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The Legendary FAO Schwarz Toy Store In New York City | Don't Ever Look Back

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New York City’s Must-Visit Toy Store

New York City’s Must-Visit Toy Store

If you’ve been reading Don’t Ever Look Back for long enough, you’ll know that the two of us are big kids at heart. We love hanging out with animals, we love our candy and chocolates and we absolutely love being silly.

So naturally when we visited New York City last year, a visit to the FAO Schwarz toy store on Fifth Avenue was a non-negotiable on our itinerary.

After a quick stop at the nearby Tiffany & Co, we headed to FAO Schwarz and after saying a friendly hello the toy soldier doorman and stepping into the store, our jaws instantly dropped.

Stuffed Animals at FAO Schwarz

We were greeted by a massive collection of larger-than-life stuffed animals. Wow!

And this was just the beginning of what we were about to experience. We saw lifelike dolls that made us look twice just to make sure they weren’t real!

Wizard of Oz Dolls at FAO Schwarz

We saw some amazing Lego art, including the Statue of Liberty replica below.

Statue of Liberty made out of Lego

There were New York themed toy cars for the boys and Barbie dolls for the girls. There was even a Barbie fashion show happening right before our eyes in which a collection of dolls rotated around a purpose-built stage (complete with strobe lights!) to show themselves off.

NYC Taxi and Barbies at FAO Schwarz

For the true Barbie collector, there was this for sale…

Barbie Foosball Table at FAO Schwarz

Yep, one of only ten in the world! As exquisite as the Barbie section of FAO Schwarz was, it was the next part of the shop that would completely blow us away.

The Newborn Nursery.

Newborn Nursery at FAO Schwarz
You’re probably thinking “what’s so special about that?”, right? Wait for it…

They have a real nurse on hand to make this a unique experience for the children who visit. Even when there was nobody around, this nurse stayed completely in-character and was attending to the needs of her patient at the time.

Nurse at FAO Schwarz

Amazing! But the highlight (and primary reason we were at FAO Schwarz to visit) was The Big Piano, made famous in the film Big starring Tom Hanks. This was tons of fun… if only we knew how to play it properly!

The Big Piano at FAO Schwarz

Want to take one home the music? A dance-on piano (22 feet x 8 feet) will only set you back a cool $250,000. Maybe one day…

The two of us had an amazing time at FAO Schwarz but unfortunately we did leave with one regret. Because we were on our around-the-world journey at the time, neither of us could take home any souvenirs from this epic toy store. Not even a cuddly little toy giraffe!  😥

Sad Amy with a Toy Giraffe

Definitely next time!

Would you ever visit a toy store on your travels?


  1. Posted February 15, 2012 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

    Oh, awesome! I always recommend this for someone visiting NYC, but someone recently said they couldn’t find the piano….good to here it’s definitely still there!

    The nurse! What a crazy store detail, ha!

    That is one amazing store!
    Tash recently posted..Lantern At Belfast Town Hall

    • Posted February 15, 2012 at 9:55 pm | Permalink

      It’s definitely still there! Always worth a visit when in NYC.

  2. Posted February 15, 2012 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

    Love it! I want a Barbie table football. I always have so much fun in these types of toy shops – I never actually buy anything I just run around like a little kid while I pose with giant teddy bears!
    I’m hoping to go to New York soon so I’ll definitely be checking out this store.

    • Posted February 15, 2012 at 9:56 pm | Permalink

      Haha Amy wants one too! $25k is a bit beyond what we can afford though…

      That sounds familiar haha – if you make it to NYC be sure to also check out the Toys R’ Us in Times Square which has a giant indoor ferris wheel. Very cool, although we felt too awkward riding it without a child with us.

  3. Posted February 15, 2012 at 9:33 pm | Permalink

    Been to FAO twice and it never gets old…I’ve never bought anything there either, but it’s so much fun just to wander around. I could live in their Lego section…
    The World of Deej recently posted..Key West – More Than Margaritaville and Hemingway

    • Posted February 15, 2012 at 9:57 pm | Permalink

      Yep, we definitely could’ve spent a lot longer in there! They had performances (including showing off some very cool products) and the Lego section was simply amazing.

      Gotta feel sorry for the parents who go in there with their kids… surely it’s gonna cost them a fortune by the time they’ve left!

