While it’s easy to order toys from Amazon, nothing can replace the fun and excitement your kids get from visiting a toy store. Walking into a toy store or two and bringing home a new item is a great way to spend the afternoon. I’ve taken my daughter to each of these Upper West Side toy stores and recommend checking them out.
Stationery and Toy World
125 West 72nd Street (between Amsterdam and Columbus)
This family business has been on the Upper West Side for 33 years. Open 7 days a week, this Upper West Side toy store has a wide selection of curated toys, from legos to summer beach toys. During our visit, we met the owner Donna Schofield. She informed us that they do balloon deliveries and can even deliver toys anywhere on the UWS! The store is especially popular after school, when kids want to come for a quick spin and hope to come home with a new toy. We left with a doll in tow.
Flying Tiger Copenhagen
424 Columbus Ave (between 80th and 81st streets)
Want to have the trendiest toys at the best price? This is our stop. According to their website, “We always have things you need, things you dream of, and things you never knew existed.” It’s so true! If you need gifts, presents, or just want to take your kids somewhere to check out some cool stuff, this is a great place to start. Walking into the store is akin to going to IKEA, but that’s not a bad thing as it helps keep foot traffic flowing. Our favorite find was the mini letter and mini number balloons. You can blow them up yourself for trendy party decor.
The Dino Store at the American Museum of Natural History
200 Central Park West (at the AMNH)
After a long day at the Upper West Side AMNH, you might be tempted to avoid a “tourist trap”, but this gift shop is one of the few I strongly encourage you to visit. The rotating special exhibits lead to the best selection of specialist books I’ve seen. If your child loves dinosaurs, look no further. For babies, they have unique soft toys. For older kids, this Upper West Side toy store has holiday-themed puzzles, games, and even gifts.
West side kids
498 Amsterdam Avenue (84th Street)
Does your child like to dress up? West Side Kids has the cutest dress up selection in the UWS. To complement your little princess or knight’s costumes, the toy selection is beautifully curated. Unlike other toy stores, the layout of the store is well thought out. You can browse the selection without feeling bombarded. The selection is a bit more upscale so if you’re looking for something higher quality I’d check this place out. West Side Kids is also a family business and has been in business since 1981.
Culture Book on Columbus
450 Columbus Ave (between 81st and 82nd streets)
Unless you ventured up the stairs, you would never know this gem of a children’s space existed. We visit Book Culture for all the classics. The wooden toy collection is well displayed and is a welcome relief unlike all the bright and noisy toys currently on the market. If you’re a fan of STEM toys, the selection here is the best I’ve seen. Although the prices are a little higher, the selection is worth it. An added bonus is the book cove. Your kids can sit and read while you shop!
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