Best Washington, D.C. Toy Stores

January 26, 2011 8:38 PM

In a city known for political plays and ploys, it’s nice to know that there are places to get fun stuff like toys! Unlike New York City, Washington isn’t known for its huge toy stores. Instead, the best Washington, D.C., toy stores tend to be shops in the most kid-friendly museums or small, locally owned shops that pride themselves on personal service for all parents and kids – regardless of their political affiliation.

Smithsonian Museum of Natural History’s Family Shop

Constitution Ave. at 10th St., N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20560
(202) 633-1000

It may be surprising, but one of the best Washington, D.C., toy stores is actually a gift shop in the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. Called the Family Shop, it has an excellent selection of plastic and rubber insects, reptiles, mammals and dinosaurs available by the fistful in bins. There’s also a wide selection of books about nature. Of course, if you’re also looking for postcards, t-shirts and mugs with “Washington, D.C.” on them, this shop has you covered, too. An added bonus at this and all Smithsonian shops: No sales tax.

Barston’s Child’s Play

5536 Connecticut Ave. N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20015
(202) 244-3602

Girls and boys can find plenty to smile about at Barton’s Child’s Play. Sure it carries trendy, eco-friendly toys, but it’s also packed with a little bit of everything else making it the go-to place for local parents looking for many types of toys under one roof. Since its debut in the mid-1980s, four sibling stores have opened in the suburbs and Baltimore. A helpful Web site lists toy recommendations by age. One of the best toy stores in Washington, D.C., Barston’s also holds story times three times a week.

International Spy Museum Store

800 F St., N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20004
(202) 393-7798

It’s no secret that one of the best Washington, D.C., toy stores is part of the International Spy Museum. It’s easy to find ultra-cool stuff in this well-stocked store. Junior spies will find all the tricks of the trade: walkie-talkies, invisible ink, nifty flashlights and lots of how-to books. But even kids who don’t want to act like sleuths might enjoy the wigs, sunglasses and hats.

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