July 31 is Harry Potter's birthday! He would be 32 today...if he was real. Whimsic Alley is a great place to go and "celebrate."
Until the new Harry Potter attraction opens at Universal Studios Hollywood in 2015, Hogwarts-craving locals can make their way to Whimsic Alley. This popular outlet for all things Harry Potter has moved from its original home in Santa Monica to a roomy new location at 5464 (and ¾) Wilshire Blvd. in Los Angeles. In addition to an expanded sales area, the new store features an event space modeled on Hogwarts' Great Hall (although its windows are a bit less imposing) and a staff who are enthusiastic and knowledgeable about their merchandise and its mythology.
Several themed boutiques within the store feature a variety of merchandise, including books, jewelry and gift items, and movie tie-in products, but Whimsic Alley's unique niche is in supplying the would-be witch or wizard with Potter-appropriate gear. All the components of the standard Hogwarts school uniform--robes, ties, sweaters, even Quidditch gear--are available, in the appropriate House colors and in sizes for youth and adults. The store also offers a wide selection of wands and the latest in broomsticks and quills.
Whimsic Alley's Great Hall was named "Best Party Pace in LA" in 2010 and 2011 by LA Parent, and the store offers a birthday party package (ages 7 and up) that includes use of house robes for all guests, wizarding-skills classes, lunch and cake. The Great Hall isn't just for kids, either; rental and options for other private parties and events--from company meetings to holiday parties to wedding showers and receptions--are also available.
Whimsic Alley's own hosted events include a monthly Tea Time in the Great Hall. Its "Warthogs Academy of Wizardry and Witchcraft" will be offering three 2-week sessions of its Summer Day Camp in 2012--and for those too old for day camp, registration is still open for its Wizarding Camp for (So-Called) Grown-Ups on Presidents' Day weekend (February 17-19), but it's filling up fast!
Most of Whimsic Alley's merchandise can also be purchased through its website, but since they don't deliver by owl, it's well worth an in-person visit to the shops. Metered parking for the store is available on Wilshire and the surrounding side streets, and in several nearby parking lots.
Wednesday - Friday: 11:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Saturday - Sunday 10:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Mondays & Tuesdays: Closed
Florinda Pendley Vasquez blogs about books and movies (including those featuring Harry Potter) and other things at The 3 R's Blog: Reading, 'Riting, and Randomness.
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