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We want to take you behind the scenes, to give you insider information you won't find anywhere else. This is where we pull Bloomington's hip happenings together with recommendations from our team, first-hand accounts from project producers, and guest blogs by local gurus.  The Backstage Blog helps you stay in front of it all.

Friday, May 21, 2021

Experience the Magic of Harry Potter in Bloomington

Categories: Arts & Culture, General, Family Fun, The IU Student Perspective

The Boy Who Lived captured the hearts of millions, and over a decade after the last novel was published, Harry Potter continues to do so. The series may be over, but we can't let go of the whimsical magic associated with it — especially since Bloomington is home to many places that have an uncanny similarity to parts of J.K. Rowling's Wizarding World. From the Jordan Hall Greenhouse mimicking Professor Sprout's Herbology classroom to the Irish Lion feeling akin to The Leaky Cauldron, Bloomington has more destinations paralleling Harry Potter's universe than you might expect.
 

Maxwell Hall:
Hogwarts

Flowered tree in front of Maxwell Hall

There could probably be an entire blog post about buildings on Indiana University's campus that could be mistaken for Hogwarts, but Maxwell Hall is one of the strongest contenders. Its grand, castle-esque exterior and rotunda tower give it a striking resemblance to the wizarding school. The Indiana Memorial Union, Memorial Hall, and Collins Living-Learning Center are our runner-ups as Bloomington's own Hogwarts — let us know which of the four best resembles Harry's school in the comments!

GIF of Hogwarts

Charles C. Deam Wilderness:
The Forbidden Forest

hoosier national forest

The Charles C. Deam Wilderness is by no means scary, but it is made for adventure with its 37.3 miles of trails. So long as you bring a leash, these trails are dog-friendly — you can bring your furry friends along, just like Hagrid would bring Fang to the Forbidden Forest. No centaur sightings have ever been reported, that we know of, but you might get lucky and see the occasional owl. 

harry potter forbidden forest

Monroe Lake:
The Black Lake

monroe lake

There aren't any mermaids or giant squid (that we know of), but the misty mornings and evenings at Monroe Lake do have an uncanny resemblance to the Black Lake — just swap the surrounding mountains in the Wizarding World for the rolling hills of Southern Indiana. Much like the Black Lake, Monroe Lake is the perfect place for a paddle. Take your own canoe for a lake-day excursion, or rent one from Lake Monroe Boat Rental.

harry potter black lake

Jordan Hall Greenhouse:
Professor Sprout's Herbology Classroom

iu greenhouse

The Jordan Hall Greenhouse is a great hidden gem on campus. Mimicking Professor Sprout's Herbology classroom, it's a great place to take kids of all ages to explore the greenhouse's unique plant life, from desert to tropic species. You'll see orchids, banana plants, and giant ferns, but no screeching mandrakes.

professor sprout

Indiana Memorial Union's South Lounge:
Study Hall

The IMU South Lounge

Located in the original portion of the Indiana Memorial Union, the South Lounge is one of the most popular study spots on campus. Find yourself a nook under a window to get some studying done, or curl up by the fireplace with a good book. There aren't any fiery sconces, and Professor Snape isn't lurking, but the huge windows and fireplace give major Hogwarts vibes.

harry potter

Student Building Clock Tower:
Hogwarts Clock Tower

student building iu

In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, the clock tower is an integral part of the plot, as Hermoine and Harry use the its chiming to figure out where they are in the past while trying to save Sirius and Buckbeak. Paralleling the magical story, the stately Student Building keeps students and locals on time, as it chimes every quarter hour. The massive tower can be spotted from Kirkwood Avenue through Sample Gates, which makes for a beautiful photo

clock tower harry potter

The Tudor Room:
The Great Hall

tudor room

The feasts in Hogwarts' Great Hall are legendary — equally legendary is the Indiana Memorial Union's Tudor Room. Its rich oak-paneled walls, bright stained-glass windows, and colorful banners representing the different schools on campus are definitely reminiscent of Hogwarts' Great Hall. Hit the Sunday brunch buffet to enjoy a meal fit for Hagrid. The buffet features several stations, including made-to-order omelets and incredible desserts. 

harry potter feast

Lilly Library:
The Restricted Section of the Library

lilly library

In Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, Harry visits the restricted section of the library in search of information about Nicholas Flamel. This scene gave viewers a good glimpse of the enormous stacks in the library, and we couldn't help but be reminded of the Lilly Library. IU's Lilly Library is home to millions of rare books, manuscripts, puzzles, and more, including a Gutenberg bible and Shakespeare's First Folio. 

restricted section

Blu Boy Chocolate Cafe & Cakery:
Honeydukes

blu boy

Hogsmeade's Honeydukes is hugely popular with Hogwarts students. Bloomington's own Honeyduke's, Blu Boy Chocolate Cafe & Cakery, is famous for their handmade chocolates with unique flavors like ancho chile and blood orange. They also offer an assortment of cookies, cakes, and monumental ice cream sundaes — stock up on sweets in case you come across any dementors on your way back to campus.

harry potter bloomington

Crazy Horse:
The Three Broomsticks

Inside of Crazy Horse

The Three Broomsticks is a popular wizarding pub in Hogsmeade Village where warm, fizzy butterbeer is the beverage of choice. For Bloomington's best rendition of The Three Broomsticks, head down Kirkwood Avenue just across The Square to grab a brew at Crazy Horse. The tavern is one of the oldest watering holes in town. Although they don't have butterbeer, they do carry 80 beers from around the world!

three broomsticks

Hartzell’s Ice Cream:
Fortescue's Ice Cream Parlor

hartzells

While the ice cream shop was never shown in the movies, Fortescue's Ice Cream Parlor is a popular hangout in The Sorcerer's Stone and The Prisoner of Askaban, and it's one of the shops you can visit in Universal Studios' Diagon Alley. Like Hogwarts students, IU students flock to Hartzell's Ice Cream for unique, delicious scoops all year long. Maybe we can convince them to feature a butterbeer flavor one day...

harry potter ice cream

The Irish Lion:
The Leaky Cauldron

irish lion

The Leaky Cauldron is a popular pub frequented by professors, wizarding families, and other interesting magical folk. Much like The Leaky Cauldron, The Irish Lion has been a Bloomington tradition since the early 1980s, frequented by the same types of people — just without the magic. You can even get a taste of some of Britain's best food with the authentic Irish fare served at the B-Town pub.

leaky cauldron

IU Quidditch:
Hogwarts Quidditch

iu quidditch

From Harry's first time on the Quidditch pitch in The Sorcerer's Stone to the epic Quidditch World Cup match in The Goblet of Fire, Quidditch games are some of the most exciting scenes in both the books and movies. Thanks to Potter super-fans, you can experience Quidditch in the Muggle world at universities across the country — including IU. 

hp quidditch

Alyssa Davis

Alyssa Davis

Alyssa is the Digital Content Coordinator at Visit Bloomington. She's a proud Indiana University alumna, mom to four cats, and Formula 1 enthusiast. When she isn't at work, you can find Alyssa checking out the newest restaurants in the area with her husband, curled up at home with a great book, or planning her next trip to a destination near or far.

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