If your ideal vacation includes soaring through the skies like Iron Man, competing impressive physical feats of skill like Captain America or Black Widow, or getting up close and personal with your favorite villains. Then grab your shield, put on your spandex and get ready for the adventure of a lifetime!
From thrilling theme parks to movie site tours and superhuman restaurants, immerse yourself in the world of your favorite heroes and villains.
In this article, we will explore all the exciting options for a Marvel themed vacation and provide tips on how to make the most out of your trip.
So, sit back, relax and let’s get ready to save the world (or conquer it).
Table of Contents
It’s no secret that Marvel is one of the most popular and beloved franchises in the world. From the Avengers to the X-Men, Marvel has created a universe of iconic characters that have captured the hearts of fans of all ages. Experience this thrill yourself as you explore Marvel hubs via our comprehensive travel itineraries throughout the United States.
A Marvel fan vacation is perfect for people who have always dreamed of experiencing the thrill of the movies and comics come to life.
This type of vacation is ideal for fans of all ages, from children who love the action and adventure of the Marvel movies to adults who have been following the comics for decades. It is also perfect for families who want to spend quality time together while exploring the history & behind-the-scenes mysteries of the world of Marvel.
You can use this guide to plan your next action-packed vacation or just to add a few fun Marvel activities to a trip you have already planned.
In short, a Marvel fan vacation is a great way to connect with favorite characters and immerse yourself in the world of Marvel.
Marvel Travel Accessories
These small but mighty accessories will not only make your journey more fun, but also help you show off your Marvel pride.
Imagine yourself strolling through the streets of New York City, with a designer Loki backpack on your back, ready to take on the day. Or maybe you’re headed to a theme park to meet your favorite villain, and you pull out a Spiderman travel mug to stay hydrated during the battle. And don’t forget your uniform of quality Marvel themed t-shirts!
Pack your bags with the right gear, and let the journey begin!
Don’t let your adventure through the Marvel Universe be anything less than legendary.
Choosing a superhero identity can be a fun and exciting way to immerse yourself in your trip by becoming a part of the story. Dressing up as your favorite superhero can be a great way to bond with your friends and family, as you can all choose different superhero identities and have fun together. Plus dressing up will help you to keep track of your travel companions in busy places.
How to choose your superhero identity? Either select a character you identify with or take the Superhero Web Survey!
Choose Your Villain
Choosing a villain for your Marvel vacation may seem counterintuitive, but it can actually be a unique and exciting way to experience the Marvel universe.
For example, visiting locations and landmarks associated with a villain can give you a different perspective on the stories and characters, and can also provide a sense of immersion and connection to the villain’s world.
If you’re a traveler who likes to take consistent trip picts, bring an item that symbolizes your villain to toss into a few photos. Its a fun way to include the villain in the storyline of your trip.
Furthermore, you can play the Villain Hot Potato Game where you hide an item that symbolizes the villain in another traveler’s luggage or a travel bag during the day. If the person finds the villain item, they can hide it in someone else’s bag. At the end of each day the person with the villain item in their travel bag loses and must do some sort of punishment or a heroic act of service for the group.
How to choose your villain? Either select a villain you already like or take the Villain Web Survey!
Set The Tone – Music, Snacks, and Entertainment
When you’re ready to feel like a true superhero, ready to conquer the world and save the day, pop on some epic superhero music. Whether you’re driving to the airport, taking a snack break, or exploring a new city, this music will pump you up and give you that extra boost of energy you need to take on whatever challenges come your way.
So turn up the volume and let the powerful beats and uplifting melodies take you on a journey you’ll never forget!
When the hunger strikes and you need a boost of energy to continue on your adventure, chow down on some superhero snacks!
Whether you’re visiting a theme park, watching a Marvel movie, or just hanging out with friends, these snacks will give you the sustenance you need to keep up with all the action and excitement.
From Hero Head Ring Pops to portable Captain America snack containers for healthy treats, there’s a snack for every hero out there. So don’t be afraid to indulge in a little bit of fun and treat yourself to some delicious superhero snacks as you embark on your thrilling vacation.
Are you ready for a thrilling journey through the Marvel Cinematic Universe during travel downtime? Here’s a list of must-watch movies for your Marvel-themed vacation:
Iron Man (2008) – Start your journey with the film that kickstarted the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Captain America: The First Avenger (2011) – Learn about the origins of Captain America and his fight against the Red Skull.
The Avengers (2012) – Watch Earth’s mightiest heroes assemble to battle against the alien invasion led by Loki.
Thor: Ragnarok (2017) – Join Thor on his journey to save Asgard and stop the goddess of death, Hela.
Black Panther (2018) – Travel to Wakanda and witness the rise of T’Challa as the new king and the Black Panther.
Avengers: Infinity War (2018) – Be prepared for an epic battle as the Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy team up to stop Thanos from collecting all the Infinity Stones.
Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) – Join Peter Parker on his trip to Europe and see him fight against Mysterio and the Elementals.
Black Widow (2021) – Learn about the origins of Natasha Romanoff and her journey to become the Black Widow.
Get ready for an action-packed vacation, Marvel fans!
Marvel Fan Vacation Itineraries
2 Day Itinerary – New York City, NY
Taking a Marvel themed vacation to New York City is an unforgettable experience for any Marvel fan. New York City is home to many fictional iconic Marvel locations such as Stark Tower and the Daily Bugle and real filming locations for films such as Spider-Man: Homecoming, and Captain America: Civil War.
Additionally, New York City is home to unique hero experiences such as the Marvel Experience at Madame Tussauds, Midtown Comics and the Superhero Bus Tour.
Oldest nonprofit organization dedicated to the art of illustration in America, including comic & cartoon art. A full comic gallery was added in 2012 and is one of the best places to enjoy classic superhero literature & art.
Interactive spy museum featuring exhibits and interactive experiences that explore the world of espionage and intelligence gathering. Plus there is a full Batman simulation that will make you feel like you’re living in a comic!
Specialist nerd chain selling superhero comics and collectibles, plus action figures and toys. Plus just about anything else you can imagine!
3 Day Itinerary – Orlando, FL
Orlando, Florida is the perfect destination for a Marvel superhero-themed vacation. At Universal Studios’ Islands of Adventure, you can experience the thrills of the Marvel Super Hero Island, where you can ride the Incredible Hulk Coaster and the Spider-Man ride.
