5 Reasons to Spend Harry Potter Weekend in Chestnut Hill,PA

For one weekend a year, the neighborhood of Chestnut Hill transforms from a quirky, quaint shopping and hangout spot to a life – sized version of the Harry Potter world. Overnight, the shops lining cobble-stoned Germantown Avenue adopt magical names and recreate scenes direct from J.K Rowling’s novels. Quant café’s become The Three Broomsticks or Madam Puddifoot’ tea shop and add Butterbeer and pumpkin juice to their menus. Many of the events, like the straw maze, the  Horcrux Scavenger Hunt, or costume parade are catered to children. There are still some events like the Potter Pub Crawl or the free HP movie marathons, which are more suitable for the adults and college students that frequent the area.

Plenty of events and entertainment  are crammed into this three-day weekend but here are the five reasons I wouldn’t miss this annual event.

Meet some Potter Characters

The one and only Dumbledore

The one and only Dumbledore

Popular characters like Ron, Hermione and even, Mr. Potter himself, can be seen wandering the streets and hosting magical events. I spotted Ron and Hermione helping some kiddies make their own wands outside of a candy shop and after missing Dumbledore’s Defense Against the Dark Class, I finally tracked him down. Unsurprisingly, he was observing a jellybean-eating contest.

Explore Hogsmeade

One of Germantown Avenue's many shops transformed for the weekend

One of Germantown Avenue’s many shops transformed for the weekend

While it’s fun seeing how the shops transform, the real pleasure comes from participating in the many activities. Areas are set up for visitors to write Harry Potter haikus, compete in pie eating contests, and learn some spells. 

The Bakery

The Bakery

Enjoy Some Magical Treats

Chestnut Hill is home to a number of award-winning bakeries and restaurants. When this time of year rolls around, the normal menus are accompanied by some Potter specialties. One local bakery added peanut butter golden snitches, cupcakes decorated in Gryffindor colors, and mini parcels full of delicious cake.

Penut Butter Snitches

Peanut Butter Snitches

Potter Cupcakes

Potter Cupcakes

The line at the candy shop wrapped around the corner as people waited to get their hands on chocolate frogs, Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans, and gummy insects. 

Another café served iced Butterbeer which , suspiciously, tasted a lot like root beer.

Butterbeer and other goodies

Butterbeer and other goodies

Watch a Quidditch Match

The game in action

The game in action

After loading up on goodies, you can head over to Platform 9 ¾ to catch a free shuttle  to Chestnut Hill College. Here, you can camp out on the sprawling lawn and watch a real life Qudditch game. Well, it’s more like real life college students straddling kitchen brooms and kicking balls through hula-hoops. But the games do get very intense; it’s not uncommon to see a rival player pushed off his brooms or for the spectators, sporting their house colors of course, to yell praise and insults at every goal.

Even the dead characters came out to play

Even the dead characters came out to play

The deserted Quidditch field after the match

The deserted Quidditch field after the match

*Harry Potter weekend usually takes place the weekend closest Halloween.

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