Even though it is pretty tough to beat the deals, discounts, and convenience of shopping for toys online (especially if you have Amazon Prime, for example), nothing really beats a trip with your little ones to a local independent voice store to pick up a special treat if they’ve been good, if they have brought home a great report card, or if you’re just looking to spoil them a little bit.

Thankfully, the Bay Area is home to some of the very best independent toy stores in the country – as well as some of the largest. You aren’t going to have any trouble whatsoever getting your hands on special toys for a special occasion or a couple of pieces to help round out the toy box, either.

If you’d like to make sure that you have all your bases covered when it comes time to picking up some toys in Marin County, you’ll want to make sure that you check out these hotspots!

Talbot’s Toyland

Toy-Store-e1363670773561

As far as toy stores in the area go, you’re going to have an almost impossible time topping the experience – and the selection – that you’ll have at Talbots.

Located in San Mateo, this is one of the biggest and most popular toy stores in the area but still one of the friendliest and most accessible. You aren’t going to have any trouble whatsoever finding the most popular toys available out there today right now (including one of the largest selections of Legos you’ve ever seen), but you aren’t going to have any trouble finding rarer or more “one off” and funky toys in this toy store, either.

A unique hybrid that combines the amazing selection of chain toy stores with the almost mom and pop feel of small-town stores, this is the kind of toy store that you’re going to step into and then never want to leave!

Best of all, the staff is incredibly friendly, amazingly accommodating, and more helpful than you ever could possibly realize. This is the kind of toy store in the Bay Area that you’re going to find yourself coming back to time and time again!

Five Little Monkeys

A somewhat smaller store in Novato, this is the kind of toy store that you’re going to want to visit when you’re looking for a special gift to surprise that little someone in your life or if you want to send out special gifts that won’t be found anywhere else.

The toys they offer here are a little bit more expensive, but are the kind of heirloom toys that children are going to cherish forever and then hopefully hand down to children of their own. The variety of toys available is exceptional, the free gift wrapping service is a lifesaver, and the staff is helpful especially when it comes to recommendations about what’s hot today.

The Toy Safari

If you are a collectible nut – or want to make sure that your kid has the latest and greatest as far as action figures, dolls, and collectible toys are concerned – you’re going to want to make it a point to regularly check out everything that Toy Safari has to offer.

SONY DSC

It almost seems like this toy store was created for children AND their parents at the exact same time. They have one of the most expansive collections of retro and old-school toys (both original collectible editions as well as modern reproductions that you won’t feel bad about opening up and playing with), and their Star Wars collection is probably second to none outside of the Disney shops.

Located in Alameda, it is incredibly accessible (at 1410 Park St.), and their hours are especially friendly especially for parents that are going to be working most of the day. This is the kind of toy store that you’re definitely going to lose a couple of hours in the first time that you visit – and probably every time after that – especially if you’re a bit of a toy collector yourself.

Best of all, the staff will help you track down any special collectibles that you aren’t able to find in the shop or online – and they’ll call you just as soon as they come in.

We hope this helps you find the right toys for that special child this Christmas Year!