Another weekend, another birthday party and another we-gotta-find-a-good-gift shopping mission. If you’re tired of feeling uninspired in the big box stores and ready to up your gift giving ante, we’ve rounded up 16 shops where you can score the perfect (unique) gift for that special birthday boy or girl on your list. From 3-D puzzles and brain games, to pirate treasures and vintage toys, your gift is sure to be the hit of the party!

Learning Sprout Toys

Located in downtown Tacoma, this store is jam-packed with toys and gadgets sure to please any kid. You will find row after row of trains, LEGOs, dolls, stuffed animals, Barbies, Melissa and Doug and so much more. If you have little ones in tow, there's plenty to keep them occupied (including two different train tables) while you browse, so take your time. Also, be sure to ask if they have any make-and-take crafts going on so your little shopper won’t go home empty-handed.

Good to Know: Learning Sprout Toys is closed on Wed., Thurs. and Sun. through the winter, so plan your trip accordingly.

809 Pacific Ave.
Tacoma, Wa 98402

photo: Alden C. via Yelp

Still stymied? Other ideas include picking up an animal-themed gift at the zoo (Woodland Park Zoo, Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium or Cougar Mountain Zoo) or the Aquarium gift store. Arty-themed gifts can be found at the Seattle Art Museum or MOPOP gift shops. And check Bellevue’s new KidsQuest Museum or the Pacific Science Center for STEM-themed gifts.

Where do you like to shop for cool and unique birthday gifts. Share your ideas with others in the Comments below.

— Jennifer B. Davis, Allison Rasmussen & Sara Billups