Colleges Most Like Hogwarts: The Top 5

Dr. Kat’s List: Five College Campuses If You Want the Hogwarts Experience

Cornell, Bryn Mahr, Yale, Kenyon, and, at #1, the University of Chicago, my alma mater. Check out the Great Hall there, Hutchinson Commons; look familiar?


The University of Chicago has got Hogwarts written all over it, not least of all in its majestic dining center, Hutchinson Hall, which just so happens to be a replica of Oxford’s Christ Church (the same used in the Harry Potter films). This striking architectural similarity, coupled with the school’s gargoyle gothic facades, is sure to ring any Harry Potter fan’s bell. So, too, is the university’s residential system, which was first introduced at English universities like Cambridge and Oxford (undoubtedly an inspiration for Hogwarts’s four houses). The University of Chicago’s 38 “Houses” have distinct personalities and traditions. Each has its own house councils, tables, and sports teams. As if that weren’t enough, the University’s seal sports a phoenix, a common image throughout the Harry Potter series, and one that would make Dumbledore proud.

Was I destined to be a Potter Pundit or was my Gryffindor/Ravenclaw-esque choice of schools a genetic pre-disposition? Between Exeter’s Lion Rampant and the UChicago Phoenix, not to mention the Great Books fire hose I endured at both places (and learning about literary alchemy in my “All of Shakespeare” immersion in Phillips Hall my senior year as an Exie and Straussian reading in every class at Chicago…), I lean towards “destiny” or “training.” My daughter’s Sarah is heading out this fall to Hyde Park, though, so maybe it was a gene-thing.

Whatever. Here’s the article, ‘Harry Potter and the Ivory Tower,’ about Harry Potter’s Bookshelf in the University of Chicago Alumni Magazine.



  1. John, is the University of Chicago visitor friendly? I just wondered so when my wife and I visit downtown and go to the museums. That way we could visit “Hogwarts.”

  2. It’s WAY south of the downtown, Brent, between 57th and 60th Streets.

    Now if you’re visiting the Museum of Science and Industry to see The Harry Potter Exhibition there, all you have to do is walk a few blocks west on 57th Street (moving away from the Lake and Lake Shore Drive) and you’re (1) in Used Book Store and Deep Dish Pizza Heaven and (2) only a hop, skip, and a jump from the Quadrangles.

    Which are a lot of fun.

    (H/T to David Gras of Harry Potter Fan Zone for the Exhibition link and great Azkatraz report!)

  3. RenaBlack says

    John, I saw this headline and immedately thought of Kenyon, my cousin’s alma mater and also one of the top 5 most beautiful campuses I’ve ever seen. The U of Chicago sounds awesome, though. :]

  4. RenaBlack says

    Oh…and Bryn Mawr’s got some great buildings, too!

  5. That’s funny! My best man and mentor at Chicago was a Kenyon alumnus studying Political Philosophy with the Straussians there. What a hoot that there is a Kenyon-Chicago-Hogwarts connection…

  6. Lily Luna says

    This is a terrible list – it’s missing my alma mater, Princeton University, strewn with tons of collegiate gothic architecture! We don’t really have an a good analogue to the Great Hall, though.

  7. Princeton is definitely Top 10, with a bullet, for Hogwarts-suggestiveness.

  8. Thanks for the suggestions, John. Yeah when we go downtown, we hop on buses to go the Science and Industry Museum that’s where my wife likes to go. I thought the University was close, and it would be cool to check out if it’s close.

    The Harry Potter Exhibition was cool and I encourage anyone to see it if it gets close to them.

  9. maggiemay says

    here’s a “Go Big Red” from a Cornell alum! Maybe that explains why I love HP so much, it reminds me of all my days walking in the stinky weather through all the great architecture! Also, if anyone is wondering, the U of C seal’s Latin inscription means: “Let knowledge grow from more to more; and so be human life enriched.”

  10. Arcadia University has a castle on campus that is actually modelled after the castle used as Hogwarts in the film versions of Harry Potter

  11. Louise M. Freeman says

    My older brother went to the University of the South (Sewanee, TN.) I don’t remember much about the architecture, but their elite students are designated “Gownsman” and have the privilege of wearing robes to classes. I’m told some professor still teach daily in their regalia.

  12. I realize that all of these schools are in the states but i would like to note that University of King’s College in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada is a lot like Hogwarts. Although it is a very small campus it is filled with stone buildings, giant pillars, a quad and a very liberal arts atmosphere. The best part though is the traditions! Each month we have a formal meal where everyone must wear robes and when you enter the enormous Prince Hall dining hall with its sloped ceilings and all of the tables lined with drinks and candles it feels like Hogwarts. To add to this at the beginning and end of formal meal a latin grace is said and sometimes sang by the campuses chapel choir. The 6 residences on campus may not have a great rivalry all year long but it comes out in the april fools midnight water balloon fight (a tradition) And there has recently been talk of creating a Hogwarts Express where students from away can all take the train home and back for the holidays.

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