If you’re looking for an experience with current heroes, Disney Springs features a Superhero Headquarters where you can find Marvel merchandise based on recent movies and shows. The Cars of the Superstars exhibit allows you to see iconic superhero vehicles from the movies up close.
The Obstacle Ninja Academy offers visitors the opportunity to train like a superherowith ninja-style obstacle courses. Archery classes and indoor flying lessons are also available to give you a taste of what it’s like to be a superhero. With so many activities to choose from, a Marvel-themed vacation in Orlando is sure to be a hit with both kids and adults.
Getting in line for this ride is your personal consent to participate in a risky scientific test by “Thunderbolt” Ross. After boarding the train, you’ll receive a heavy dose of gamma radiation before being shot out of the accelerator at 40 mph in less than two seconds.
Professor Charles Xavier and Storm require your assistance as Magneto has returned to harm the world. As you board the Accelatron, crank the wheel as quickly as you can to create storm energy and drive the evil mutant away.
When the Sinister Syndicate uses an anti-gravity canon to kidnap the Statue of Liberty in an effort to gain control of New York City, Editor-in-Chief J. Jonah Jameson of the Daily Bugle asks you to cover the story because every paid reporter has left for safety.
The evil Victor von Doom has created a potent super-weapon called the Fusion Dynamo to allow him to finally vanquish the Fantastic Four. The machine is fueled by fear and he has you trapped to harvest yours.
Full-service tabletop tavern and retail game shop with a craft-focused beverage program, light food menu, and patio beer garden.
After the Trip
Comic-ify Your Memories
After your Marvel vacation, why not solidify your memories by turning your photos into a comic book strip? There are many talented artists on Etsy who can help you create a unique and personalized comic book strip that captures all of the highlights of your trip. You can choose to include the heroes and villains that you selected at the beginning of your trip, as well as any other characters or locations that you encountered on your vacation.
When you work with an Etsy artist, you can be sure that your comic strip will be one-of-a-kind and truly reflective of your Marvel vacation adventure. The artist will take the time to understand your vision and bring your story to life in a way that is both fun and engaging. So, don’t wait – comic-ify your memories today!
Harry Potter is a beloved franchise that has captured the hearts of millions of fans around the world. From the enchanting books and movies to the immersive theme parks and merchandise, there is no shortage of ways to immerse oneself in the magical world of Harry Potter.
One way I enjoy feeling like a magical Hogwarts student is through wizardly travel accessories. There are tons of cool options, and I love how I get to rep my favorite magical items everywhere I go!
From tech gadgets to keep my electronics powered up and luggage accents that ensure I’m traveling in style, having the right travel accessories makes my journey enchanting & effortless.
Below, I’ve rounded up 49 uniquely designed go-to travel products to pack inside your carry-on, weekender, or checked bag. Consider these the staples to bring on your next magical trip—and all your future travels after that.
The Harry Potter themed luggage is the perfect foundation to any wizard’s travel ensemble. If you’re on your way to Hogwarts you’ll need luggage made from durable materials, that can withstand the rigors of travel, with a spacious and well-organized interior to hold a full year’s worth of school supplies & magical items.
Whether you like a sturdy Platform 9 3/4 themed set of hardshell cases, or a subtle, floral Hedwig design, you can find it on Amazon at Flourish and Blotts! If you’re looking for a truly iconic pice of luggage try the Trunk Style suitcase set. There are multiple authentic colors and designs.
Whether you’re jetting off to Hogwarts or just going on a weekend getaway to Hogsmeade, sprinkle some magic on your travel ensemble with bags that will definitely make a statement.
The Hogwarts Castle backpack is the perfect size for all your Hogwarts textbooks and supplies. Show off your Hogwarts house pride with a designer bag featuring the colors and crest of your house. The Hedwig owl backpack is a cute and stylish choice for carrying all your daily essentials. Or, go for a mini backpack with chibi character designs from the series. For a chic and practical option, try the letter envelope clutch purse, perfect for carrying all your important documents and small copy of The Invisible Book of Invisibility.
These Harry Potter themed packing organizers are ideal for any wizard or witch on the go.
Keep all your essentials organized in a Snitch or Slytherin travel pouch. The Honeydukes cosmetic bag is the perfect size for all your beauty potions and makeup. The “Let the Magic Begin” tote is a splendid carryall for a trip to Diagon Alley. And don’t forget to pack your Vera Bradley ID zip-up to keep all your important documents safe.
With these packing organizers, you’ll be ready to hop on the Hogwarts Express and start your next adventure.
Keep your coffee, tea, or warm butterbeer at the perfect temperature with a vacuum insulated mug featuring a Hogwarts crest or one of the house crests. Sip in style with a travel cup mug featuring quotes by favorite characters such as “Don’t let the Muggles get you down” from Ron Weasley, or “Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light” from Albus Dumbledore. Or, go for a more classic look with a set of creamily glazed ceramic mugs featuring Honeydukes candy shop and a cauldron of soup.
These travel mugs are sure to make any morning commute feel like a stroll to Hagrid’s Hut.
Although magic abounds in the Wizarding World, technology is something muggles do a bit better. Make sure to pack some Harry Potter-themed travel tech gadgets to keep you connected and stylish on the go.
Start with a Hogwarts-inspired smart watch bandto keep track of your daily spells and potions. Protect your airpods in a Harry Potter case, and let the music of the Wizarding World flow through your headphones or ear buds. An iPad with a Marauders Map case will help you navigate through unknown territories and find your way back to the castle. Don’t forget to pack some travel electric adaptors to ensure you have enough power for all your enchanted devices. And while we’re talking about packing, a luggage scale will do the trick in helping you avoid any excess muggle baggage fees. Happy connected travels!
For a comfortable journey of 300 miles distance or 30,000 feet in the air, a Hogwarts Express travel pillow and Wizard in Training eye mask are essential accessories for an adventurous magical traveler. When it gets cold, bundle up in a fluffy Gryffandor Crest throw or Hogwarts student robes blanket with sleeves and some cozy house crest socks. When you need some peace and quiet, pop in your loop ear plugs and get some shut eye. You’re almost there!
Protect yourself and others with a Hogwarts-themed face mask. Keep your vaccination card safe with a “I Solemnly Swear I Have Been Vaccinated” card protector. Stay hydrated with either a Harry Potter Blender Bottle or “Aguamenti” motivational water bottle. Keep your hands clean with potion of Glowing Health (hand sanitizer) in a Hedwig case. And when you’re about to feel under the weather, pop some “Felix Felicis” Emergen-C to boost your immunity.
