We’ve put together all of the best information to help you find the best “toy stores near me.” Don’t just choose the first result you find. If you dig a little deeper, you can find way better toys at far lower prices.
This article covers everything you need to know about finding any kind of toy you can imagine. Want your kids to say “it’s what I always wanted!”? Here are the best tips you have to know BEFORE you shop.
READ FIRST: Why Shop Around for the Best Top Shop?
If your son’s birthday is today, searching “toy stores near me” and choosing the closest place is the only option.
If you’ve got time, then doing research is the only way to find the BEST toys and the BEST prices. Even just taking a few minutes to learn some tips you might never think of is all it takes to put cash back in your pocket.
There are literally thousands of results, but if you don’t take the time to even know what you’re looking for, then local toy shops are going to benefit from your situation.
The toy industry is like any other industry: It’s full of little tricks and tips that help the industry make big profits. The more you know, the more you’ll save. There are even some OBVIOUS red flags hiding in plain sight that you should always avoid (we explain further below).
Learn these tips and you’ll be able to find any kind of toy at the best price in your local area.
How to Find the Nearest Toy Stores in Your City
First, let’s cover the best way to find a good local toy store. Most shoppers lose out on deals because they don’t know the #1 rule of toy shopping:
When searching for the best toy shop near you, the last thing you should do is look at the map.
Yes, you read that right.
Instead of looking at the map, you have to do 3rd-party research to avoid falling victim to advertising. Follow these tips FIRST:
- Check toy retailer comparison sites: Ever wonder if you can find better deals at Toys R’ Us or FAO Schwarz? There are ENTIRE sites dedicated to this one thing. They’ll directly and independently review each store to tell you who has the better deals at your budget. Read them first!
- Other 3rd-party sites: Some other sites like “company reviews in x,y,z city” or TripAdvisor might have independent reviews from REAL customers. Know before you shop!
- Social media: Want to see what real people in your local area are saying about a company? Check their Facebook page or Twitter!
HINT: If you’re looking for the CHEAPEST toy stores near you, then search online for discount codes or coupons! Just Google “Toy store + coupon” and do some research!
How to Avoid a Bad Toy Store
Not all toy stores are created equal. If you want good quality toys and great prices, you need to avoid bad retailers.
The best tip we can give is to actually visit the company’s website and see how it looks. Do they have good deals? Does the site seem cheap? What are their reviews like?
Another AWESOME tip is to call the store and see how their customer service is. Do they answer quickly and cheerfully? Are they happy to answer your questions?
OK, now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s get into the nitty-gritty of finding stores in different niches. Combine these tips and you’ll get the best answer to the query “local toy store near me.”
Vintage Toy Stores
A thin layer of dust, the faded colors, a soul that no newly packaged toy can reproduce—there’s just something about vintage toys that makes them an unrivaled gift.
Want to locate the best vintage toys? Here’s what you need to do:
- Go to garage sales: No toy shop can compare to what’s in mom and dad’s attic! You can find vintage toys for pennies on the dollar just by perusing a garage or yard sale in any town! No Google needed!
- Search local pawn shops: Believe it or not, pawn shops are an awesome place to find rare toys in good condition. If the owner of the shop invested money in it, they’ll keep it in good condition.
- Check auctions: If you really want to put in some effort, an auction is a great place to find rare, vintage toys in great condition.
- Flea markets: Check every flea market in town to find the best old toys. Make sure you learn how to bargain hard first.
Of course, the easiest way to is to browse vintage toys in great condition online first to see if there are any you can buy right now without searching for the nearest toy shop. You’d be surprised at the amazing deals you can find online!
Unique Toy Stores
Unique toy stores should be staples in the local area. Think of names like Duncan’s, Lego, and FAO.
If you want to find unique toy stores near you, then you’ll have to do some research. Search Google and read reviews of the most entrenched local names.
You can take to social media and post in local collectors groups or even search for local hobby shops. The key here is independence. Only independent retailers who never change what they do best should earn your shopping dollars!
Before going shopping, check for these terms online:
- Brand + Local Toy Store Near Me: Search for a brand near you on Google. Some famous toy companies have their own shops (like Lego).
- Search store directories: Check online resources for stores that have earned a good reputation for providing unique, weird, or other types of toys you can’t find at a generic store!
- Look for custom shops: Some stores might even make custom toys with personalized inscriptions!
Specialty Toy Stores
Specialty toys are focused on what your child can do rather than on what the toy can do. That’s where their value lies. Instead of saying “this toy does this,” these toys focus on “your child can learn to do this or enhance this part of their lives with this toy.”
For example, you might want to find a store that sells:
- Building toys
- Bathtub toys
- Arts & crafts
- Fidget toys
- Holiday toys
The best resource online is the American Speciality Toy Retailers Association or ASTRA. This trade organization has strict requirements for membership, so you know you’re getting a quality toy with high play value any time you use one of their retailers.
If you want to save some time and money, you can choose an online specialty toy store retailer.
Kids or Children’s Toy Stores
The best children’s toy stores are a wonderland of imagination. These shops are fully dedicated to making the lives of children around the world better through the power of play.
But how can you find a good one?
There’s good news: With the demise of Toys R’ Us in the US, there are tons of retailers of all kinds jumping at the opportunity to fill the void.
Big retailers across the US are expanding their children’s toy operations and having huge sales to attract buyers. Some names to look for are:
- Party City
- Barnes & Noble
Amazon has even started to hand out toy catalogs to customers at places like Whole Foods.
Of course, going local is still a good option. There are kids toy shops that sell high-end toys and wrap them for you. The best part about using these shops is that they’ll give you advice on what to buy children based on age, activities, abilities, etc.
If you’re looking for high-end service and toys, try a local kids toy shop with a long and illustrious history like Mary Arnold Toys (widely recognized as one of the best toy stores in the world). If you’re looking for quick and fast deals on kids toys and don’t want to spend much money, then shopping online from a HUGE catalog of the latest kids toys is the best option for you.
Educational Toy Stores
While your little ones are growing, educational toys can keep them learning. Educational toys help children develop into intelligent, functioning adults by empowering the potential within their brains.
NOW is the best time to stoke their wonder and curiosity. Educational toys feed their sponge brains and are by far the best way for them to learn about themselves, their environment, and society itself.
Do some research and find stores that specialize in games for different age groups. Make sure you call customer service first to make sure the employees know what they’re talking about. If someone recommends an infant’s game to your toddler, look elsewhere.
The best place to find a range of the latest educational toys developed by children’s educational professionals is online. Here, you’ll find affordable, effective toys specifically for each age group and activity level so you can unlock your child’s potential. The benefit of shopping in person is the advice you’ll get from professionals, but it’s time-consuming and difficult to find a brick-and-mortar educational toy shop near you.