AAA Travel Tips / Top 9 Places to Get Your Geek On in 2018

Top 9 Places to Get Your Geek On in 2018

Courtesy of National Videogame Museum
By AAA Travel Editors
January 04, 2018
Geeks all over the galaxy are eagerly awaiting a new “Star Wars” land at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and “Star Wars” attractions at Disneyland. And Universal Studios, already popular with “Harry Potter” devotees, announced it will collaborate with video game giant Nintendo on new attractions. But you don't have to go to the theme parks to immerse yourself in geek culture. Here’s a list of AAA Rated® hotels, restaurants and attractions across the country where Steve Jobs wannabes, fanboys and the like can let their geek flag fly.
Josh Grenier / Josh Grenier / flickr
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MoPOP (Museum of Pop Culture)
Seattle, Washington
(206) 770-2700
Seattle’s monorail cuts through this pop culture museum's stunning home, a futuristic mingling of materials that was designed by renowned architect Frank O. Gehry. While the AAA GEM® attraction's exterior is certainly awe-inspiring, movie geeks will be picking their jaws up off the floor once they get inside. Multiple exhibition galleries showcase rare fantasy, horror and sci-fi film props, such as a goosebump-inducing facehugger from “Alien” and a steely-eyed “Terminator” robot. The expansive repository (formerly known as the Experience Music Project Museum, or EMP Museum) was started by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, who opened another great draw for geeks in 2012, Seattle's Living Computers: Museum and Labs.
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iStockphoto.com / LauriPatterson
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Galactic Pizza
Minneapolis, Minnesota
AAA Inspector Rating
(612) 824-9100
While the earth-conscious owners of this Lyn-Lake district pizzeria strive to use organic and locally sourced ingredients as well as recycled or biodegradable packaging, it's the spandex-clad delivery drivers who really set this joint apart. Dressed in superhero costumes, the lighthearted couriers transport the AAA Two Diamond's delicious pies to customers via electric cars. The dine-in experience is just as geektastic: you're given 3-D glasses to read the menu, and the small, colorful space is adorned with superhero art.
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Courtesy of Victory Hill Exhibitions
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Marvel's Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N.
Las Vegas, Nevada
(702) 897-7626
Immersing visitors in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, this high-tech, Stan Lee-approved attraction opened in 2016 and ties in with the storyline of “The Avengers” movies. A self-guiding mobile app leads you and the other “operatives in training” through S.T.A.T.I.O.N. (Scientific Training and Tactical Intelligence Operative Network) headquarters, where interactive displays focus on everything from the effects gamma radiation has on DNA to the molecular makeup of Thor's hammer. The dazzling collection of costumes and props, which includes Captain America's uniform and shield as well as Iron Man's Mark 45 suit, is sure to mesmerize both fans of the hugely successful film franchise and the comics that inspired them.
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Courtesy of Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament
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Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament
Buena Park, California
(714) 523-1100
At the longtime attraction, “sword and sorcery” fans enjoy a feast fit for a king in a replica castle, all while burly knights battle to the death (well, not reaallly). Although you can get your fill of lance-wielding horsemen and finger-lickin’ good roast chicken at any one of the Texas-based entertainment group’s nine North American locations, the Buena Park arena has a geeky edge. In a fight sequence filmed there for “The Cable Guy,” Ben Stiller—the director of the 1996 dark comedy and a self-professed Trekkie—paid homage to “Amok Time,” a noteworthy “Star Trek” episode.
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Courtesy of Moonrise Hotel
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Moonrise Hotel
St. Louis, Missouri
AAA Inspector Rating
(314) 721-1111
Cool Atomic Age-style furniture and collectibles related to space travel (both real and imagined) fill this AAA Four Diamond boutique hotel. Cosmic artwork adorns the on-site eatery, Eclipse Restaurant at the Moonrise Hotel, a AAA Two Diamond whose trendy rooftop bar boasts the largest rotating man-made moon in the world. Though Rosie the robot maid from “The Jetsons” won’t be stopping by to make your bed, you will be treated to high-tech room amenities like 32-inch plasma TVs plus desks and executive chairs with connectivity panels.
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Courtesy of National Videogame Museum
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National Videogame Museum
Frisco, Texas
(972) 668-8400
This museum showcases an awesome video game collection amassed by three diehard aficionados, and fortunately for gamers, most of the aging controllers and cartridges aren’t tucked away behind glass. Try to beat your high score in the re-created ‘80s bedroom complete with Pac-Man sheets and a Nintendo Entertainment System, or give your thumbs a workout in the old-school arcade stocked with classics like Donkey Kong and Galaga. Other highlights include a giant hands-on console celebrating the home version of Pong and the interactive Head-to-Head Hall.
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Inspector 22 / AAA
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Space Aliens Grill & Bar
Bismarck, North Dakota
AAA Inspector Rating
(701) 223-6220
Allegedly founded by extraterrestrials that crash-landed on Earth, this small chain with locations in North Dakota and Minnesota is known for its out-of-this-world ribs and fire-roasted pizzas. The original, a AAA Two Diamond in Bismarck, opened in 1997. In addition to neon UFOs, life-size alien sculptures, and sci-fi memorabilia and murals, each family-friendly restaurant features a 30-foot-high domed ceiling that allows diners to gaze into “outer space.”
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Courtesy of Super Museum
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Super Museum
Metropolis, Illinois
(618) 524-5518
If the Man of Steel is your all-time favorite “caped crusader,” put this small Superman museum/store at the top of your travel bucket list. The owner’s insane stockpile comprises more than 20,000 items—everything from action figures to lunch boxes. After scrutinizing the noteworthy assemblage of Clark Kent glasses and blue tights, head across the street for a few selfies with the 15-foot-tall Superman statue Metropolis citizens dedicated to the fictional superhero back in the ‘90s. We suggest visiting the Kryptonian-loving small town in June, when the fun Superman Celebration event is in full swing.
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Courtesy of Zombie Burger & Drink Lab
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Zombie Burger & Drink Lab
Des Moines, Iowa
AAA Inspector Rating
(515) 244-9292
There’s always a long line at the horror-themed Zombie Burger & Drink Lab, a hip AAA Two Diamond serving up “goremet” burgers in Des Moines’ eclectic East Village district. Murals by comic book artist Ron Wagner grace the walls, and the back of the menu features humorous fake newspaper stories with headlines like “Living Man to Wed Undead Girlfriend” and “Zombie Labor, No-Brainer.” Complementing crazy-delicious sandwich creations like “East Village of the Damned” and “The Walking Ched” (if you’re not a mac ‘n’ cheese fan, stay far, far away from this monstrosity) is a selection of bizarre shakes. Our fave? The “Zombie Unicorn,” made with vanilla ice cream, marshmallow cream and Fruity Pebbles.
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