FAO Schwarz, New York City
Children are welcomed with open arms here - parents are checked for credit cards!! This children's toy shop is a great fun experience even if it may be hard work on your credit card- this shop really is larger than life.
What to buy: TOYS
What to pay: Whatever you can afford
After a visit to bankruptcy court last year, the FAO Schwarz toy store in NYC reopened on Thanksgiving Day under new ownership (the only other one to reopen is in Las Vegas).
There was a line to get inside on the Sunday evening I passed by so I didn't go inside but I imagine it's a lot like visiting Hamley's in London where you can spend hours browsing and playing with toys. I understand that they are not carrying many of the mass market toys like video games that you would find at a Toys R Us instead focusing on unique and exclusive toys.
Opened in 1870, this place is an institution. I have very fond memories of visiting this store as a child. FAO Schwarz is the most wonderful toy store in the world. It is a giant department store filled with toys. Nothing even comes close. The Tom Hanks "Big" keyboard dance scene was filmed here. Multi level and full of every thing imaginable. At Christmas time there is actually a long line of parents and their desperate kids that are waiting to get inside for their ultimate childhood fantasy. Truly Fantastic!
What to buy: From baby rattles to $30,000 lifesize toy cars. Large log houses, slides and giant teddy bears. It's a wonderful feast for your eyes.
What to pay: I think it can be expensive, but it's the experience your'e buying.
Although we mostly stuck to window shopping on Fifth Avenue, FAO Schwarz was the one store I couldn't resist going into! As a kid I'd watched the movie "Big" and I still remembered the store's giant piano, which I couldn't wait to see first-hand. As it turns out, there is much more to see than the piano! As a Harry Potter fan, I was thrilled to see all the books' magical creatures hanging out in the stuffed animals section, which I could have brought home for a few thousand dollars (!). On the second floor, I also found amazing life-size Lego statues of Harry, Hermione, Ron and Hagrid. Although we didn't buy anything, we spent about 45 minutes just looking around the store – oh, and it's probably a good idea to show up early because we could just as easily have spent 45 minutes waiting in the line-up if we'd gone later during the day. A really fun way to bring out the kid in you ;o)
FAO Schwarz is open from 10:00 am to 7:00 pm every day (11:00 am to 6:00 pm on Sundays).
What to buy: You can basically get all the toys, games and candies you can think of! You can also build your own toy vehicle - I thought that would make for a great NYC souvenir/gift.
What to pay: Same as any toy store. Collection items are of course more expensive.
I hadnt been in FAO in about 15 years when I found myself walking by it on a VT tour. We ducked in and to my surprise at the top of the stairs they had set up a Kwicky Mart.
Proving once again. NYC has it all.
No trip to NY would be complete without a trip to this amazing world famous FAO Schwarz toy shop. After a very cold walk around Central Park we decided to head into the shop for a little warmth. However we spent over 2 hours in this great shop. We had a lovely hot chocolate and fudge cake in the sit down cafe area. The staff were very friendly and then we headed off to do some serious shopping!!! Big cuddly toys, board games, action figures, and so much more was on offer over the two floors. There was also a collection of huge toy cars and a large display of Barbie dolls. We also got chance to see 2 of the staff play some wicked tunes on the huge piano which was also used in the film Big. Loads of wonderful toys and staff flying around the shop on scooters made this FAO Schwarz the best toy shop in the world
What to buy: Have a custom made doll built to your design, choose skin and hair colour as well as a massive range of accessories to truly have a one off doll. You are then presented with a birth certificate with the dolls name on and various other facts. Also before you customise your doll you have to place a little heart inside
We bought some paper aeroplanes which were so cool. once made you can throw them quite a distance and they return back to you like a boomerang, Very inexpensive but so much fun
Lots of themed board games, like Nascar Monopoly and New York Yankees Chess set. As i live in the UK these are not in the shops so i took advantage and took a few games back!
