The Windy City happens to be filled with wonder and magical spots. Harry Potter™: Magic at Play made its worldwide debut in downtown Chicago on 11/11, so we’ve rounded up 13 places in the city with the Hogwarts™ aesthetic so you, too, can add a little magic to your day.
1. Harry Potter™: Magic At Play
Feel the magic of Harry Potter™, and be sure to secure your spot to visit the world premiere of Harry Potter™: Magic At Play at Water Tower Place, which touched down in Chicago for a limited time. This magical interactive experience takes Potterheads on a journey to Hogwarts™. Created by Warner Bros. Themed Entertainment and Original X Productions (OGX), the experience takes over 30,000 square feet for young wizards and witches of all ages to enjoy magical surprises, take potion-making classes, practice their Quidditch skills, and so much more! It’s only here temporarily, leaving the Magnificent Mile on May 14th–snag your tickets now!
Location: Water Tower Place, 835 North Michigan AvenueThe magical Harry Potter™ experience will bring out the young wizard in us all—grab tickets now before it disappears, leaving Chicago in May!
2. The Chicago Athletic Association Hotel
The Chicago Athletic Association Hotel’s grand lobby looks like it’s straight out of the Harry Potter™ series with its kitschy gothic architecture. The hotel’s plush lobby has detailed woodwork, leather seating, and a cozy fireplace, and it is a place you’d want to spend hours reading or chatting with friends. Plan a stop at the Game Room for shuffleboard, bocce ball, or a game of chess.
Location: 12 South Michigan AvenueDiscover the Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ in Chicago
3. Hutchinson Commons at the University of Chicago
If you are looking for Harry Potter™-inspired settings in Chicago, you must visit the University of Chicago. It’s no secret that this university looks a lot like Hogwarts™. Campus Explorer noted the resemblance saying, “perhaps the most Hogwarts™-like of any U.S. school.” If you are a student at this prestigious university or are planning a wedding or decadent soiree, you may be lucky enough to feast your eyes upon Hutchinson Commons.
While this space serves as a dining hall for students during the school year, it was actually built to resemble Oxford University’s Christ Church, which was the setting for the Great Hall in the Harry Potter™ movies. It’s a little slice of magic on Chicago’s South Side. Plus, there’s a hidden coffee shop called Hallowed Grounds that you must check out!
Location: 5706 South University Avenue
4. HERO Coffee Bar
HERO Coffee Bar in the West Loop has the most whimsical entrance. With a narrow cobblestone street and string lights, this magical spot is the perfect place to start your day with a fresh brew of coffee.
Location: 22 East Jackson Avenue
5. Northwestern University Streeterville Campus
It turns out that the Windy City is an excellent place to find the Hogwarts™-esque aesthetic. Northwestern University Streeterville Campus has gothic architecture and picturesque courtyards, making it the perfect spot to check out while visiting the city. This university is another place we suggest seeing to discover the magic of Harry Potter™ in Chicago.
Location: 645 North Michigan Avenue
6. Stony Island Arts Bank
The library at Hogwarts™, helmed by the stringent Madam Pince, is one of the most emblematic settings of the Harry Potter™ movies. In Chicago, we have the Stony Island Arts Bank, which was built in 1923 and served as a bank. It was lovingly restored in 2015 and is now used as a 17,000-square-foot community center, library, media archive, and gallery.
Like the library in the movies, this spot has thousands of books to devour and is definitely a place you must visit when finding magical locations in the city. While we doubt you’ll see books fly, you’ll feel like you’re at Hogwarts™ with its cozy feel and mounds of books.
Location: 6760 South Stony Avenue
7. Malliway Bros Shop
Chicago is home to a slew of metaphysical shops, and one of our absolute favorites has to be Malliway Bros Shop in the Rogers Park neighborhood, owned by brothers Wycke and Blake Malliway. The shop filled with charms, spells, potions, and crystals is housed in a former apothecary shop—so you’ll find lots of exciting finds within its drawers and everything to ignite your inner wizard or witch.
Location: 1407 West Morse AvenueTake unique classes like Potions, Charms, and Divination at Harry Potter™: Magic at Play.
9. The Publican
For a communal dining scenario similar to the Great Hall at Hogwarts™, venture to the West Loop’s The Publican for an enchanting experience that will surely do the trick. Executive Chef Paul Kahan has developed a menu with rustic elements and all of the comfort food we love, including savory bread, pork dishes, mussels, and more. Helmed by One Off Hospitality, the restaurant is modern yet has an old-world influence that is perfect for bringing a bit of magic to your world.
Location: 837 West Fulton Market
9. Cable House
Even just strolling around the city can put you in front of architecture that resembles the Wizarding World. Case in point: The Cable House, just off of Michigan Avenue, was built in 1886 in the Richardsonian Romanesque-style and is a sight to see. While you can’t go inside because it’s the offices of Driehaus Capital Management, you can still marvel at its magic while out on a walk.
Location: 25 East Erie StreetWizards of all ages will be enthralled by this hands-on adventure in Chicago.
10. The University Club of Chicago
The University Club of Chicago is the place to celebrate literature and the arts. The private club began its lovely traditions back in 1887, and today the club has a slew of amenities that members and guests can enjoy, including 59 guest rooms, dining spots, and 13 spaces for private events. Some of our top picks for a Hogwarts™-esque resemblance include Cathedral Hall, which has Neo-Gothic stained glass windows and proudly displays college symbols, the Michigan Room with its Mahogany wood, hand-painted ceiling, and fireplaces, and of course, the Library on the 8th floor, ideal for intimate gatherings or dinners for a feel that any Potterhead would love.
Location: 76 East Monroe Street
11. Winter Garden Rooftop
If you want to feel as if you are at the Yule Ball from Harry Potter™ and the Goblet of Fire, be sure to visit the Winter Garden Rooftop, a hidden gem inside the Harold Washington Library located on the 9th floor. The atrium features a spectacular glass roof that is perfect for taking in snowfall during winter in Chicago and will transport you to another world. In our opinion, this space is ideal for a gala event reminiscent of the stunning winter ball in the Wizarding World™. With room for 400 guests for a sit-down dinner…it definitely would be.
Location: 400 South State StreetGuests can go on a journey to Hogwarts™, starting from Privet Drive to Platform 9 ¾™, with the chance to seek out many wonders hidden in the Forbidden Forest!
12. The Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Another opportunity to feel like you’re in the world of Hogwarts™ is visiting the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. We recommend attending the CSO-themed Harry Potter™ concerts this spring and summer to feel like you are part of that universe.
Location: Symphony Center, 220 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60604
13. Hogsmeade on Harlem
Potterheads can discover a wizardly transformation inspired by the world of Harry Potter on the 7100 block of Berwyn, right off of Harlem and the 90 expressway every October. On the weekends, the display even has special effects every Friday-Sunday, so put this on your list of to-do’s next year!
Harry Potter™: Magic at Play
Top Photo: via Shutterstock