The Harry Potter series features some of the most iconic locations in fiction today. When fans look back on Harry's adventures, they remember of the magical streets of Diagon Alley, the ancient halls of Hogwarts and the bustling train station at Platform 9 and 3/4.
While we can't literally visit the wizarding world—believe us, we've checked—we can get pretty darn close. For the die-hard fans that want to feel like they're in the world of wizardry and witchcraft, we've compiled a list of the top 10 cities to visit for the ultimate Harry Potter fans.
10 Toronto, Canada
Toronto earns a spot on this list thanks to a very special Canadian bar. The Lockhart is a Harry Potter-inspired pub that features an assortment of drinks and foods based on the series. At the bar, there are frequent magic nights where the bar features live entertainment of "magicians, freaks, and firebreathers" according to its website.
This is a great stop for any fan of Harry Potter, anyone who likes magic, or just anyone who likes a unique bar experience. The bar also has a Montreal location.
9 Salem, Massachusetts
Despite being across the pond from our favorite wizards and witches, Salem's history of witchcraft earns it a high spot on this list. The town is home to the infamous Salem Witch Trials of the late 1600s when the townsfolk accused and tried several women who were allegedly guilty of practicing dark magic.
In the more recent centuries, the town has chosen to embrace its fascinating history of witchcraft with a full museum showcasing documents and articles from the Salem Witch Trials. For anyone looking to explore some real-life struggles between witches and muggles, Salem is the perfect stop on an East Coast road trip.
It should be noted that J.K. Rowling has added the Salem Witch Trials to the Harry Potter Canon, and has covered the "Potter" version of the trials in her stories on the history of magic in the U.S.
8 Durham, England
The lesser-known town in Northeast England is home to the spectacular Durham Cathedral. Many of the scenes inside of Hogwarts were filmed in this cathedral, giving Potter fans the chance to feel like they're walking through the halls of the famous wizard school. While not as touristy and flashy as some of the other Harry Potter destinations, visiting the cathedral offers visitors a quiet place to marvel at some spectacular architecture and get nostalgic over their favorite movies.
7 Alnwick, UK
Alnwick Castle, located in the northern countryside of England, is the castle used for the filming of the outside of Hogwarts. The enormous stronghold has been standing for nearly 1000 years, surviving countless political squabbles, and even surviving Voldemort!
Tickets for day tours of the inside and outside of the castle are available on the castle's website. How could any self-respecting Potterhead pass up the opportunity to visit Hogwarts?
6 New York City
New York City is massive enough that it basically has a scene for anything you could possibly be a fan of. Why would Harry Potter be any different?
Potter fans visiting the Big Apple have the chance to see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child on Broadway, the eighth story of the main series. There are also loads of Potter trivia nights at bars throughout the city. Radegast Hall and Biergarten is one of those bars, and this bar, in particular, resembles the Great Hall in Hogwarts. NYC even has its own Quidditch team, the New York Titans, and fans can spectate their games in the summer.
5 Porto, Portugal
Before she started writing Harry Potter, J. K. Rowling lived in Porto for about 10 years teaching English as a second language. During this time, she would frequent the Lello & Irmão Bookstore, drinking her coffee and reading on the second floor. Many believe that the bookstore's unique winding staircase bears a strong resemblance to the staircase in Hogwarts and was most likely an inspiration for Rowling's vision of the great school of wizardry.
Whether the bookstore inspired Rowling or not, it has certainly inspired many others, often being referred to as one of the most beautiful bookstores in the world. And seeing that Rowling lived in Porto for 10 years, there's no denying the special connection this city has to the Harry Potter series.
4 Valencia, Spain
The annual Harry Potter exhibition is an excellent way for Potterheads to connect with their beloved franchise. The expo showcases several props from the movies, in addition to life-size models of scenes from the movies. The expo also features actors from the movies, with this expo featuring Actors James and Oliver Phelps, who played Fred and George Weasley.
Each year, the expo takes place at different cities around the world. This year happens to be in Valencia, Spain, and will be going on from April 13 to July 7. If you can't make it this year, check out where the expo will be taking place next year at the expo's official website.
3 Universal Studios Orlando/Hollywood
Universal Studios has created an immersive section of its parks, titled "The Wizarding World of Harry Potter" located in its Orlando and Hollywood parks. Both locations feature replications of Hogwarts, Hogsmeade, Diagon Alley and various shops from Harry Potter. The entire area is made to look and feel like scenes from the movies. There are also tons of places to take pictures, snag some merch, and drink some butterbeer.
If the immersion wasn't enough, the Wizarding World features Potter-themed roller coasters flight simulations. This is an excellent day trip for both casual and hardcore Potterheads alike!
J.K Rowling has a very special connection with Edinburgh. After moving there in 1993, she spent much of her time writing Harry Potter in coffee shops throughout the city. Most notable is The Elephant House, the self-proclaimed "Birthplace of Harry Potter." This is where she wrote a large portion of the series, and the coffee shop has since become a busy tourist attraction for Potterheads.
Because J.K. Rowling lived in Edinburgh during her time writing the series, many of the wizarding world's most iconic locations were inspired by different parts of Edinburgh. For example, Edinburgh's Victoria Street bears striking similarities to Diagon Alley, and many believe Edinburgh castle was the inspiration for Hogwarts.
For the ultimate Potter fan, Edinburgh has it all: J.K. Rowling's favorite places to write, Harry Potter museums and locations that feel like they came right out of the wizarding world, earning its place as #2 on this list.
When it comes to the Harry Potter experience, no other city in the world holds a candle to London. Countless scenes in the movies have been filmed throughout the city and can be visited, including King's Cross Station where Platform 9 3/4 was filmed, Leadenhall Market where Diagon Alley was filmed, Australia House where Gringotts Wizarding Bank was filmed, London Zoo where Harry's first scene with a snake was filmed, and several others.
Aside from the many locations you can visit throughout the city, there is also a Warner Bros. Studio Tour called "The Making of Harry Potter" where fans can view sets and props from the movies. The tour features sections for the Forbidden Forest, Hogwarts Express, Dumbledore's office, the Great Hall and several others. The tour lasts about four hours and is an immersive and informative experience for any true Potterhead.