FAO Schwarz Visitor’s Guide

This post can help you plan your visit to the world-famous toy store FAO Schwarz which reopened after being closed for three years. The new location is at Rockefeller Center.

You can expect a magical experience – dancing on the big piano keyboard, seeing oversized stuffed animals, an incredible collection of Barbies from all eras, and so much more it is impossible to list here!

 


PLAN YOUR VISIT

Below are directions to the store, open hours and recommendations for the best hours to go. For more information, check the FAO Schwarz website.


How to get here

FAO Schwarz is located in Rockefeller Plaza along 49th Street, between Fifth and Sixth Aves. We recommend using this Google Maps link for directions to FAO Schwarz

TIP: If you are here during the holiday season, you must check out the giant Rockefeller Christmas Tree right next to FAO Schwarz. See our post for more details, Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree.

By subway:

  • B, D, F and M trains to the 47-50th Street Rockefeller Center stop.
  • 1 Train to the 50th Street stop and walk along 50th Street in the direction of the cars to Rockefeller Center between 5th and 6th Aves.
  • N, Q, or R trains to the 49th Street stop and walk along 49th Street against the traffic to Rockefeller Center between 5th and 6th Aves.
  • E or M to the 5th Avenue/53rd Street stop and walk south on 5th Avenue in the direction of the cars.
  • 6 train to 51 Street Station and walk in direction of cars until 5th Avenue and make a left turn onto 5th Avenue. Walk one block down.

By bus: 

  • Take the M1, M2, M3, M4 or M5 bus to 50th Street. Buses run north and south.

If you are new to the subway system our posts may be of some use to you: Navigating the New York Subway and Which New York City Subway MetroCard to Buy? 


Hours 

  • Monday through Saturday 9 am-8pm; Sundays 11am-7pm
  • Extended Holiday hours: Sunday, December 9 until January 5,  Monday to Saturday 9am-9pm; Sunday 11 am – 8 pm.

 


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WHAT TO EXPECT

Occupying two-and-a-half stories, the new FAO Schwartz wants to recreate as much of the atmosphere that existed at its old location on 5th and 59th Streets.  The new store will have a “sense of theater” by having costumed employees, magicians and dancers, and toy demonstrators.

You can see the famous piano keyboard on the floor was featured in the 1988 Tom Hanks movie BIG. The keyboard is right next to the window, guaranteeing you will have a big audience watching you dance.

They’ve added a soon to be a classic 27-foot tall rocket ship with teddy-bear astronauts and a raceway for children to design their own remote control cars. 

There is even an adoption center for dolls where children will be interviewed by store staff dressed as doctors to make sure the babies are going to a good home. No doubt they will be!

 


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THINGS TO DO NEARBY 

Visit the Top of the Rock 

Get unparalleled views of New York City at the observatory. See our post with details, prices and how to even get discounts.  Note: Top of the Rock admission is included in all 3 New York City tourist discount cards.  

If you aren’t sure that Top of the Rock is the view you want, read our post comparing the 3 best observatory decks: Empire State Building, Top of the Rock, or One World Trade Center Observatory?

Take a tour of Radio City Music Hall  

This majestic and lush theater can be viewed on a paid tour. Learn more about the tour, ticket costs and discounts by reading Radio City Music Hall Stage Door Tour.

Take a walking tour

We invite you to join our pay-what-you-wish guided walking tour of Midtown Manhattan which includes Rockefeller Center. If you can’t join us, please feel free to enjoy our self-guided tour of Rockefeller Center and also our Midtown Manhattan Self-Guided Tour.

See St. Patrick’s Cathedral

Located right across the street from Rockefeller Center, this historic and impressive cathedral is worth a pop in. You can also take a free St. Patrick’s Cathedral Tour.

Visit the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)

Just two blocks away, this is one of the premier modern art museums in the world. Here’s how you can visit it for free! Check out our MoMA post for the details.

 

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FUN FACTS

1862: The year that Frederick August Otto Schwarz’s toy store opened its doors in Baltimore, under the name Toy Bazaar.

1870: Frederick moves to New York City and opens a store at 765 Broadway in Greenwich Village. In 1880, the store name was officially changed to FAO Schwarz.

1985: FAO Schwarz became the first U.S. retailer to sell the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) in 1985.

20,000 square-feet: The size of the store at Rockefeller Center.

$25,000:  The price of a mini-Mercedes covered in Swarovski crystals. 

Movies filmed in the old store: 

Big (1988) – Tom Hanks plays a 12-year-old boy wishes to be “big” and ends up magically transformed into a grown-up! He and co-actor Robert Loggia dance on top of the store’s large floor piano,  playing “Heart & Soul” and “Chopsticks”.

 

 

The Smurfs (2011) – The Smurfs are chased by the evil wizard Gargamel around the store.

For Love or Money (1993) –  Michael J. Fox is the lead in this comedy. In one scene he comes out of FAO Schwarz with a giant stuffed giraffe.

Baby Boom (1987) – Leading lady Diane Keaton goes on a shopping spree in FAO Schwarz to buy toys for her brand new daughter

Mighty Aphrodite (1995) – Woody Allen and Mira Sorvino, the lead characters in the romantic comedy, bump into each other in the store.

Eyes Wide Shut (1999) – Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman play a couple in a troubled marriage, In the last scene, they are browsing in FAO Schwarz with their young daughter. 

 


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