The first Harry Potter novel was published 25 years ago—and in that time, the mystical franchise has become a major cultural phenomenon, spawning eight blockbuster movies as well as three Fantastic Beasts spinoff films. Fans of the boy wizard flock to England to tour the Warner Bros. Studios and other filming locations, but there are numerous Potter-themed experiences you can enjoy without leaving the U.S.
From well-known theme parks and an award-winning Broadway musical, to intimate coffee shops sporting themed menus, here are nine unique ways you can explore the Wizarding World on your next getaway.
1. Harry Potter: The Exhibition, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
The newly opened Harry Potter exhibition at Philadelphia’s Franklin Institute celebrates iconic moments, characters, settings, and beasts using immersive design and technology. Explore the mysteries of Hogwarts Castle, Gringotts, the Ministry of Magic, and more while enjoying a close-up look at props and original costumes from the Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts films.
2. The Cauldron, New York City, New York
Step inside New York City’s most magical pub, The Cauldron, where you can don a cloak and partake in a special potions experience and make your own mystical cocktail or mocktail. Or, attend the Wizards Afternoon Tea, where you can brew a toasty beverage using an interactive wand. Book your experience online in advance for either the popular Manhattan location or the Philadelphia pub, which is scheduled to open in spring 2022.
3. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, New York City, New York
Broadway is home to the awe-inspiring Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, which takes place 19 years after the events of the series’ conclusion, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. This sweeping, nearly 4-hour production at the Lyric Theatre in Times Square centers around friends Albus Potter and Scorpius Malfoy, sons of Harry and Draco, as they navigate their time at Hogwarts. For Potterheads on the West Coast, a San Francisco production is also available, and a Toronto-based version will open in May 2022.
4. Harry Potter New York, New York City, New York
Curio collectors will find a wide selection of branded attire, wands, pins, and more at the world’s only Harry Potter flagship store, located in New York City. In addition to browsing the largest collection of Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts products under one roof, you can belly up to the Butterbeer Bar for a taste of this sweet elixir and become part of the adventure via VR experiences that allow you to cast spells or fly on a broom.
5. Wynott’s Wands, Salem, Massachusetts
Those looking to further expand their collections of witchy wares should head to Wynott’s Wands in the notoriously spellbinding town of Salem, Massachusetts. As the name suggests, Wynott’s offers a wide variety of wand options for sale, along with other keepsakes, including crystal balls, quill pens, gemstones, spell books, and all the tools you’ll need to practice a bit of witchcraft.
6. Potted Potter: The Unauthorized Harry Experience, Las Vegas, Nevada
Potted Potter: The Unauthorized Harry Experience, playing at Bally’s in Las Vegas, is a whimsical, lighthearted theater-going experience. This 70-minute production condenses all seven Harry Potter books (and a real-life game of Quidditch) into a parody starring just two actors portraying a variety of your favorite characters. Potted Potter promises to delight fans of the franchise, as well as those who “don’t know the difference between a horcrux and a Hufflepuff.”
7. Bad Owl Coffee, Henderson, Nevada
Boasting a menu of themed drinks including ButterBrew and eats such as the Avada Ricotta, Bad Owl Coffee in Henderson, Nevada, has proven so popular that it’s expanded to several other Las Vegas-area locations, as well as a recently opened storefront in Chicago. Brimming with hypnotic decor and charming culinary creations, Bad Owl is sure to delight all of your muggle senses.
8. Wizard Hysteria Escape Room, Tempe, Arizona
In Wizard Hysteria at Alcatraz Escape Games in Tempe, Arizona, you and up to 11 of your closest non-magical friends become locked in a castle by an evil wizard. You’ll have only an hour to find the six cursed objects you need to escape. Never fear: Your former headmaster has left you clues to help locate and destroy the items you seek. It’s a fun, all-ages mission that’s sure to bewitch every member of your traveling party.
9. Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Orlando, Florida
To experience the ultimate in Potterverse immersion, head to Universal Orlando Resort, which is home to two theme park lands that transport you to Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley. At the Wizarding World of Harry Potter you can fly on a Hippogriff’s back, sample Butterbeer in three varieties (hot, chilled, or frozen), dine in the Three Broomsticks, take a harrowing ride through Gringotts Wizarding Bank, unlock hidden magic with your very own wand, hop aboard the Hogwarts Express, and so much more.
Plan your visit to Orlando during July, and you can celebrate Harry’s birthday at LeakyCon, a 3-day event featuring the stars and creators of the Harry Potter films, unique event-exclusive merchandise, Wizard Rock bands, and more. The event takes place at the Orange County Convention Center from July 29 to 31. A second LeakyCon will also be held in Denver, Colorado, on October 14 to 16.