Harry Potter Film Locations in London

LondonIt has been an exciting month for Harry Potter fans. On July 8th, J.K. Rowling released a short story narrated by Rita Skeeter, the gossip-crazed character that readers first meet in The Goblet of Fire. The 1,500 word story is entitled “Dumbledore’s Army Reunites at Quidditch World Cup Final,” which has Rita gossiping over Dumbledore’s Army and their family. In addition, the spin-off movie based on one of Harry Potter’s school books, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, will be in theaters on November 18, 2016. Furthermore, July 8th marked the opening of Diagon Alley in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida. Such incredible buzz surrounding the book series— even three years after the last movie— makes fans want to re-embrace the wizarding world. While most people can visit Universal Studios, that experience does not easily compare to visiting some of the actual set locations in London.

Here are a few:


  • King’s Cross station services north-east England and the east coast of Scotland. However, in the book series, this station can take you to the entirely different realm of Hogwarts, that is if you can find Platform 9 ¾ hidden between the walls. Since the books and films’ success, the wall between platform 9 and 10 has now been labeled as 9 ¾. To illustrate the landmark, a half cart is attached to the wall, so that fans can take photos as though they are entering the platform. King’s Cross is where all the station-based scenes have been filmed, including the scene in the last film where Dumbledore and Harry talk for the last time in the middle of the Battle of Hogwarts.
  • Diagon Alley, the major shopping center for all wizards that appears in many of the movies, was shot in two different locations. The outside of Diagon Alley, or the “muggle” side, was filmed in Borough Market. The market features Dickensian cobbled streets and has now become a mecca for foodies as well as the secret entrance to Diagon Alley (which can be entered through the Leaky Cauldron). The shopping scenes within Diagon Alley were filmed in Leadenhall Market, across from the London Bridge.
  • In the first film, Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone, Harry discovers he can talk to snakes and accidentally traps Dudley in the snake’s tank at the London Zoo.  This scene was filmed at the actual London Zoo, located in Regent’s Park, which now has a sign to mark the tank that housed the python in the movie (though it is now home to a black mamba).
  • Harrow School is where Professor Flitwick’s classes were filmed in the first movie. The school was founded in the 16th century and other than appearing in Harry Potter, it has become famous for educating seven prime ministers. The Harrow District resides just north of London Center and currently operates as an all-boy boarding school.

Newcomer's Handbook for London

Those are a few scenes filmed in London if you happen to be visiting there, or if you’re moving to the area, check out our Newcomer’s Handbook for moving to and living in London.

Written by: Kristin Monteith

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Moving to College

CollegeIt’s that time of year when all the high school graduates are starting to enjoy their final summer before college. However, before you even realize, it will be time to leave for college, and our Newcomer’s Handbooks are here to assist you!

Let’s begin with New York City, home to the prestigious New York University. The big city can be intimidating, especially to a freshman who does not know what to expect. However, our Newcomer’s Handbook for Moving to and Living in New York City can be your guide to Manhattan, Queens, and more. It looks closely at various neighborhoods just in case you need (or want) to live off campus. Our handbooks also offer information on performing arts theaters such as the New York Philharmonic and Carnegie Hall, both of which sell tickets to students at a discounted rate.

Chicago houses many colleges, one of which being Chicago State University. Chicago State University offers 36 diverse undergraduate programs and 29 focused graduate programs. Our handbook explores the amazing activities the city has to offer: from Broadway shows to the Bean– a public sculpture in Millennium Park. Our Newcomer’s Handbook for Moving to and Living in Chicago also includes a section for shopping, so that you know where to go to fill up the dorm room.

HarvardHarvard, located in Boston, is one of America’s most beloved universities. America’s first university is surrounded with history and pubs. Our Newcomer’s Handbook for Moving to and Living in Boston takes a brief look at some of the local lingo as well as how to navigate the busy streets and take advantage of public transportation. We also include a section regarding where to become involved in the community, from places to volunteer, like Pine Street Inn— a homeless shelter— to places of worship, using the National Council of Churches. Our handbook will surely make any college student in Boston feel like a part of the city.

The University of California, Los Angeles is the largest of the nine UC campuses. Whether it’s the promise of fame in the big city or the fabulously warm weather, this University has grown to educate more than 35,000 students, which has also increased the difficulty of being accepted. UCLA may be known for its college football and basketball team, but if you’re also a fan of professional sports, our books offer a list of stadiums and arenas, such as the Staples Center and Dodger Stadium, so you can watch your favorite game.

If you’re already packing your boxes for college, be sure to refer to one of our handbooks to best prepare for your move!