  4. Posted February 15, 2012 at 10:50 pm | Permalink

    When I lived in the New York area I always passed it; when I’ve been back to NYC for visits I’ve passed it many times again; last Christmas I photographed the doorman for a blog on Christmas in New York — but I’ve never been inside FAO Schwarz! Someday perhaps…
    Jim @NeverStopTravel recently posted..In Rio, Carnaval and Beyond

    • Posted February 17, 2012 at 7:03 pm | Permalink

      Definitely take the time to step inside the next time you’re in New York, it’s an amazing store.

  5. Posted February 16, 2012 at 12:58 am | Permalink

    I’ve only been to NYC once, and I was 9 or 10. Needless to say, pretty much the only thing I remember is visiting FAO Schwarz! Pure awesome sauce.
    Christine recently posted..Stretch into a sun salutation in Indonesia

    • Posted February 17, 2012 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

      OMG! You lucky kid! Please tell me that you left the store with a bag or two of goodies!

  6. Posted February 16, 2012 at 4:25 am | Permalink

    I loved FAO when I was a kid! I am sort of surprised they are still in business (all their smaller stores closed years ago), but I guess they’ll always keep their flagship store.
    The adult me prefers the Toys’R’Us in Times Square these days:-). The giant Ferris wheel INSIDE can not be beat. I somehow end up on it nearly every time I go to NYC. Did you guys go?
    Rebecca recently posted..Random Weekend: Book: Travels in Outback Australia: Beyond the Black Stump

    • Posted February 17, 2012 at 7:10 pm | Permalink

      Yeah I read that while researching this post but there’s surely no way they’ll ever get rid of their NYC store. Yes! We did see the Toys’R’Us but didn’t go on the Ferris Wheel – it felt a little weird being the only adults who weren’t accompanied by a child haha.

  7. Matthew Cheyne
    Posted February 16, 2012 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    Knowing that FAO Schwarz has the piano from the movie Big, I’d definitely make a visit there just to dance on the keys the way that Tom Hanks did in the movie. It brings back memories of being a kid back in the late 80s at Myer Melbourne playing all the 8 bit Nintendo NES games that were the rage back in the day. I remember wanting to have them all and the huge Lego displays they used to have. And I also remember being a small boy being grossed out by all the Barbies in the girls section that I’d have to walk past to get to the boys toys – the good stuff. Thanks for bringing back those memories:)!

    • Posted February 17, 2012 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

      Yes! I remember heading into the stores to play the latest games whether it was the Sega Master System or Nintendos. I didn’t even look in the video games section in FAO Schwarz… poor form, huh?

      Haha yeah it would’ve been great to have been able to take them all home!

  8. Posted February 16, 2012 at 9:56 am | Permalink

    I would LOVE to visit here. It looks amazing. I could only imagine being a little kid and walking into that store! 🙂
    Lauren @ ATW Food recently posted..Trip to the International Market

    • Posted February 17, 2012 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

      It would be like something out of a dream for a child I’d imagine!

  9. Posted February 17, 2012 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

    The Newborn Nursery is crazy cool! What a great experience it would be for the kids…and kids at heart 🙂

    I would definitely go there to play the piano!
    Annette recently posted..My Attempt at a Guinness World Record

    • Posted February 17, 2012 at 7:14 pm | Permalink

      Haha at first we were like wtf?! But then it all made sense to us. The Piano was very cool!

  10. Posted February 18, 2012 at 11:41 am | Permalink

    Looks like you guys had a lot of fun there!

    I’ve been to NYC twice, but somehow never manage to make it to this store. I really wanna play on the giant piano, though!!!
    Amanda recently posted..Pack Your Boots – We’re Goin’ to Iceland!

    • Posted February 20, 2012 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

      Next time! Just jump on that Amtrak and you’ll be on that Big Piano… 😉

  11. Posted February 21, 2012 at 11:02 am | Permalink

    Though the store has certainly lost some of its mystique for me as I’ve grown older, it is still an incredible site. But the nursery kind of creeps me out for some reason…not sure why.
    John recently posted..Visiting Columbus, Ohio – The Local’s Take with Stephanie of The Travel Chica

  12. Posted June 14, 2012 at 2:39 am | Permalink

    Oh. My. God. I HAVE TO GO THERE NEXT YEAR. I can’t help but LOL at Amy’s face in the last photo – she looks so upset! Awwwwww. At least you guys look like you had fun in the rest of the photos!

    That’s crazy about the nurse at the Newborn Nursery, too – I’ve never ever heard of anything like that before. Also, the piano! Frere Jacques, anyone?
    Waegook Tom recently posted..That Racist MBC Video

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