Who doesn’t love the old-world charm of a classic candy shop? The very words evoke childhood nostalgia, visions of red-and-white striped uniforms, and mouthwatering cravings for whatever sweet treats are lining the shelves. Join us on a comprehensive tour of the best candy stores in America. You just might find yourself planning your next family road trip around one of the dazzling destinations on our list. Just don’t expect to stick to your diet once you’ve set foot in the door.
In the Northeast
Littleton, New Hampshire
Even if you weren’t specifically on the lookout for candy shops, Chutters’ vibrant pink-and-purple storefront would beckon you inside. Located in the scenic White Mountains, Chutters features a counter that measures 112 feet long—a Guinness World record. Several varieties of fudge are prepared right on premises, with flavors such as raspberry cheesecake and chocolate walnut. Grab a sack of gummy worms to enjoy on the remainder of your car trip through New England.
Ye Olde Pepper Companie
When the website lists a warning to “indulge responsibly,” you know you must be dealing with one of the best candy shops of all time. If you find yourself bored with ordinary black licorice, try the blackjacks—old-fashioned molasses stick candies that have been made in this location since the 1800s. “Gibralters,” named after the famous rock and arriving with their very own wooden hammer, are standouts as well, and are available in either peppermint and lemon flavors.
Bonus tip: If your sweet tooth still hasn’t been fully satisfied after a visit to Ye Olde Pepper Companie, you might want to swing up to Stowaway Sweets in nearby Marblehead. The recipe for their chocolate meltaways has been a closely guarded secret for generations, and they’re a must-try for any die-hard chocolate lover.
Dylan’s Candy Bar
New York, New York
The flagship location of this nationally renowned brand provides yet another reason to take a bite out of the Big Apple—literally, if you choose to indulge in one of Dylan’s Belgian-chocolate-and-caramel-covered apples. Pay a visit to the unforgettable ice cream bar, and don’t forget to snap a photo for the Sweet Hall of Fame while you’re there. Many of their products are available for online purchase as well.
Classic treats like saltwater taffy and handmade fudge line the wooden shelves of this Philadelphia mainstay, open since 1863. The talented proprietors view chocolate in touchingly poetic terms, seeing it as a way to tell a story, rather than as a mere indulgence. The Market Street location provides the ideal spot to begin a tour of the neighborhood.
In the Midwest
Windy City Sweets
Windy City Sweets opened in 1983, making it one of the more “modern” candy shops on our list, but don’t let that dissuade you. The house-made confections are to die for, and their sophisticated packaging makes them the ideal choice for gifts. Kids of all ages will love the wide selection of gummy candies, especially the blue raspberry “ropes.”If you visit during the autumn months, don’t miss out on the pumpkin fudge—it’s as delicious as it is unusual.
If you’re the type of person who prefers nuts in their chocolate, you’ll definitely want to add Albanese Confectioneryto your bucket list. Their dark chocolate-coated almonds are a top seller, along with milk chocolate amaretto pecans and Boss’s salted snack mix (a trail-mix inspired blend of assorted nuts and chocolate candies). The factory itself is an impressive operation—treat yourselves to a guided tour if you have the time.
Boyd’s Retro Candy Store
Boyd’s is the place to go to stock up on old-school favorites, some of which you may not have seen in a while (think Lemonheads, Albert’s chocolate Ice Cubes, and bubble gum cigars). The Toledo shop also offers a fun selection of retro sodas that you’d be hard-pressed to find anywhere else, and they specialize in creating customized gift bags for weddings and other special occasions.
The design of this classic candy shop is sure to make you feel like a kid again, no matter how old you are. With its tin ceilings, enticing display windows, and old-fashioned soda fountain, it carries all the hallmarks of the best candy stores. They’re best known for their jewel-like cinnamon “red hot” candies, but they carry a wide selection of other treats as well, including caramel-covered marshmallows known as “Modjeskas” (named after Polish actress Madam Helena Modjeska). A museum is located next to the shop, so be sure to pop in and learn more about the rich history of this local institution.
In the South
It’s worth a visit to Sweet Pete’s just to sample the “Just one S’more,” a tantalizing confection of crushed graham crackers, chocolate, and marshmallow wrapped up in a bite-sized ball. Their “sushi” platter is another standout, and would serve as a fun finale to any seafood feast. Be forewarned that this is a popular destination for Florida field trips—you can expect to see lots of starry-eyed, energized children crowding the aisles. And who could blame them?
On the West Coast
The Candy Store
San Francisco, California
The best candy shops will do more than just satisfy your sweet tooth—they’ll offer a feast for the remainder of the senses as well. Located on Vallejo Street in the Russian Hill district, this Bay Area gem bills itself as a “boutique” for sweets—and the location itself doesn’t disappoint. The wooden shelves and glass jars are stocked with a blend of old favorites and foreign treats you may have never seen before, but won’t be able to forget. The shop is closed on Sundays and Mondays, so be sure to plan your visit accordingly.