Nerd Culture

5 Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Release Events in Metro Phoenix This Weekend

Harry Potter may be the biggest thing to happen to midnight since New Year’s Eve. For years, we lined up at bookstores for the new installment, crammed inside movie theaters on premiere night, and found a 24-hour store for the DVD release. We thought it was all over in 2011. We were wrong.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, the Harry Potter book series’ official eighth installment, is set for release at midnight on Sunday, July 31. It's Potter’s birthday, though you probably already knew that.

Of course, bookstores and fans are responding in kind with midnight release parties and special events throughout the Phoenix area, and anybody who wants to be the first to know the deal with Albus Severus Potter better be there.

Here are five bookstores around the Valley hosting Harry Potter and the Cursed Child release events.

Barnes & Noble Booksellers
Chandler, Goodyear, Mesa, Phoenix, Surprise

It makes sense that the largest retail bookseller in the country is throwing some parties for the series that had people reading 800-page books since 1997, when Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone first hit shelves.

At shopping centers across metro Phoenix, Barnes & Noble is hosting a Harry Potter Countdown to Midnight Party starting at 8 p.m. on Saturday, July 30, followed by a Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Celebration on Sunday, July 31, at 9 a.m. Potter-themed activities and prizes are scheduled for the day, while the midnight party features a Muggle Wall where fans can share their memories of Harry, Hermione, et al.

Locations include Chandler Fashion Mall, Dana Park Village Square in Mesa, Desert Ridge Marketplace, Palm Valley Pavilions West in Goodyear, and Surprise Marketplace.

Changing Hands Bookstore
Phoenix, Tempe

If you’ve got your Hogwarts Express ticket to the First Draft Book Bar for the adult-oriented Midnight Release Party at Changing Hands Phoenix, then lucky you, because it is now a sold-out event. Games like Tabletop Quidditch and Care of Magical Creatures are going to be paired with PolyJuice Potion, Butterbeer, and nonalcoholic Butterbeer Floats for a magical affair. The party starts at 10 p.m. on Saturday, July 30, and ends around 12:30 a.m. on Sunday, July 31.

If you didn’t secure a pass for the midnight party, no fear, as both Changing Hands locations will be hosting daytime, family-friendly release parties from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Sunday, July 31. Attendees receive a Hogwarts Express ticket for up to a family of four when they pre-order the book ($29.99 before tax) at Changing Hands. You’ll get a Hogwarts acceptance letter and partake in crafts, activities, and costume comparisons.

The Tempe location neighbors a Wildflower Bread Company location, which will offer Butterbeers and Felix Felicis on their menu during the event.

La Grande Orange Grocery and Pizzeria
4410 North 40th Street

La Grande Orange also sells books, and you can buy Harry Potter and the Cursed Child at the original Arcadia location on Sunday, July 31, starting at 7 a.m. If you decide to grab the eighth book from LGO, you can get a special Harry Potter treat if you know the secret word – while supplies last of course. Call 602-840-7777 for more details.

Sun Devil Bookstore
525 East Orange Street in Tempe

Arizona State University gear always kind of looked like Gryffindor – or is it really the other way around? Either way, join Sun Devil Bookstore’s public Midnight Release Party for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child at the Tempe campus – and maybe reserve a copy so it’s there waiting for you. There will be trivia, crafts, treats, and, of course, costumes.

And yes, having to parking at ASU can make you feel like Ron following a herd of giant spiders, but there’s actually a parking lot adjacent to the store.

Zia Record Exchange
Phoenix, Tempe

The Thunderbird Road and Mill Avenue locations of Zia Records are hosting what are sure to be some raucous midnight release parties for HP. If you pre-order Harry Potter and the Cursed Child with Zia, you get a $5 Zia gift card with a valid Z-card. And when you do, you’ll also be automatically entered to win a $50 Zia gift card. Think of the DVD box set you can take home with that kind of credit.
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Lauren Cusimano was the Phoenix New Times food editor from 2018 to 2021. Joys include eating wings, riding bikes, knowing everyone at the bar, talking too much about The Simpsons, and falling asleep while reading.