Top 9 Places to Get Your Geek On
By AAA Travel Editors | April 19, 2023
MoPOP (Museum of Pop Culture)
Looking for things to do in Seattle? A 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.
iStockphoto.com / LauriPatterson
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 from other places to eat in Minneapolis. Eating out? Dressed in superhero costumes, the lighthearted couriers transport the 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 local restaurant is adorned with superhero art.
Courtesy of Victory Hill Exhibitions
Marvel's Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N.
Las Vegas, Nevada
Immersing visitors in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, this high-tech, Stan Lee-approved attraction opened in 2016, ties in with the storyline of “The Avengers” movies and is among the top things to do in Las Vegas. 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.
Courtesy of Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament
Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament
Buena Park, California
At the longtime attraction, “sword and sorcery” fans enjoy a feast fit for a king or queen in a replica castle, all while burly knights battle to the death (well, not reaallly, as this thing to do in Buena Park is pure entertainment). 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 as far as fun places to go. 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.
Courtesy of Moonrise Hotel
St. Louis, Missouri
Cool Atomic Age-style furniture and collectibles related to space travel (both real and imagined) fill this AAA Four Diamond boutique hotel, making it among the most interesting places to stay in St. Louis. Cosmic artwork adorns the on-site eatery, Eclipse Restaurant at the Moonrise Hotel, a restaurant whose trendy rooftop bar boasts the largest rotating man-made moon/food places in the world. Though Rosie the robot maid from “The Jetsons” won’t be stopping by to make your bed during your trip, you will be treated to high-tech room amenities like 32-inch plasma TVs plus desks and executive chairs with connectivity panels.
Courtesy of National Videogame Museum
National Videogame Museum
One of the most fun things to do in Frisco, this museum showcases an awesome video game collection amassed by three diehard aficionados. 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.
Space Aliens Grille & Bar
Bismarck, North Dakota
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, in Bismarck, opened in 1997 and is among the fun things to do in Bismark. 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.”
Courtesy of Super Museum
If the Man of Steel is your all-time favorite “caped crusader,” put this small Superman museum/store at the top of your list of what to do. 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, there are still more fun things to do in Metropolis. 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 summer — look for places to stay in advance — when the fun Superman Celebration event is in full swing; phone Metropolis Chamber of Commerce at (618) 524-2714 for details.
Courtesy of Zombie Burger & Drink Lab
Zombie Burger & Drink Lab
Des Moines, Iowa
Best restaurant with bite? There’s always a long line at the horror-themed Zombie Burger & Drink Lab, a hip joint serving up “goremet” burgers in the eclectic East Village district. Murals by comic book artist Ron Wagner grace the walls at this place to eat in Des Moines, 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 wicked-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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