July 31 is known far-and-wide as a certain boy wizard's birthday (it also happens to be the birthday of author J.K. Rowling, which we think might be somehow related). And while fans of the Harry Potter series will don cloaks and glasses and lightning scars wherever they will, we would be remiss if we didn't mention that Los Angeles happens to be home to a very special Harry Potter theme shop, one that surely attracts readers looking to stir up a little birthday magic.
If you're a serious fan you surely know about Whimsic Alley -- you're probably there now, as we type this -- but we also know there are hundreds of Harry-o-logists in the SoCal area that aren't familiar with the Wilshire Boulevard shop and probably should be.
Because? It not only has all things Potteresque -- think wands and clothing and such -- but the room itself is impressively designed, complete with a highly atmospheric street scene, small lights, and the occasional owl. Call it stepping into the books while you shop for your Hogwarts-based needs.
A few need-to-knows: The shop is typically closed on Mondays and Tuesdays but its "special summer hours" means it is open every day of the week. Also? Several special events are planned throughout the year. Next up for Harry buffs? "High Tea in the Great Hall" on Aug. 26. There's also the four-day "The Camp That Lived" coming in February. That's for grown-ups, mind you, so hurrah.
We're imagining now how Harry'd-out the city will be when the Wizarding World of Harry Potter lands at Universal Hollywood in a few years' time. Can LA compete with London in terms of sheer Potter love? Perhaps not, but we've made a magical stand at Whimsic Alley. Stripey scarves on, Potter peeps.
(Photos: Bryan Sides)