American Girl and big bucks go hand in hand, so it may not surprise you that most of the American Girl events do cost money. However, I also found some freebies at some of the stores. I'll divide this into the upcoming events that cost money and the ones that are free.
Upcoming Events That Cost Money
- February 10, 9-9:45AM at Participating American Girl Stores - Hearts and Hugs Memories: As taken from the American Girl Website: "Have an extra-sweet outing with your favorite valentine—plus, make new memories both of you will cherish! You’ll be served light refreshments, and your girl will hand you a fresh-cut flower. Your together-time will fly by with a fun dice game, a make-your-own “memory board” craft, and lots of conversation. Plus, you’ll get a spiral book to record the best moments of your day, as well as a picture frame." The cost for this one is $15 per person. Reservations are required. It is for girls aged 8 and up.
- February 24 and March 17th, 9-9:45AM at Participating American Girl Stores - Doll Hair Salon Spectacular - From their website, "Join us for a fun hair styling session in the Doll Hair Salon! Spend some time with expert doll stylists as we teach your girl how to style their dolls hair and keep it looking great! Event also includes a goody bag." The cost is $28 per person, Reservations required, For girls ages 8 and up
The Free events at American Girl Stores are mostly learn or play on your own. Here are some events that I found, though each one is not at each store. It will vary from store to store, so make sure to contact your local American Girl store to see what they have that's free.
- Reading Areas - Most American Girl stores have a reading area set up with seating areas and American Girl books. This is a relaxing place for your child to check out the available American Girl Books.
- Craft Events - Some American Girl stores have small craft events for free. Activities will vary from store to store. There are no reservations required. The events are very simple such as making a photo picture frame.
- Photo Station - American Girl Stores usually have a big star model where you can pay to have your child's photo taken with her doll. But most stores also allow you to take your own free photo at the station with your own camera or cell phone.
- Interactive Game Station -American Girl Stores have game stations in the store where your child can play. There will be tablets that include information with doll trivia and fun American Girl facts. These stations are free to use.
- Free Stickers - If your child is celebrating a birthday or another big event, let a store employee know. They should have stickers behind the counter that are free.
- Birthday Cupcakes - People have reported that the American Girl Stores keep cupcakes stored away for children who are celebrating birthdays. Just let a store employee know that it's your child's birthday to receive a cupcake.
- Hair Bows - At American Girl Cafes, the napkins are tied with free hair bows that you are allowed to take when you leave.
- Cups and Saucers for Dolls - At American Girl Cafes, when you are finished eating, you are allowed to take the free doll cup and saucer.
- Play Stations - Most American Girl Stores have little play stations that include dolls and accessories. Kids are allowed to play for free at these stations.
- Doll House Stations - There will be areas that have doll house play areas from different eras. Just like the American Girls are from different eras, so too does the store have stations set up from different time eras where you child is allowed to observe and play.
- Some of the events are free.
- The American Girl Stores have play stations that are free to use.
- There are free reading corners in the American Girl Stores.
- Some events not only cost money, but are rather expensive to attend.
- If you get to shopping at all while at a free event, you may spend a lot. American Girl Dolls and accessories are not cheap.
What Other People Are Saying
"Not free AG, but when we went to the Chicago store a couple of weeks ago to celebrate my youngest’s birthday, her and her sister were given the birthday stickers at AG and when we went next door to the Lego store they each got a small Lego kit to make a slice of cake for free because they were celebrating a birthday."
"These offers will vary by store, so while some stores may do all of these things, others may not. If there is something you are interested in, always call the store first and verify to be safe."
Cost and Process to Join
Contact your local store to see what events are coming up. Some events are free while others can cost a substantial amount.
From what I've read, the customer service is good at American Girl Stores and events. Staff should and have gone out of their way to make your child feel special on her birthday or any other big life event.
American Girl Dolls and Accessories can be very expensive. So can the events held at the stores. However, there are some free activities that you can do while visiting the stores, such as playing at store playstations and getting your photo taken with a store prop. I've outlined some more free ideas to do at American Girl Stores in this article. The reviews of customer service at American Girl Stores were positive and so were reports of people who attended American Girl Events. If you'd like to attend an American Girl event, make sure to contact your local store to see what is on the schedule. Each store has their own set of events, as opposed to some other stores who keep events the same on a nation-wide basis. I hope that my review has opened you up to a fun event you may want to check out with your child!
For more reviews and information, check out our list of the Top Ten Kids Workshops of 2018.