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Visiting the ‘Stranger Things’ store in NYC

The "Welcome to Hawkins" sign that greets visitors at the Stranger Things: The Official Store in New York. (Malak Kassem/YJI)

NEW YORK CITY – Stranger Things: The Official Store in Manhattan is one of two, limited-time locations in the United States. The other store is in Los Angeles.

The doors opened early last month and it is unclear when they will close, so I suggest visiting as soon as possible. 

Outside the store in Times Square, New York. (Malak Kassem/YJI)

Located on 200 W. 42nd St. in the heart of Times Square, the store provides an exciting experience, especially to tourists. Admission is free, but you will likely have to wait in line to get inside.

You have the option of reserving a spot online on their website in advance or simply showing up. Both options consist of waiting in line upon entry, but it seems that the line for reserved visitors moves along a lot quicker.

A re-creation of Hawkin’s Middle School locker, filled with items from the show. (Malak Kassem/YJI)

Those who don’t make a reservation in advance are required to scan a code on their phone while waiting in line. When I visited, there were a couple friendly employees facilitating the lines outdoors. They were more than happy to answer any last-minute questions.

As of December 5th, proof of vaccination was not required to enter, but masks are mandatory while in line and in the store. 

The store flows in a circular motion, displaying various scenes from the popular television series in different rooms. There are plenty of opportunities to take pictures, whether in Joyce’s living room, Hawkins Middle School, or posing with a Demogorgon.

Music and lighting create a unique atmosphere and excellent conditions for recording videos. Overall, the store is a very “Instagrammable” destination. 

Joyce’s iconic living room. (Malak Kassem/YJI)

There are two brief activities in the store. The absolute fan-favorite is the arcade room, which houses iconic video games like Pac-Man. Since arcade games are a relatively rare find nowadays, the opportunity to play them at the Stranger Things store is special to many.

An arcade game in the arcade room. (Malak Kassem/YJI)

There’s also an opportunity to recreate the scene in which Hopper closes the portal at the end of season three. 

There is a massive collection of Stranger Things and New York City-themed merchandise to purchase throughout the facility.

Stranger Things: The Official Store contributes significantly to Times Squares’ extraordinary souvenir inventory. 

Overall, the store manages to present an accurate representation of the show. While I felt genuinely positive about the experience, I did find it lacking in some aspects.

Rats inside lockers reflect scenes from the show. (Malak Kassem/YJI)

I expected more interaction, whether with employees or props. I think the experience needs that extra push to move it from just a good experience to an extraordinary one. 

I definitely recommend visiting this store if you live relatively nearby, whether that’s in the state or in the surrounding tri-state area or nearby Pennsylvania.

But if you’re dedicating a drive or train ride that surpasses four or five hours, I wouldn’t discourage you from visiting, but I would suggest that you make sure you have something besides the store planned to fill up your day.

Malak Kassem is a Junior Reporter with Youth Journalism International.

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