All Wizards, Witches and Muggles are transported to a day at Hogwarts while exploring Harry Potter: Magic at Play. Located in Water Tower Place in the heart of Chicago, visitors will practice their Defense Against the Dark Arts, get lost in the Forbidden Forest, and even sample a round of Butterbeer.
Harry Potter: Magic at Play is filled with interactive exhibits and plenty of photo opportunities for all of the biggest Harry Potter fans. Details below will help guide your visit through the Great Hall, the Quidditch Field, and much more.
We were invited to a sneak peek of Harry Potter: Magic at Play and given an affiliate link for tickets, but all opinions are my own.
What to Expect at Harry Potter: Magic at Play
When the elevator opens, guests are dropped at the doorstep of 4 Privet Drive, complete with a parliament of owls lining the roof. You’ll wind your way through piles of letters from Hogwarts, to make your way to Platform 9 and 3/4, for the perfect photo opportunity. There’s a stop at the Hogwarts Express train, complete with snack cart of chocolate frogs and Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans, before making your way to the entrance of the Great Hall.
Once inside the wizardly world of Hogwarts, you’ll give Charms and Potions classes a try, hop on your Nimbus 2000 for a photo opportunity, and practice throwing Quaffles. While you’re welcome to take photos throughout the entire exhibit, there are a few special experiences with green screen imagery. These are a part of a souvenir photo package that can be purchased at checkout. A final stop at the Harry Potter custom LEGO character creator lets you make your own minifigurine and then swish and flick, dance, or simply move to bring your minifig to life.
No trip to Harry Potter: Magic at Play is complete with a stop in the gift shop. Here you’ll find robes and accessories for each of the houses, custom character wands, and nearly every other type of Harry Potter merchandise. You can also stop at the Owl Post and write a postcard to be sent to your favorite Muggles.
There is nowhere to eat while inside, but all guests are invited to sample Butterbeer! Since Harry Potter: Magic at Play is located within Water Tower Place, there are quite a few dining options. Stop at the JoJo’s Shake Bar kiosk or eat at M Burger next door. Please note: re-entry is not permitted, so plan your meals either before or after your visit.
When reserving your tickets in advance, you’ll be asked to select a 30-minute entry window. Harry Potter: Magic at Play is open Mondays and Thursdays, 12:00pm – 7:00pm, Fridays from 12:00pm – 9:00pm, and Saturdays from 10:00am – 9:00pm and Sundays from 10:00am – 7:00pm. Select Tuesdays and Wednesdays also have availability.
General admission tickets cost $37.50 per person ages 10 and up, $29.50 per child ages 3-9. Flexibility entry tickets are an additional $7 per person, which allows guests to come any time during the date selected. Premium tickets allow visitors to skip the line, receive a complimentary tote bag, and allows for one coat check item. Premium tickets are $59.50 per guest ages 10 and up, and $46 per child. Children ages 2 and under are free. These prices were updated on November 8, 2022 and is subject to change. Click here to buy tickets.
I brought my 9 and 7-year olds, and they were both blown away with the details. We have read the first Harry Potter book as a family, so they enjoyed seeing all of their favorites come to life. There’s no need to worry if you haven’t read (or watched) the complete series, we knew nearly all of the characters and experiences displayed. The Quidditch area put their skills to the test, and they loved practicing their wingardium leviosa. If you’ve read any of the books or watched the movies, you’ll marvel at the attention to bringing Harry’s world to Chicago. New and seasoned Harry Potter fans will come together to enjoy an afternoon at Harry Potter: Magic at Play.
Best Days/Times To Go
Tickets for Harry Potter: Magic at Play are selling out fast. We’d recommend looking for weekday tickets, or tickets at the start and end of the day. Weekend afternoons are sure to be busy.
Special Needs Accommodations
There were not designated quiet areas in this space, but we also didn’t notice any flashing lights or extremely loud noises. The whole space is wheelchair accessible, as there is elevator access throughout.
Harry Potter™: Magic at Play’s has a weekly morning storytime every Thursday for the month of July: July 6, 13, 20 and 27, 2023 at 11 am.
Looking for other new spots to visit? Check out our list of New Exhibits and Immersive Experiences in the Chicagoland.