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25 Magical Places to Channel Your Inner Harry Potter in Philadelphia

From castles to candy stores, these attractions, museums, restaurants and shops transport you to the wizarding world...

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Fonthill Castle Photo by K. Crawford
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Shane Confectionery Photo courtesy Shane Confectionery
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Chanticleer Photo by J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia
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Eastern State Penitentiary Photo by M. Edlow for Visit Philadelphia
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Travel Responsibly: As the region recovers from COVID-19, safety guidelines have evolved at attractions, restaurants, shops and hotels. Advance tickets or reservations remain recommended or necessary at many spots. Your best bet: Check online or call ahead.

Philadelphia — already a magical place year-round — is set to go batty for the boy with the scar when the world premiere of Harry Potter: The Exhibition arrives at The Franklin Institute from February 18 to September 2022.

The immersive experience celebrates the iconic moments, characters, settings and beasts as seen in the films and stories of Harry Potter, Fantastic Beasts and the expanded Wizarding World through beautifully crafted environments using best-in-class immersive design and technology to deliver an unforgettable personalized experience

On top of this can’t-miss exhibition, the Greater Philadelphia region is filled with opportunities for muggles to channel their inner witch or wizard.

Visitors can brew their own “potions” at The Cauldron Philadelphia (opening in May 2022), explore the Azkaban-like Eastern State Penitentiary or Fonthill Castle, and shop at a number of whimsical places that feel plucked straight out of Hogsmeade or Diagon Alley.

Extend the magic by booking the Visit Philly Overnight Hotel Package, which includes buy-one-get-one-free tickets to 33 Philly museums and attractions, free hotel parking (up to $100) and a comfy bed you don’t have to make.

Read on for the wondrous places to explore in Philadelphia while you await the arrival of your letter from Hogwarts.

Note: This article — arranged in alphabetical order by section — was last updated on February 2, 2022. Things to do in this article are not affiliated with Imagine Entertainment, Warner Bros. or Harry Potter.

Sweets, Drinks & Magical Eats

01

The Cauldron Philadelphia

Opens Friday, May 20, 2022

Double, double, toil and trouble. Philly’s first potion bar this way comes! Inspired by (but not affiliated with) several magical literary worlds, The Cauldron Philadelphia opens in May 2022, serving up inventive molecular cocktails and mocktails that smoke, change color or expand — just like, well, magic. Visitors can also purchase tickets to a potion-making class like the ones Harry muddled through under Professor Snape. Instead of Polyjuice potion, visitors brew their own alcoholic concoctions in a self-guided lesson with the aid of their very own “magic wand.” Note: Children’s classes are also available, but only on specified dates and times.

Where: The Cauldron Philadelphia, 1315 Locust Street

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02

The Dandelion

Rivaling the feasts from Mrs. Weasley’s kitchen, Stephen Starr’s London-style pub offers a traditional full English breakfast in the morning and plenty of other British favorites throughout the day – think Bangers & Mash for dinner and special roasts on Sundays. There’s no Butter Beer on the menu, but visitors can choose from a wide selection of draught and cask beers, served in half and imperial pints.

Where: The Dandelion, 124 S. 18th Street

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03

The Franklin Fountain and Shane's Confectionery

The interior of Shane Confectionery candy store in Philadelphia The interior of Shane Confectionery candy store in Philadelphia
Shane Confectionery — Photo courtesy Shane Confectionery

It’s no secret that many witches and wizards have a sweet tooth. The Berley Brothers’ two Old City sweet shops, The Franklin Fountain and Shane Confectionery, are reminiscent of two of Harry’s favorite sweet spots: Florean Fortescue’s Ice Cream Parlour in Diagon Alley and Honeydukes Sweet Shop in Hogsmeade. The best part? They’re right next door to one another! Take out homemade ice cream from the window at Franklin Fountain before popping next door to shop for decadent chocolates and nostalgic confections.

Where: Franklin Fountain, 116 Market Street

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Shane Confectionery, 110 Market Street

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04

Mueller Chocolate Co. in Reading Terminal Market

After his first soul-sucking encounter with dementors, Harry learns from Professor Lupin that chocolate is the key to regaining happiness. Visitors can stock up on the happy stuff at this spot inside Reading Terminal Market. In addition to traditional chocolate treats, Mueller’s sells a variety of zany molds that look like they belong on the Hogwarts Express trolley cart, including chocolate skulls, brains and eyes. Wicked!

