Like bookstores, we are lucky to have several independently owned Twin Cities toy stores, too. Some are geared towards older kids, while others are specifically geared toward babies and toddlers. Whatever you are looking for, we think we’ve found the best toy stores in the Twin Cities. We have mostly picked locally owned toy stores; and most of these businesses give back to the community. Best of all, each of these toy stores has its own unique personality.
Look for Neighborhood Toy Store Day the First Saturday of November
We are excited to partner with GoodKids.
Our 12 Favorite Twin Cities Toy Stores
1. GoodKids | White Bear Lake
GoodKids Toy Store sells baby items, kids stuff, toys, and games. They have “play experts” on hand to help shoppers find the perfect toy. The employees love what they do and are enthusiastic about the products they carry. This is a great store for everyone.
GoodKids and FFTC are partnering together to bring you BookHounds one Wednesday each month at 10:30 am. Read books, play with toys, make new friends. Sounds fun, doesn’t it?
Now back in NE Minneapolis, this specialty toy store is the place to go for LEGO building kits that go beyond the basics. They particularly specialize in military kits. They sell both genuine LEGO parts and quality after-market add-ons. This is more for the family that likes to build with than to play with LEGOs.
3. Choo Choo Bob’s | St Paul
Everybody loves Choo Choo Bob’s, and even if you have never been there, you can guess that it is all about trains. The back of the store is a huge play area full of trains and tracks. (The play area is pay-to-play, but you can shop for free). In the front, there is a beautiful model train display that kids just love to watch for hours. Go here for sure if you are raising little boys — but the girls will love it, too.
One of the longest-lasting toy stores in the Twin Cities, Games by James specializes in games but also carries hobby items and some toys. This is the toy store for families who love spicing up family game night with new material.
5. Hub Hobby Center | Richfield & Little Canada
Hub Hobby Center is the place to go for hobby items. It carries model trains, radio control toys, model rockets, plastic models, and pinewood derby parts. You can also find classic board games, trading cards games, tabletop games, puzzles, toys, science projects, art and craft kits at this store. This store is great for when you want a toy or game to do together.
6. Kiddywampus | Hopkins
Kiddywampus has a laid-back, creative attitude. My favorite part of our visit was one little display doll that was obviously well-loved by the littlest shoppers. In fact my own toddler wouldn’t part with it. Amy, the owner of Kiddywampus, told me the doll gets dirty and washed regularly. I love the fact that they stock toys that can withstand real play. This would be the place to go if you want to inspire creativity in your children.
7. Lakeshore Learning | Maplewood
Lakeshore Learning is the one non-locally owned store in this list, but the company is still pretty small and independent. They offer weekly free craft activities and the stores have play areas where kids can play while parents shop. Lakeshore Learning will have quite a bit of overlap with Creative Kidstuff, but it seems geared towards teaching through play as opposed to learning through play. This gives it a subtly different atmosphere. I go to Lakeshore when I’ve identified something I need to work on with my kids and need some tools for teaching it.
8. Legacy Toys | Multiple Minnesota & North Dakota Locations
Legacy Toys has three Twin Cities locations – The Galleria, The Mall of America and Ridgedale. They strive to offer unique toy store experience that helps kids “ignite their imagination through exploration and play”.
9. Mischief Toys | St Paul
Since I first published this article, Peapods owners Millie Adelsheim and Dan Marshall, have closed Peapods and opened a new toy store in the same location. As their own family has started to grow, so have their interests. Where Peapods was geared to babies, Mischief is geared toward older children. You can read more about them in Gianna’s article here. This is the toy store for the family with multiple aged children. They cater to all ages.
10. Owl and the Octopus | Wayzata
Relatively new on the Toy Store scene, The Owl and The Octopus opened in November of 2018 in Wayzata. They combine small-town charm and a friendly, knowledgeable staff with an extensive modern inventory.
11. Pacifier | Minneapolis
Pacifier has locations in Minneapolis North Loop neighborhood, St. Paul’s Highland Park neighborhood, on France Avenue in Edina, and in the Minneapolis City Center. With their expanded North Loop location, pacifier is now offering classes, meet-ups and events. Pacifier chooses toys by their coolness factor. This is the place to go for snarky t-shirts and things that your 20-year-old hipster niece would love. This is your store if you want your kids to eat sushi and dress like rock stars.
12. Totally Kids Furniture | Bloomington
Totally Kids Furniture has both toys and children’s furniture. It’s very close to the Mall of America and appears to offer the widest variety of toy types, including toys that are just toys with no particularly educational agenda. This would be a good place to visit with the grandparents on your kid’s birthday.
Articles Related to the Best Toy Stores in the Twin Cities:
You’ve visited all the best toy stores in the Twin Cities? Want to go on a toy-shopping road trip? Or are you ready to make good on your threat to get rid of every toy you own? We have resources for that, too!
- Minneapolis Toy Library – Now you can borrow some of your favorite toys from the best toy shops around! Membership is incredibly affordable.
What happened to My favorite Local Toy Store?
We were sad to lose Creative Kidstuff in 2019. Unfortunately, they announced they were going out of business in the spring and closed over the summer. 😥
As we mentioned above, Peapods closed in 2015. On a happier note, the owners opened Mischief (above) a few months later.
This article was originally published Feb 23, 2015 by Joy Peters and has been updated as needed.