A hundred years ago, the only way to see live magic was when a traveling stage show burst into town. While the entertainment was thrilling, the spectacle vanished in a blink: off to the next city. Today, magic fans have it much easier! There are lots of magic theaters across the US that host different magicians each week.
As a full-time corporate magician, I go where my clients need me—from trade shows to sales meetings, coast-to-coast. But if you’re looking for a fantastic, ticketed magic show near you…
Here are my favorite magic theaters in the USA:
(FYI: These are dedicated theaters with changing/rotating acts, not venues featuring the same magician week after week.)
Chicago Magic Lounge
The Chicago Magic Lounge isn’t just the best magic experience in the midwest, it’s one of the best magic theaters in the world. This beautiful, art deco venue has hidden passageways that will transport you to a speakeasy straight out of Chicago’s storied past. The Windy City was a mecca for magic in the early 20th century, and these guys are bringing it back!
Magic at the bar starts at 5pm. Later, you’ll enjoy a full evening show from some of the top magicians and illusionists in the country. Signature cocktails—all with a magical twist—and incredible eats are available throughout the evening.
If you live in the Chicagoland area, and want to find the best magic show near you, THIS is the ticket!
Open 7 days a week. Showtimes: 7pm & 10pm. Tickets: $50 – $85. Ages 21+, with 16-and-up allowed with legal guardian.
West Jordan, UT,
La Jolla, CA,
San Diego, CA
In the mood for a classic “dinner-and-a show?” Mystique is perfect for date night. The multi-course gourmet meal is delicious, the service is top-notch, and the enticing Victorian décor (golden candelabras, red velvet) creates a perfect atmosphere for amazement.
While most magic venues focus on large stage shows, Mystique Dining focuses on gourmet food and astonishing sleight-of-hand. Guests enter an elegant dining chamber that seats 18-30 (depending on location). After a multi-course meal, they’ll enjoy an incredible close-up magic show. The intimate dining room ensures that everyone has a perfect view.
Award-winning magicians travel from all over the country to Mystique’s four stylish venues. I should know… I performed at Mystique Dining for 5 weeks back in 2009 and had a blast! See my post about it.
Open 7 days a week. Showtimes: 6pm and 8:45pm. Tickets: $95 – $105 and include dinner.
Marvyn’s Magic Theater
La Quinta, CA (minutes from Palm Springs)
After a fine day of golfing, why not see a world-class show?
Ranked #1 on TripAdvisor, this “hidden gem in the desert” is a state-of-the-art, 129-seat theatre complete with a stunning piano lounge and live, pre-show music.
The magicians on stage change weekly, but you’re always in great hands with emcee and host Jeff Hobson. Jeff is a magic legend; he’s wowed audiences on Broadway, the Las Vegas Strip, and in countless television performances.
Along with an amazing 75-minute stage show, Marvyn’s offers killer drinks. They don’t serve food, so make dinner plans before or after the show. Arrive 30 minutes early to enjoy the always-excellent Johnny Meza on piano, followed by a 15-minute close-up magic performance before the main event.
Because different magicians perform at Marvyn’s Magic Theater every week, you’ll always have a new reason to visit. Psstt… I’ll be headlining there on May 11, 2023 – May 13, 2023! Tickets for my show are here.
Open: Thursday, Friday & Saturday. Showtimes: Always 6pm, with another at 8:30 as needed (check first). Tickets: $75. Strictly 21 and up.
House of Cards
Located beneath the Johnny Cash Museum (how cool is that?), this 10,000-square foot, underground restaurant serves classic American entrees, which come with tickets to the post-dinner show in the “Carter the Great Theatre.”
Some ticketed magic theaters can feel cheesy, but not House of Cards! You can tell this magic venue was built for a sophisticated adult audience. The drinks are fantastic, the food is delicious, and the service is truly excellent.
House of Cards brings in some of the best magicians from across the country, and there are multiple shows every night, so you’re guaranteed to see something you love. Guests are encouraged to walk freely, cocktails in hand, and be entertained by the multiple magicians stationed throughout the floor.
Open: 7 days a week. Showtimes: Multiple times per evening, starting at 6pm. Ticket provided with purchase of entrée. Tickets: Depends on entrée, typically $40 – $70. Strictly 21 and up except for Family Brunch (Sundays at 10am and 3pm).
