Lark Toys Carousel
Courtesy of Lark Toys

There are few things more exciting as a kid than a trip to the toy store. And with more and more shopping done online, it’s a special treat when you find yourself in a store that inspires. (Bonus points if in-store play is encouraged.)

You can take the fun one step beyond and plan a trip around (or with) a visit to one of the most memorable toy stores in the country. Whether it’s a family-run operation offering a glimpse into their workshop or a big experiential store with all the bells and whistles, these 11 shops deliver on delight. 


Chicago, Illinois

Kido Chicago
Courtesy of Kido Chicago

This Black-owned kids boutique in Chicago’s South Loop offers a variety of toys, books and clothing in line with their commitment to representation and inclusivity. Whether it’s a Nina Simone paper doll, crayons featuring a range of skin tones or sign-language alphabet tiles, Kido is a place where all kids are celebrated.

Jou Jou at The Grand America Hotel

Salt Lake City, Utah

Courtesy of The Grand America Hotel

Located in the Shops at The Grand America Hotel in Salt Lake City, Jou Jou is not your typical hotel shop. From the colorful hot air balloons suspended from the ceiling to the animated monster gallery wall, Jou Jou’s imaginative displays are worth the trip alone. But one look through their tastefully curated selection of toys, costumes and games will fill your heart with wonder.


Various locations throughout the U.S. 

Camp toy store
Courtesy of Camp

Known as “a family experience company,” CAMP offers a unique take on the traditional toy store by combining retail with larger than life immersive play-based experiences. Featuring rotating experiences with major partners – Mickey & Friends X CAMP at their Dallas location and NIKE KIDS CAMP in Los Angeles are standouts – CAMP immerses you and your family in the fun.

Museum of Design Atlanta

Atlanta, Georgia 

Courtesy of MODA
Courtesy of MODA

While a design museum may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of a toy store, hear us out. Museum stores can be a great place to find unique gifts that most other places don’t carry. Whether you’re in the market for a contemporary dollhouse or want to pick up a building kit for that budding architect in your life, this is the place for toys with serious style.

Odin Parker

Rancho Mission Viejo, California

Courtesy of
Courtesy of Odin Parker

You won’t find any battery-operated toys at this whimsical Southern California children’s shop. Specializing in heirloom quality toys from the baby through toddler years, they offer everything from rainbow stackers to adorable handmade tea sets. Every purchase also helps to provide meals for kids in need through their collaboration with the Children’s Hunger Fund.

Lark Toys

Kellogg, Minnesota

Lark Toys Carousel
Courtesy of Lark Toys

Minnesota’s family-owned Lark Toys is way more than just a toy store. From mini golf to their hand-carved wooden carousel, there’s lots of fun to be had for the whole family. In addition to their expansive toy selection, they also make their own wooden creations in an on-site workshop where you can watch the toy artists at work.

Fat Brain Toys

Omaha, Nebraska and Overland Park, Kansas

Fat Brain Toys Omaha Storefront
Courtesy of Fat Brain Toys

If you’re looking for toys that are both fun and educational, the selection at Fat Brain Toys can’t be beat. This is a place where playing with toys is encouraged, and when you’re stuck on what to choose, a Toy Experts is always willing to lend a helping hand. Be sure not to miss out on their free in-store events (think book readings and science experiments).

SOHA Keiki

Various locations throughout Hawaii

SoHa Keiki Poipu
Photo courtesy SOHA Keiki 

With locations across Hawaii, playful kids boutique SOHA Keiki (Hawaiian for child) is a must-visit for all the ocean-loving little ones in your life. From unique beach toys and shave ice plushies to ukuleles and play food kits featuring island favorites like musubi and malasadas, this delightful shop brings the aloha.

LEGO Flagship Store

New York, New York

The LEGO Store, 5th Avenue, NYC. (Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images)
Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images, courtesy The LEGO Group

LEGO’s Fifth Avenue flagship store in Manhattan is the stuff of building dreams. From one-of-a-kind displays featuring a giant yellow taxi cab to interactive experiences like turning a photo into a LEGO mosaic, it’s a must-stop for LEGO fans big and small. And if you’re looking for something extra special, purchase tickets to The LEGO Brick Lab – an immersive world where your physical creation comes to life digitally.

American Girl 

Various locations across the U.S.

American Girl Store
Courtesy of American Girl

The collection of dolls based on a line of books has grown into a nationwide phenomenon. In addition to dolls and their accessories, you’ll also find a broad variety of hands-on activities in-store, from teatime to salon appointments, all including your American Girl doll. Did we mention that they host birthday parties?

FAO Schwarz 

New York, New York 

FAO Schwarz Celebrates 160 Years of Toys
Courtesy of FAO Schwarz

A list of the best toy stores in the country wouldn’t be complete without this New York institution, which has delighted families for more than 150 years. Who else remembers that iconic piano scene with Tom Hanks in the movie Big? Spread out over multiple floors, you could shop for hours on your own, but if you’re looking for something a little more interactive, why not build your own remote control car or work with a Barbie fashion stylist?

Ronee Uyeshiro is a writer who lives on the North Shore of Kaua’i with her husband and 3-year old son