A Candy Lover’s Dream: Must-Visit Candy Shops in the USA

When it comes to candy, nothing beats the USA, where sugar-loving sweet-eaters can find a veritable cornucopia of candy shops, as diverse as they are delicious. From shops that have served generations of candy lovers, to new, inventive shops, pushing the boundaries of candy creativity, there’s a candy shop for every conceivable taste. Here’s a rundown of some terrific American candy shops to savour.

Dylan's Candy Bar - New York, NY

Dylan’s Candy Bar in New York City, the flagship of a business conceived by the daughter of fashion designer Ralph Lauren, walks and talks like Willy Wonka’s factory. The store itself, with a candy cane column and lollipop tree fits the theme, and it has more than 7,000 candies from around the world — reportedly the largest selection of confections in the Western Hemisphere.

Economy Candy - New York, NY

Step into Economy Candy, and you’re transported back half a century. Opened in 1937 in the Lower East Side of Manhattan, the candy shop intertwines a bit of the history of American confectionery with the sheer absurdity of finding almost every candy you tried as a child available on one wide shop floor. Thick-rimmed glasses, exposed brick walls, and fans evoke the diners of yore; a sign featuring logos of discontinued brands pays homage to old-time treats. Contemporary brands like Hershey’s and Jolly Ranchers are offered alongside exclusive Economy Candy-only items (‘White Mystery’ and ‘Strawberry Death’ being excellent names for assorted candies) and a plethora of now hard-to-find retro-brand varieties. Feel free to get carried away.

Candylicious - Houston, TX

Candylicious in Houston, Texas, offers something at the opposite extreme for candy-lovers who are partial to biodiversity: walls covered in every kind of sweet imaginable, from bulk bins of gummy bears and jelly beans to imported fine chocolates and other international treats, some exclusive to Candylicious, from everywhere from Paris and Portugal to Poland and Mexico. Don’t leave without whipping up a customised mix of your favourite sweets to take home with you.

Sweet Pete’s - Jacksonville, FL

Sweet Pete’s in Jacksonville, Florida, goes the extra mile of ferrying its patrons into a sweet fantasy. An artisan candy emporium selling hand-crafted chocolates and candies made with traditional methods and the best ingredients, Sweet Pete’s also offers classes where customers can make their own treats and tours of the factory.

The Candy Lady - Albuquerque, NM

While it may not be everyone’s cup of tea, the place is so themed you can even buy ‘Breaking Bad’ rock candy The next time you find yourself in Albuquerque, New Mexico, make a point of stopping in at The Candy Lady – not because it’s a groundbreaking take on the candy store concept, or because it’s going to make any kind of dent in the ice-cream shop scene, but because it’s kind of themed, in a way, and while it’s probably not everyone’s cup of tea, it also means you can buy ‘Breaking Bad’ rock candy. Combined with all the other stuff – more than 20 different varieties of fudge, hand-crafted chocolates, and an array of classic candies – it’s a quirky pitstop for fans of the show and classic candies alike.

Big Top Candy Shop - Austin, TX

Harking back to the days of the travelling circus, Big Top Candy Shop in Austin, Texas, is a riot of décor and provides the ultimate sweet treat for confectionary addicts. Big Top, which opened in 2007, features a retro-style soda fountain serving old-fashioned phosphates and milkshakes, but the main draw is the jaw-dropping array of global candies. The shop’s commitment to themed excellence is what sets it apart.

Shane Confectionery - Philadelphia, PA

Shane Confectionery in Philadelphia – the nation’s oldest continuously operating confectionery – is a living museum of candy history. There one can traipse through displays of brightly coloured rock candy, swirls of meringues, frosty-white almonds and sacks of gumdrops, while listening to the clatter of peanut-brittle being crumbled. Shane, founded in 1863, produces the delicacies of a bygone US – everything from egg-whites and sugar to cordial cherry juice or maple syrup. You can even see cooks holding forked-tipped tongs, making candy canes right before your eyes. Visit Shane Confectionery’s website here.

Wrapping Up the Sweet Journey

From chocolates for the discerning to retro sweetshops and concepts that are inventing ‘the future of candy’: the USA has aficionados covered. For many, visiting American confectionery stores is as much about the destination (and the experiences they provision) as the end product (ie, candy). So, if you’re planning to take a stateside road trip this year, make sure you have room to pack in these cool confectionery resources. Here’s our selection of the best candy shops in America.

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