Exclusive Guide to Queen City Mischief and Magic

Calling all muggles and wizards! The second annual Queen City Potter Party (now Queen City Mischief and Magic) is September 22-24, and unless you attended the 2016 party, you’ve never seen Staunton like this. Three days of mischief and magic await!

As Staunton is transformed to Hogsmeade (the only wizards-only village in Britain, per the Harry Potter series), business names change, the culture changes, and food and drinks change. It’s as if our city is charmed for the weekend! To find your way around, you’ll use a Marauder’s Map, much like Harry did during his first visit to Hogsmeade. Fortunately, you won’t need your invisibility cloak.

Queen City Potter Party

14 Hogsmeade MUST-DOs:

  1. Get the weekend started with the Hogwarts Homecoming Quidditch Games on Friday. The first match will be between Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw at 6 p.m. Late arrival? You’ll have Gryffindor vs. Slytherin at 7 p.m. The championship game begins at 8 p.m.
  2. See Harry and Hagrid arrive via the Hogwarts Express at Platform 9 3/4 at 9 a.m. Saturday! Visit the conductor and get a hat just like his while supplies last.
  3. Choose your wand. Rather, let a wand choose you! Purchase wooden wands at Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes (Pufferbellies Toys & Books) or glass wands at Ollivanders Wands & Orbs (Sunspots Studios). Want to eat your wand? Head over to ye Olde Curiosity Shoppe (Staunton Antique Center & The Artisans Loft).
  4. Craft a potion at Borgin & Burkes (Redwood & Co.), but sign up fast as we are certain the classes will fill quickly. Is Amortentia on the list of potions to be made? That would be lovely, wouldn’t it?
  5. While no one wants to be a “prisoner of Azkaban,” you should head over there anytime between noon and 6 p.m. Saturday (Cocoa Mill Chocolate Co.). Beware Dementors. Just sayin’.
  6. The Ministry of Magic Tours are limited, but must-see! Secure your time slot to take a special family-friendly tour through Crack the Code Escape Room before they’re gone.
  7. Madam Puddifoot’s (The Pampered Palate Cafe) is not only a Hogsmeade destination for delicious eats and drinks, there are classes to create your own Magic Twirling Tea Cup upstairs! Text 434-826-0832 to reserve your time slot.
  8. Professor Gilderoy Lockhart will be available for a meet-and-greet at Flourish & Blotts (Black Swan Books and Music). Do purchase a Queen City Mischief and Magic tote to carry all of those potions and tea cups!
  9. Visit the Restricted Room at Hogwarts Library (Barrister Books), but head’s up! There are flying books! Be sure to add a quill or bookmark to your QCMM tote.
  10. Try your hand at taming beasts (some of them are indeed fantastical!) at Magickal Menagerie (Harmony Moon).
  11. Wizards beyond a certain age will want to seek out the butterbeer at The Three Broomsticks (Baja Bean). Cheers!
  12. Find your way to The Flaming Arena behind Gringotts (Suntrust Bank) Friday and Saturday night. The Queen City Fire Circus will be performing a free show.
  13. Tarot card readings with a deck created of iconic Staunton images, Rune readings, and dragon visitations at Hagrid’s Hut (Artful Gifts LLC.)
  14. Channel your inner Hermione with a visit to Beauxbatons Academy (Mary Baldwin University) for a magical lesson on a variety of Potter-related topics, from owls to Nicholas Flamel. Taught by Mary Baldwin professors and other community experts.

… and that’s just the beginning!

A Few Finer Details:

The Marauder’s Map is LOADED with fun in Hogsmeade. Check often for its availability and updates. You won’t want to miss a thing!

There is limited parking available downtown: side streets, public lots, two parking garages (on Johnson Street and New Street).  Please view this map that shows all public parking: Map of downtown Staunton.

There will also be a FREE shuttle running a constant circuit from the Federated Auto Parts Warehouse lot (on Statler Blvd) to the Mill Street Grill parking lot. For a map click link.

Download Traipse, an app, to participate in Horcrux Hunting.