Illusion Magic Lounge
Santa Monica, CA
Originally known as Magicopolis when it started in 1998, the new owners have renamed the venue “Illusion Magic Lounge” and have invested time and energy making this Westside staple more magical than ever.
Illusion Magic Lounge seats 200 and features the largest stage on this list. The seating is heavily raked, so even shorter guests can easily see over the heads of the people in front of them. Each 90-minute stage show features two different magicians every weekend, with close-up magic behind the bar the rest of the week.
Owner Randy Sinnott used to be the Academy of Magical Arts President at the legendary Magic Castle in Hollywood and he’s passionate about creating a live magic experience that doesn’t require membership. This magic theater is in truly wonderful hands.
Open: Thursday, Friday & Saturday. Showtimes: 7:30pm. Tickets: $45 – $75. Stage show recommended for ages 10 and up.
PS: I headlined at Illusion Magic Lounge in February 2023. Standing ovation from a sold-out crowd!
PPS: I’ll be back at Illusion Magic Lounge July 21st & 22nd, 2023. Click here for tickets.
Smoke & Mirrors Magic Theater
Philadelphia Area (Huntingdon Valley)
Smoke & Mirrors is THE place to see a fantastic magic show in Philadelphia. This theater specializes in close-up magic. You won’t see a vanishing Ferrari here! Instead, you’ll enjoy amazing, sophisticated sleight-of-hand in their intimate (and comfy) theater. All seats are elevated from the stage, so everyone has a great view.
Evening shows are for adults, and weekend matinees are specially designed for families and children. As an added bonus, Smoke & Mirrors makes it easy to rent the venue for special occasions and celebrations. Browse the magic shop or sign up for lessons at their magic school, no experience necessary.
Co-owner and host Danny Archer is highly respected among magicians and mentalists all over the world, and his reputation allows him to book many in-demand performers. I’ve visited this magic theater twice, and the shows are always fantastic.
Ticket prices are a bargain. Perhaps the best recommendation I can give is to say that my parents live close to Philadelphia, and they take groups here all the time!
Open: Saturdays Only. Showtimes: 1pm Family Show, 7pm Adult Show. Tickets: $25 – $35. Check beforehand for specific ages at the 7pm show. Some are 13+, others 18+.
Monday Night Magic
Player Theater, NYC
Every Monday at 8pm in Greenwich Village, the Player Theater becomes the Mecca for Magic in New York City. Monday Night Magic features a rotating cast of the Who’s Who in the magic world. This is “New York’s Best Magic Venue” (TimeOut NY) as well as its longest-running off-Broadway magic show.
Back in 1997, there was nowhere for people to see live magic in NYC, so Michael Chaut took action. Today, Monday Night Magic hosts at least five magicians, many of whom you may recognize from TV. Considering that most Broadway shows go “dark” on Mondays, MNM provides an amazing alternative for locals and out-of-town visitors.
Open: Mondays. Showtimes: Dinner at 8pm, show at 9pm. Tickets: $42.50 – $99 for the main stage show, $95 on select Mondays for small-group close-up magic, which includes a full Italian dinner from Montes Trattoria. Ages 8+.
The Magic Castle
First the good news: The Magic Castle is easily the greatest magic venue in the Western Hemisphere. Most professional magicians can only dream of performing there… and I’m very proud to have performed hundreds of shows at this exclusive club.
But here’s the bad news: The Magic Castle is a private club, and you can only visit if you are a member, or the guest of a member. Although it’s not technically open to the public, I simply had to include it on this list.
If you’re lucky enough to visit, you’ll be treated to an unforgettable night. Read my Thrillist.com article about the Magic Castle here.
Open: 7 days a week. Members only. Strict dress code. Ages 21+ except for Sat. & Sun. brunch.
Hawaii Magic Venues
Full Disclosure: I haven’t visited any magic theaters in Hawaii, but I’ve heard nothing but great things about both of these places, and I’m friends with a few of their headlining performers. If you’re visiting Maui or Honolulu, check them out!
Las Vegas has more options for live magic than any city in the world. Check out my in-depth article: Best Magic Shows in Las Vegas in 2023.
There’s Magic Everywhere!
Live magic has come a long way in the last century, and finding a magic show near you is easier than ever before. Is there a fantastic magic theater that I’ve forgotten? Contact me and let me know.
Have fun out there, and enjoy the show!