Rounding out our collection of the best Harry Potter travel accessories are some odds and ends, like a good magical themed laundry bag and Hogwarts passport cover. If you’re looking to make any journey magical, try the Hogwarts travel set that includes a travel journal, pen and stickers.
Back to Hogwarts Travel Set (Journal/Pen/Stickers/etc)
Are you in need of a break from your usual routine of coding, gaming, and binge-watching sci-fi movies? Well, it’s time to ditch the computer and put your problem-solving skills to the test as you explore the exciting city of Philadelphia.
From exploring the vast collections of world-class museums to indulging in specialty shops and immersive science fiction experiences, this city has it all. So put on your favorite geeky t-shirt and get ready to nerd out with our top 36 nerdy things to do in Philadelphia.
All activities are within two hours from the city proper:
Check out these ideas in Philadelphia and you could have an awesome trip planned within the next 20 minutes.
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What are the Top Nerdy Experiences Unique to Philadelphia?
If you’re looking for a wild night out in Philadelphia, the Mask and Wig Club is the place to be! This quirky musical comedy group from the University of Pennsylvania has been entertaining audiences with their outrageous productions for over 100 years in their classy 1800’s clubhouse which historically served as a church, a stable and carriage house, and dissecting rooms for Jefferson Medical College.
Whether you’re in the mood for a classic musical or a zany sketch comedy show, the Mask and Wig Club has something for everyone. Join the fun! You’ll leave with a smile on your face and a song in your heart.
Ladies, don’t think this tour is just for you! Fellas, come on down too!
Learn the history of Philadelphia’s forgotten female heroes in some of the most popular parts of the city. From the “forgotten founder” Hannah Callowhill Penn, to the prominent “conductor” of the underground railroad, Harriet Tubman, these ladies were ahead of their time and paved the way for future generations of women.
This tour will give you the opportunity to enjoy historic Philadelphia with a small group (no more than 10 people) while learning about local women who made significant contributions to politics, medicine, and other fields. Participants say its one of the best tours in Philly
This giant, globe theater produced by Steven Spielberg is a must-see for any film-loving visitor to the city. Whether you’re a fan of technology, cinema, or just love gazing up at the stars, the Universal Sphere has something for you.
The best part about the Universal Sphere is that it’s not just a static exhibit – it’s a fully immersive experience. You will be transported through time and space to explore new ideas while watching the presentation, “The Power of I”. The sphere and surrounding exhibit are free to visit, but you typically need to make a reservation in advance.
So if you’re a nerd who loves all things technology and creative, be sure to add the Universal Sphere to your Philadelphia itinerary. You won’t be disappointed!
The Cauldron Co. & Wizard Exploratorium is the most magical place in Philly!
Located in the heart of the city, this cozy wizarding potions bar is the perfect spot to cast a spell or two over a cold pint and design the love elixir of your dreams. Be transported into a magical world where you can choose to take a potions making class, explore a townhouse full of magic, enjoy an enchanted afternoon tea, grab a spellbinding snack, or attend a local event.
The atmosphere is enchanting, with flickering candles and bubbling cauldrons scattered throughout the space and the staff is incredible.
Gather your friends, grab your wands, and head on over to The Cauldron for a night of magic and merriment!
Step into a world of charm and wonder at Genie’s Secret Bazaar Philadelphia: An Exploratory Magical Adventure!
This unique and immersive experience will transport you to a mysterious realm where anything is possible. As you explore the bazaar, you’ll encounter all sorts of enchanting sights and experiences, from carnival games and illusions, to fortune tellers and mystical creatures. The delicious food vendors, beer from a local brewery, and grand finale will have you dancing into the streets!
Whether you’re a fan of magic or just looking for a fun and unforgettable adventure, you’ll definitely want to check out Genie’s Secret Bazaar. Its fun for all ages, so come and let your imagination run wild at this magical bazaar in Philadelphia!
Welcome to The Random Tea Room & Curiosity Shop, a peaceful hangout where positive energy and novelty come to life! Nestled in the heart of downtown, this quirky little shop is the perfect spot for anyone with an appreciation for the weird and wonderful.
With its cozy atmosphere and charming decor, you’ll feel right at home as you browse through the collection of curiosities while sipping on steamy, fresh brewed tea. From rare antiques and one-of-a-kind gifts to an international selection of teas and an Herbal Apothecary & Bump Bar, there’s something for every heart & soul at The Random Tea Room & Curiosity Shop.
Are you ready for an adrenaline-filled hour of high intensity critical thinking and puzzle solving? If so, it’s time to break out of your comfort zone and break into your escape room!
Or, maybe just the hidden vault behind a bookcase in your escape room.
If you’re new to escape rooms, you will appreciate the solid mix of challenging and fun puzzles. The staff is notoriously friendly, helpful, and willing to give you a tip if you need it.
If you’re a more seasoned escapee, you will be impressed by the expansive & spacious rooms, clever themed puzzles, exciting audio affects, and attention to minute details. No “pre-packaged” rooms here – every room is a labor of love!
Be aware that if you attempt a more horror themed room, they can feel pretty realistically scary. Don’t book one of those rooms unless you are ready for an unnerving experience!
The Wagner Free Institute of Science in Philadelphia is a singular time machine to archaic earth!
This charming museum is filled to the brim with fascinating scientific artifacts and specimens. From ancient fossilsand minerals to exotic taxidermy and interactive exhibits, there’s something for every science enthusiast at The Wagner Free Institute.
And the best part? Admission is completely free!
Take a trip down humanity’s collective pre-historic memory lane and discover the wonders of science at The Wagner Free Institute. Although its full of them, this museum is hardly bare bones!
Nerds, get ready to break out your skateboards and impress the cool kids at FDR Skatepark! It’s time to show off your mad skate skills and prove that brains and athleticism can coexist.
If that isn’t quite the case for you, don’t worry about falling, just remember the age-old nerd motto: “failure is just an opportunity to learn and improve.”
Located below the I-95 flyover, FDR Skatepark boasts over 30,000 square feet of ramps, pipes, and half pipes. The park is divided into many areas, including the central park, which is located beneath the noted overpass, the adjacent and linked pool area, a small ramp, and a vert ramp.
It is decorated with a dynamic assortment of tags and artwork that creates a captivating visual experience. Professionals and writers for publications like Thrasher and Skateboarder have called the park a concrete skateboard heaven.