Keep an eye on the schedule for late additions.

You are encouraged to dress as your favorite Harry Potter series character. See the photos from 2016 for inspiration.

Queen City Mischief and Magic is a FREE event with a few pay-as-you-go opportunities (like crafting your own Thinking Putty at Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes!).

Free Things for Kids to Do in Staunton

Summer travels, spring break, and impromptu days off here and there often leave parents looking for things to do that won’t break the bank. Ta da! We’ve rounded up a list of free things for kids to do in Staunton and it’s all for you. Pin, Facebook, bookmark, or print this for future reference; we’re sure you’ll look to it as a resource for a while to come.

Artsy Things

Glow, cad sel, copper ruby.

A post shared by Doug Sheridan (@sunspotsstudios) on

One of the coolest demonstrations you’ll ever see is glassblowing, and you can see it everyday in Staunton at Sunspots Studios! Watch the masters seemingly turn glass into wax as they form big bubbles bound for a life of beauty. 

Outdoorsy Things

Most parks are fun, but have you seen our parks? Here’s what’s waiting …

Gypsy Hill Park is 214 acres and has a skate park (BMX, inline, scooters, and skateboards are welcome), the Gypsy Express Mini Trail (almost free; $1 per person), garden center, numerous ball fields, and of course, playgrounds. Don’t miss Family Nite Flix hosted by Staunton Parks and Recreation – free family-friendly movies at the Gypsy Hill Park Bandstand.

Lake Tams is a 2.5-acre lake that’s stocked for fishing. Bring your pole and valid Virginia fishing license to see what’s biting!

If your kiddos just like to ride their bikes or work to gain their balance on a new pair of skates, you’re in the right place. Constitution Drive meanders through the park is a designated play street, meaning kids have the right to play in the street.

Finally visited the Natural Playground at Montgomery Hill Park. Stayed for hours! 😍

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Montgomery Hall Park is 148 acres and is home to the long-awaited natural playground, Nature Ridge. Designed for imaginative play, Nature Ridge has a mud kitchen, rock quarry, pirate ship, ball drop, chimes, and an elevated sand pit accessible to children of all abilities. 

Do you have a little explorer on your hands? Feed the sense of adventure and mystery when you geocache in our parks or downtown.
Learn more about the process and fun of geocaching, then locate our area caches to get started.

Fun Things

Arguably, everything we’ve mentioned thus far is fun, but what about fun with toys? Did you know Staunton has a toy store that lets your kids play while you shop? “Don’t touch” is not a phrase you’ll hear at Pufferbellies. Pop in to play at the largest independently owned toy store in the Shenandoah Valley, and you can help your kids build their Christmas wish list while you’re at it!

Have you ever heard of Kids Bowl Free? Our very own Staunton Lanes is a member of the program that allows your children to bowl two free games every day all summer long. The catch is that once your child is registered, he or she may only bowl at the bowling alley initially chosen at the time of registration. If you never bowl but want to, go ahead and choose ours! 

Discover Staunton by Trolley! Although its not free—the cost is 25-cents per rider—hop on and off as you visit area attractions like the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library & Museum, Gypsy Hill Park and several of Staunton’s historic districts. The Green route runs every 30 minutes from the Visitors Center located at 35 S. New Street. Or explore by foot using the free app, Traipse! Traipse takes you on an adventure that is half historic tour and half scavenger hunt. You can Traipse anytime, with whomever you want, in places like downtown Staunton, Gypsy Hill Park, and the campus of Mary Baldwin University. The app even provides discounts at select local businesses when you complete the challenges at those spots.

Historic Things

If you’re an active duty military family, we have great news! The Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and Museum is free for you between Memorial Day and Labor Day! Check out the Blue Star Parent Tool Kit for great ideas to get your kids interacting with what they see during the visit.

History buff families with eager-to-learn children tend to appreciate a good walking tour with a knowledgeable guide. Fortunately, the Historic Staunton Foundation offers such tours every Saturday. Join in for free!


Our Visitor Center is located at 35 S. New Street. Come in for a map, directions, or help with reservations.