Another chapter in the Wizarding World has begun with Harry Potter New York. Home to the biggest selection of Harry Potter and Fantastic Beast merchandise found under one roof, this three-story space in Manhattan’s Flatiron District is the world’s only official Harry Potter flagship store.
But don’t be fooled into thinking this is just a retail space. This is more than 21,000 square feet of space that’s also an interactive experience that showcases 15 themed rooms, two of which are exclusive-to-New York virtual reality (VR) experiences. In “Chaos At Hogwarts,” guests become Hogwarts students and join Dobby on adventures throughout the wizarding school, casting spells when needed; and in “Wizards Take Flight,” guests “hop” on a broom and join Hagrid on a few high-flying adventures, including an encounter with a few Death Eaters.
INSIDER TIPTickets for the VR experiences must be purchased in advance through the website and guarantee entry to the store (which means no need to deal with the virtual queue).
Other themed-areas range from a confectionary modeled after Honeydukes (with the largest chocolate frog we’ve ever seen) to House of MinaLima, a magical space full of books, posters, and stationary just like you see in the beloved movies (MinaLima is the brilliant design duo that delivered the graphic props for the Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts movies).
There’s a room dedicated to New York-exclusive merch as well as a room called Things That Must Be Named, where you can get all sorts of things personalized from Quidditch jerseys and journals to wands. Speaking of wands, you can gaze upon actual wands used in the movies (those of Bellatrix, Queenie, Newt, Ron, and Draco to name a few) in the Wand Shop. The shop also features an interactive wand table that invites visitors to test out those famous wands, plus there are more than 50 wands that you can buy, some of which were inspired by Wizarding World characters, locations, and props like the Golden Snitch wand, an exclusive Harry Potter New York item.
INSIDER TIPThere are more than 1000 movie props (including some authentic items featured in the movies like Harry’s Firebolt, a Death Eater mask, and Ravenclaw’s Diadem) scattered about the store.
There are photo ops galore, including the Floo Powder-activated fireplace (it’s the store’s elevator!), the London phone box that may or may not transport you to the Ministry of Magic, and the opportunity to experience what’s it like to be in Hagrid’s boots. There’s even a scavenger hunt throughout the store. Find all of the “Enchanted Keys” and unlock the puzzle, and you might just get a prize. The keys also unlock exclusive behind-the-scenes information and videos on the Harry Potter Fan Club app that add to the experience.
INSIDER TIPDownload the Harry Potter Fan Club app before your visit to help you gather the “Enchanted Keys” and make sure you pick up the Explore the Store map which will help you locate the harder-to-find keys. It’s also a cool souvenir.
And then there’s the Butterbeer Bar whose menu includes draft Butterbeer that’s served in a souvenir tankard, Butterbeer ice cream, and bottled Butterbeer that’s flown in from the U.K., along with a few baked goods we’ll let you discover. Believe us when we tell you that drinking Butterbeer straight from the tap is an experience you don’t want to miss. There’s also an exclusive New York label for bottled Butterbeer that was designed by MinaLima. Grab one while you can!
INSIDER TIPPlan to spend an hour or so in the store to get the full experience, and add on 30 minutes for each VR experience.
So how do you get to experience all of this Wizarding World Wonder? To visit the store, guests must join a virtual queue that starts each morning at 7 a.m. by scanning the QR code displayed outside the store, which sits between 5th Ave. and Broadway on 22nd St.; the store’s social media handles alert guests when the queue is full. You will then be given an entry time slot; go early because time slots do fill up quickly. Separate tickets are needed for the VR experiences ($34 per ride) and must be purchased ahead of time online. BUT, entry to the store is included in your VR experience ticket so if you don’t feel like queuing, this might be your golden snitch.