintage toys.
15. Quake Collectibles (Chicago, IL)
Quake Collectibles is a quaint little shop that specializes in collectible vintage toys from the ‘70s and ‘80s. There are three locations, all in Illinois: Chicago, Evanston, and Roselle.
The store is filled with floor-to-ceiling displays, both along the walls and on shelves throughout the middle of the store. It’s a bit chaotic, but is likely home to any collectible you may be searching for from a few decades ago!
16. A2Z Science & Learning Store (Northampton, MA)
The A2Z Science & Learning Store aims to “inspire, encourage, and enrich through the wonders of science and learning!” They emphasize the importance of play in child development.
The store offers a large selection of educational toys and has a yo-yo school, where they teach classes three days a week and even offer private lessons.
17. Josh’s Toys & Games (Manchester, NH)
This store has a unique history: Josh Heinzl opened Josh’s Toys & Games when he was just 15 years old. Heinzl was looking online for parts his LEGO robotics team could use, and he ended up figuring out how to buy and sell things online.
He opened the store’s first location in a local mall, and the store now has five locations across the New England area.
18. Labyrinth Games & Puzzles (Washington, D.C.)
Located near Capitol Hill, Labyrinth Games & Puzzles is a large toy store that focuses on the gaming experience. They offer a large try-before-you-buy library of board games for guests to play before they commit.
The store regularly hosts events, including Magic: the Gathering, Pokémon, Dungeons & Dragons, board game nights, kids’ game clubs, a kids’ D&D program, a free RPG day, Break My Game, educator nights, pop-up Gen Con, and a used game sale and charity auction.
19. Mary Arnold Toys (New York City, NY)
After FAO Schwarz (temporarily) closed in 2015, Mary Arnold Toys took over the title of New York City’s oldest continually-running toy store.
The store sells a wide range of toys for kids of all ages, and they offer a personal shopper service and free local delivery.
20. Gods & Monsters (Orlando, FL)
Located in southwest Orlando, Gods & Monsters is a self-proclaimed “nerd hub.” The store specializes in comic books, manga, pop culture collectibles, Dungeons & Dragons supplies, and cosplay.
It also has a bar, or a “post-apocalyptic, cosplay-friendly, retro-gaming lounge and drinking hole,” that can be reserved for private parties.
21. O.P. Taylor’s (Brevard, NC)
O.P. Taylor’s calls itself the “#1 toy store in the south” and “the coolest toy store on the planet,” and it’s easy to see why. There are three locations, but the Brevard store has over 6,000 square feet of fun to explore.
The company focuses on non-electric toys, encouraging kids and adults alike to work their brains with more classic toys. They prove that you don’t need all the lights and sounds to have fun, though there is an interactive electric racetrack in the store.
22. Games of Berkeley (Berkeley, CA)
Games of Berkeley claims it might have the largest toy selection on the west coast, which may explain why customers have loved it for more than 40 years. The store has four large game rooms that host regular events.
These include Magic: The Gathering meetups, Dungeons & Dragons campaigns, and Warhammer 40K skirmishes. They also have an extensive game library and have game rooms available periodically for open gaming space.
Things to Consider
There are a few things to consider when deciding which toy store you’d like to visit:
- Do they specialize in the kind of toy you’re looking for?
- Do they only sell toys, or do they have interactive experiences as well?
- How close is the store to you?
- Do they offer online shopping if you don’t want to travel?
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the most famous toy store in America?
The most famous toy store in America is the Toys “R” Us in New York City, NY. It is known as “The World’s Greatest Toy Store.”
What is the largest toy store in America?
FAO Schwarz in New York City, NY is the largest toy store in America. With over 20,000 square feet to explore, it’s also one of the oldest toy stores in the country.
What is the most famous toy store?
The most famous toy store in the world is Hamleys in London. The most famous toy store in the United States is FAO Schwarz.
Who sells the most toys in the U.S.?
Surprisingly, it’s not a toy store. McDonald’s is actually the world’s largest toy distributor, with about 20% of its purchases including a Happy Meal that comes with a toy.
What is the best toy brand?
LEGO has consistently been rated the most popular, reputable toy brand.
America’s Best Toy Stores: A Summary
Ultimately, that’s up for you to decide, and it all depends on what you’re looking for. But whatever it is you’re hoping to find, there’s a toy store out there for you. So get out there and explore!