Mysterious, Magical, Wonderful. These are all things Genie’s Secret Bazaar felt like when I entered.
I experienced the VIP treatment of Genies Secret Bazaar, which meant cutting ahead in lines, free games, light refreshments, a beautiful hanging Evil Eye of protection, and one free tarot card reading. I’d highly recommend VIP on pop-up experiences after getting a taste of the good life. It’s definitely worth the extra cash, especially if you have children.
The whole theme was the book version of Aladdin and Genie. You have been whisked away into the bazaar of the stories and treated to actual Arabian treats, actors, and a feeling of a realistic marketplace with small stalls and side shows at every turn. It’s a two-hour experience that feels like an excellent kind of endless.
Actors and actresses run wildly through the bazaar pulling you into their stories and lore. I had a German-accented violin player catch me three times, telling me more and more about who he was in this mysterious world every time. I was enthralled by everyone who stayed so well into their characters, from excited ringmasters to gypsies who escaped jail and carried around the skull of their lost love. Acrobats performed flawlessly, and puppeteers masterfully told their paper dolls’ life stories. Everyone has a role, and it was easy to tell they loved their job and the joy it brought people like me.
Ringmaster telling a story
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by all the fun, there’s a relaxation tent to sit in the dark and quiet and enjoy a moment away from all the noise and glamour. I stopped in for a moment to breathe, and it was so cozy. Rugs everywhere and small cushions on the floor to rest on. It remained quiet even as people walked outside excitedly; maybe it was indeed a magical tent.
After all the performances and people, you may get thirsty; they have adorable themed drinks to quench your thirst. I had a love potion made of dragon fruit and rose; the sprinkling of the rose on top of the drink made it delicious. The vendors were kind and attentive. I am sad I couldn’t try every potion, but for a small cup, it was 7 dollars, and I didn’t want to spend all my money on drinks. I understood things get pricey at this, but I was hoping for better deals.
Walking back and forth, I passed a curiosities tent many times; it haunted me. I didn’t know if it was an actors-only area or for people, but soon enough, I slid in and was greeted by wonders and treasures that fit the aesthetic of wandering from place to place caravan. It was glorious and intriguing. Another character is the Keeper of the Oddities; he is funny, amusing, and likable.
Inside the tent
As time winded down, I found myself sad that all the fun was coming to an end but joyful that I got to experience it at all. I’d highly recommend this adventure, especially for children; the actors played with and interacted with them a lot. It made my heart sing to see the joy on their faces. I hope this pop-up returns sometime because I’d happily join in the fun again.
While I got to go for free, all these opinions were my own and not swayed by the pop-up shop.
Sadly July 31st was the last day in Philadelphia, but hopefully, they will bring their magic back one day.