New York City's Best Toy Store Adventures for Kids

New York City skyline looking south towards Lower Manhattan at sunset.
Getty / Amanda Hall / robertharding

In New York City, there are some retail spaces that feel more like entertainment venues than stores. With games, crafts, live theater, restaurants, rides, Although there have been numerous closures of iconic stores including FAO Schwarz and the Toys 'R' Us in Times Square, below are the best toy stores in Manhattan that still aim to provide fun first.

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American Girl Place

The makers of the popular American Girl have a prime location on Fifth Avenue and take the much more than just a store philosophy to the next level. Inside, you'll find individual boutiques for different types of American Girl dolls, at the highly popular American Girl Cafe. Offering fantastic views of Rockefeller Center, this cafe is open for brunch, lunch, afternoon tea, and dinner. Guests can make reservations up to a couple of months in advance. Meals include a Treat Seat at the table for each guest's dolls and a surprise keepsake. A private dining room is available for parties, as well.

Other experiences at American Girl Place include the Doll Hair Salon where kids can choose a new hairdo for their doll, and maybe pamper them a bit more with a facial or ear piercing. The store also has a photo studio to capture a special moment.

The American Girl Place also hosts special events such as Date With Dad, Bitty Bear's Birthday Celebration, and Memories With Mom, and sometimes offers special packages at local hotels just for American Girl Place visitors. 

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Nintendo World

This game-centric store has a prime Manhattan location, near iconic attractions such as the Rockefeller Center ice rink and Top of the Rock. Besides the chance to buy merchandise not found at any other store, Nintendo World provides interactive experiences, with a multi-player gaming wall, game kiosks, and a surround-sound gaming lounge.

You can expect to try out whatever's latest and greatest, at Nintendo World. Or, for those who are more nostalgic, some older favorites still have a place in the store such as Pokemon, and their spin on the original Nintendo console, the NES Classic Edition. 

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The Scholastic Store

Scholastic began as a book publisher rather than a toy-seller, but in recent years, those boundaries have been blurred. The Scholastic Store, located in SoHo has plenty beyond books, including toys, games, and school supplies. 

The store always has colorful displays of popular kids' books, including Clifford The Big Red Dog, and Captain Underpants as well as new releases. The store offers hands-on activities so your kids can play while you shop. The activity loft has crafts and organized activities and is also available for themed birthday parties. Scattered throughout the store, you will also find interactive kiosks for Harry Potter and even a real-life Magic School Bus.

Most importantly, the store stocks thousands of learning products organized by subject, and a demonstration area to test toys and games. Often, on Saturdays, there are free events open to the public such as author readings, character visits, and story hours. 

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The Lego Store

While this Manhattan outpost is a far cry from Legoland, it is definitely worth a stop for Lego enthusiasts, and children. A massive, Lego-made dragon runs throughout the store, and there are two levels of merchandise that you'd be hard-pressed to find a local toy store. The large windows also offer amazing views of Fifth Avenue.