Littleton, New Hampshire
The claim to fame at Chutters? The sweet shop is home to a jaw-dropping 112-foot-long candy counter, the world's longest. It's crowded with at least 500 kinds of sugary treats, including classics like cinnamon lava balls, licorice, and candy corn. If that's not enough, the shop makes fudge in house and sells homemade chocolates, too.
A trip to Big Top Candy Shop is a treat for the senses, not just the palate. True to its name, the store is decked out in circus memorabilia. It carries more than 400 bulk candies and a staggering 3,000 wrapped candies, both old and new. But the highlight might be the old-fashioned soda fountain where you can get favorites like egg creams, malts, and ice cream floats.
Ocean City, Maryland
What could be sweeter than strolling down the boardwalk in Ocean City, then stopping at Dolle's for some saltwater taffy? First opened as a taffy stand in 1910, this candy shop specializes in old-fashioned seaside favorites that also include caramel corn, mellow mints, and homemade fudge. The only things not made in house are gummies, licorice, and some seasonal items.
New York City
Dylan's Candy Bar has reached legendary status among candy lovers, and it's easy to see why: Its flagship store in Manhattan draws more than 2 million visitors a year to gawk at three gleaming floors of sweets. There's even a café where you can eat a meal inside a giant cupcake-shaped booth. Try the "I Bet You Can't Sundae," made with 10 scoops of ice cream and 10 toppings of your choice.
The name should tip you off: Boyd's Retro Candy, housed in a Pepto-pink building reminiscent of a castle, is all about nostalgia. It specializes in candy from the 1950s, '60s, and '70s, which means you'll find plenty of old-school favorites like Good & Plenty, Jujubes, and candy cigarettes. Thirsty? There are plenty of glass-bottled sodas, too, like Cheerwine and ginger beer.
To say family tradition is a theme at Ye Olde Pepper Companie would be an understatement. It claims to be America's oldest candy company, circa 1806, and is on its fourth generation of candymakers. Signature items including Gibralters, a hard candy made with lemon or peppermint, and Black Jack molasses sticks. You'll also find fudge, saltwater taffy, and plenty of other treats.
If you're a fan of Mexican candy, Dulcelandia is your nirvana. This small chain of Chicago candy stores stocks hundreds of treats from south of the border in bulk, including spicy lollipops and other sweets that are hard to find elsewhere. Of course, it also has a mind-boggling array of piñatas, from traditional stars and donkeys to Pokémon balls and Corona bottles.
Harpers Ferry, West Virginia
Its location in historic Harpers Ferry isn't the only way True Treats turns back the clock. The shop bills itself as "the nation's only research-based historic candy store" and offers treats based on recipes that date back centuries. Every candy has a story, from cinnamon almonds enjoyed by ancient Romans to bubblegum cigars used to celebrate the arrivals of new babies in the '40s.
Pinkitzel offers up its sweets in a luxe atmosphere: think dangling chandeliers, damask, statues, and a bubblegum-pink knight guarding the door. Candy treats include shimmering gumballs and champagne jelly beans, but there's a lot more to prolong your sugar rush, including eye-popping cupcakes, cakes, macarons, and truffles.
Aiken, South Carolina
A retiree's dream to open an old-time candy store has come to life in Cyndi's Sweet Shoppe, where patrons can indulge just about any craving they might have. Offerings include ice cream, handmade truffles, fudge, rock candy, chocolate-covered pretzels, and Southern favorites like pralines and toffee. You'll also find glass jars and bins heaping with gummies, hard candies, and more.
New York City
If Ikea ever expanded its candy offerings, the result would probably look something like Sockerbit ("sugar cube" in Swedish). This sleek sweet shop is a wonderland of colorful Scandinavian candy that pops against the sparse all-white walls. And every single piece is free of trans fats, artificial colors, and genetically modified ingredients.
The star at Albanese Confectionery is definitely the gummies: You'll find every variety imaginable, from traditional bears and butterflies to Army guys and rattlesnakes. There are innovative flavors, too, like orange cream, mango, and red-hot cinnamon. Everything is made on-site, and guests are welcome to take self-guided tours to see the magic happen.
The candy store Scrummy Afters (British slang for "scrumptious desserts") has a distinctive name and an equally distinctive interior. Colorful fabric and rainbow umbrellas hang from the ceiling over heaping displays of candy on the mint green shelves. Of course, it's more than eye candy: You'll find luscious gelato, candy bouquets, plenty of seasonal treats, and even handmade chocolate "lobstah" pops.
