Park and Shop: the most Sixties board game of all Sixties board games

What began as a publicity stunt for Allentown, Pennsylvania, turned into a popular board game across the country.

After World War II, the modern America we know today started to take shape. A new middle ground between country and city living known as suburbs began to pop up around the country. Television replaced radio as the entertainment of the masses and cars, clothes and foods were suddenly available more than ever before.

While most of these trends can be traced back to the 1950s, they didn’t come to full fruition until the 1960s. The same goes for a board game that perfectly encapsulates the wonderful mundanity of that time. Simply called Park and Shop, the title says it all. Players first had to find a parking spot as a “motorist” then became a “pedestrian” walking from shop to shop trying to complete all their errands before everyone else. Of course, you didn’t win until you got back to your car and drove home. And watch out! You might get sent to jail in the process.

Far less ambitious than games like Monopoly, Life or Risk, Park and Shop still became popular during the Sixties. Sadly, the idea of running errands for fun had evidently worn off by the 1970s and it was discontinued. 

The game’s initial development is far more interesting than the title and premise might suggest. It was essentially created as a publicity stunt.

“Park & Shop” was a concept the city of Allentown, Pennsylvania, implemented after the war to revitalize its downtown district. Oodles of parking, including demolishing old buildings to create new lots, plus stores that validated so their customers parked for free, encouraged shopping as a pastime instead of just a necessary trip.

To promote the new concept, the city of Allentown commissioned a board game that literally took players through the entire process. First released in 1952, both Park and Shop the game and Park & Shop the concept took off and spread across the country.

By 1954, major board game manufacturer Milton Bradley took notice and bought the rights to the game. The company changed the layout to make it more generic (the original version was based closely on Allentown’s geography) and introduced new hazards like parking tickets.

The most popular version of the game was introduced in 1960. It featured new graphics and stores but kept finding a parking space, shopping for goods, returning to your car and driving home as the main premise. What it lacked in originality it certainly made up for in relatability. It perfectly captured midcentury feelings about modern society and economics which makes it quite possibly the most Sixties board game ever.

Did you ever enjoy the simple pleasures of playing Park and Shop?

Are you sure you want to delete this comment?


geatornez82 20 months ago
I remember my dad wracking his brains out trying to find a copy of this. When he did, we all sat around and played it together. My sister and I loved it so much, he managed to find another copy of the game, and he and our mom gave it to us as a Christmas present. It's now a Christmas tradition for my sister and I to take our copy of the game over to our parents' house for Christmas and play it together (my dad's copy of the game had to be moved when my parents' water heater busted, and they put it somewhere that I don't even know where it is, which is why we bring ours over instead of playing with theirs).
Runeshaper 21 months ago
This game sounds like fun 🤩
RichLorn 21 months ago
The article is mistaken, you can still buy Park and Shop. But the game was updated for 2022. Its now called Smash and Grab.
AEDC49 21 months ago
I ALSO miss the Hess’s of Allentown TV specials hosted by Wee Willie Weber in the 1960’s and into the early 1970’s. Also met him in 60’s and had nice chat and loved his TV show and all the shows it introduced From Japan, aside from other domestic ones, like Speed Racer, Ultra Man, Astro Boy, Tobar the 8th Man, Marine Boy, Johnny Zypher In Dimension Zero, The Amazing 3, Prince Planet etc! Loved the in-between kid stuff –the Peanut Gallery etc! Where’s the Time Machine!?! The game really is a 1950’s game! That we still could get in of course the 1960’s.
KJExpress 21 months ago
Is it just me? It says 60 comments, but I can only see four. I can't see my own nor can I see responses to my comments. I hope we aren't having problems again! 😬
GoUTVols1961 KJExpress 21 months ago
It must be just you. I see many comments.
KJExpress GoUTVols1961 21 months ago
I do now, but I didn't yesterday. I know some other folks were having trouble too. But it looks good now. 🤞
JHP 21 months ago
My all-time fav board game is called Scotland Yard - unfortunately I have no one that wants to play it with me and you need 5-6 people. Absolutely a great game!

Clue is also a great one
RichLorn JHP 21 months ago
If you want us to come over to play it, don't be so cheap. Lay out some snacks and cold bottles of suds.
JHP RichLorn 21 months ago
do you know about the game?
RichLorn JHP 21 months ago
Kidding aside, I think I vaguely remember seeing Scotland Yard for sale someplace. My impression of the box was it looked somewhat complicated but I think it would have been interesting.
Naturally everybody loves Clue.
JHP RichLorn 6 months ago
well here's some links to explain the game and yes it is complicated but so damm cool
I'd explain it but I don't know if I would max out the posting space here:)
I just love it - almost as much as chess:)
thomasrwalden 21 months ago
Born in Allentown, played this game a lot. I truly miss Hess’s Department Store. 🥺
Rob 21 months ago
Never heard of this game, but it sounds interesting. Sip and Go Naked sounds even more interesting.
justjeff 21 months ago
Let's start off the week with the Top Ten jokes from the Edinburgh Festival Fringe:

"I tried to steal spaghetti from the shop, but the female guard saw me and I couldn't get pasta."—Masai Graham

"Did you know, if you get pregnant in the Amazon, it's next-day delivery."—Mark Simmons

"My attempts to combine nitrous oxide and Oxo cubes made me a laughing stock."—Olaf Falafel

"By my age, my parents had a house and a family, and to be fair to me, so do I—but it is the same house and it is the same family."—Hannah Fairweather

"I hate funerals—I'm not a mourning person."—Will Mars

"I spent the whole morning building a time machine, so that's four hours of my life that I'm definitely getting back."—Olaf Falafel

"I sent a food parcel to my first wife. FedEx."—Richard Pulsford

"I used to live hand to mouth. Do you know what changed my life? Cutlery."—Tim Vine

"Don't knock threesomes. Having a threesome is like hiring an intern to do all the jobs you hate."—Sophie Duker

"I can't even be bothered to be apathetic these days."—Will Duggan
Maverick66 justjeff 21 months ago
"I'd like to get a job making mirrors. It's something I could see myself doing."