So many cuddly toys to melt the hearts of people all ages.
What to pay: You can buy paper aeroplanes for $2 up to $2000 for the big toy cars.
Really its up to you how much you spend
The flagship store in NYC caters to an up-scale clientele. There is also an interesting section dedicated to re-creations of toys from the 30's and 40's (at 2000's prices, of course).
You can get on line and wait your turn for a chance to play a tune on the collosal piano keyboard featured in the 1988 movie "Big" on the second floor.
A bit like Hamleys in London but not quite as big, it is a fairly expensive store stocking exclusive toys for those who can flash the cash. This store was featured in the Tom Hanks show BIG, we saw the piano he dances on although adults are discouraged to have a go at making sweet music. There are some completely impractical gifts here like these huge stuffed dinosaurs they would give me nightmares. Actually this store was in a bit of financial trouble & in danger of being closed but luckily some investors stumped up the cash to keep the legend going
A typical toy shop will choose to stock certain brands of toys, once its done that it will stock a fairly complete range of those toys. This is where FAO Schwartz differs, they stock shelf after shelf of the exact same model of each brand, making their selections very limited. Then there are the staff, if you can find a member of staff which took me 20mins, their knowledge of what they stock is a very poor.
What to buy: Nothing, shop elsewhere.
So if you looking for a gift for your children or want to be a kid again check out both this places.
At FAO Schwartz I found there was a lot of what I would call high end toys like $1000 stuff animals, a door man dressed like a toy characters and even an antique toy sections. The store is famous and had in it a piano that you could play by walking on the keys in the floor so the kids there when I was there were having a blast at that.
FAO Schwarz, is a playground for parents as well as children. It stands as one of the world's largest toy stores and matches that grandeur with life-size stuffed animals, immense displays, and even a separate Barbie doll annex.-
What to buy: Toys, toys and more toys. You can shop by categories, brands, boutiques, characters or from their FAO catalog.-
What to pay: It´s so expensive, but , there are lots of bargains in FAO bargain bazaar.-
This is the one place that seems to consistently have a long line waiting to get in. One of those sneaky lines too. Where you think you're getting close, only to discover that it snakes around yet again.
What to buy: People come here more to gawk at the displays than to buy anything. You could pick up a little something I guess, so you can walk up and down fifth ave. with a FAO Schwaz shopping bag. Of course if you have kids, NOT buying anything is not an option.
FAO Schwartz toy store has an excellent location; on Fifth Avenue, next to Central Park. The three floor store looks quite small on the outside, but has surprisingly big selection of various toys. The entrance is usually themed with some topical items -- we enjoyed a set of extremely well done mythical animals from various recent movies, done in teddy bear style. All of them were also sale, the priciest one was around $6,000.
There is quite much of things happening in the store all the time, and some of the toys are on display. Still, not quite like London's Hamleys that is hyper-interactive and entraps children for hours.
The store is probably the best place to buy Legos in New York City -- please advice me, if there are still better ones.
Besides toys, there is a candy store and soda / milkshake bar on the street level. The Apple store is a neighbour, so you can migrate from one toy store to another when you grow up.
Unbelievable.....this is the LARGEST toy store in the world.
It was made famous in the movie with Tom Hanks called "Big".
What to buy: They have the Simpsons as shown in this picture, barbie dolls, stuffed animals larger than life. Just anything any rich person can desire is here.
This is the most amazing toyshop in the world. It has a jungle area with every animal [stuffed toys of course] you could think of, a baby doll area, where baby dolls are placed in cots for their new mummies to select them, name them and receive a birth certificate, all the latest scientific games as well as lots of the old favourites. The café is also out of this world, we ordered a 12-scoop ice cream with four toppings and three fruit sauces, it came in a fruit bowl and needless to say, we could not finish it.
What to buy: stuffed jungle animals
new born baby dolls
kennel club dogs
What to pay: around about average