Nerds come in every glorious form from the standard, ever-popular comic nerd who enjoys cosplay and a solid game of D+D to the hardcore science nerds who would rather put on a lab coat than a cape. So if you have any geeky bone in your body, you'll probably like these super cool trip ideas.
Seattle Geek Festivals
The quintessential weirdness of Seattle has seeped so far into their social community that they have dozens of annual "geek fests" where locals and tourists alike congregate and share in the fun. Serious film festivals or ZomBcon where participants dress up like zombies and...well, you know the gist of it. Science-fiction literary festivals, steampunk cosplay, gaming tournaments, robot designing competitions, and more. This city has it all.
Quidditch World Cup
Every Harry Potter fan has, at one point or another, wanted to try their hand at riding a broom and catching the Golden Snitch. American enthusiasts have made it an annual ambition to put on a major tournament and exercise their Quidditch skills. This year, the World Cup is being held in Rock Hill, South Carolina and features 80 league teams competing for the cup. Even if you aren't participating, it's a hoot to watch.
Tour-able film locations
One thing I know is that nerds love movies. I happen to be one of them. Across the U.S. are hundreds of iconic movie locations from the set of The Goonies in Astoria, Oregon to Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia where they filmed 12 Monkeys. In Los Angeles, movie nerds can visit the Ennis House, the house in Blade Runner, as well as the Bradbury Building and the Griffith Observatory which is a great nerdy attraction in itself.
Austin's popular Alamo Drafthouse is an experience. More than the local AMC, the Drafthouse is a dine-in theater where participatory viewings are a regular occurrence. Quote-along and sing-along movie series are a huge crowd magnet where you can have a beer and onion rings while you act out Rocky Horror Picture Show with a group of enthusiastic strangers. This is the place to be if you can't help but say the character's lines before they do.
International Spy Museum
With regular exhibits on topics like 007 villains and code-breaking geniuses, the Spy Museum in Washington, D.C. is entertaining to the extreme. Tour the exhibits and see Goldfinger's shoes and then become a spy yourself in Operation Spy, a live action adventure, or take a GPS spy tour of D.C. Founded with the help of former agency directors, the Spy Museum is intensely authentic while remaining true to the pop-culture glamour of spies.
Roswell has been exciting nerdy investigations since the alleged crash occurred in 1947. While you can't actually visit Area 51, you can attend the annual UFO Festival, July 3-5 this year, where you can see the Festival Light Parade and dress up for the costume contest among other events. The UFO Museum is open year round in Roswell for visitors, of course.
Challengers Comics + Conversation
Comic book nerds will no doubt already know about Challengers of Chicago but it's worth a mention anyway. One of the finest comic book stores in the country, this Chicago gem selling new releases, graphic novels, past issues, or comics for your collection. The staff are renowned for their intense knowledge and friendliness but that's not all. Artblog competitions, forums, book signings, and more make this a premier comic destination.
Very Large Array
Not only is the VLA one of the world's largest collection of astronomical radio antennas but it's the site of several science-fiction movies like Contact. From a serious science standpoint, the VLA is used by astronomers who search the galaxy for radio signals. The Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI) uses the VLA regularly and you can imagine what they hope to find. Tours of the observatory are led by professionals who can answer your wildest questions.
The inspiration for Stephen King's horror classic The Shining, Stanley Hotel is Colorado's most haunted and most magnificent hotel. Perhaps the ghost stories can be attributed to the fact that the hotel rests 7,500 feet above sea level but that doesn't make it any less frightening. Ghost packages, tours, and haunted rooms are rented out to brave souls.
The Way Station
If you don't have the means to visit the BBC Dr. Who Museum in Cardiff, make your way to Brooklyn's only Dr. Who themed bar where you can see a life-size TARDIS. Thousands of Time Lord fanatics, including Stephen Moffat, have made their way to NYC to throw back a sonic screwdriver and tour the fascinating collection of science-fiction memorabilia decorating the walls.
Finally, for those of you who enjoy a good museum and aren't too squeamish about what lies beneath the skin, the traveling exhibits of Body Worlds is both intensely interesting and unique. Instead of mannequins, human bodies are stripped of skin and put on display for visitors in beautiful poses. While the gallery is meant to illustrate the beauty of the human body, it isn't for everyone.
Be it a film festival on the lawn of the Hollywood Forever Cemetery in L.A. or Comic-Con, nerds have some of the best pickings when it comes to fun attractions. There are hundreds more nerdy destinations across the U.S. including some of the best science museums in the world, magnificent theaters, strange bars, and quirky restaurants where fights over the Monopoly board are encouraged while you eat. Look to us and we'll help lead you on the right path to your very own nerd paradise for your next vacation.