30 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY 10111, USA
|⏰ Opening Hours
10:00 AM - 8:00 PM
|💸 Entrance Fee
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What is FAO Schwarz?
FAO Schwarz is not just a toy store—it's an iconic destination in New York City known around the world for its unique blend of wonder and playfulness. Nestled in the city that never sleeps, FAO Schwarz offers a toy-shopping experience that resonates with both the young and the young at heart. From cuddly stuffed animals to innovative tech toys, this legendary store captivates imaginations with its vast array of enchanting playthings. Here, the whimsical atmosphere is as much a draw as the high-quality toys it sells.
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I often witness the wide-eyed excitement visitors of all ages feel as they step through the doors into this magical space. The store is recognized for its elaborate displays, interactive elements, and famously, the dance-on piano popularized by the 1988 movie "Big" where Tom Hanks played a delightful tune with his feet.
History of FAO Schwarz
FAO Schwarz has a rich history that dates back to 1862 when it was founded by Frederick August Otto Schwarz. Originally called "Toy Bazaar," it was a place where Frederick showcased European toys in the heart of New York City. Over time, it became a landmark for toy retail, celebrated for its exceptional and often exclusive selection.
The store has moved locations several times throughout its storied existence but has always maintained a presence in Manhattan. It has survived two World Wars, the Great Depression, and various shifts in the retail landscape. Despite closing its doors on Fifth Avenue in 2015, much to the dismay of fans, FAO Schwarz made a triumphant return in 2018 at its new location at 30 Rockefeller Plaza.
Through the years, FAO Schwarz has been more than just a store; it's been a showplace for innovation in toys and a theatre for the imagination. Its longevity and enduring popularity are testimonials to the store's ability to adapt and remain relevant in an ever-changing market.
Why is FAO Schwarz Important?
FAO Schwarz holds an irreplaceable spot in the fabric of New York City and the larger cultural landscape. It's a place where play is celebrated as a necessary part of life, and creativity is fueled by the endless possibilities within its walls. The store has become synonymous with grandeur and nostalgia, giving it significance that transcends mere commerce.
For generations, it has been a microcosm of childhood wonder, setting itself apart from other retailers by offering an experience that ignites the senses and creates lasting memories. It's also been an integral part of the toy industry, often launching trends and being the first to market exclusive and cutting-edge products.
Moreover, its cultural influence is indelible. FAO Schwarz is not merely a stop on a tourist's itinerary; it represents an ideal, a place where dreams can take physical form and where the intrinsic joy of play is embraced without reservation.
Things to Do & See at FAO Schwarz
When you step into FAO Schwarz, prepare to be amazed by more than just the shelves of toys. It's an interactive playground where visitors can participate in magic shows, watch live performances, and engage with toy demonstrations that make you feel part of the enchantment.
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Definitely tap a tune on the Big Piano—it's almost a rite of passage. Plus, there are various sections designed just for building your plush friends or customizing hot wheels, which not only create a unique souvenir but also an unforgettable experience.
Don't miss the chance to meet the store's soldier guards. Standing tall in their iconic uniforms, they not only keep watch over the kingdom of toys but also welcome visitors with smiles and add to the fanciful allure of the store. Within these walls, every corner holds a potential adventure; you may even stumble upon a book reading or a new game being showcased.
- Watch a live magic show and be dazzled by illusions.
- Create your own customized toys in specialized sections.
- Meet the iconic FAO Schwarz soldier guards.
- Engage with hands-on demonstrations led by knowledgeable staff.
- Discover one-of-a-kind toys and exclusive product reveals.