Special Events

Harry Potter Bewitches New York City

Prep for the Broadway premiere of “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” with these six Hogwarts-approved activities around town.

Photo courtesy of Puffs

In case you live in the cupboard under the stairs and haven’t heard…the world’s most popular wizard (along with his troubled son) is coming to New York City. The 22-time award-winning Harry Potter and the Cursed Child will be finally making an appearance on Broadway April 22, 2018.  Thousands of devoted fans digitally stormed the official website to register for tickets on October 1; unsurprisingly, the immense volume of visitors caused a crash worse than Neville Longbottom’s during his first flying lesson.

If you’re anything like me and read the stage-to-page version in one sitting, you can’t wait to get your hands on a pair of tickets. Instead of sitting by the window waiting for your owl to arrive  (take it from a muggle who’s still checking her mail for that Hogwarts invite), give these spellbinding spots a try instead. From Hermione-approved trivia nights to “potion-making” classes, NYC is helping you gear up for the boy wizard’s premiere on the Great White Way. By the time you try all of these Potter-themed eats, satires, and Where’s-Weasley, I mean, -Waldo-type walking tours, April 22 will be here before you know it. Trust us, we’re here to help. Always.

1. Discover it’s cool to be a Hufflepuff.

You won’t be able to see the Boy Who Lived until next spring, but self-proclaimed Hufflepuffs, rejoice; a little off-Broadway play is making big waves at New World Stages. But this is not the Potter tale you love and adore: Part parody, part heartwarming comedy, Puffs, Or: Seven Increasingly Eventful Years at a Certain School of Magic and Magic puts a spotlight on the students who lurked in the shadows of the brave Gryffindors, brainy Ravenclaws, and surly Slytherins. Follow the nerdy and awkward Wayne and his friends as they try to make it through wizarding school (in one piece) and embrace their inner loser to come out on top. And no, the company doesn’t cast the Rictusempra Charm—you’ll be buckling over in laughter all on your own.

Puffs, Or: Seven Increasingly Eventful Years at a Certain School of Magic and Magic
New World Stages
340 West 50th Street (between Eighth and Ninth Avenues), Hell’s Kitchen

2. “Turn to page 394…”

If your Remembrall turns a deep shade of scarlet, you might want to brush up on your Harry Potter facts (or maybe a tutoring session with Hermione in the library?). Trivia, AD puts your memory of J.K. Rowling’s series to the test at some of the city’s best bars and pubs. Put your thinking cap on and don’t overdo the (butter)beer; you’ll want to be in top shape to score an Exceeds Expectations during all five rounds of this intense gaming event. We’ll even help you practice: In the Chamber of Secrets, what did Harry give Dobby to set him free?

Harry Potter (Book) Trivia
McGarry’s Pub & Restaurant
417 Ninth Avenue (between West 33rd and 34th Streets), Midtown West
Monday, October 23 (more event times and locations found on Trivia, AD)

3. Skip the chocolate frogs.

Whether by Floo Powder, broomstick, or portkey, you’ll want to get yourself to this eatery  faster than you can yell “Diagonilly!” New Yorkers’ very own Great Hall, Pasta Wiz, boasts floating books, wax hands gripping light fixtures, and stone walls that might remind you of a certain chamber. But more important, this structural cosplay is conjuring up some tasty food (minus the rock cakes and cockroach clusters). We recommend trying the Forbidden Forest Smoothie, with kale, ginger, banana, and hemp protein. And even He Who Must Not Be Named joined in on the fun with his Dark Lord smoothie (drink at your own risk). Vegan witches and wizards can order a helping of the Fairy Tale pasta with sun-dried tomatoes, zucchini, and peppers mixed in. While its Williamsburg location is currently closed (I hear they’re dealing with a serious doxy infestation), you can enjoy the same mouthwatering menu at its brand-new location in lower Manhattan. We promise you’ll love it—and we take our Forbidden Vows very seriously.

Pasta Wiz Express
126 MacDougal Street (between West 3rd and Bleecker Streets), Greenwich Village
Sunday–Thursday, 11–1 a.m.; Friday–Saturday, 11–5 a.m.

4. Rediscover NYC’s most popular museum.

The next time you take a tour through the Metropolitan Museum of Art, you might want to take a closer look at your favorite pieces—they might remind you of your favorite Harry Potter characters and places! On Watson Adventures’s Wizard School Scavenger Hunt, both kids and adults are invited to search the museum’s long corridors and hidden rooms to find connections between the muggle and magical worlds during a fun interactive experience. You’ll have just two hours to uncover objects like “flying owls and dragons, centaurs and unicorns, and figures as scary as a Death Eater or Dementor” with your team. Work fast, or simply whisper the Accio incantation and have the objects come to you!

harry potter new york
Kids embark on their Watson Adventure; photo by Mark A. King

Watson Adventures: Wizard School Scavenger Hunt
Metropolitan Museum of Art
1000 Fifth Avenue, Upper East Side
Saturday, November 25
Adults: $42; seniors: $35; children/college students: $31

5. Have a taste of polyjuice and provolone.

What goes best with a strong, freshly brewed potion? Cheese, of course. And where better to curd out than Murray’s Cheese Shop? During the shop’s Hogwarts class, enjoy a tasting of six different homemade premium cheeses paired with four boozy cocktails. Expert instructors help enhance your knowledge on their signature foodstuff, all while keeping with a surprise Harry Potter theme—you won’t know what it is until you arrive!

Hogwarts Cheese & Potions
Murray’s Cheese Shop
254 Bleecker Street (between Leroy and Morton Streets), Greenwich Village
Friday, October 27, 6:30–8 p.m.

6. Drink with the Chosen One.

It’s no Three Broomsticks, but there’s simply no better place to culminate your wicked Harry Potter crawl than at midtown’s Barcelona Bar. It is famously known for its list of 100-plus shot varieties, most of which are named after some of the most recognizable pop culture references (like Top Gun and Return of the King). But the watering hole’s intoxicating crown jewel, aptly named Harry Potter, is the all-frills cocktail Potterheads dream about. Bartenders dress in the signature red and yellow scarf, and after muttering a few spells along with a quick swish and flick, magically light your shot on fire—lots of fire. What’s in it? Maybe if you paid better attention in Professor Snape’s Potions class, you’d know it was made from a citrus-based vodka.

Barcelona Bar
923 Eighth Avenue (between West 54th and 55th Streets), Hell’s Kitchen
Open daily, 4 p.m.–4 a.m.