Where: Reading Terminal Market, 51 N. 12th Street

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05

The Plough & the Stars

A traditional Irish pub in Old City, The Plough & the Stars would be the perfect place for Ireland supporters to revel in their victory over Viktor Krum in the Quidditch World Cup. With a traditional menu featuring dishes like fish and chips and shepherd’s pie, the bar is reminiscent of a cozy Hogsmeade watering hole. Pro tip: Grab a seat by the enormous fireplace for more of a Gryffindor Common Room vibe.

Where: The Plough & the Stars, 123 Chestnut Street

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06

The Random Tea Room & Curiosity Shop

Interior view of Random Tea Room & Curiosity Shop Interior view of Random Tea Room & Curiosity Shop
— Photo by C. Smyth for Visit Philadelphia

Harry’s less-than-stellar first date with Cho Chang takes place at Madam Puddifoot’s Tea Shop. The Random Tea Room & Curiosity Shop is a super-quirky Philly parallel to the romantic Hogsmeade haunt. Serving up more than 40 artisanal teas and house-blended herbal infusions, the community-oriented tea spot in Northern Liberties also offers interesting vintage and antique pieces for sale.

Where: The Random Tea Room & Curiosity Shop, 713 N. 4th Street

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07

Zipf's Candies

Visitors to this tiny candy shop in Chestnut Hill may be reminded of Sugarplum’s Sweets Shop on Diagon Alley. In addition to traditional sweets, the shop often stocks unusual treats like gummy frogs and peppermint pigs.

Where: Zipf's Candies, 8433 Germantown Avenue

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Wizarding Attractions

08

Bryn Athyn Cathedral

Exterior of Bryn Athyn Cathedral Exterior of Bryn Athyn Cathedral
— Photo by B. Krist for Visit Philadelphia

The soaring, nearly 100-year-old Bryn Athyn Cathedral is situated on a hill overlooking the picturesque Pennypack Creek Valley in the borough of Bryn Athyn, Pennsylvania (about a 45-minute drive northeast from Center City Philly). Asymmetries and irregularities were purposely planned into construction of the building, which contributes to the overall Hogwarts feel. Though the building still functions as a place of worship, it is open to the public for guided tours.

Where: Bryn Athyn Cathedral, 900 Cathedral Road, Bryn Athyn

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09

Chanticleer

People explore the ruins at Chanticleer garden People explore the ruins at Chanticleer garden
— Photo by J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia

Like something out of Professor Sprout’s dreams, Chanticleer is a 35-acre public pleasure garden located about 30 minutes outside of Philadelphia in Delaware County. The sprawling grounds are home to more than 5,000 seasonal and exoctic plants in seven distinct areas, each with its own “personality.” Like Professor Sprout, the staff members at Chanticleer encourage respectful curiosity about plantlife. Not every plant is labeled here. Instead, guests are encouraged to identify species with the help of visual aids and direct any questions to staff gardeners. The gardens are open seasonally each year from March 30 to October 30.

Where: Chanticleer, 786 Church Road, Wayne

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10

Eastern State Penitentiary

Eastern State Penitentiary Eastern State Penitentiary
— Photo courtesy Eastern State Penitentiary

The closest thing to Azkaban in Philadelphia, Eastern State Penitentiary is a sprawling 19th-century prison that ceased operations in 1971. While it wasn’t guarded by dementors, the prison did rely on strict and controversial punishments like solitary confinement in an attempt to reform inmates. Today, visitors can tour the supposedly haunted site year round to learn about the prison’s history and lasting influence, as well as modern social justice issues that surround incarceration.

Where: Eastern State Penitentiary, 2027 Fairmount Avenue

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11

Fairmount Park Horticulture Center

The horticulture center in Fairmount Park is home to a lush greenhouse that could serve as the setting for one of Professor Sprout’s lively herbology classes. And the surrounding area could double as the Hogwarts grounds — minus the giant spiders and minotaurs. After exploring the greenhouse, take a stroll near the tranquil reflecting pool, visit the gorgeous Shofuso Japanese Cultural Center or read your favorite Harry Potter book (it’s the Half Blood Prince for us) in the Pavilion in the Trees.