So grab your helmets and knee pads, and let’s hit the ramps! Just try not to get too distracted by all the flashy graffiti and rad music blasting from the speakers.
Skate on, nerds!
What are the Best Nerdy Local Cultural Experiences?
11. Essential Philadelphia Museums
Philly has a wide variety of museums for culture and education seekers to choose from, these are our favorites:
Philadelphia Museum of Art – The Philadelphia Museum of Art is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in art and culture. Located in the heart of the city, this world-renowned museum is home to an impressive collection of over 240,000 works of art, spanning more than 2,000 years of history. From ancient artifacts and classical paintings, to modern sculptures and contemporary installations, the museum has something for every type of art lover. In addition to the permanent collections, the museum also hosts a variety of special exhibitions and events throughout the year, making it a dynamic and constantly evolving place to visit.
Barnes Foundation – The Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia is a world-renowned art museum that is home to one of the largest collections of Impressionist, Post-Impressionist, and Modernist paintings in the world. The collection, which was amassed by Dr. Albert C. Barnes, includes works by artists such as Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Paul Cézanne, Henri Matisse, and Pablo Picasso. In addition to the paintings, the Barnes Foundation also has an impressive collection of African sculpture, decorative arts, and furniture. The museum is housed in a beautiful building that was designed by architect Paul Cret, and it features a series of galleries that are arranged according to the principles of “harmonic proportion.”
Philadelphia Zoo – The Philadelphia Zoo was founded in 1859 and was the first zoo in the United States. The zoo is home to over 1,300 animals from around the world, including lions, gorillas, and penguins. Visitors can take a walk through the zoo’s various exhibits, such as the Big Cat Crossing and the PECO Primate Reserve, to get up close and personal with the animals. In addition to the animal exhibits, the zoo also has a number of educational programs and events, such as animal demonstrations and conservation talks.
Rodin Museum – The Rodin Museum in Philadelphia is a stunning architectural masterpiece that houses a vast collection of works by the renowned French sculptor, Auguste Rodin. The museum, which was opened in 1929, is home to over 140 of Rodin’s most famous sculptures, including “The Thinker” and “The Kiss.” The museum’s collection also includes a number of Rodin’s drawings and paintings, as well as works by other artists that were inspired by his work. Visitors to the museum can take a self-guided tour or join a guided tour led by knowledgeable docents.
If you’re looking to add a little mystery and intrigue in your time in Philly, the Masonic Temple is the best kept secret!
This grand, historical building has been around since 1873, and it’s filled with hidden network of rafters, ornate grand halls, and all sorts of Masonic symbols and artifacts.
But don’t worry, this isn’t some creepy, shadowy place. The Masons are actually a fraternity of men who value education, charity, and brotherhood. They’ve been around for centuries, and their temple in Philly is a testament to their enduring legacy.
So if you’re in the City of Brotherly Love and want to explore a little bit of brotherhood history and mystery, make sure to check out the Masonic Temple.
Elfreth’s Alley is a historic gem nestled in the heart of Philadelphia. With its cobblestone streets and charming row houses, it’s like stepping back in time. The Alley is home to some of the city’s oldest houses, with some dating back to the early 18th century. But don’t let the age fool you, these houses are still standing strong and are filled with character and charm.
Visitors can take a stroll down the Alley and imagine what life was like in colonial America. It’s easy to get lost in the quaint atmosphere, with charming gardens and colorful storefronts. And if you’re lucky, you might even spot a resident dressed in colonial garb, adding to the historical atmosphere.
But Elfreth’s Alley isn’t just a museum piece. It’s a thriving community, filled with artists, craftspeople, and small businesses. The Alley is home to a number of unique shops and galleries, offering everything from handmade pottery to vintage clothing. It’s the perfect place to find one-of-a-kind gifts or to treat yourself to something special.
Overall, Elfreth’s Alley is a must-see for anyone visiting Philadelphia. It’s a little slice of history that brings the past to life in a fun and charming way.
If you’re a fan of creepy, abandoned prisons, the Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia is definitely the spot for you! This abandoned prison is known for its ominous architecture and notorious inmates such as Al Capone & ,”Slick Willie” Sutton.
While you’re there, you can explore the cellblocks and check out the prison’s famous solitary confinement cells. And if that’s not sinister enough for you, there are also several ghost stories associated with the penitentiary, making it a must-see for any paranormal enthusiast.
But don’t worry, the Eastern State Penitentiary isn’t all spooks and scares. The prison also has a rich history of being one of the most famous and expensive prisons in the world.
So if you’re looking for a mix of history and scares, the Eastern State Penitentiary is the perfect place to visit.
Independence Hall is where America’s founding fathers gathered to sign the Declaration of Independence, paving the way for the birth of the United States as a nation.
The Liberty Bell is an iconic symbol of freedom because it was rung on July 8, 1776 as a beacon for Americans to come hear the Declaration of Independence rung for the first time. It also has a giant crack running through it, but that just adds to its charm.
Together they are a dynamic duo of American heritage and patriotism.
The Secret Cinema is a pop-up film experience that has presented hundreds of original programs in places all over Philadelphia: nightclubs, bars, coffee shops, museums, open fields, colleges, art galleries, bookstores, and occasionally even theaters and film festivals.
Since it began in 1992, the Cinema has focused on programs devoted to educational and industrial films, cult and exploitation features, cartoons, rare television, local history, home movies, erotic films, politically incorrect material, and the occasional Hollywood classic.
The goal is to explore uncharted film territory and genres that fall between the cracks. Secret Cinema never uses video/digital projection during screenings—as long as it is available on actual film, that is.
18. Movie Filming Locations
Philadelphia is home to the filming locations for a bunch of amazing movies and TV shows. If you’re a movie fan, then you’ll definitely want to check out these awesome sites. From iconic fighting flicks to historical themed adventures, there’s something for every type of nerd on this list.
Pack your bags, grab your camera, and get ready to geek out in the city that works! Just don’t forget to bring your boxing gloves (you know, for extra authenticity).
Feeling a little artsy? Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens are a true, hidden one-of-a-kind mosaic art installation.
Created by artist Isaiah Zagar, the Magic Gardens are a stunning display of color, texture, and whimsy. With everything from murals and mosaics to found objects and folk art, the Magic Gardens are a feast for the senses.
