Houdini Takes D.C. - Atlas Obscura

Washington, D.C.

Houdini Takes D.C.

Join us as we explore Houdini's connection to Washington, D.C., and create a little magic of our own.

We hereby invite you to Tivoli's Astounding Magic Supply Co. for an afternoon of treasured collections, Houdini history, and—of course—magic. 

Houdini always drew immense crowds when he performed in the nation's capitol, which was a frequent stop on his East Coast tours. It was said that he attracted over 15,000 witnesses along Pennsylvania Avenue in 1916—at the time, more than any other event in D.C.'s history aside from an inauguration—to see him attempt a death-defying escape while hanging upside down in a straitjacket. In 1926, he also came to D.C. to testify before Congress on the subject of spiritualism and the city's fortune telling laws.

Join us at Tivoli's Astounding Magic Supply Co., nestled inside the historic Tivoli Theater, where we will delve into the collection of Ken Trombly, attorney, magic enthusiast, and Houdini collector. In an interactive presentation, Trombly will illuminate Houdini's rise, legendary performances, crusade against spiritualism, death, and the rumors of his return from the great beyond.

In the second act, enjoy cherry pie (a Houdini favorite) as escapologist and historian Dean Carnegie recreates Houdini's stunts: liberating himself from ropes and handcuffs (an authentic pair of Houdini-owned cuffs will be on display), among other devices. For his greatest trick, he'll ask a volunteer or two from the crowd to participate... if you dare...


  • The ticket price includes a donation to 826DC.
  • The venue is accessible by metro (Columbia Heights station) and/or bus. Street parking is tough, public transportation is highly recommended. 
  • Tivoli's main entrance is located to the right of Z Burger on Park Road.
  • The Houdini Collection is not to be handled, but photography is encouraged.
  • Due to the delicate nature of the artifacts, no children under the age of twelve please.
  • Share photos on Twitter and Instagram with us @atlasobscura, @magic_posters, @carnegiemagic and with the hashtag #ObscuraDay.


Email julie.seigel@atlasobscura.com.

Advance Tickets Only. All Sales Final. No Refunds or Exchanges.

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