From Quidditch to Cauldrons: An Insider’s Guide to Whimsic Alley
The wizarding world’s boy wonder turned 32 this summer and fans filed past the shops of Diagon Alley to raise mugs of butter beer, saluting the heroic character, in Hogwarts’ Great Hall. Tucked away on a bustling stretch of Wilshire in the Miracle Mile, Whimsic Alley is a living tribute to all things Potter. A caged Hedwig (replica) greets visitors upon entry, where the ‘sky’ above is an iridescent blue. This hidden treasure holds monthly events, camps for kiddos and grown ups, sponsors Quidditch tournaments and even publishes a quarterly newsletter, The Quibbler.
Explore the Stores: The self-proclaimed ‘Shopping Haven for Wizards of Distinction,’ Whimsic Alley (since 1367, as its sign boasts) is a collection of shops resembling London’s Diagon Alley, each specializing in Hogwarts necessities, collector’s items or sundry memorabilia. Wizards and witches of every age and ability can find anything from Hogwarts’ uniforms to sorting hats of all sizes, Rita Skeeter’s Quick Quotes Quill to the magical Marauder’s Map. Sample the unique tastes of Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans or Pilcher & Bott’s chocolate bludgers. Outfit your wee wizards in V-necks and ties from Habber & Dasher and pick up a velvet Professor’s robe to inspire timely homework completion. Explore the shelves of Flourish and Blott’s for journals on potions, spell cookbooks and lexicons on Potter terms. Game lovers can stock up on the latest releases or find figurines and wall decals to transform a room into Harry’s dormitory in Gryffindor Tower.
Wave Your Wand: Step into a miniature Ollivander’s Wand Shop to select the magical tool just right, whether simply wooden like Harry’s or intricately carved as Voldemort’s ivory phoenix head. Whimsic Alley’s uber-friendly and knowledgeable staff will let the kiddies test the feel of each while regaling them with content details of the individual implements.
Tea Time in The Great Hall: Monthly gatherings in The Great Hall are dress-up parties with varying themes, including the annual sell-out Yule Ball. Potter look-alikes serve eager attendees at long dining tables like Hogwarts’ own. High tea times have staggered starts to ensure an intimate feel, and tickets can be purchased months in advance to minimize last-minute disappointments.
Banquets and birthdays enable exclusive use of The Great Hall, with personalized invitations and robed ‘professors’ to guide the festivities. Imagine a blushing Hermoine or dashing Harry and friends donning robes, getting sorted into houses, learning wizarding skills and garnering house points while partaking of sweets and savories of their fancy.
Warthogs Academy: Their wildly popular summer day camps run in 2-week sessions, with weeklong options as available. Aspiring wizards and witches make brooms, play Quidditch, and learn the arts of spells, potions and handling of magical creatures. For the work-a-world crowd, play hooky for 4 days in February and attend ‘The Camp That Lived” for so-called grown-ups; options include a Hogs Head pub crawl.
What’s More: Devotees of J.K. Rowling’s Pottermore site who’ve been sorted into houses can exchange old robes, sweaters and ties for new ones. For a limited time, Whimsic Alley will pay cash for trade-ins when purchasing a new item of the same kind (i.e. a cardigan for a cardigan, a robe for a robe). Doesn’t matter where you purchased the items originally – or even if they’re homemade!
And don’t miss the thematically decorated bathroom, complete with Dumbledore’s pensieve, in case the information-overload requires your little one (or you!) to store a few memories before departing.
5464 Wilshire Boulevard
Los Angeles, Ca 90036
Hours: Open Mon – Fri 11:00 am – 6:00 pm, Sat-Sun 10:00 am – 6:00 pm
Tell us your favorite Harry Potter movie and then the best parts about Whimsic Alley below!
– Kim Orchen Cooper (Thanks for the awesome photos too!)