If you’ve been fretting about where to do your toy shopping since the closure of Toys R Us, we have good news: L.A. County has an incredible selection of independent toy stores. No matter where you live – the Westside, Hollywood, the Valley or points beyond – there is at least one can’t-miss store that stocks almost everything on your child’s wish list.
While it can sometimes seem easier to order toys online, shopping at your local store has a number of advantages. Whether your motivation is to support the local economy or just that the store offers free gift-wrapping services, I’ve rounded up the best of the best children’s toy stores in the L.A. area.
Landis Labyrinth (landislabyrinth.com) occupies two storefronts in the pedestrian-friendly Larchmont neighborhood. Landis’ Classic Toy Shop stocks an outstanding selection of toys for ages 3 and up, many of which you probably remember from your childhood. I’m particularly fond of their wall of reasonably priced stocking-stuffer gifts, including classic whoopie cushions, yo-yos and jacks.
Nearby, Landis’ Early Years offers a great selection of baby gear and lots of toys for the under-3 set. The baby section features a small but well-curated selection of must-have infant items, including swaddles, teethers and soft toys. One of my favorite things about Landis’ Early Years is that they always have plenty of Corolle dolls and accessories in stock. Also worth mentioning is the train table in the center of the store, where kids love to play while Mom or Dad shops. Both Landis stores provide complimentary gift wrapping with purchase.
Miracle Mile Toy Hall (miraclemiletoyhall.com) on Wilshire Boulevard has been an under-the-radar Mid-City gem for years. The store’s newer, larger space is located just across the street from its original location, and it features a huge selection of toys and games, as well as classes, camps and even a party space. One of the highlights of Miracle Mile Toy Hall is the wide range of traditional and specialty toys. It also offers complimentary gift wrapping.
Stepping into either of Shop Merci Milo’s (shopmerci milo.com) locations – in Highland Park or Woodland Hills – is akin to shopping the pages of a magazine. The displays are absolutely gorgeous (and worth checking out on Shop Merci Milo’s swoon-worthy Instagram), and the selection of toys and trinkets is unique and unusual. If you’re in search of handmade toys and accessories crafted by local artisans and traditional toymakers, this is the place to come. The family-owned business stocks only ethically made products and a nice selection of vintage clothing and home décor items.
Kip’s Toyland (kipstoyland.com), located in The Original Farmers Market, is the oldest toy store in L.A. Originally opened in 1945, the store is still owned and operated by the same family. Kip’s Toyland has a small footprint, but it’s large on selection of classic toys and modern favorites. Owners Don and Lily Kipper, son and granddaughter of Kip himself, are usually on hand to offer helpful recommendations for the perfect gift (which they’ll wrap for you, gratis).
Not only is Tom’s Toys (tomstoys.com) one of the best independent toy store mini-chains in Southern California, but the stores themselves are huge. The entrance to the Beverly Hills location looks deceptively small, but step inside and marvel at the extensive rows of shelves stocked with practically every toy imaginable. The Montrose location is equally expansive. Tom’s stocks everything from crafts to jump ropes to play kitchens (and all the toys in between), grouped by age and interest. The staff is friendly and knowledgeable and they’re incredibly fast and efficient at wrapping your purchases in their signature (free!) Tom’s Toys gift wrap.
Huzzah! Toys (huzzahtoys.com) bills itself as an affordable toy store that sells quality products, and I wholeheartedly agree. Despite its Venice address, Huzzah is a good old-fashioned toy store without any pretension or weird, pointless toys. Its giant wall of gag gifts is worth checking out, and it also has a section of books and party balloons. Huzzah! offers the option to order online and pick up in-store. As of this writing, Huzzah! was moving two doors down from its original location to a spot boasting a courtyard for events.
For dinosaur-obsessed kids, there is no better toy store than The Dinosaur Farm (dinosaurfarm.com) in South Pasadena. The store does stock toys that are not dino-themed, but if you’re looking for the largest selection of toys, books, games and activities about those prehistoric creatures, The Dinosaur Farm is the only place to go. The incredible wall murals alone make this shop worth a visit, though we’re pretty sure you won’t be able to leave The Dinosaur Farm without purchasing something from its well-curated selection of merchandise. Note that the store is closed on Mondays.
Wherever there’s a Country Mart – Brentwood or Malibu – there’s guaranteed to be a Toy Crazy (gotoycrazy.com) toy store. There’s a reason that Toy Crazy is so beloved: These are classic toy stores with outstanding selections and a charming vibe. The stores aren’t big, but somehow they manage to offer toys for kids of all ages with all different interests. Also worth noting: Both locations have a train table to keep little ones occupied while their grown-ups shop.
Anna Lane is a writer and editor who currently resides in L.A. with her husband and their two children.