Snapdoodle cuts through the supply chain blues. Photo by Amber Fouts.
The Madison Square Garden of Seattle novelty shops boasts an impressive collection of inspired creations, like a squishable “stress tardigrade,” “handerpants” (yes, hand underpants), and an Edvard Munch–inspired electronic noisemaker that emits all this year’s pent-up screams for you.
Support local while supporting local (meta). This shop counts games by Seattle creators like Daily Magic and Flatout Games among its topped-up shelves (and its well-stocked online store: Blue Highway offers curbside pickup and nationwide shipping).
Earnestly wish modern childhood looked a little more like it did when you were a kid? This shop pretty well sticks to the classics: jump ropes, wooden hairdresser kits, Little Golden books, a whole zoo of plushies. All in a petite boutique that enraptures kids without overwhelming parents.
There’s no need to brave a commute off the island to stuff a stocking. But you probably already know that: No self-respecting kid can walk by the toy-filled window of this California Avenue shop, now owned by the masterminds behind Bainbridge Island’s long-standing Calico Toy Shoppe (also worth a visit), without begging to take a closer look.
Pike Place Market
Located in the depths of Pike Place Market since 1961, Golden Age Collectables is thought to be the oldest comic book shop in the world. Here, each aisle gives way to another just as stocked with age-defying treasures, from a full wall of Everett-born Funko Pop figures to an entire franchise worth of Star Wars paraphernalia to board and party games stacked six shelves high.
Remember how, as a child, toy store shelves filled with dolls and whirligigs seemed to stretch up and around for miles? True to its name, the vaulted ceilings and toy-brimming walls at this longtime Pioneer Square classic turn that trick of perspective into spellbinding reality.
This Ballard-founded sanctuary for tabletop gamers of all ages offers family-friendly classics, RPGs, and stocking stuffer card games. But that world building doesn’t end at retail. A cozy cafe, playing-card light fixtures, and bookable private rooms make Mox as immersive an experience as the ones it sells.
University District, Chinatown–International District
Fans of retro or niche video games should get acquainted with the gorilla. The U District and C–ID locations specialize in classic, hard-to-find, and imported video games and novelties, with consoles ranging from rare 1980s behemoths to the uber popular Nintendo Switch.
If the Joneses are three feet tall and currently learning to ride a bike, this is where to keep up with them. Red Wagon stocks traditional toy shop fare alongside coveted trends, from those three-wheel Micro Kickboard scooters zooming down every block to Jellycat soft toys (the Beanie Babies of the twenty-first century, in the best way).
This education-oriented toy shop’s Seattle-area locations sneakily supplement both schoolwork and playtime with books about sharks and space, brainteasers disguised as board games, and instruments designed for beginners.