Written by: Kristin Monteith

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Newcomer’s Handbooks Explores its LGBT Communities – Part 2

ID-100256432In celebration of LGBT Month, Newcomer’s Handbooks can help you find out which states support marriage equality and help you move with the assistance of our relocation books, all of which include a section on LGBT life in the city. Last week we looked at LGBT-friendly cities on the west coast.

Newcomer's Handbook for Minneapolis–St. PaulThis week, we start in Minnesota with Minneapolis and St. Paul, two very LGBT-community friendly cities. The Twin Cities’ neighborhood of Loring Park is considered the center of gay life and is home to many gay bars. The neighborhood of East Hennepin also has more than a few gay-owned pubs. There is an info line called OutFront Minnesota which helps to find LGBT centers and other information as well as publishing a biweekly magazine called Lavender.

Newcomer's Chicago 6th EditionNow on to the Windy City– Newcomer’s has your guide to Chicago and its surrounding cities of Evanston, Oak Park, Schaumburg, Wheaton, and Naperville. No matter what you like to do, Chicago’s got it all, from the 600 parks to the theater district to the Magnificent Mile of designer outlets and mall. And it also has quite the night life, with Boys Town being the center of gay bars and Andersonville the center of lesbian bars. The Andersonville neighborhood also has Chicago’s largest LGBT population, while Edgewood has the largest community of gay couples. But whether or not you choose to live in one of these areas, you can still keep up to date with Windy City Queercast, a radio broadcast focused on LGBT news.

Newcomer's Handbook for the USANewcomer’s Handbooks offers a guide to our nations’ capital, Washington DC, and though the handbook includes Northern Virginia, you might want to wait as marriage equality is still in court there. However, the book also offers some advice for suburban LGBT-friendly Maryland as well. DC has the 6th largest LGBT city population, and most of the gay bars can be found in the Dupont Circle area along with other LGBT friendly neighborhoods, like Takoma Park and Shirlington. Along with public acceptance, DC’s police department also has a Gay and Lesbian Liaisons Unit in order to prevent and prosecute hate crimes. The “Metro Weekly” also provides lists of religious groups that are open to the LGBT community.

Newcomer's Handbook for BostonNext up is Boston and some of its surrounding areas, like Cambridge, Brookline, and Somerville, in Massachusetts. Boston is very LGBT-friendly, especially the neighborhood of South End. From “Bay Windows,” New England’s leading gay and lesbian newspaper, to the Pink Pages the LGBT New England Yellow Pages–there is always a way to reach out and get connected to the community. There are multiple activist and support groups as well, like GLASS: Boston Gay and Lesbian Adolescent Social Services Center and many more.

Newcomer's Handbook for New York CityLast but not least, we take a look at the Big Apple, New York City. The city that never sleeps certainly has its appeals. Between the shopping and Broadway, there’s never a dull moment. Rent may be daunting, so if you’re thinking of moving there and are looking for roommate, you can check out Rainbow Roommates. The LGBT community in New York has become so widespread that it becomes hard to limit it down, but there is one center that stands out. The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered Community Service Center provides a multitude of classes on subjects like HIV/AIDs and adopting. They also have welcome baskets full of guides to the city that specifically mark the LGBT community.

Hopefully these brief glimpses into the LGBT communities of some of our nation’s greatest cities were helpful, and of course, if you’ve decided to move to any of these cities or their surrounding areas, be sure to check out Newcomer’s Handbooks to get a more detailed look at your new home.

Written by: Kristin Monteith

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Newcomer’s Handbooks Explores its LGBT Communities

Does your state prohibit you from marrying the one you love? Lesbian Marriage

In celebration of LGBT Month, Newcomer’s Handbooks can help you find out which states support marriage equality and help you move with the assistance of our relocation books, all of which include a section on LGBT life in the city.

As of May 21st, 2014, the following states support marriage equality: DC, MD, DE, NJ, PA, CT, NY, RI, MA, NH, VT, ME, IL, IA, MN, NM, WA, OR, CA, and HI (freedomtomarry.org).

Newcomer's Handbook for Los AngelesStarting in California, we offer two guides to help you out. The first book focuses on Los Angeles and its neighboring cities: Santa Monica, Pasadena, Orange County, and the San Fernando Valley. Though LA is crowded with strip malls and traffic, it is a big and diverse community. West Hollywood, known for its openly gay community, hosts the Pride Parade every June. Our other California guidebook explores the San Francisco Bay Area, including San Jose, Oakland, Berkeley, and Palo Alto. San Francisco, home of Apple and Google, is just as big and diverse as LA, although slightly more expensive. Among its landmarks are the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz and the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transsexual Center of San Francisco. This community center, along with the San Francisco Bay Times: The Gay, Lesbian, Bi, Trans Newspaper, can keep you up-to-date and connected with the community as well as provide parenting classes, HIV support groups, and a variety of other activities and presentations.