Guided tours are available for you to learn all about the history and inspiration behind this unique creation. So if you’re looking to tap into your inner artist and explore something truly magical, make sure to visit Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens on your next trip to the city!
Philadelphia’s Fairmount Park houses the oldest permanent disc golf course in the world. Sedgley Woods is a 27-hole course that is FREE to the public, year round from sunrise to sunset.
The Friends of Sedgley Woods, a group that cares deeply about the course, frequently has a member on hand to answer inquiries and take visitors around. If you visit, make sure to take good care of the course!
For nearly a century, the Viaduct was an elevated rail track that brought trains into the industrial Center City. It traversed a variety of neighborhoods in the northern area of the city.
Philadelphia City is renovating the Viaduct to serve as a magnet for residential and commercial growth in the nearby areas which have historically been considered to be an “eyesore”. Fans of history, technology, and modernization will love visiting the modernized rail park.
What are the Best Festivals, Conventions, and Live Events in Philadelphia?
The Philadelphia Science Festival is a nine-day, community-wide celebration of science that takes place annually in April. Featuring lectures, debates, hands-on activities, special exhibitions and a variety of other informal science education experiences for all ages, the Festival aims to provide opportunities for all Philadelphians to positively engage with and build a community around science, engineering, and technology.
This comedy walking tour is a real knee-slapper – if you fall for every joke you’ll constantly be stumbling!
Take this one-of-a-kind tour that combines the best of two worlds: hilarious comedy performances and jaw-dropping magic tricks. As you explore the city’s historic streets and landmarks, you’ll be treated to a series of hilarious and mind-boggling performances from some of the best comedians and magicians around.
Whether you’re a fan of stand-up, magic, or both, you’re sure to have a blast on this tour. It’s definitely one of the most fun and unique ways to experience Philly!
On this spooky, small-group walking tour of Center City, learn about Philadelphia’s shadowy past and see some of its most iconic structures.
You’ll meet your trained historian tour guide to depart for places like the Betsy Ross House, Elfreth’s Alley, Christ Church, and more. As you see the sights you will hear ghost stories, tales of serial slayings, and psychopathic killers such as the Corpse Collector, the Frankfort Slasher, and H.H. Holmes.
After 2.5 hours of morose tales, sign-off your sorted adventure with a free beverage or moonshine sample. Your choice!
This fun, interactive workshop is perfect for anyone who wants to learn more about milk-based drink recipes and sharpen their latte art abilities.
Learn new skills from a barista with years of expertise in the speciality coffee sector at a roastery training lab. You will be fully equipped with tools, brewing equipment, and professional coffee machines to unleash your creative genius.
The studio is conveniently located in the heart of Philadelphia, close to several well-known landmarks and dining options.
26. Food Tours!
If you’re the type to fantasize about eating at places like Paunch Burgerand Los Pollos Hermanos, we recommend exploring Philadelphia’s delicious, vibrant, and innovative culinary scene on one (or both!) of two highly popular food tours:
Learn more about the city of Philadelphia through the medium of donuts!
You’ll try some of the best doughnut shops the city has to offer: Federal Donuts, Beiler’s Donuts, and other off-the-beaten path shops. Along the way, you’ll learn about the history of Philadelphia, each donut location, and how they fit into the larger food scene.
If you like donuts and happiness then this tour is for you.
On this 2-hour guided, small-group Segway tour, discover the Philadelphia cheesesteak like no other before.
This 5-mile tour visits five of the city’s most authentic cheesesteak businesses, where you will learn about the origins of this famous sandwich and sample the best cheesesteaks in the city. From Chinatown to Society Hill and South Philadelphia – we’ll cover it all!
All the required equipment, a guided Segway training session, and tour photos are provided. Bring an empty stomach, and dress according to the weather in flat, closed-toed shoes.
This stylish boutique hotel between Fishtown and Olde Kensington is housed in a beautifully restored whiskey factory that dates back to 1890. It has just 4 modern apartment-style rooms that are each individually decorated in an industrial-chic style, complete with concrete floors, wooden ceilings, and exposed brick walls.
Luxurious king size beds, custom-made furniture with hand picked artwork, fixtures, vintage rugs, living plants and cacti are all lovely amenities. A great, quaint Italian restaurant and pub with wood paneling and a fireplace can be found on the ground level.
If you take a deep breath, perhaps you can smell the odor of ancient whiskey barrels seeping from the building’s pores, or is that just your imagination?
Come stay in a funky, three-story Airbnb in the fancy neighborhood of Rittenhouse Square (free paring included... which might be enough of a reason to book immediately)! This place has a cool courtyard and lots of unique touches like hand-laid flooring, a claw-foot tub, and a chalkboard door. Plus, it’s located in one of the oldest and most prestigious areas of the city, which is home to lots of fun events all year round.
If you’re looking for a unique nerdy hangout spot in Philadelphia, you’ll definitely want to check out Queen and Rook Game Cafe!
This cozy little cafe is more than just a place to grab a drink and a bite to eat – it’s also a haven for gamers of all kinds. Whether you’re a fan of tabletop games, video games, or just about anything in between, you’ll find plenty to do at Queen and Rook. With a huge selection of games to choose from, and a friendly and welcoming atmosphere, it’s no wonder this place is a favorite among Philly gamers.
So if you’re looking to get your game on and meet some like-minded people, make sure to pay a visit!
“Go for the World’s First Pizza Museum, stay for the incredible (and strange) pies” – Philadelphia Magazine
This pizzeria is known for its impressive collection of pizza-themed memorabilia, which has earned it a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records for having the largest collection of pizza-related items. From vintage pizza boxes and signs, to pizza-themed board games and action figures, there’s plenty to see and marvel at while you enjoy your meal.
Overall, the atmosphere is laid back and energetic, with stickers and doodles adding to the hipster vibe. Enjoy high quality vegetarian and meat-filled options from the ever changing, funky menu.
If you’re looking for something unique and original, head upstairs to find the fortune teller machine and fun interactive art. The entire area is covered in artistic murals and decorations, creating a wacky and edgy atmosphere.
This is definitely a place worth checking out.
Dirty Little Secret Menu – Maybe its manipulation, maybe its love but the secret menu at Tattooed Mom always keeps me coming back for more! There are always new and exciting items to try making each visit a surprising adventure that you’ll just want to gobble up.
Street Art Culture – From the very first tag to the most recent wheat paste, local and international street art has a long history upstairs at TMom’s. An unplanned and spontaneous display of creativity by local and visiting artists as well as the innumerable people who stop by every evening is what makes this gallery constantly change.
