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I hope a trip to Chicago Magic Lounge is in the cards

Where to See Magic Shows, Across the U.S.


Neil Patrick Harris is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Wondercade. In his spare time he also acts — fairly well, too, as his Tony and Emmy Awards can attest.

March 29, 2023 2:12 pm

Magic Castle, Los Angeles

Getting into Hollywood’s legendary Magic Castle is a multi-part trick in and of itself, with the private club for the Academy of Magical Arts requiring an invite from a member (this is your time to phone a friend, or use Google to find a workaround, the only time we’ll endorse the use of Google to ruin a magic trick). But once you finally cross the threshold, dressed to impress (per the strict sartorial code), it transforms from a secret into a smorgasbord of magicians, mentalists and illusionists around every corner. Also, try the delicious NPH Old Fashioned, named after one of their past Presidents (ahem, ahem).

Speakeasy Magick, New York City

A night spent in the company of a first-rate magician is worth your hard-earned cash (including the bills they’ll levitate out of your wallet), but one spent in the company of multiple illusionists? That’s a night out you can’t pass up, and exactly what you’ll get at Speakeasy Magick at the McKittrick Hotel. The intimate show has been dubbed “speed-dating magic,” as the prestidigitators prowl from one table to the next. But while traditional speed dating is an exercise in escaping quickly, at Speakeasy Magick you’ll find yourself begging for more. Fun fact: The show is produced by the amazing Todd Robbins, one of my favorite people. Keep an eye out for a Wondercade collaboration with Todd in the coming months.

Chicago Magic Lounge, Chicago

You know the classic Chicago hallmarks: deep-dish pizza, gospel music, the green dye that’s dumped in the river (which is actually orange before it hits the water — the more you know). What’s usually left off the highlight sheet? Tableside restaurant and bar magic! Yup, and it’s actually said to have originated in the city in the early 1900s. The Chicago Magic Lounge has been keeping the local tradition alive since 2018 with a choose-your-own-adventure venue: Start by walking through the laundromat facade, then choose from a 43-seat theater, a full-blown cabaret or the Art Deco bar where your cocktails are served with sleight of hand.

Justin Willman Tour, Multiple Cities

What’s better than Justin Willman’s undeniably delightful Netflix show Magic for Humans? All those uncanny shenanigans, but performed right in front of your very eyes. (It’s the perfect opportunity to bring your stick-in-the-mud friend who says TV magic is fake.) That’s right, Justin is taking his show on the road, from Florida to California, and keeping the spirit intact: Expect childlike wonder, for you and your kids, as most shows are all ages.

House of Cards and Michael John, Nashville

You’re in Nashville for the music, but you’ll leave wondering one thing: Why isn’t it called Magic City instead? If you’re interested in illusions as an appetizer, head down Printer’s Alley, find the Dream, then enter the Dirty Little Secret (that’s a side street, a hotel and said hotel’s experimental nightclub). There you’ll find Michael John’s show The Illusionist: Art of Deception, which has been extended to run Saturday nights through the fall. If you want the full course, then House of Cards is the venue for you, a dining and magic combo that welcomes you in, ominously, with a hallway reminiscent of the red room in Twin Peaks. It’s scary good.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Multiple Cities

When people talk about “the magic of theatre,” they’re usually talking about wonderment, not tricks and illusions. At Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, which is currently playing on Broadway and in San Francisco, you’ll get it all: the spectacle, the spells and arguably the best special effects ever to be employed in a play. What’s that? You’ve already seen it? Well the two-night production was recently transfigured into a one-part show, which can only mean it’s time to hop back on the train to Hogwarts.

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