If you are planning to go on the ultimate geeky road trip, keep some of these cities in the US in mind. They have attractions that speak to the geek in all of us!
Road trips are an amazing thing. You get a friend or two to come along (and split gas prices and driving), pack up a bag of clothes, a camera, and a map (or GPS in this day and age) and you hit the road for destinations unknown. And with summer finally here, it is now time to take that nerdy road trip to those places that are at the forefront of every geek’s mind. So pack your bags, get your car checked, and let’s go for a ride to some of the geekiest destinations in the United States.
Just south of San Francisco is the city of Sunnyvale, known for being the home of Silicon Valley, a leading hub for high-tech development and innovation. It is home to the likes of numerous tech start-ups turned mega corporations, including eBay, Adobe, Cisco, Yahoo, Netflix, Facebook, Google, and Apple. Intel has its own museum with numerous hands-on exhibits and you can visit the Apple “mothership” store as well, where you can not only get electronics, but all the Apple swag you could ever want, including an “I visited the Mothership” t-shirt. And for something completely off the beaten path, head over to the WierdStuff Warehouse, where you can get any gadget or gizmo you could possibly ever need, including vintage electronics.
San Diego, California
San Diego is home to the most museums per capita than any other city in the United States, including the San Diego Natural History Museum, the Museum of Making Music, California Surf Museum, San Diego Air and Space Museum, USS Midway Museum, San Diego Police Museum, and the Mingei International Museum. With so many museums, any geek will have lots to keep them busy! Make sure to look up which ones offer discounts on admission and on what days, as well as any special exhibits.
And if that wasn’t enough to keep any geek excited in San Diego, it is home to Comic-Con International, an amazing four day event showcasing sci-fi and fantasy television and film, comic books, and other pop culture elements, including webcomics, animation, horror, and manga. It is the fourth largest comic convention around the world and the largest throughout the Americas. It is attended by thousands upon thousands of people from all over the world and commonly referred to as “geek nirvana.” If you are road tripping to California in the summer, this is a definite must-visit. Just do not forget to pack a costume!
While you are in California, check out some of these other places as well:
Agua Dulce – home Vasquez Rocks, where a large number of Star Trek: The Original Series and Star Trek: The Next Generation Series were filmed. Recreate the scene in “Shore Leave” or “Darmok” there, or just pay homage to the popular sci-fi series by creating your own Star Trek Episode.
San Francisco – Home of the Starfleet Academy and Federation Headquarters, this city is known as “ground zero” when it comes to the dot com revolution. It is where Twitter was first created as well as other web tech companies, , including Dropbox, Yelp, StumbleUpon, Digg, LiveJournal, Reddit, Pogo, Instagram, Imgur, Craigslist, Yammer, and Zynga.
Roswell, New Mexico
Every geek out there is at least just a little big fascinated with aliens and UFOs. Roswell is the perfect place to go to scope out locations where it is said the aliens have landed. It is home to the International UFO Museum and Research Center and the annual Roswell UFO Festival, both of which look to educate the general public on everything UFO-related.
If you are really into everything alien related, drive out further west to Nevada. While gambling in Las Vegas may not interest you, just 83 miles outside the city is Area 51, a U.S. military base subject of numerous conspiracy theories regarding UFOs and UFO folklore. It is also the place where they are supposedly testing time travel, weather control, and other very sinister conspiracies.
Seattle is home to more than just grunge music and coffee, but the behemoth fortress known as the Microsoft Megaoffice. It is a 388 acre campus that has a huge visitor’s center where all those devoted to Microsoft can learn about the history of the company and marvel at all the technologies that have come out of this fortress-like corporate office. Then you can stop by the store and play with the new gadgets Microsoft is currently coming up with. Also visible from the office is Bill Gates’ estate.
Before leaving Seattle, also check out Nintendo of America, where you can look at vintage Nintendo hardware and pick up some cool Nintendo swag. Other notable high-tech companies in the area include Expedia, Boeing, and T-Mobile.
Washington D.C. is probably not one of the first cities you will put on a list of geeky road trip spots, but the city none-the-less has lots to offer the nerdy persuasion. The city is actually a huge treasure trove of interesting tech-based artifacts. The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum provides a look into items like the Enola Gay, the Spirit of St. Louis, a collection of moon rocks that you can actually touch, as well as a collection of ICBM missiles. It is where you go when you want to learn more about air and space travel.
And while the National Museum of American History may not have the word “science” in its name, it is a definite must-see as it has a huge science collection, including the very first Ethernet adaptor, first electro-hydraulic heart, the very first Xerox machine, and also Albert Einstein’s infamous Brier pipe.
And if that is not enough for you, for spy lovers out there, check out the International Spy Museum. It houses more than 200 different spy tools and gadgets seen everywhere from 007 movies, to Tom Clancy novels, and even spy-based video games. If you want to learn about being a spy, this is where to go!
This city is home to a number of government, biotechnology, and pharmaceutical companies, including DialAGeek, GlobalStem, Human Genome Sciences, and Nabi Biopharmaceuticals. But, that is not as important as the X30 Gaming Center – a completely state-of-the-art gaming lounge featuring high-end computers and 50-inch HDTVs with various linked game consoles. The center can fit more than 15,000 serious gamers and internet users, plus an additional 45,000 through the internet. X30 hosts a number of tournaments, parties, and team building events throughout the year.
New York City, New York
Yes, of course, New York City is known for Broadway, Fifth Avenue, and Rockefeller Square, but what is truly amazing about the Big Apple is that there is something here for everyone. So rather than taking a tour of Times Square or heading up to the top of the Empire State Building, check out some of these nerdy attractions instead!
Visit the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art, a museum dedicated to the preservation, collection, display, and study of comic and cartoon art. At MoCCA there is anime, animation, comic strips, comic books, gag cartoons, computer generated art, caricatures, graphic novels, and so on and so forth. Then head to Barcade, a great over-21 one place where geeks can combine a love of drinking beer with old-school arcade games. Other great places to visit include St. Mark’s Bookshop, Ripley’s Believe it or Not! Odditorium, The Paley Center for Media, and of course, Brooklyn Superhero Supply Co. where you can get everything you would ever possibly need to dress up like an authentic superhero!
It does not matter if you are a food geek, tech geek, history geek, or any other type of geek, Boston is the city for all geeks. It is home to a number of important battle sites as well as historical landmarks and monuments. The city is also home to some of the best universities and colleges in the nation, including MIT, Harvard, the New England Conservatory, Boston University, and the Wentworth Institute of Technology. It is also home to Anime Boston, Harvard Model Congress and Harvard Model United Nations, as well as the Berklee College of Music jazz competition and festival.
When you think of Texas, you probably do not think of all things geek, but barbeque and football. However, the city is teeming with geeks and geeky things to do. The city is home to the South by Southwest Festivals – primarily known for bands and musicians; it is also an interactive festival where tech-loving geeks can try new technologies and concepts, including games and apps.
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
If you have a passport, head up north to Vancouver, BC because it is the serious go-to location for all things sci-fi television and movie related. It was the home to the X-Files, the Stargate series, Eureka, Battlestar Galactica, Supernatural, The 4400, Harper’s Island, Smallville, Andromeda, as well as a number of sci-fi movies, including Underworld: Awakening, Tron: Legacy, and Snakes on a Plane. There are even guides you can purchase to take you around some of the places in Vancouver and you can stand where some of your favorite scenes from favorite television shows and movies took place. And just to add a bit more excitement, Vancouver is home to VCON – an annual science fiction convention, held in the fall!
What about you? Where would you go on the ultimate geeky road trip throughout the United States?