Over the last few years, toys and games have become more and more overshadowed by screens and apps. Let’s all put away those devices, if only for a few hours, and play a strategic, competitive game of Machi Koro, maybe toss around a Wubble and hope it doesn’t pop, or perhaps play pretend with those cute Little People Playsets. Fun for all ages awaits at these colorful toy stores in the Twin Cities and beyond. Be sure to double check operating hours as they vary from store to store, day to day.
Games for ages 0-100+
Kremer’s Toy and Hobby
11011 61st St NE #120, Albertville, MN 55301 • www.kremerstoyandhobby.com
This is family-owned and operated toy store, opened its doors in Minnesota in 2013 and has continued to offer over 10,000 great toys, games, puzzles, and crafts. You’ll be sure to find something that floats your boat, including a balloon-powered boat and the Traxxas Blast, a remote controlled boat that’s fully assembled, ready to race, and a staff fave!
Flying Circus Toys
6500 Labeaux Ave NE Suite F010, Albertville, MN 55301 • www.flyingcircustoys.com
Also located in Albertville, Flying Circus Toys is just 30 miles Northwest of Minneapolis at the Premium Outlets Mall. This colorful, family-owned store is specially stocked with toys and games based on play value and quality. They offer in-store demos and employee expertise to find the just the right toy for your kids (or yourself).
3952 Central Ave NE, Columbia Heights, MN
You won’t have to travel outside the cities for this store which specializes in tabletop gaming. So, if Pokemon (no, not Pokemon Go) and Sanctioned Magic tournaments are your thing, this is the place to shop and play.
Lakeshore Learning Store
5699 W 16th St, St. Louis Park, MN 55416 • www.lakeshorelearning.com
Don’t let the word ‘learning’ scare off the kids, this place makes toys and games a learning, inspiring and imagination-sparking experience for infants through grade 6. At Lakeshore you’ll find games and toys that you won’t find anywhere else because a majority of their products are exclusively developed for their own stores and catalog. One of the highlights of visiting this toy store is Free Kids Crafts every Saturday.
300 1st Ave North, Suite 200 Minneapolis, MN 55401 • www.manhattantoy.com
Don’t let the name fool you, toys at Manhattan Toy are designed right here in Minneapolis by an award-winning creative team. Even better, they strive for safety in their toys and use wood from sustainable sources and water-based paints on all wood toys. No mystery toxic substances or lead?! …sounds good to me.
1023 Mainstreet, Hopkins, MN 55343 • www.kiddywampus.com
More than just an awesome toy store, Kiddywampus is a place to explore creativity and spark imagination. They’ve got a supervised art studio, sweet party room and tons of events. Just check out the calendar on their site.
Lego Imagination Center
Mall Of America, Minneapolis, MN 55401
Truth be told, the Mall of America has lost many of its great toy stores, including FAO Schwarz, that awesomely-mega toy store and enchantingly-ultimate Barbie experience that filed for bankruptcy in 2003. But fear not, MOA still has a destination toy store that is sure to awe: The LEGO store! It’s got larger than life LEGO sculptures, play areas, and tons of LEGO sets, including the 4080 piece Disney Castle (when in stock).
Mischief Toy Store
818 Grand Ave, Saint Paul, MN 55105 • www.mischieftoy.com
You’ll feel right at home in this residence-turned toy store. Shop around the main level where you’ll find games, comics, pop culture toys (including a section dedicated to Miyazaki), and candy from all over the world. Then head upstairs to their game room where they host Magic: The Gathering events every month, and other game days, arts and crafts, and activities as well. You’ll also be able to try out tons of games from their library, for free!
Games by James
Mall of America • Burnsville Center • Rosedale • Ridgedale • Southdale • Oakwood Mall • Crossroads Center
With 7 locations across Minnesota, you’ll be sure to be nearby one of them when you’re looking for something fun. The stores are packed with games and puzzles, and you can find those hip, new boards games here including my favorites, Machi Koro (and all expansion packs), Forbidden Island, Pandemic, and the ever-popular Catan.
Ridgedale Center, Minnetonka, MN • Mall of America, MN
Once residing in all of the Twin Cities -dales, you’ll now only be able to experience the magic of Disney at Ridgedale or MOA. These recently remodeled stores offer an interactive experience for the youngsters throughout. The Disney Store has toys and plush created specifically for their store, fun stuff you won’t find at your local Wal-Mart or Target. Check out the latest Tsum Tsum releases every first and third Tuesday of the month.