No Longer Blank Canvas – The birth of the upstairs as a vibrant art space is in part tied to a 1999 exhibition by brothers Noah & Nathan Rice. That year the Brothers Rice brought their 5,000 umbrella wheat pastes and they’ve been hanging there ever since.
What are the Best Nerdy Places to Drink in Chicago?
Ready to drink, eat, and game all at the same time? Look no further than the Barcade!
This retro-themed bar and arcade is the perfect spot for anyone who loves a good craft beer and a good old-fashioned arcade game. With a constantly rotating selection of brews on tap and a wide variety of classic and modern arcade games, there’s always something new to discover at Barcade. And if all that gaming makes you hungry, you’re in luck – the menu is packed with delicious pub grub that’s sure to hit the spot.
So whether you’re looking to relive your childhood at the arcade or just want to try out some new beers, Barcade is the place to be.
If you’re a nerdy cafe-goer in search of your perfect hangout spot, look no further than Chibi Cafe Co in Greenville!
This cozy little cafe is the ultimate destination for all types of nerds, with a wide variety of nerdy goodies and activities to enjoy. Whether you’re a fan of anime, video games, or just about anything else nerdy, you’ll find something to love at Chibi Cafe Co. Plus, with a menu full of delicious and unique drinks and snacks, you’ll be able to fuel up while you geek out.
Nerd Mall is a dream come true for those looking for nerdy goodies. From vintage action figures and rare comics, to the latest and greatest video games and pop culture collectibles, The Nerd Mall has something for every type of nerd & hobbiest.
In addition to buying board games, customers also have the option to rent board games.
If you’re in search of your next nerdy fix, then you need to check out Brave New Worlds Comics! This place is a true paradise for all kinds of geeks and nerds, with an impressive selection of comics, graphic novels, and other nerdy goodies.
But it’s not just about the merchandise – the staff at Brave New Worlds are true experts in all things nerdy, and they’re always happy to help you find the perfect comic or recommend a new series.
So whether you’re a hardcore comic fan or just looking to geek out with like-minded people, Brave New Worlds Comics has you covered.
Now you know – Philadelphia isn’t just for beer-swilling sports fans and cheesesteak lovers, although it isn’t bad to enjoy those things either! Philadelphia is a place for techies, retro gaming lovers, and fans of all types. Bring yourself and leave with a little more.
Haven’t passed the apparition test yet? Have no fear – muggle transportation can be very accommodating and comfortable. Plus, the chance of vomiting after your journey is extremely low in comparison to most magical forms of transportation.
On your journey, you will obviously need to bring many non-magical items to aid your travel.
However, you may want to subtly indicate your enchanting abilities to other “undercover” members of the magical community. Just in case they happen to hex your airplane or ward off a dementor from your train car.
For that reason, I recommend purchasing a few wizarding world themed items for your travels. If you’re specifically looking for a passport holder then you’re in the right spot!
If you’re looking for other magical items or a comprehensive magical travel items list, see my 25 recommendations here.
I’ve searched the both the wizarding and muggle worlds to find the 22 most interesting, sturdy, and creative passport covers out there. This list is a summary of my top recommendations – no trip to Diagon Alley needed!
There are a few general ways to use a Harry Potter themed passport cover. You will either use if for standard travel between countries that require passport documentation, or as a transporter & protector of your items at Universal Studios Harry Potter themed attractions.
Harry Potter Attractions at Universal Studios
Universal Orlando – The Hogwarts Express travels between Universal Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios Florida. In order to ride it, you have to purchase a 2-park ticket and carry it with you throughout the day. Putting your ticket in a snazzy passport cover is a fantastic way to keep track of your ticket in magical style.
Universal Hollywood – The Hogwarts Express attraction is a photo opportunity, not a ride. No ticket is needed, however you can still keep your park ticket in a passport holder.
Standard Use (International Travel)
All of the passport covers included in this review, are designed for standard sized passports. You should be able to insert your passport into the cover and use it for domestic and international travel.
“Best Of” Passport Holders List
This “Best Of” list is based on my personal experimentation with Harry Potter themed passport covers. Subsequent sections of this post include designs and styles that I haven’t personally tried. They are included in this post because they contain interesting design and aesthetic elements that are worth checking out.
Best Customizable Passport Cover: Hogwarts Student (Customize name, hair and house)
Product Performance: I love all of the customizations on this product – there are tons of hair designs & colors, font styles, and skin types. Plus you can select robe colors that best reflect your house! The quality was much higher than I expected and the seller responds quickly to requests for alterations.
Best Vaccination Protector Case: I Solemnly Swear That I Have Been Vaccinated
Product Performance: Although this isn’t a passport holder, I’ve included it on this list because it is the cutest vaccination card holder I’ve ever seen! I just had to get it and I’m so glad I did because I love it.
Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry is a magical place that has captured the hearts of millions of Harry Potter fans around the world.
Nestled in the Scottish Highlands, the castle is a sprawling and impressive structure, with tall towers and winding staircases that seem to go on forever. At its heart, it’s a place where students learn to cast spells, brew potions, and fly on broomsticks, all while making life-long friendships and experiencing unforgettable adventures.
Whether you’re a Muggle or a wizard, there is something about Hogwarts that inspires wonder and awe in everyone who sets foot within its walls. So let’s raise a goblet of pumpkin juice to the castle that has given us so much joy and magic over the years!
The Hogwarts houses are a big part of the Harry Potter series and are a fun way for fans to identify with a particular group of wizards.
The four houses are Gryffindor, Slytherin, Ravenclaw, and Hufflepuff. Gryffindors are known for their bravery and loyalty, Slytherins are cunning and resourceful, Ravenclaws are intelligent and curious, and Hufflepuffs are kind and hardworking. Each house has its own unique qualities and strengths, and it’s always fun to see which one you are sorted into when you visit the Wizarding World website.
Even if you don’t fit perfectly into one house, it’s okay to embrace your own unique traits and be proud of who you are. At the end of the day, we are all just a bunch of magic-loving, wizarding enthusiasts!
Harry, Hermione, Ron, and Dobby are some of the most beloved characters in the Harry Potter series.
