Posted: December 20, 2013 in New York City, travel
Tags: , ,

Anyone that plans a trip to New York City for the holidays with the kids (or even without the kids) better end up at FAO Schwarz, if they know what’s good for them! It’s a great store with loads of history and two huge levels of candy, toys, games, and the world-famous “Big Piano,” as seen in the Tom Hanks movie “Big.” Toy soldiers greet you at the door, inviting you into a world as far away from the hassle of Manhattan traffic as anything on 5th Avenue and 58th Street could be!

Most people don’t know that they can get a 45-minute private tour of FAO Schwarz, one hour before the store opens, guided by their own toy soldier. It’s a really fun experience that we had a couple of years ago, when my daughter turned 5 years old. But you can’t just show up. And there’s limited space. (We found that signing up for a tour after Christmas was the way to go.)

We found out about the private tours from a small ad in a local magazine: Time Out New York. There was no web address…just a phone number. I called…I made an appointment for the tour…it cost a ridiculously small amount of money…and we were in!

We showed up at our designated time and met our Toy Soldier, who led us through the entire store, giving us all kinds of information about the toys and the history of the building itself. The awesome part was that we were the only ones in the building, with the exception of store workers getting things ready for another day’s enthusiastic crowds.


And the best part of the tour: we got to dance around on The Big Piano privately, before the store’s doors opened up and the wild crowds rushed to get in line to take advantage of their 3 minutes on the piano. We got almost 15 minutes to dance around, take pictures and simply have a great time.


If you’re trying to think of what you can do to bring your next holiday trip to New York City to whole new level, this will make you a real hero with the kids.

Here’s a link I found with more information:

And by the way…tip the toy soldier well. He still has to pay the rent!

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