Newcomer's Handbook for PortlandMoving north to Oregon— a state that just made the move from domestic partnerships to full equal-marriage rights— our handbook describes the city of Portland and its surrounding areas, like Vancouver, Gresham, Hillsboro, Beaverton, and Wilsonville. Portland is a beautiful city with the Columbia River and five snowcapped, dormant volcanos all within view. Besides its beauty, Portland also has had one of the first openly gay mayors in a major US city, Sam Adams, who was elected into office from 2005 to 2009. Along with its former gay mayor, the urban city of Portland publishes a PDX Gay Yellow Pages where you can find support centers like the Q Center, which includes a youth resource center.

Newcomer's Handbook for SeattleFurther north in Washington, we have our Newcomer’s Handbook for Moving to and Living in Seattle: Including Bellevue, Redmond, Everett, and Tacoma. Seattle is popularly home to Starbucks, Microsoft, and Amazon as well as Pike Place Market and the Space Needle, from which you can see Mt. Rainier on a clear day. As for the gay community, there is plenty. There is an abundance of organizations geared towards helping the Seattle LGBT community, such as Dignity Seattle for LGBT Catholics, the Lambert House Gay Youth Center, and the Gay Fathers Association of Seattle.

As equality is finally progressing into our cities, even just a brief look at a few of our guidebook’s cities becomes arduous for our readers! Next week, look for Part 2 in which we will cover Illinois and Minnesota, specifically Chicago and Minneapolis- St. Paul.

Written by: Kristin Monteith

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World Cup

Newcomer's Handbook for the USAThe World Cup is a pretty big deal all around the world. With a grand total of 32 teams competing, one from almost every continent with the exception Antarctica, the World Cup is sure to cause uproar worldwide. And though America’s soccer reputation has not always compared to that of other countries, the USA’s World Cup team truly represents America’s diversity.

Even if you have only listened to your co-workers talk about soccer, you have surely heard of the forward Clint Dempsey. Perhaps you even remember him from the last World Cup when he scored against England’s goalie in a shot that just barely made it, grazing right past the goalie’s hands. Dempsey currently plays for the Seattle Sounders, who, if you didn’t guess, are based in Seattle, WA. The Seattle Sounders were established in 2007 and entered Major League Soccer in 2009. The team plays at CenturyLink Field in Tukwila, which is located near the south end of Seattle. Dempsey’s fellow Sounders teammate, DeAndre Yedlin, was also selected to play in the World Cup. Beyond being recognized for its soccer culture, Seattle is home to a few things that are truly American: Nirvana, Starbucks, and Microsoft.

Brad Davis, another stateside player for the US team, plays for Houston Dynamo; he is the team’s all-time leader in games, starts, and assists. Dynamo games are held at BBVA Compass Stadium in the Eastwood section of Houston, also home to Scarface director Howard Hughes. Davis has been with Dynamo since 2006, formerly playing with the San Jose Earthquakes, which incidentally is where his teammate for the World Cup, Chris Wondolowski currently plays.

Chris Wondolowski is from Danville, CA, and despite his short stay at Houston when the team moved, he found his way back to San Jose in the 2010 draft. The Newcomer's Handbook for Los AngelesEarthquakes play at Santa Clara University’s BuckShaw Stadium, which is in the heart of San Jose, close to the San Jose International Airport and the Rose Garden.

Playing in the World Cup for his first time, Omar Gonzalez has a long history with LA Galaxy, where he started playing at 19 and still plays at age 25. Gonzalez and his team play at the Home Depot Center in Carson, the south side of Los Angeles. In the second most populated city behind New York, soccer is very popular in LA. The city offers multiple men and women’s leagues for all skill levels. With two fields: Balboa Park Soccer field in Encino and John Ferraro Soccer Complex in Griffith Park, it’s no wonder why the LA team recruits such great players.

Today, June 12th, marks the beginning of the month-long soccer spree. And if you are a team’s number one fan, and you are so dedicated that you want to move right next to the home stadium, check out some of our Newcomer’s Handbooks for more information about your city of interest. The first match on the 12th is, as per tradition, will be played between Brazil (the host nation) and Croatia. The USA’s first game is on June 16th against Ghana, so be sure not to miss it!

Written by: Kristin Monteith

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We publish Newcomer’s Handbooks for many different cities– one of them being Portland, Oregon, our hometown. We love it here! This is our home for many reasons, and there are tons of lists out there that tell you why Portland is one of the greatest cities in the U.S.

