The best toy stores in Chicago

Toys aren't just for kids anymore. Here are the best toy stores in Chicago and the suburbs to reward a little one or just geek out on your own

Photograph: Jaclyn Elizabeth Rivas
Toys Et Cetera is one of the best toy stores in Chicaog.

Christmas is the obvious time to check out these local toy stores, but there are plenty of other occasions during the year when kids make toy requests: birthdays, post–dentist visits, after a good report card...okay, pretty much anytime. Why hit up these shops rather than Amazon? Because the selection is more curated, so you won't get overwhelmed with options, and toy shops often put fun items on display for hands-on playing, making the stores something like an indoor playground. And if you're an adult who happens to love toys (no shame), toy stores are the best places to nerd out with likeminded people.

Best toy stores in Chicago

Cat and Mouse Game Store, Bucktown

This toy shop stocks familiar childhood favorites, puzzles galore and new games imported from Europe. There’s plenty of options for every age group, and the store even hosts family game nights and tournaments.

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Bucktown

Berwyn's Toys & Trains

This veritable palace of playtime locomotives lures regular customers to suburban Berwyn not just from Cook County but from northern Indiana and southern Wisconsin, too. (Toy-train enthusiasts from around the world have also been known to visit this family-owned shop, which has been operating for two decades.) The colorful displays of train sets you can play with will entertain your kid (and you) for hours. From Thomas the Tank Engine to Playmobil toys to Radio Flyer wagons to old-fashioned marbles, there's something for almost everyone.

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Berwyn

Galt Toys + Galt Baby

Heading to a baby shower? GALT Toys & Baby is your new best friend. You’ll find a range of infant and toddler toys, such as plush books and rattles. Moms and moms-to-be can find specialty strollers and nursery furniture. The store has certified technicians on hand to help answer questions or do car installations.

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Magnificent Mile

Geppetto's Toy Box

Don’t go looking for any Barbie Dolls in this classic, European-inspired toy shop. Head to Geppetto’s for its collection of wooden toys from responsible manufacturers. The shop stocks puzzles, building toys, craft sets, books and more to please parents and kids of all ages.

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Oak Park

Monster Island Toys

Looking for a Godzilla figurine? Head to this toy shop in Bridgeport. Owner Loris Basso shares his love of the famous movie monster with shoppers in the form of Godzilla posters, figurines imported from Japan, DVDs and more. But it’s not all Godzilla, all the time. The shop also features figurines of Scarface, Freddy Krueger, KISS band members and more.

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Bridgeport

Play

Critics' pick

This small Logan Square shop has a well-curated selection of toys, books and gifts designed to spark imagination in kids of all ages. Free gift wrapping and delivery is included with all purchases. Stop by for its weekly storytime sessions.

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Logan Square

Pumpkin Moon

What ever happened to good, clean, fun? It took up residence in Oak Park, at this funky shop. Expect to find an eclectic selection of old-school favorites like retro robot toys, 1980s postcards and vintage-inspired tchotchkes. From Wonder Woman to Betty Boop and Dr. Who, the gang's all here—at affordable prices.

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Oak Park

Rotofugi

There’s nothing quite like this designer toy store. Grown-ups and kids will love their vinyl figures, capsule toys and, of course, those adorable rabbits with mustaches. Don’t miss its art gallery next door, which features monthly exhibits from both local and national artists.

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Lakeview

Timeless Toys

A Lincoln Square haven for educational fun, classic wooden toys, books and a charming array of puppets. (Think hand puppets, finger puppets and even life-sized versions.)

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Lincoln Square

Toys et Cetera

With three Chicagoland locations and a robust e-commerce website, Toys Et Cetera puts more th an 10,000 toys at your fingertips. Shopping local has never been more convenient—we're talking complimentary gift wrapping, free shipping when you spend over $199 and pickup at any store location.

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Andersonville

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