Photograph: Shutterstock

The best toy stores in the world, ranked

Ever wondered about the best toy stores in the world? Thanks to our ranked list, you can see 'em all.

By Allie Early
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Indulge your whimsical side—and humor your kids—by exploring some of the best toy stores in the world! Even if you aren’t planning on family travel anytime soon, our guide to the world’s best toy stores will have you prepared for when you’re in the area, whether in another state or abroad. New Yorkers can also rejoice that several of the picks on our list are right here in the city.

P.S. Seriously—your kids’ eyes are going to light up.

For even more recommendations, visit our list of the best toy stores in NYC, plus our favorite kids consignment shops and thrift stores and our favorite book stores in NYC.

Best toy stores in the world

Photograph: Courtesy Time Out London

1. Hamleys, London, England

While we’d love to have a New York store top this list, the closure of both FAO Schwarz and Toys “R” US in 2015 have led us to Honesty Hour: Hamleys takes the cake. This imaginative shop (emporium!) is a genuine dream for children, complete with multiple floors full of toys, interactive toy demos on the 4th floor and great gifts for kids big and small. Also, if you happen to find something cheaper on the Hamley’s website and show it to a cashier, the store is also said to honor the web price. Since you’re sure to work up an appetite during you exploration, there’s also a conveniently-placed in-store Wafflemeister, where families can stuff their faces with waffles that are loaded up with toppings and syrups. 188-196 Regent St, London (44-371-704-1977, hamleys.com)

Photograph: Shutterstock

2. LEGO Store, New York, NY

Where there are LEGO bricks, there are imaginative kids looking to build everything from tiny masterpieces to large-scale works of art. The LEGO store at Rockefeller Center may be small, but it’s the perfect place not only for buying, but building as well! There are customer-friendly play areas, plus wall-to-wall box sets for purchase. The Living Room, located at the center of the store, is an interactive play area, plus there’s also a Pick A Brick wall where you can find bricks by color, shape and size. Keep an eye out for LEGO installations from master builders. Head there early or late—it gets crowded during the afternoon and on weekends! 620 5th Ave (212-245-5973, lego.com).

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Photograph: Shutterstock

3. Kiddy Land Harajuku, Shibuya, Japan

Reminiscent of the truly outstanding, chock-full o’ knick-knacks display style found in many city mom and pop toy stores (as in seriously stuffed to the gills—try not to bump into anything!) Kiddy Land is bursting with great toys and accessories that kids can’t wait to get their hands on. This four-floor store has the cutest Kawaii stuff (including things like lunch boxes, stuffed animals and toys—plus plenty of Sanrio-related gear). 6-1-9 Jingumae, Shibuya 150-0001, Tokyo Prefecture (81-3-3409-3431, kiddyland.co).

Renderings: Courtesy FRCH Design Worldwide

4. American Girl Store, New York, NY (Fall 2017)

News Shopping & Style

We’re already predicting that American Girl’s new Rockefeller Center location is going to blow even its Chicago flagship out of the water. Why you ask? A. Because the renderings are out of this world, and B. because it’s a multi-functioning space, complete with a salon (kids and dolls), a media studio, a studio where kids can create one-of-a-kind designs for themselves and their dolls and more great stuff, including party rooms. The new store opens in fall of 2017 (date has yet to be set). Future Location fall 2017: 75 Rockefeller Center

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5. Disney Store, New York, NY

Shopping Toys and games Midtown West

Whether your kid’s aspiring to be Moana, Tiana, Ariel or Cinderella, New York’s Disney Store is a one-stop shop for trinkets, accessories and high-quality Disney costumes (Er—maybe buy two, since your tykes won’t want to take them off, even when it’s laundry time). Fans of traditional Disney characters like Mickey and Minnie won’t be disappointed either: there’s plenty of classic kitsch to go around and to get you decked out for your next trip to Disney World.

6. Lark Toys, Kellogg, MN

If you find yourself in Minnesota, you'll certainly want to stop by the town's most lauded toy store (seriously, check out those Yelp reviews). This Charlie and the Chocolate Factory-like destination offers a multifaceted experience that includes displays of vintage toys, a handcrafted carousel ride with wooden horses for kids to take a spin on, a real mini golf course and a full-sized train table. There's also a fudge shop, bookstore, candy store; Did we mention this toy store also has every toy imaginable? Oh, and Lark doesn't forget the parents, either—there are plenty of vintage toys for adults to appreciate, too.  63604 170th Ave, Kellogg, MN (507-767-3387, larktoys.com).

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Photograph: Courtesy Mattel

7. American Girl Place, Chicago, IL

This particular American Girl location is both the flagship and the first American Girl store to open (New York's current location being the second). Though this spot is smaller than New York's retail space, it has plenty of charm to offer: several floors of displays and products, a beauty salon where you can get your doll's ears pierced or hair done, a cafe with kid-friendly offerings (waitresses treat your dolls as though they're people, too)! and even a free personal shopper service (though be sure to set a clear budget with your children beforehand). Make sure to make a reservation before your visit to the store if you'd like to eat at the cafe; it's popular! 835 N Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL (877-247-5223, americangirl.com).

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