Uncage the Soul Productions put together an amazing time lapse video of Portland, showing both the city and the nature that surrounds it.  There are so many things that Portland has to offer, and this video only captures a small portion of that. However, it does it so well that we wanted to share it with you. So sit back, relax, and enjoy a bit of what we call home:

Finding Portland from Uncage the Soul Productions on Vimeo.


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Moving to Chicago

Thinking about making the move to Chicago? Have you already made the decision? Our Newcomer’s Handbook for Moving to and Living in Chicago can help make your transition smoother and give you the information needed to settle into your neighborhood quicker.

Here is a sample from our Newcomer’s Handbook for Chicago and a quick overview of what the great city of Chicago has to offer:

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We could keep going, but we don’t want to give away all of our secrets! There are a lot of great things about Chicago, but you will have to buy our book to find out all about the great neighborhoods and greenspaces the city has to offer. 

Our Newcomer’s guide includes six geographic maps delineating each section of the city and suburbs as well as photographs of typical housing in each community. With detailed profiles on dozens of neighborhoods and communities, this comprehensive and detailed book includes helpful chapters on Neighborhoods, Finding a Place to Live, Moving and Storage, Money Matters, Getting Settled, Helpful Services, Childcare and Education, Green Living, Shopping for the Home, Cultural Life, Higher Education, Sports and Recreation, Greenspace and Beaches, Weather, Getting Involved (which includes volunteering, places of worship, and meeting people), Transportation, Temporary Lodgings, Quick Getaways, A Chicago Year, Chicago Reading List, and Useful Phone Numbers and Web Sites.

We hope to help make your move and relocation to Chicago as easy as possible!


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Super Bowl 2014

It is that time of year, when the football season is coming to a close and the excitement of the Super Bowl looms. This year the game will be held at the famous MetLife Stadium, home to the New York Giants and New York Jets.

For those that have never been to New York City before and may be moving to or visiting during the coming months, you may be curious as to where to go and what to do while visiting the Big Apple. Here is an excerpt from our “Newcomer’s Handbook for Moving to and Living in New York City,” that lists the yearly festivals and holidays in the coming months:

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Pages from NCHB_NYC22_bookblock_Page_2For more information about New York City, be sure to check out our Newcomer’s Handbook for Moving to and Living in New York City.

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Happy New Year – Resolutions for 2014

As the New Year approaches and the current year ends, it is usually a time of reflection and resolution for the coming year. We look back over the past year and reflect on the accomplishments, failures, tragedies, and small victories that we have encountered and surpassed. We also look forward to the future, with the main topic of conversation being our resolutions for the coming year. From losing weight, to reading more, we all have something that we hope we will improve upon or accomplish in the following year.

What are your resolutions for 2014?

Time magazine shared a list of “5 New Year’s Resolutions That Might Actually Work” with ideas that will help you to keep those commitments that we make to ourselves in January, but are long forgotten come February. Maybe this year you want to make a different resolution, such as “get some fresh air” or “step away from the screen.” CNN gives you a look at different New Year’s resolutions in their article “Make a new kind of New Year’s resolution.”

Here at Newcomer’s Handbooks we hope that in 2014 we can help more people in their move and relocation, that we can introduce more people to a new city and that you learn a little more about where you are living now.

Whatever your resolution, we look forward to sharing 2014 with you and wish you a Happy New Year!

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Portland – A Newcomer’s Perspective

Being a newcomer to a place is both exciting and frightening. I was born and raised in the Midwest, and didn’t even step foot on an airplane until my first year of college. After graduating, however, I knew that the comfortable stability of the Midwest would never be for me, and so I embarked on a 3-year journey that would take me across Asia and Europe and eventually back to the United States. It took me no time to decide that my new destination—and home– would be Portland, Oregon.  

Newcomer's Handbook for PortlandMy first goal upon arriving in the city was to visit the famous Powell’s City of Books, the largest independently-owned bookstore in the world. As luck would have it, there was a table stacked with “The Newcomer’s Handbook for Moving to and Living in Portland,” which I snatched up immediately and devoured. The book helped me understand the city and its history, but it was more valuable in helping me get settled. I used it to choose a neighborhood to live in, to get my car registered, to find parks, and to guide me to the best brewpubs and movie theaters in the city.

But the Newcomer’s book was only a starting point. I had to get out there and explore in order to find my favorite food carts, coffee roasters, and vintage clothing stores. And because Portland is so often named one of the best or most fun, nerdiest, or hippest cities in the U.S., there are always plenty of resources online for guidance. 

Portland is such a unique city with great food, style, people, and culture. It’s also a city filled with newcomers like me. Though I sometimes wish I had always been here, I know that if I had, I would take this amazing city for granted. And Portland deserves better than that.

Written by: Cayce Arnett

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