"The CEO of IKEA has been appointed Prime Minister of Sweden. He is now assembling his cabinet."
justjeff Maverick66 21 months ago
My father was Welsh, my mother Hungarian... which made me well-h*** (fill in the blanks)
Maverick66 justjeff 21 months ago
😳 😁
Pacificsun justjeff 21 months ago
OMG. I laughed for 10 minutes. And now my ribs hurt!
LoveMETV22 justjeff 21 months ago
Funny in a Punny way.
JHP Pacificsun 21 months ago
me three!
JeffPaul76 21 months ago
I never even HEARD OF Park and Shop until this article. Much less played it.
Moody 21 months ago
I never heard of this game. We played a lot of board games when I was a kid. The Game of Life & Monopoly were 2 of our favorites. So was Payday. My brothers & I loved Risk. We got our kids into a lot of these when they were younger but they discovered video games & pretty much forgot the board games. sigh!
KJExpress Moody 21 months ago
Hi Moody! I liked to play both The Game of Life and Monopoly. "You will learn about life when you play the Game of Life." I think they changed Life so you no longer go to the Poor Farm. I'm sure they changed other things as well.
kkvegas Moody 21 months ago
Monopoly was my favorite, and I also liked Clue and Masterpiece. The best strategy games were Master Mind, Othello, and Score Four.
Barry22 21 months ago
.......and as Billy Joel sang: "Well, we're living here in Allentown"

Barry22 21 months ago
Never heard of the game, but it seems interesting. I play board games with my 4-year-old grandson. Jr. Monopoly, Chutes and Ladders and Candyland.
harlow1313 Barry22 21 months ago
Well, you failed to mention "Sip and go Naked."
texasluva harlow1313 21 months ago
Was that game on the East or West Coast Maybe you were the inventor, 😏. Oh wait I think I remember that one now 🙈😲😋--harlow can you go-- and I thought Uncle Wiggily Game was suspicious 😏-
harlow1313 texasluva 21 months ago
It's one of those odd things that stuck in my head from decades ago. It was an "adult" game I saw some place, which appeared to involve both sex and drinking. I have never played, but I'm not opposed.

"Uncle Wiggily in Connecticut" is one of J.D. Salinger's short stories, which I recently reread. Old J.D. is probably best known for his enthusiastic exclamations of, "Dy-no-mite!"
JeffPaul76 harlow1313 21 months ago
NO, That's Jimmie J.J. Walker, or J.J. Evans of ''Good Times''.
Pacificsun texasluva 21 months ago
No. I think he meant slip and go naked.

I'm alluding to the fun & games portion of the evening!
KJExpress texasluva 21 months ago
Hey, I had the Uncle Wiggily game! "The old crow cried 'Caw, caw, caw. Now a red card you must draw." Or something like that. It was a long time ago. 🤷‍♀️
CouchPotato19 harlow1313 6 months ago
Or sit and spin.
Karen 21 months ago
I have this game! In the late 1970s, my mom brought home a big bag of "older" (50s and 60s) games her co-worker had given her. What a treasure bag! This game was in it. It had all the pieces, although there was one mysterious half a car. I've always liked things with a lot of layers or parts, and so was intrigued by all of the MANY different shops; even learned some new vocabulary words for shops that didn't exist in my world, like "haberdashery". The play itself could be tedious, but the way players got about by car and by walking, and because the cards gave me a glimpse into a fairly recent history that was already so different made it more appealing. A memorable card makes you loose a turn because a woman driver is in front of you. Hmmm... that one made me think as a 10-year-old female in the late 70s... :) As a teen, I'd play this by myself and give the cards meanings like "...if I get the candy shop someone will ask me out..." . I got pretty inventive with challenges such as the linoleum and wallpaper shop. haha We still play this game from time to time if someone selects it during our game marathon on NYE. :)
KJExpress Karen 21 months ago
I like how you'd play by yourself and make up different scenarios. That sounds like something I would do. 😄
Pacificsun Karen 21 months ago
Great comment! Thank you!
TheSentinel 21 months ago
Sorry to say that this was before my time (born in 1970), but it sounds like it would've been a fun game to play.
Tenor 21 months ago
I remember this game fondly. So fondly in fact, that my wife bought me a Park and Shop game from an on-line catalog a few years ago. The new game is "another classic reproduction" from Winning Moves Games in Danvers, Mass. The game is essentially the same. Slightly different game pieces. The pedestrians are more realistic; the cars less so than my sister's old game. It's a lot of fun, but I'm ready for the game to be over when I complete my shopping list, without driving home....
KJExpress Tenor 21 months ago
Thanks for the mention of Winning Moves Games. I had never heard of them. I do remember driving by Parker Brothers (which apparently is now Hasbro) on my way to the North Shore Music Theater in Beverly, MA. I'll have to check the games WMG has for sale. Might see an old favorite or two. 😀
dth1971 21 months ago
I wish this board game was rebooted by Hasbro, which owns the Milton Bradley board games.
Coldnorth 21 months ago
My husband has this game. When we first got married we played it lots. Fun frustrating game. It’s pretty beat up after all these years but still fun to play
Coldnorth Coldnorth 21 months ago
eBay had this game listed not too long ago
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?