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Inside the world’s biggest ‘Harry Potter’ store, a magical emporium with a cafe, games, and exclusive products

Summary List PlacementThe world's largest "Harry Potter" store opens in New York City this week, and the magical emporium is so much more than a place to buy merchandise. After being delayed amid the coronavirus pandemic, the three-floor store based on the fantasy series by controversial author J.K. Rowling officially...

harry potter store nyc

Summary List Placement

The world’s largest “Harry Potter” store opens in New York City this week, and the magical emporium is so much more than a place to buy merchandise.

After being delayed amid the coronavirus pandemic, the three-floor store based on the fantasy series by controversial author J.K. Rowling officially opens on Thursday.

I had a chance to visit the shop before its grand opening, and it was like stepping into a combination of a store, a museum, and the Wizarding World itself. 

Read on to see what it’s like exploring the massive and magical store.

Right when I walked in, I was greeted by a familiar face

harry potter store tour enterance

I entered the store at the corner of 5th Avenue and 22nd Street, which opened straight into the New York-exclusive merch section.

The first thing I saw was Fawkes, Professor Dumbledore’s Phoenix, suspended over the central table full of shirts, mugs, and hats.

A store employee wearing a black mask with “Harry Potter New York” printed in gold immediately greeted me and gave a brief explanation of where to find the different sections of the store.

The mask, which all the employees were wearing, was also available for purchase as one of the store’s exclusive products.

After getting my bearings, I ventured farther into the shop. 

I made my way to the section dedicated to the four Hogwarts Houses

harry potter store tour hufflepuff merchandise

The room next to the New York section was full of items sorted by the four Hogwarts Houses: Gryffindor, Slytherin, Ravenclaw, and Hufflepuff.

Each area featured framed images of students from their corresponding houses, such as Draco Malfoy in Slytherin and Newt Scamander in Hufflepuff. The sections also displayed items related to the houses, like Luna Lovegood’s lion headpiece in the Gryffindor area.

harry potter store tour gryffindor merchandise

The entire ceiling was decorated with silhouettes of quidditch players, and the floor had a brilliant blue-and-gold design.

I’d only been there for three minutes and there was already so much to take in. 

I downloaded the store’s app so I could play an interactive game around the store

harry potter store tour enchanted keys map

As I made my way through the first few sections, I learned you could use the store’s app to find Enchanted Keys.

Display cases filled with actual movie props could be found throughout the store, and each one is marked with a symbol consisting of a key with wings. 

Shoppers can download the Harry Potter Fan Club app and scan those symbols around the store to unlock more information about the prop and reveal a secret letter.

harry potter store props

After collecting nine letters and discovering the secret word, you can go to a cashier to claim a mysterious prize.

I was impressed that the store set up an entire game for its shoppers, so I eagerly downloaded the app. 

harry potter store tour app and enchanted keys

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to scan enough props to reveal the code, but I enjoyed using the app to unlock information about each object.

When I scanned the props, “fact files” popped up with behind-the-scenes trivia, information about the item’s role in the series, and a poll.

For Harry’s golden snitch, the poll asked which quidditch position I would want to play, and the added information explained how its digital effects were created in the movies. 

It was amazing to explore around the store and find displays of real movie props like the golden egg from “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” and the Elder Wand.

Moving into the wand section felt like stepping right into Ollivanders

harry potter store tour wands

Next, I wandered into the wand section, which was packed floor to ceiling with boxes of wands.

It felt like I’d been transported into Ollivanders on Diagon Alley.

The wands of all the main characters were available for purchase as well as 14 different limited-edition Hogwarts-themed wands.

I was disappointed that each Hogwarts House had three different themed wands except for Ravenclaw, which only had two. As someone who identifies as a Ravenclaw and already felt pretty underrepresented in the books, this was a bit of a blow.

The section also offered a New York-exclusive wand called the Golden Snitch and a $160 Dumbledore’s Army Wand Collection featuring Harry, Hermione, Ron, Ginny, Neville, and Luna’s wands.

The wand section opened up into the interactive dueling experience where visitors can stand in front of an orb and duel with the wands of famous “Harry Potter” characters.

I happened to walk up while a staff member was explaining the area, and after watching two friends duel each other, I got to try it out.

When I grabbed the wand nearest to me, Ron Weasley’s face appeared on the orb, along with information about his wand.

For the actual duel, two people grab onto wands and watch their spells fly across the orb.

I lost my duel, but I was comforted by the prospects of drinking some Butterbeer soon, so I moved on from the area. 

The center of the store featured a huge spiral staircase

harry potter store staircase'

After I left the wand area, I got my first good view of the spiral staircase at the center of the store.

It featured a huge Griffin perched on a stone column, similar to the entrance to Dumbledore’s office in the films. 

