Grab your cloak from the closet and get your wand ready – Chestnut Hill’s massive (and massively popular!) Harry Potter Festival returns this weekend to the charming Chestnut Hill neighborhood in Northwest Philadelphia.
On Friday, October 20, the festivities kick off with the Wands and Wizards Night on the Avenue (6 to 9 p.m.), featuring an evening of free entertainment, a costume contest and magical food and drink specials at participating area restaurants.
The fun continues on Saturday, October 21 (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.) during the street festival and main part of the festival with wizarding and Sorting Hat demos, a Harry Potter-themed carnival, multiple beer gardens and food trucks and much, much more. Saturday is also when you can catch the all-day Philadelphia Brotherly Love Cup Quidditch Tournament, where teams from 10 different schools will compete.
For the first time ever, the event will span a full 12 blocks of Germantown Avenue, making it the largest Harry Potter Festival to date.
HARRY POTTER FESTIVAL FAST FACTS
- The Harry Potter Festival returns to Chestnut Hill, spanning 12 blocks this year.
- Friday, October 20 has been dubbed “Wands & Wizards Night on the Avenue” and runs from 6 to 9 p.m.
- On Saturday, October 21, the big street festival unfolds from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- Admission to the fest is free; food, drink and select activities are pay as you go.
Harry Potter Festival Overview
This year, the Harry Potter Festival will spread an enchanting experience over a record-breaking 12 blocks of Germantown Avenue from Cresheim Valley Drive to Chestnut Hill Avenue.
The avenue transforms into Philly’s own version of Hogwarts, complete with Harry Potter movie re-creations, themed food and drinks, interactive wizardry demonstrations and more.
Friday, October 20
The two-day fest kicks off with the new-this-year Wands and Wizards Night on the Avenue on Friday, October 20 from 6 to 9 p.m. Throughout the evening, guests can enjoy live performances around the festival grounds, extended hours at avenue shops and food and drink specials at participating bars and restaurants.
Guests of the Friday night festivities can also partake in a costume contest and enjoy a screening of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone in the Gryffindor Common Room (Presbyterian Church of Chestnut Hill’s fellowship hall).
Saturday, October 21
The main event — the street festival part of the Harry Potter Festival — starts at 10 a.m. on Saturday, October 21.
Those with kids will want to consider buying the new-to-this-year Magical Make and Take Zones wristband, offering children the chance to take part in interactive activities at 10 different zones. The $20 (per person) wristband gives festival-goers access to all of the activities, such as the make-your-own golden snitch workshop, designed for children four to 12 years old but open to those of any age. Wristbands are available online.
Free festival activities include plenty of Quidditch-watching opportunities (more on that below), Potter quizzo, a wizard dance party, Sorting Hat and wizardry demonstrations, a muggles read-a-thon and photo-ops at places like Hedwig’s Hollow Selfie Park and Platform 9 ¾.
Guests are also invited to swing by Ella Vanilla for the bakery’s Harry Potter Cake Show, where a variety of elaborate themed cakes will be on display.
Note that while admission to the festival is free, some activities do require a small fee, so be sure to bring cash! Pay-as-you-go activities include fortune telling, potion making and a straw maze at the Woodmere Art Museum.
For a full rundown of events happening in Chestnut Hill this weekend for the Harry Potter Festival, click here.
One of the main festival events is the 8th Annual Philadelphia Brotherly Love Cup Quidditch Tournament at Chestnut Hill College.
The tournament runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and features teams from 10 different schools like Villanova University, Drexel University, University of Massachusetts Amherst and Vassar College as well as Philly’s own Philadelphia Honey Badgers. Admission to the tournament is completely free.
Food & Drink
Tons of great restaurants and bars line Germantown Avenue — and many of the spots will serve up food and drink specials for the festival.
On Friday evening, hit up places like The Night Kitchen, serving up butterscotch beer with shots of firebolt (Fireball whiskey) and eats such as golden frog iced brownies and pulled pork sliders.
Then on Saturday, Paul’s Great Hall at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church will show off its decked out dining room full of themed decor (including floating candles!) and will serve up a luncheon of Shepard’s pie, salad, all-ages butter beer and other tasty treats. Join favorited Hogwarts teachers at the feast, which will hold seatings at 11:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. Tickets can be purchased here.
From 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., The Presbyterian Church of Chestnut Hill hosts an all-day pancake feast set to the backdrop of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban playing on a big screen. Tickets can be purchased here.
This year’s Harry Potter Festival also features two new beer gardens. Head to either the Woodmere Art Museum or the Chestnut Hill Beer Garden at Market at The Fareway to enjoy sudsy “potions” al fresco.
Plenty of food trucks — including The Cow and The Curd, Deke’s Food Truck, The Tot Cart and Waffles and Wedges — will also be onsite and ready to serve up eats to hungry muggles and wizards alike.
Getting There & Staying Over
SEPTA Regional Rail will transport guests from Center City to Hogsmeade (Chestnut Hill) and Harry Potter characters will come along for the ride on select trains.
Getting to Chestnut Hill via SEPTA is easy. Both the Chestnut Hill East and Chestnut Hill West lines will be dropping guests off in the heart of the festival at the the Chestnut Hill East and Chestnut Hill West stations respectively. Those arriving via SEPTA Regional Rail should note that tickets must be purchased in advance.
For those driving, limited parking will be available at multiple satellite lots in the neighborhood. Three of the lots will be within walking distance and all other lots will have shuttle services to and from the festival. Click here for info on the locations of the parking lots.
The Harry Potter Festival is the perfect excuse to spend a night (or two!) in the Philadelphia area. Book the Visit Philly Overnight Hotel Package and get free hotel parking, two Philadelphia’s Historic District Passes and free PHLASH passes.
Whether you pledge allegiance to Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw or Slytherin, the festival awaits for all who seek a magical experience. We’ll see you out there!