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Photograph: Hunter Canning Puffs

Eight Harry Potter experiences in NYC

Step into the wondrous world of The Boy Who Lived with these activities that bring Hogwarts to Gotham

By Rebecca Fontana and Will Gleason

Whether or not you were able to score tickets to Broadway’s Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (our theater critic listed it as one of the best Broadway shows), NYC offers plenty of other ways to experience J.K. Rowling’s spellbinding stories. From museum tours at the best museums in NYC to bar specials a couple of the best bars in NYC, these are the top ways to get your Potter on.

Harry Potter experiences in NYC

Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Hoang V.

1. Down something way stronger than Butterbeer

Bars Dive bars Hell's Kitchen

Accio, alcohol! Barcelona Bar is well known for its long list of elaborate pop-culture–inspired shots (more than 100!), but its most famous is the Harry Potter. Order one of these wizarding bad boys and stand back as the bartender dons a full Potter look—complete with a scarf and round glasses—then lines up the shots along the bar and repeatedly sets them on fire while casting spells with a wand. $8

Harry Potter/The Met
Photograph: Janette Pellegrini

2. Take a magical tour of the Met

Museums Art and design Central Park

With soaring granite domes, statue-packed rooms and a fair share of hidden treasures, the Metropolitan Museum of Art could easily be mistaken for Hogwarts. Leaning into those similarities, the Fable & Lark: Storied Adventures tour “Griffins, Goblets and Gold” museum tour highlights objects in the collection that recall J.K. Rowling’s books, including castle staircases, stone Gryffindor-esque lions and Horcrux look-alikes.

Harry Potter Meet-Up
Photograph: Jonathon Rosenthal

3. Meet up with your fellow magic-loving Muggles

Gather with other Potterheads at one of the monthly events put on by The Group That Shall Not Be Named, which boasts more than 3,000 members. Past trips have included everything from a Diagon Alley–inspired cosplay excursion at the Oddities Flea Market to wizard-attired ice-skating and crafting nights. (Currently, there are no outings to Hogsmeade on the schedule.)

New York Historical Society. PBDW architect renovations
Photograph: Jonathan Wallen

4. Witness the New-York Historical Society’s transfiguration

Museums History Upper West Side

If you’re anything like Hermione, you already have “Harry Potter: A History of Magic” on your calendar. Starting October 5, the immersive exhibit brings wizardry classes and mythological artifacts to the New-York Historical Society. On display are a reputed philosopher’s stone, J.K. Rowling’s original scribbles and drafts, and even a 17th-century invisibility incantation (way better than a cloak).

Photograph: Hunter Canning

5. Catch that other play about a certain boy wizard

The Off Broadway play Puffs tells the tale of a certain boy wizard—no, not that one. Years before the arrival of Cursed Child, this comedy by playwright Matt Cox reveals the behind-the-scenes story of the lesser-known, yellow-and-black–clad students at a certain school of magic. Cursed Child and its Gryffindor stars are much flashier than the characters in this adorable tale, which features jokes about Voldemort’s stand-up routine and Ron Weasley played by a mop.

Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/Franklin Park Library

8. Study for your OWLs

Things to do

To help you study, we stopped by one of Trivia A.D.’s monthly Harry Potter nights to ask die-hard fans what tricky questions stumped them. Does reading them feel like being hit with an IRL stupefy spell, or are you able to answer them as well as Hermione Granger would? Try your luck with these 10 tough questions.

Can’t get enough of Harry Potter?


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