Where: Fairmount Park Horticulture Center, 100 N. Horticultural Drive

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12

Fels Planetarium at The Franklin Institute

Mirroring the enchanted ceiling inside Hogwarts’ Great Hall, the Fels Planetarium at The Franklin Institute features a giant domed ceiling that allows visitors to experience what the night sky would look like without interference from clouds, pollution or city lights. The immersive theater also screens films and presentations exploring the deep reaches of the cosmos and humanity’s place in the universe.

Where: The Franklin Institute, 222 N. 20th Street

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13

Fonthill Castle

Visitors to Fonthill Castle explore the grounds Visitors to Fonthill Castle explore the grounds
— Photo by B. Krist for Visit Philadelphia

Fonthill Castle, located in Doylestown adjacent to the Mercer Museum, holds the treasures of Henry Chapman Mercer, who built this Hogwarts-like storybook stone mansion in 1912. Modeled after a 13th-century Rhenish castle, the attraction features 44 rooms, more than 200 windows and 18 fireplaces. Even cooler, the ceilings and walls are embedded with handcrafted tiles from Mercer’s kilns at the adjacent Tile Works of Bucks County. Visitors can explore sections of the castle by booking a one-hour guided tour.

Where: Fonthill Castle, 525 E. Court Street, Doylestown

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14

Museum of Illusions

Museum of Illusions — Photo courtesy Museum of Illusions

Opens early spring 2022

Throughout the series, Harry is continually dumbfounded by the seeming impossibilities he encounters in the wizarding world. Get ready to join him in those feelings of wonderment. Due to open in early spring 2022, the Museum of Illusions in Old City features 80 exhibits meant to trick the eye. The attraction delights visitors with holograms, stereograms and optical illusions, all while teaching about vision, perception and the human brain.

Where: Museum of Illusions, 401 Market Street

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15

Mütter Museum

The Mütter Museum would fit right in along Knockturn Alley, which is known for its shady shops filled with strange objects and frequented by Dark Arts enthusiasts. This museum is dedicated to the mysteries of the human body and the history of medicine. Visitors can explore a collection of medical oddities and strange anatomies. There are more than 20,000 provocative items on display, including abnormal body parts preserved in fluid, skeletal formations — like that of a 7’6” man — diseased and enlarged organs, and much more.

Where: Mütter Museum, 19 S. 22nd Street

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16

Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens

People enjoying Philadelphia's Magic Gardens People enjoying Philadelphia's Magic Gardens
— Photo by J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia

Covering half a city block along South Street, the Magic Gardens were built by local artist Isaiah Zagar and opened to the public in 2008. Zagar used cement, bicycle spokes, bottles, tiles, ceramic shards — and plenty of other muggle-made objects that would fascinate Arthur Weasely — to create the winding, wondrous space that invites visitors to seek out magic and beauty in the world around them. This is one of the most photogenic spots in the city. Accio camera!

Where: Philadelphia's Magic Gardens, 1020 South Street

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17

Reptile and Amphibian House at the Philadelphia Zoo

Harry’s ability to speak to snakes plays a pivotal role throughout the series, and his accidental freeing of a boa constrictor is an early foreshadowing of his magical abilities. Luckily, the cold-blooded critters inside the Philadelphia Zoo’s Reptile and Amphibian House are behind glass. Let’s keep it that way — easy on the Parseltongue!

Where: Philadelphia Zoo, 3400 W. Girard Avenue

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18

Smoke & Mirrors Magic Theater

The magic stage shows at this theater in Montgomery County leave muggles scratching their heads. But Potterheads know what’s really going on — magic is real!

Where: Smoke & Mirrors Magic Theater, 2840 Pine Road

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19

Whispering Benches at Smith Memorial Arch

Smith Memorial Arch in Fairmount Park in Philadelphia Smith Memorial Arch in Fairmount Park in Philadelphia
— Photo courtesy Fairmount Park Conservancy

Though the acoustic phenomenon can be explained by science, we like to think there’s a bit of magic in this spot in Fairmount Park. Two people sitting on the far ends of the 50-foot benches below Smith Memorial Arch can communicate discreetly by whispering into the stone arch. The person at the other end can hear each whisper clearly — without the need for an extendable ear!

