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8 ways to celebrate Harry Potter’s birthday in NoVA

From movie marathons to family-friendly tours, explore the wizarding world for the chosen one’s birthday, falling on July 31.

© robin_ph / stock.adobe.com

On July 31, the famed, yet fictional boy who lived will turn another year older, causing super fans across the world to pay tribute to the character in a variety of ways. As Harry Potter celebrates a birthday, so does the woman who brought him to life in 1997, author J.K. Rowling. 

Whether you followed the world of wizardry since its inception or really just want an excuse to wear a Hogwarts-inspired outfit, here’s where to honor both Rowling and the hero she created.

Family-Friendly Tours at the Apothecary Museum
July 28, 1-4 p.m.
Bring the kids along for a 45-minute tour of the imaginary wizarding world the Apothecary Museum in Alexandria has been creating for nine years in honor of Mr. Potter. The whole family will be in awe as you learn about muggle science and medicine through potion making and trivia run by Hooray for Books! Plus, when the tour is over, you can indulge in butterbeer ice cream just like the students at Hogwarts used to do. // Stable-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum: 105-107 S. Fairfax St., Alexandria; $7

Harry Potter Magical Coding Camp
July 29-Aug. 2, times vary
For just five days, your kids can add a little magic to their summer through this unique coding camp centered around all things Harry Potter. Children will learn how to program their own personal wands and create a wizarding world on the computer screen using Microsoft software and LEGO sets that come to life in the digital realm. Plus, participants can take their projects back home with them on a flash drive following the magical, five-day session. // First Assembly of God: 700 W. Braddock Road, Alexandria; $265

SyFy Channel: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
July 30, 11:41 p.m. & July 31, 2:06 p.m.
For two nights only, the SyFy Channel will be showing the first-ever Harry Potter film that took the world by storm back in 2001. Travel down memory lane as you watch Harry, Ron and Hermione cause trouble together for the very first time in the halls of Hogwarts, as the network celebrates the world’s greatest wizard on his birthday. // SyFy Channel

Storytime at Barnes & Noble
July 31, 11 a.m.
Travel back to 1997 at this special read-aloud event of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, hosted by various Barnes & Noble stores in Northern Virginia. Whether your children have never read the original tale or tend to reread it every few years, attendees will be in awe as Harry and his friends fight off the three-headed dog to find the mysterious sorcerer’s stone and save Hogwarts from trouble for the first time. // Participating Barnes & Noble locations vary; free

Harry Potter’s Birthday Trivia Night
July 31, 5:30-7 p.m.
Do you know who killed Dumbledore in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince? Are you aware of what spell levitates objects into the air? If yes, then you’re probably ready for the Harry Potter Trivia hosted by Elden Street Tea Shop in celebration of the famous wizard’s birthday. Throughout the evening, prizes will be awarded while guests try out butterbeer tea and birthday cake. // Elden Street Tea Shop: 714 Pine St., Herndon; $5

Harry Potter 20th Anniversary – Escape Azkaban!
July 31, 6:30 p.m.
Make your way to the District on Harry Potter’s birthday for a night of trivia, an edible book competition and awards. While costumes are not required, it is suggested to wear your best robes from any house, whether that be Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff or Slytherin. // Chevy Chase Neighborhood Library: 5625 Connecticut Ave. NW, Washington, DC; free

Harry Potter Trivia
July 31, 7-10 p.m.
As the boy who lived turns another year older, it’s time to test your knowledge of Quidditch rules to the locations of hidden horcruxes and everything in between. Head over to Port City Brewing Company for a night of brews, bites and bewildering trivia surrounding all four houses on the Hogwarts campus. // Port City Brewing Company: 3950 Wheeler Ave., Alexandria; free entry

Harry Potter Adult Tours
Aug. 3, 5:30-8:30 p.m.
Whoever said imagination declines after childhood clearly wasn’t a Harry Potter fan. For one hour, adults ages 21 or older can become kids again as they explore the real world of Harry Potter, designed by the Apothecary Museum. As you learn about muggle science referenced by J.K. Rowling in her series, you can sip on a magical cocktail you create, following a lesson by a Professor Snape look-alike. // Stable-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum: 105-107 S. Fairfax St., Alexandria; $20

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