Harry is a brave and determined young wizard who is on a mission to defeat the dark lord, Voldemort. Hermione is a brilliant and resourceful witch who is always there to help Harry and Ron out of a jam. Ron is a loyal and supportive friend who often serves as the voice of reason among the trio. Dobby, a house-elf, may be small, but he is fiercely loyal to Harry and his friends, and always ready to lend a helping hand.
These four characters, along with their friends and allies, embark on exciting and dangerous adventures together, and their bond is unbreakable. They may have their differences, but they always come together in the end to fight for what is right and to protect those they love.
The greater wizarding world in Harry Potter is a vast and magical place, full of incredible creatures, fascinating cultures, and hidden wonders.
From the bustling streets of Diagon Alley to the mysterious forests of the Forbidden Forest, there is always something new and exciting to discover.
Whether you’re exploring the ancient ruins of ancient civilizations, learning new spells and potions, or simply enjoying the company of your fellow wizards and witches, there is always something to love and appreciate about the greater wizarding world. So why not take a journey with your new passport cover and see what magical adventures await you?
“I Solemnly Swear That I am up to no Good” Quote Cover
Are you a self-proclaimed nerd looking for a thrilling adventure in the Windy City?
You’re in luck! Chicago is packed with exciting and unique activities for the nerdy and the nerdy at heart.
From exploring the vast collections of world-class museums to indulging in specialty shops and immersive science fiction experiences, this city has it all. So put on your favorite geeky t-shirt and get ready to nerd out with our top 49 nerdy things to do in Chicago.
All activities are within two hours from the city proper:
While the idea of aninteractive torture museum might sound a little painful & gruesome, the Medieval Torture Museum errors on the side of friendly photo ops, “playing” with torture devices, and informative middle-age incarceration education.
For about 40 – 60 minutes you will be transported into the minds of fanatics, madmen, and murderers to discover one of the darkest parts of human history. The museum houses the world’s most comprehensive collection of confinement and torture devices, many that are displayed as interactive exhibits for guests to sit or stand on.
With the motto “those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it” — Fair warning! Many visitors say that it’s a bit “creepier than expected” and advise against bringing children under 13. However with an overall 4.9 star rating on Google, we definitely recommend stopping by on your trip!
If your childhood was filled with talking toys, beautiful princesses, swashbuckling pirates, and flying carpets, you can likely thank the creative genius of legendary founder, Walt Disney.
Tour one of “the happiest places on earth” for the man who brought the magic to millions of children.
Due to the restoration efforts from a team of dedicated fans, Chicago is fortunate to have one of the few remaining locations where Walt spent significant time in childhood. Unfortunately, many of the other important places in his life have been substantially altered or lost which makes this location a true “diamond in the rough”.
If you’re a Harry Potter fan, then you don’t want to miss the Magic at Play experience at Water Tower Place! This interactive exhibit takes you on a journey through the wizarding world, with plenty of exciting activities and displays to keep you entertained.
Start your journey as a First Year student at Private Drive making your way to Hogwarts via Platform 9 3/4, the Hogwarts Express, and boats across the lake.
Once you arrive at Hogwarts, you’ll have the chance to visit the Great Hall, where you can be sorted into your House and have your photo taken with the iconic floating candles. You can also share a glass of Butterbeer with some other wizards at the bar, and and try your hand at Quidditch in the Quidditch Pitch.
The whole experience is sprinkled with hands-on activities and iconic photo opportunities.
But be warned – the Magic at Play experience isn’t just for Muggles! You may just run into a few characters from the Harry Potter series along the way. So grab your wand and join the fun at the Magic at Play exhibit in Chicago’s Water Tower Place!
Dust off your Nintendo 64, plug in your controller, and prepare for “Sudden Death”… Are You Ready?
Serious and casual retro gamers alike will appreciate the rare selection, quality tested games, fun displays, and fair prices at Retro Dimension. If you have questions about console set-up or obtaining rare games, the passionate staff will be your Navi.
As one of the most sincere customers put it, this shop is “Hands down the best retro gaming store in Chicagoland.”
If participating in the research for scientific geniuses like Dr. Octavius, Dr. Evil, Dr. Frankenstein, or Dr. Horrible, sounds like a dream cone true, then you need to visit Mindworks at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business. You will have the unique opportunity to participate in active behavioral science research under the direction of Dr. Rebecca White who is decidedly less henious than any of the aforementioned doctors.
During your visit, you will explore 8 interactive exhibits designed to educate visitors about behavioral science. If the exhibits inspire you to contribute to the field of behavioral science, you may participate in researcher lead active studies on-site. You will be guided through lab work in the science of judgment and decision making and will even earn a prize such as clothing, discounts to museums, and gift cards for supporting research.
No Chicago architecture tour is complete without a trip to the LEGO store at Water Tower Place. See the famous skyline articulated in colorful bricks next to iconic Star Wars & Harry Potter LEGO creations.
A ghostly wind blows corn stalks in the moonlit field. Something shuffles deliberately in the darkness. And you feel a bead of sweat drip down your forehead. Nope, it’s not just your imagination. Something is stalking on your screen, primed to to kill your extra spending money: The Horror House in north Chicago.
This chilling shop and local event hub is a must-see spot for horror fans. In addition to top hair-raising brands such as Terror Threads, The October Academy, Western Evil and Atomic Cotton, The Horror House offers an ominous selection of collectibles, original artwork, paintings, comics, movies and more.
What are the Best Nerdy Local Cultural Experiences?
10. Essential Chicago Museums
What does a curious traveler do when the husky Chicago wind blows? Take a step indoors to explore one (or many) of the incredible cultural museums – of course!
Art Institute of Chicago – This encyclopedic art museum, founded in 1879, is one of the oldest and largest art museums in the United States. The museum is home to a vast collection of artworks spanning centuries and cultures, including paintings, sculptures, prints, drawings, photographs, and decorative arts. Some of the museum’s most famous holdings include works by Monet, van Gogh, and Rembrandt, as well as ancient Greek and Roman artifacts, African and American Indian art, and contemporary art. In addition to its permanent collection, the Art Institute of Chicago also hosts a variety of special exhibitions and educational programs for visitors of all ages.
The Field Museum – Chicago’s principal natural history museum is home to a vast collection of natural history specimens and cultural artifacts from around the world. The museum’s collections include more than 24 million specimens, including fossils, minerals, plants, animals, and cultural artifacts. Some of the Field Museum’s most famous exhibits include Sue, the largest and most complete Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton ever found, and the Ancient Americas exhibit, which features artifacts from indigenous cultures of the Americas. In addition to its permanent exhibits, the Field Museum also hosts a variety of special exhibitions and educational programs for visitors of all ages.