Where: Smith Memorial Arch, Avenue of the Republic & 41st Street Drive

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20

William H. Gray III 30th Street Station

There’s something magical about Philadelphia’s historic William H. Gray III 30th Street Station. The iconic transportation hub’s intricately patterned high ceilings, travertine walls and marble floors rival the glorious architecture of London’s King’s Cross railway station, home to the Hogwarts Express. Just don’t go running into walls: There’s no Platform 9 ¾ here (as far as we know).

Where: William H. Gray III 30th Street Station, 2955 Market Street

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Diagon Alley Shopping

21

Halloween

No, this isn’t one of those pop-up costume stores. Instead, Halloween is a custom jewelry shop tucked inside a converted row home on Pine Street. In a Potter-like twist, there’s no sign to alert you to what’s behind the large wooden door bookended by gargoyles. Step inside and you’ll feel as if a portkey has transported you to another place entirely. The walls are covered in custom display cases housing thousands of pieces that are either handmade by Halloween staff or collected from small makers from around the globe. Be careful — you never know which piece might serve as a Horcrux.

Where: Halloween, 1329 Pine Street

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22

Harry’s World

Harry’s World (no relation to our hero) is a bit like Harry Potter himself: A force for good with a grudging respect for the power of the Dark Arts. Inside this small occult shop on South Street, you’ll find spell candles, magic powders, essential oils, crystals, jewelry and other objects designed to ward off bad spirits. A shop straight out of the wizarding world, it’s part Borgin & Burkes, part Slug & Jiggers Apothecary.

Where: Harry's World, 1210 South Street

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23

Mostly Books

The muggle world equivalent of Flourish & Blotts magic bookstore, Mostly Books is a maze of vintage and rare finds. You won’t come across the Monster Book of Monsters here, but you can find just about anything else — if you’re willing to dig for it. Mostly Books is housed in a series of 19th-century stables and workshops, so shoppers can spend hours winding their way through the stacks. The store is also home to an impressive collection of movies, music, posters, artwork and more.

Where: Mostly Books, 529 Bainbridge Street

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24

Peddler’s Village

Flowers in bloom in Peddler's Village Flowers in bloom in Peddler's Village
— Photo by J. Smith for Visit Philadelphia

Charming Peddler’s Village, the Philadelphia region’s version of quaint Hogsmeade, is located in nearby Bucks County, about one hour from Center City. The area features 65 specialty shops, six restaurants and a cozy inn spread across 42 acres of landscaped grounds and winding walkways.

Where: Peddler's Village, 41 Peddler's Village Road, Lahaska

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25

Thunderbird Salvage

Deep inside Hogwarts lies the Room of Requirement, an enchanted room that transforms into whatever its visitor needs it to be most in that moment. That’s the vibe at Thunderbird Salvage, a vintage store in Fishtown that’s brimming with almost anything you could possibly want, including funky furniture, artwork and vintage knick knacks. There are plenty of hiding spots here for the Half Blood Prince’s diary. Just be careful if you encounter the vanishing cabinet!

Where: Thunderbird Salvage, 2441 Frankford Avenue

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Sweets, Drinks & Magical Eats

The Cauldron Philadelphia
The Dandelion
The Franklin Fountain and Shane's Confectionery
Mueller Chocolate Co. in Reading Terminal Market
The Plough & the Stars
The Random Tea Room & Curiosity Shop
Zipf's Candies

Wizarding Attractions

Bryn Athyn Cathedral
Chanticleer
Eastern State Penitentiary
Fairmount Park Horticulture Center
Fels Planetarium at The Franklin Institute
Fonthill Castle
Museum of Illusions
Mütter Museum
Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens
Reptile and Amphibian House at the Philadelphia Zoo
Smoke & Mirrors Magic Theater
Whispering Benches at Smith Memorial Arch
William H. Gray III 30th Street Station

Diagon Alley Shopping

Halloween
Harry’s World
Mostly Books
Peddler’s Village
Thunderbird Salvage
Visit Philly Overnight Hotel Package

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