What is The Hollywood Magic Castle? An Expert Guide

How do you get an invite to The Magic Castle? Can anyone go, and when? We answer all your questions.

Hollywood Magic Castle shot from across the road on a sunny Los Angeles day
The Magic Castle: Shutterstock

The Magic Castle in Hollywood is one of the most exclusive venues in the world, and not just anyone can enter. But, if a trip to a star-studded world of wonders is on your bucket list, read below to find out how you might visit the Castle.

What is the Magic Castle?

Founded in 1963 as the clubhouse for the Academy of Magical Arts (AMA), the Castle hosts the world’s greatest magicians on a daily basis. Since opening, thousands of celebrities have worked at and visited the historic venue, which was built in 1909. Notably, Neil Patrick Harris was the president of the AMA from 2011-2014.

What’s it like inside the Magic Castle?

Once inside, you’ll visit many showrooms, from the 100-seat Palace of Mystery, to the 26-seat Close-Up Gallery, to the Parlour of Prestidigitation, and multiple unique bars. The Castle is full of priceless artwork, a library full of historic magic books, and surprises at every corner. Many shows even start after midnight.

How do you get invited to the Magic Castle?

There are four main ways you can gain entry to the Castle. All performers get comp tickets, so knowing someone on the bill can secure you a seat. Likewise, members are allotted guest passes. Third, you can stay at the Magic Castle Hotel (which features a 24/7 popsicle hotline), and try to get a ticket through the concierge, though they are not guaranteed. Finally, you can become a member.

Membership options vary based on your age and interest in magic. If you’re a magic fan, and simply want a place to enjoy world-class entertainment with friends, you can become an Associate Member–no card tricks required. But, if you want to gain membership as a magician, which affords you access to the library, lectures, and other magician-only events, you’ll have to audition to prove you’ve got the stuff. You’ll also need a current member who has seen you perform to sponsor you. Both memberships are 21+.

But, most magicians catch the “magic-bug” as kids, and the Castle has a junior program for 13-20 year-olds. As of 2023, the program is now accepting members from around the country (there were previously rules requiring members to make at least a monthly trip to the Castle). The junior program holds auditions in March and October, and acts are strictly limited to five minutes–any longer, and you’ll be immediately disqualified and asked to reapply in six months.

Advice for your visit to the Magic Castle

So, are you ready to visit? Be warned, you must obey their dress code–a suit and tie for gentlemen, and a “ravishing dress” or pantsuit with a matching jacket for ladies. The AMA advises visitors to “err on the side of being overdressed.” The Castle has turned down many celebrities for not obeying the dress code, but after all, how often do you get to visit a magic castle?