Holiday Shopping in Brooklyn

With the holidays coming up, it's time to think about gifts for family and friends. Each year, I try to support local Brooklyn businesses. Luckily, I'm surrounded by so many unique places for toys, clothes, books and everything in between. Even if you don’t plan on holiday shopping in Brooklyn, many of the stores listed have excellent websites and can ship gifts wherever they need to go.


The powerHouse Arena
37 Main Street

Both a book store and art gallery, powerHouse in DUMBO is one of my favorite places to buy children’s books. Its selection includes hard-to-find classics, plus some of the prettiest—and coolest—new releases. Best of all, many of their books are New York themed—perfect for a city kid, or even a cousin who lives far away. If you can’t get there before the holidays, visit its online boutique. It’s broken down into helpful categories such as "The Best Stories for Bedtime" and "The Best New York City Books," which makes ordering a breeze.

Area Kids
With locations throughout Brooklyn, Area Kids is a local chain known for its great selection of hip, eco-friendly toys and clothing from companies such as Daily Tea, Feather Baby and Melissa and Doug. For infants, there are Haba wooden toys and Anais and Aden’s muslin wraps. Older kids will love the selection of scooters from Kickboard, Xootr and Razor, plus CDs, books and NYC subway trains.

The Painted Pot
This chain now has three Brooklyn locations and is aimed at parents who want to give their children experiences rather than more stuff. Kids will love painting their names on pottery or making mosaic picture frames.

48 5th Avenue
At Lulu’s Toys and Cuts, there are gifts for kids of all ages, including art supplies, musical instruments, trains, cars, stuffed animals, books, bikes and ride-along toys. Next door, at Lulu’s for Baby, you’ll find high-end gifts for little ones such as swaddle blankets, teething toys, books, strollers and baby carriers. And a few blocks away is Lulu’s Then and Now, a resale store. Bring in clothes, books and toys your kids don’t want or need anymore. After the store totals the resale value of your items, you can choose between store credit (40% of the value) or a check (25%). The stuff people bring in is scrutinized and a lot of it looks brand-new. Some things still have their original tags. It's a nice way to buy gifts without breaking the bank (and encourages recycling!)

Toy Space
426 7th Avenue

Located on 7th Avenue in South Slope, Toy Space has thoughtfully selected toys for babies, toddlers and even tweens that emphasize science, nature, music and art. Its small selection of books includes some New York City-themed ones and the popular scanimation series Waddle!, Gallop! and Swing! Toy Space also offers custom-made gift baskets in a variety of themes and sizes.

Annie's Blue Ribbon General Store
232 Fifth Avenue


A modern-day general store, Annie's is bursting with quirky gifts for your whole family. Whoopie cushions, robot claws, cool lunch boxes and a Hall of Fame toy pack are just some of the products that'll make you laugh and linger. It's easy to order from the website, but this is a place that's a lot of fun to visit in person.

323 Atlantic Avenue

Full of handmade and wooden toys, Acorn is not the place to come for things that make noise or light up. Instead, its beautiful and unique selection of toys, dolls, mobiles and artwork encourages children to use their imaginations. If you have a budding chef in your family, its wooden kitchen is gift that will entertain kids of all ages and last for years (without being a major eyesore in your living room). Wooden fruits and vegetables, pots and pans and some other kitchen appliances are also sold. Acorn has a good online store.

1 Beard Street
Ikea is a great place to stock up on inexpensive children’s gifts. It has a nice selection of basic, wooden toys (its train track set is good for small apartments) and it also has a reasonably priced play kitchen, as well as plates, cups and utensils. Kids love this tunnel that transforms apartments into a play space on rainy days (and can be folded up and tucked away easily). If you’re coming from Manhattan, the water taxi is $5 each way during the week, or free on weekends.

Pink Olive
167 5th Avenue and 370 Bedford Avenue
718-398-2016 or 718-576-3915

Photo credit: Jenna Kim

One of my favorite Brooklyn boutiques, Pink Olive is where I shop for little girls -- and myself. The eclectic selection of whimsical children’s clothes, books, toys, home accessories and jewelry makes perfect gifts. I love its Je t’aime Brooklyn T-shirts and adorable tutus. Manhattan shoppers can visit the flagship location in the East Village and it also has an easy-to-navigate online store.

Unfortunately, this location has closed.
A quirky shop on Smith Street, Enamoo has everything from plants to armchairs to vintage household items. I go to stock up on cool onesies, T-shirts and sweatshirts emblazoned with BKLYN for relatives that don’t live in NY.

Little Things Toy Store
145 7th Avenue

According to its awning, Little Things is "brownstone Brooklyn's first and finest creative toy store." It's stocked with toys for kids of all ages, including Ugly Dolls, a big selection of products from Playmobil and Haba wooden toys. Little ones love playing with the train track that's always set up outside and its selection of slinkies, small cars, balls and wind-up toys makes great stocking stuffers.

For other great holiday recommendations, check out our Holiday Guide. And find more gift ideas in our NYC Shopping Local Gift Guide.

Originally published in October, 2010.

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