Little Nisshodo may look nondescript from the outside, but it's been a Honolulu candy mainstay for 90 years. And it doesn't stock just any sweets, but dazzling, colorful Japanese confections. Specialties include chichi dango (sweet dumplings made of rice flour) and mochi (rice-flour balls filled with things like bean paste, coconut or even peanut butter).
At this much-lauded candy shop, the pralines are a must. Southern Candymakers makes them fresh daily, along with other specialties including tortues (turtles), English toffee, peanut brittle, fudge, and a lesser-known Southern treat: soft, pillowy, old-fashioned divinity. You can also buy chocolates that pay homage to the Big Easy, including gators and fleurs-de-lis.
Smack in the middle of Columbia State Historic Park, a living Gold Rush town, Nelson's makes its sweets using the same methods that candymakers used in the 1800s. Specialties include fudge, honeycomb, almond bark, and fruit jellies. During the holidays, you can watch candy canes being made by hand from enormous ribbons of hot sugar.
St. Paul, Minnesota
There are plenty of sweets at Candyland, but there's no doubt about the candy store's real claim to fame: the popcorn. Try the Chicago Mix, a mix of seasoned, caramel, and cheddar cheese popcorn that has been a top seller for three decades. You'll also find a huge range of other treats including chocolate, gummies, licorice, hard candy, and house-made caramel.
Schimpff's, which opened in 1891 just across the Ohio River from Louisville, Kentucky, has just about everything under its tin ceiling, including a lunch room and soda fountain. There's even a candy museum and a kitchen where customers can watch demonstrations. Specialties made in house include cinnamon red hots, caramel-covered marshmallows called Modjeskas, and hard candy fish.
New York City
Walking into Economy Candy on Manhattan's Lower East Side is an exercise in sensory overload. Sweets are stacked floor to ceiling, towering precipitously from the shelves as you make your way through the narrow aisles. Variety isn't a problem here: You'll find all the contemporary and vintage favorites, plus zany oversized candy like 3-foot lollipops, 5-pound Hershey's bars, and giant Dum Dums.
It's hard to imagine a better setting for a traditional, British-style sweet shop than this picturesque 100-year-old seaside cottage with moss growing on the shingled roof. Inside Cottage of Sweets, there's homemade fudge, licorice, English toffee, colorful lollipops, gummies, taffy, cordials, and plenty of hard-to-find candy from across the pond.
Lexington, North Carolina
From its red-striped awning to the brick walls and worn wood floors, The Candy Factory looks every bit the part of an old-fashioned candy shop. All the nostalgic favorites are here, including Red Bird peppermint puffs, made locally since 1890, as well as licorice, hard candies, root-beer barrels, and more. Be sure to say hi to Miss Puffy, the candy-striped pig that guards the door.
Recently restored Shane's Confectionery oozes history, with ornate blue shelves, gleaming candy-filled jars, intricate white molding, and cash registers that look like they should be in a museum. That's for good reason: Candy has been made here since 1863, and the candy store opened in 1911. Specialties include mixed chocolates and caramels, fudge, nonpareils, sugared fruit slices, and all-natural jelly beans.
Offbeat Sweet! is massive and flashy, just as you'd expect from a candy shop in the middle of Hollywood. There are neon lights, teepees, a movie marquee, and even a Wonka-themed chocolate counter. Unsurprisingly, the store has celebrity-inspired treats (want a RuPaul candy bar?) and customers can even customize their own chocolate bar with tons of fillings and inclusions.
Sweet Pete's isn't just a candy shop, it's an experience. At 23,000 square feet, it's one of the country's largest candy stores, and includes a full restaurant, bar, rooftop patio. There are candy classes covering everything from gummy making to truffles, and toddlers can come for story time and treats. A dessert bar offers ice cream, Key lime pie, cookies, dipped fruit, and crazy sodas (Bug Barf, anyone?).
Walla Walla, Washington
Viewing windows lining one side of the shop at Bright's Candies give visitors a chance to peek in and see how their favorite treats are made – usually with years-old recipes and old-fashioned equipment like copper kettles and old metal candy molds. Specialties include luscious chocolate-covered fruit, gourmet popcorn, toffee, peanut brittle, fudge, and classic filled chocolates.