The column itself had quotes inscribed into it, including Dumbledore’s line from “Goblet of Fire,” “It matters not what someone is born, but what they grow to be.”

At this point, I’d been in the store for around 20 minutes and only seen a few sections, so I ventured downstairs to the cellar, excited for what was to come.

I bee-lined for the book section, which was filled with ‘flying’ hardbacks 

harry potter store tour book section

When I walked downstairs, the book section immediately caught my attention. 

The area had an archway made of books surrounded by brick walls, and it felt like a small London book shop.

An employee told me that the bricks were designed to match the ones in London’s King’s Cross Station, and as soon as he said that, I realized that’s why it reminded me of English city.

When I walked into the book area, I couldn’t decide what to look at first.

harry potter store tour flying books

There were “flying” copies of the “Harry Potter” books suspended overhead, actual artwork from the books on the brick walls, and quotes from the series scattered around the area. 

harry potter store tour tom riddle diary

The Tom Riddle’s diary prop with the basilisk fang sticking out of it was even on display in the book section.

It was like a dream library for fans of the books, and it made me want to start rereading them for the fourth time.

I somehow managed to pull myself away and check out the rest of the store — though I did return later to buy two books.

The next section was dedicated to the Dark Arts, complete with a hissing Nagini

harry potter store tour nagini

A massive version of Nagini hung above the next area, officially marking the Dark Arts section of the store.

An employee told me that Nagini can make hissing sounds and speak to guests in Parseltongue, but she didn’t make any noises while I was there.

The area still had plenty of things to look at without that, such as the two styles of Death Eater masks used in the films, Marvolo Gaunt’s ring, and mirrors with the Deathly Hallows symbol.

Visitors can get personalized merchandise that makes them feel like part of the Wizarding World

harry potter store tour personalized section

Next to the Dark Arts section was the personalization area, appropriately labeled “Things That Must Be Named.”

The area featured wizard robes, quidditch jerseys, and Hogwarts trunks that can all be personalized with shoppers’ names.

Some of the wands can also be inscribed in this section. 

harry potter store tour hogwarts letters

Fans who are still waiting for their Hogwarts letter to arrive by owl can even buy personalized, handwritten ones in the store.

There are also massive trunk gift sets sold with candy, house-specific clothing, Hogwarts letters, and more inside.

You could spend a few galleons on the products in the jewelry section

harry potter store tour jewelry section

The next section was full of jewelry that ranged from single- to triple-digit prices.

harry potter store tour jewelry

There were necklaces and earrings featuring a golden snitch and the Deathly Hallows, as well as others that looked like Time-Turners.

harry potter store tour makeup

The area also offered “Harry Potter” makeup, with items like the Deathly Hallows brush set and Luna Lovegood’s mirror and purse.

Later in the summer, shoppers will have the chance to ‘fly’ like the characters from the series

harry potter store tour take flight exhbit

Just past the jewelry counter was the “Wizards Take Flight” attraction, an interactive flight experience that’s set to open in mid-July.

I was slightly disappointed that I wasn’t able to try the attraction, but I still got to see Harry’s broom in front of it.

The last section in the cellar was dedicated to the films’ graphic designers

harry potter store tour minalima section

I saved what looked like the most interesting part of the cellar floor for last: the House of MinaLima.

I wasn’t sure what the name of the section meant at first, but both a plaque and an employee explained that MinaLima refers to Miraphora Mina and Eduardo Lima, the graphic-design duo who created many of the props for the “Harry Potter” and “Fantastic Beasts” films.

They even have their own real-life House of MinaLima gallery in London. 

This section’s red walls and carnival-style lights were the brightest and most eye-catching exterior in the entire shop.

The entrance itself had illustrations covering every inch, including massive wanted posters for Harry Potter and Sirius Black.

Being surrounded by the creations of people who brought such a beloved series to life was amazing, and the sheer number of things to look at in the room overwhelmed me.

harry potter store tour minalima floor

The entire floor was covered with the Marauder’s Map, and the walls were covered in the Black family tree.

harry potter store tour black family tree

I really liked how the wallpaper looked and couldn’t resist walking around and reading names until I found some of the well-known relatives like Bellatrix Lestrange and Draco Malfoy.

harry potter store fireplace

It’s hard to pick a favorite part of the room given how many incredible details were around me, but seeing the Dursleys’ fireplace overflowing with Hogwarts letters was very cool. 

If I came back when the shop was crowded, I’d plan on going to this section first because it was the most unique part of the entire store. It was almost like a museum full of “Harry Potter” art.

