comScore

Best of

the Twin Cities

BEST TOY STORE

Creative Kidstuff

These are the things that make a great toy store: first, restraint. Namely, the restraint required to opt out of the lucrative world of TV- and movie-themed toys—you know, the ones developed by marketing groups instead of people who actually care about child development. What happens when a toy store exercises this kind of restraint? The space that would otherwise have been property of Disney can be filled with toys that resist the dreadful homogeny of American popular culture. Next: taxonomy. No, it's not just for biologists. Toys are organized by age group here, sure, but there is also a wall dedicated solely to awesome dinosaur stuff for all ages. And another for awesome art stuff. Finally: location, location, location. Creative Kidstuff is actually a chain, but the original store in the Linden Hills neighborhood is part of a small village of way-better-than-average kid destinations, where one toy store is across the street from another (where everything is made of wood) and around the corner from a bookstore (where live animals roam free). So grab your wallet, pack up your tot, and head for the (Linden) hills—and leave the restraint to the toy stores.

Best Toy Store (2009) Creative Kidstuff

Best Toy Store (2017) Creative Kidstuff

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BEST ART SUPPLIES Wet Paint Artists' Materials & Framing

BEST BABY GOODS STORE Peapods

BEST BIKE SHOP Freewheel Bike

BEST BOOKSTORE (NEW) Common Good Books

BEST BOOKSTORE (USED) Magers and Quinn

BEST BOUTIQUE Cliché

BEST CAR WASH T & Y Service Co.

BEST CD STORE (NEW) The Electric Fetus

BEST CD STORE (USED) Cheapo Discs

BEST CHARITY Women Against Military Madness

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BEST COMMUNITY EDUCATION CLASS Tap Dance with Jan Puffer

BEST DMV Midtown Exchange DMV

BEST DOG PARK Minnehaha Park

BEST FULL-SERVICE SALON/SPA The Sanctuary Salonspa

BEST GAME STORE Source Comics and Games

BEST GARDEN CENTER Mother Earth Gardens

BEST GIFT STORE Avalon

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BEST HORSE TRAINER Mac Robertson

BEST KNITTING STORE The Yarnery

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BEST MALL Midtown Global Market

BEST MEN'S CLOTHING STORE Lava Lounge

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BEST PET ADOPTION Safe Hands Animal Rescue

BEST PHARMACY Schneider Drug

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BEST REASON TO READ THE PIONEER PRESS Ruben Rosario

BEST SCIENCE-FICTION BOOKSTORE Dreamhaven

BEST SERVICE Wayzata Eatery

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BEST TEA SHOP La Société du Thé

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BEST WESTERN CLOTHING STORE

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