The family finally made our way to the new FAO Schwarz located at Rockefeller Plaza in NYC. Just so you know, it’s RIGHT next to THE famous Christmas tree in case you plan on visiting during the holiday months. The store was pretty manageable, but we went during the week while school was still in session. Don’t judge us – just be here for the information. If you plan on heading to FAO Schwarz to check out their new location, I wanted to show you some of the new, cool features the store has to offer.
The New FAO Schwarz Located At Rockefeller Plaza In NYC
As soon as you enter, you will be greeted by a few toy soldiers with some heavy NY accents. When we met them, they were up for photos and were in position to answer any questions we might have had. I chatted with them a bit and got the low down on the toy store hidden gems and when to avoid the rush hour craze.
When To Arrive To FAO Schwarz
Here is the deal. The toy soldiers – aka FAO’s employees – told me that the lines get long and heavy on the weekends. So much in fact, that they WRAP around the building and all around the block. That’s just to get IN. YIKES! If you want to AVOID the tourist crowd, plan on arriving before the store opens and GET IN LINE nice and early. Do yourself a favor. Any time after opening, you will guarantee a wait on the weekends.
Like I mentioned, I went during the week and while the kids technically were supposed to be in school. I walked right in. The crowd was totally manageable. It felt average for Christmas time around Rockefeller Plaza – which is over the top any other place in the world (I will give you that). LOL. But for us, it was doable. I wouldn’t want to arrive at FAO Schwarz at noon on a Sunday, though. That’s your official warning.
FAO Schwarz Hours Of Operation And Location
FAO Schwarz Location: 30 Rockefeller Plaza New York, NY 10111
- Monday – Saturday 9am – 10pm
- Sunday 11am – 10pm
Special Days, Special Hours!
- Christmas Eve- 9am-5pm
- Christmas Day- Closed!
- New Year’s Eve- 9am-5pm
- New Year’s Day 9am-5pm
The Famous FAO Schwarz Piano – Wear Socks!
As soon as you head to the store, you will see stairs going to the second floor. Run up if the store is crowded and get on line for that famous FAO Schwarz piano. We fell in love with the giant piano thanks to Tom Hank’s infamous movie, Big. And now you get to chopsticks your way into a memory with your family once again!!
Bring socks! You are no longer allowed to wear shoes on the piano. In the beginning, when the store first opened, you could wear shoes. But when we went again, they made us take our shoes off. I had a hole in my sock. I was DYING ON THE INSIDE. Be prepared.
What To Expect Inside FAO Schwarz?
The iconic toy brand officially opened in Rockefeller Plaza on November 16. The redesign has the store sectioned off into several different areas which I think is super cute. Build-A-Bear, Adopt a Doll, Wooden Toys, Alex Toys, Racing Toys – you name it. As you walk through, you will pass through one theme after the next. And while you are looking around, notice the BRAND names that are included – so many are International!
There are even hands on demonstrations – like magic acts and toy displays. We saw a volcano erupt, powder turn into snow, and even learned how to do a quick card trick. So much for the children to do and see. Every turn you walked around led you to a new adventure. We were probably in the store for an hour and not because it was busy, but because we were exploring!
What Else Is There To Do Around Rockefeller Plaza?
You need to fill up our day with more things than just a toy store visit right? If you are looking for things to do around Rockefeller Plaza, here are my favorite picks. After checking out FAO, you can sneak in a great burger at Bill’s Burger just around the corner. The place is HUGE and loud. I have three kids. So, believe me, I look for those things. I love to order the burger that comes on the English Muffin. It’s my favorite on the menu. Just an idea.
Radio City Music Hall is right around the corner as well. If you’re in the area, you should pop over for a quick photo. That’s always nice to do. Directly across the street from Radio City, you will find Magnolia Bakery. Everyone and their mother swears by their cupcakes and you know what? I do too. If I am near midtown, I always pick up a box to take home. But don’t forget about their unsung hero – the banana pudding. Sex and the City made their cupcakes famous. BUT I have never had a banana pudding BETTER than Magnolia’s Bakery!!! Get a little order and thank me later.
And right underneath FAO is an entire shopping area / eatery. If it’s really COLD out, we usually take the kids under and spend some time below to warm up. There’s food, souvenirs, sightseeing and free space to sit. If you are looking for a cup of coffee, you could always hit up Starbucks… but my husband LOVES LOVES LOVES Blue Bottle Coffee. It’s a super small shop that you can’t sit in, but there are a ton of public seats right outside. He is OBSESSED with them and he is a coffee fanatic.
Have kids that love to build? Don’t miss out on the LEGO store. Even if you don’t buy anything, there are so many incredible creations to admire. We like to check out their new designs whenever we can. And yes, the Nintendo store is also right around the corner. It seems more and more is opening up right next to the HUB of the plaza.
If you want to do one more touristy thing, consider Top of the Rock – located right next door. Can I be honest with you? I’ve never done it! But it’s on my list. And HEY – if you arrive early in the morning, you might even catch a Today Show taping. I’ve been on that show a few times and it’s always fun to see people watching from the outside of the window.
These are just a few suggestions for things to do around Rockefeller Plaza. There are so many other options. But if you don’t know where to start, I would say this list makes for a great beginning.
Photos Of The New FAO Schwarz Store At Rockefeller Plaza In NYC
I took a ton of photos while we were exploring. Check out my set below and let me know in the comments if you’ve had the chance to visit FAO Schwarz yet in its new location at Rockefeller Plaza. The store was noticeably smaller than the original 5th Ave. location, but it still felt absolutely amazing. In fact, I have a feeling we aren’t going to have any more closing notices from this brand. The lines were insane. People were fawning over everything that FAO had to offer and with good reason. Their wooden toys and old world just felt different than other toy stores.
Very hands on. Very traditional. Toys and board games that you’d want to take care of – pass down – hold onto with care. Truly a wonderful store!! I hope you get to make it to FAO at Rockefeller Plaza soon with your family!