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Editor Pick

Top 7 Places to Get Your Geek On

Updated: March 25, 2024

Written by

AAA Travel Editors

Geeks all over the galaxy laud Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge, the “Star Wars” land, at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and at Disneyland. And Universal Studios Hollywood has Super Nintendo World featuring beloved characters from Super Mario game series and Epic Universe. A new park part of Universal Studios Florida, will open in 2025 and feature “Dark Universe,” add the Ministry of Magic to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and have its own Super Nintendo World, adding more fun things to do at the theme parks. But you don't have to travel to the theme parks to immerse yourself in geek culture. Here’s our list of hotels, restaurants and attractions across the country where Steve Jobs wannabes, fanboys and the like can let their geek flag fly on nerd vacations.

1. MoPOP (Museum of Pop Culture)

Location: Seattle, Washington

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 MoPOP'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.

2. Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament

Location: Buena Park, California

At the longtime attraction, “sword and sorcery” fans enjoy a feast fit for a king or queen in a replica castle of Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament, 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 (just outside of Anaheim) 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.

3. Moonrise Hotel

Location: St. Louis, Missouri

Cool Atomic Age-style furniture and collectibles related to space travel (both real and imagined) fill the AAA Four Diamond Moonrise Hotel, making it among the most interesting places to stay in St. Louis. Cosmic artwork adorns the on-site eatery, Eclipse Restaurant, 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.

4. National Videogame Museum

Location: Frisco, Texas

One of the most fun things to do in Frisco (near Dallas, Texas), 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.

5. Space Aliens Grille & Bar

Location: 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.”

6. Super Museum

Location: Metropolis, Illinois

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. Metropolis is located between Nashville, Tennessee, and St. Louis, Missouri.

7. Zombie Burger & Drink Lab

Location: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.

Written by

AAA Travel Editors

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