Shoppers can travel through the Floo Network in the store’s elevator

harry potter store ground elevator

Before I headed back upstairs, an employee asked me if I’d seen the elevator yet, which had a fire design on its doors surrounded by the green Ministry of Magic tiles to mimic the Floo Network from the series

They encouraged me to use it on my way upstairs, and my curiosity was piqued enough for me to step inside.

harry potter store inside elevator

I was stunned to see that the entire interior of the elevator was painted black with green lights and flames, imitating the look of the Floo Powder effect from the movies.

harry potter store tour elevator upstairs

The elevator door on the upper floor was decorated like another fireplace, so it really felt like I’d taken a trip through the Floo Network. 

The Forbidden Forest section was full of magical creatures

harry potter store tour forbidden forest enterence

When I got back upstairs, I headed to the Forbidden Forest area, which featured a Hagrid cut-out at the entrance. 

Shoppers can measure how tall they are against the friendly half-giant, and they can even compare shoe sizes. 

harry potter store tour forbidden forest

The rest of the section was marked by several large trees and plenty of recognizable creatures from the “Harry Potter” and “Fantastic Beasts” series.

There were even plush toys of Hedwig, Fawkes, and Aragog.

As I was looking around the area, I suddenly heard a loud engine sound, which an employee explained was the Weasley’s flying car that goes off every 15 minutes. 

harry potter store tour forbidden forest section

I also peered into the glasses on the Whomping Willow to find Pickett the Bowtruckle from the “Fantastic Beasts” movies. 

There’s a decor section for anyone who wants to take a bit of the magic back home

harry potter store tour home decor

Some of the bedding and vanity-table options in the store’s home-decor section looked cool, but I couldn’t see myself paying the steep prices for them.

I could, however, see this area being popular for fans decorating a dorm room or new bedroom.

After spinning the Time-Turner clock a few times without any magical results, I made my way to the next section. 

The confectionery looked just as sweet as Honeydukes

harry potter store tour confectionary

The sweets-filled confectionery was the most whimsical-looking section, with bright green-and-white walls and a classic checkered floor.

I was immediately drawn to the Butterbeer wall and was glad to see that fans could buy the drink in packs to bring home.

harry potter store tour candy

The area also included sweets from the series, like Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans and chocolate frogs.

harry potter store tour chocolate frogs

The chocolate-frog selection also featured a large frog overlooking the rows of sweets that apparently ribbits intermittently.

I ventured into the Butterbeer Bar for a sweet treat

harry potter store tour butterbeer bar

After seeing so many sweets and rows of Butterbeer, I had to visit the Butterbeer Bar to satisfy my sudden craving for a sugary snack.

harry potter store butterbeer bar

The refreshments area was just as charming as the rest of the shop, with a full wall of Butterbeer bottles on display, “floating” menu boards, and pipes that appear to be pumping the drink throughout the room.

The Butterbeer label featured on the barrels stacked along the wall and on the cup itself was also designed by MinaLima.

harry potter store tour treats

I’d already visited the bar a few weeks ago, so I knew I loved the Butterbeer, but I was excited to try more of the treats. 

Unfortunately, the Butterbeer ice cream wasn’t available yet, so I paired my drink with a Hedwig cupcake instead.

The vanilla cake featured a fondant Hedwig holding a fondant Hogwarts letter. The decorations were cute, but they weren’t particularly appealing to eat. 

The cake itself was good, but it’s not something I’d order again.

The Butterbeer, however, was sweet and refreshing, and I know I’ll keep coming back for it. 

“Harry Potter” fans who want to try the delicious drink but don’t have time to go into the store can also order from the take-out Butterbeer Bar window outside.

I looked through a final section of merchandise before heading out

harry potter store tour merchandise

After I finished my Butterbeer and cupcake, I realized there was another section of merchandise I hadn’t explored yet.

I couldn’t believe there was still more to look at, but I was glad I didn’t miss out on seeing Luna Lovegood’s section before I left.

Her Spectrespecs were featured on wristlets, shirts, and larger bags next to some recognizable Luna quotes.

harry potter store tour maurauders map section

There was also a section full of Marauder’s Map-inspired merchandise. 

Choosing what to buy wasn’t easy, but I settled on a few of my favorite items

harry potter store tour purchases

I spent my last 20 minutes or so in the store trying to decide what to buy before landing on two books, the New York exclusive mask, and a few bottles of Butterbeer.

A cashier told me that only 20% of the store’s products are featured on the website, which is surprising given that the online store has over 900 items. But I guess the massive selection makes sense for the world’s largest “Harry Potter” store

harry potter store tour bags

The bag my purchases were placed in had a Daily Prophet article about Dumbledore printed on one side, and different-size bags featured different articles.

The other side of the bag displayed the store’s name and New York address.

I already can’t wait to go back to the store once it’s open to the public

I was able to check out every section currently open and take my time exploring, but there was still plenty more to see.

I know I’ll definitely be going back when the rest of the store is finished, especially since I already want to revisit the MinaLima area and buy more Butterbeer.

The store ended up having way more to experience than just shopping. It truly felt like part of the Wizarding World had been transported into New York City.

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