The Chicago History Museum – The museum’s permanent exhibits include a range of artifacts, documents, and other historical materials related to the city’s history, including its founding, growth, and development as a major metropolis. Some of the museum’s most notable exhibits include the Chicago: Crossroads of America exhibit, which explores the city’s role as a transportation hub, and the Chicago: Made in America exhibit, which explores the city’s industrial and economic history.
Museum of Science and Industry – One of the largest science museums in the world and is home to a vast collection of interactive exhibits and displays related to science, technology, engineering, and math. Some of the museum’s most popular exhibits include the Henry Crown Space Center, which features exhibits on space exploration and astronomy, and the U-505 Submarine exhibit, which allows visitors to explore a real World War II-era submarine.
Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center – This museum is dedicated to preserving the memory of the Holocaust and promoting education about the atrocities of the Nazi regime during World War II. The museum’s permanent exhibits include a range of artifacts, documents, and other historical materials related to the Holocaust, as well as interactive displays and survivor testimonies. Some of the museum’s most notable exhibits include the Daniel’s Story exhibit, which tells the story of a young boy’s experience during the Holocaust, and the Portrait of Survival exhibit, which features portraits and biographies of Holocaust survivors.
Who runs the world? Girls! No where in the world are Beyoncé’s power-girl song lyrics more relevant than the American Girl Place.
Not only does the store celebrate girls of various backgrounds and immigrant origins, but also inspires young women to pursue competitive careers in astronomy, medicine, and engineering. All with cute outfits, stylish hairstyles, and lively accessories.
The store is truly a modern American Girl experience.
The whole store is designed to enjoy with a doll. There is a hospital to patch up any damage, a hair & nail salon, ear piercing shop, and cafe bistro with doll-sized snacks! Even the bathrooms have doll holders in each stall.
Tease your senses and tickle your mind at this immersive world of illusions! This one-of-a-kind “edu-tainment” destination offers guests more than 80 visual and educational exhibits that encourage them to both learn and have fun. As you explore rooms of holograms, stereograms, and optical illusions, learn from the knowledgeable staff and snap some social media-worthy shots.
This 33 ft high 110 ton stainless-steel sculpture has been an iconic part of the Chicago landscape since 2006. Cloud Gate was created by cutting 168 stainless-steel plates into curved shapes using computer technology.
Besides being fun to look at and take pictures with, Cloud Gate has been a central location for all sorts of nerdy events like a Naruto Run, “Windex the Bean” cleaning party, and “Replace the Bean with Mr. Bean”. Check out local social media to see what is going on!
The architecture river cruise in downtown Chicago is a must-do activity for those who are interested in architecture, design, and history. During the cruise, visitors will have the opportunity to see 40 of Chicago’s most famous buildings and landmarks from a gorgeous boat, and learn about the history, architectural styles, and artistic movements.
Comedy and nerdiness might seem like an unlikely pairing, but in reality, the two have always had a close friendship. From the early days of stand-up comedy, when comedians like Steven Wright and Emo Phillips used their love of science and technology as material for their acts, to the modern era of nerdy sitcoms and podcasts (hello Big Bang Theory!), there’s no denying that comedy and nerdiness go hand in hand.
If you’re looking for a night of nerdy laughter and entertainment, there’s no better place to visit than Second City Comedy Club. Located in the heart of the city, this iconic comedy club has been a fixture on the Chicago cultural scene for decades, and has played host to some of the biggest names in comedy, including Tina Fey, Steve Carell, and Stephen Colbert.
Since the club is known as a pipeline for discovering top comedians, spectators are able to see some of the best up-and-coming comedic talent in the business. The training program consists of various comedic formats including improv workshops & stand up nights so shows are always fresh, funny, and full of surprises.
The nerdiest variety show in Chicago! Raks Geek shows feature everything from a belly dancing Wookie to fire spinning super heroes. The performers focus on blending artistic and technical mastery with fun, creativity, and the nerdiest fandoms out there. And the people love it! Featured both domestically and internationally on MSN, WGN-TV, The Daily Mail, and more, Raks Geek was listed as a Timeout Chicago Critics’ Pick.
Shows are one-night only and happen on a periodic basis so make sure to check the site and book tickets in advance!
Step through the secret laundry door and transport away from your common, banal life into a world of magic and mystery. As you’re seated in the speakeasy lounge, peruse your art deco designed menu to find sparkling cocktails such as How Houdini Died, The Great Bellini, or Gone Without a Tres and some tempting sweet and savory bites.
Open 7-nights-a-week, the Chicago Magic Lounge features performances from some of the most talented magicians in the world in shows such as:
Music and Magic – Music on the stage ad magic at your table
The Signature Show – A tribute to Chicago’s high magic history
The Showcase – Magic from a variety of top local magicians
The Family Show – “Magic for the young and young at heart”
Check out the schedule for tickets to upcoming events!
Celebrate the 1939 “The Wizard of Oz” film in a whimsically designed park that is sure to delight and engage any fan of pop culture and geeky pursuits. Throughout the park there are friendly statues of the main characters: Dorothy & Toto, Tin Man, Scarecrow, and Cowardly Lion. From Dorothy’s Playlot to the Emerald Garden, this park is a wonderful place to enjoy beautiful wildlife, relax, and bask in the magic of the fantastical Land of Oz.
19. Movie Filming Locations
Chicago is home to the filming locations for a ton of amazing movies and TV shows. If you’re a movie fan, then you’ll definitely want to check out these awesome sites. From superhero blockbusters to heartwarming romantic comedies, there’s something for every type of nerd on this list.
Pack your bags, grab your camera, and get ready to geek out in the city that works! Just don’t forget to bring your superhero cape (you know, for extra authenticity).
Are you a fan of all things cow-related? Do you have an insatiable appetite for beef jerky and beef jerky-related paraphernalia? If so, then the Union Stock Yards Gate in Chicago is the place for you!
This historic landmark is a must-see destination for any self-respecting meat-lover, who wants to experience the history of what was once the largest meatpacking district in the world.
You can take a selfie with a giant cow head. Yes, you read that right – there’s a giant cow head at the Union Stock Yard Gate, and it’s just begging for a selfie. Trust us, your Instagram followers will be jelly.
What are the Best Nerdy Rides, Escape Rooms & Virtual Experiences?
21. Six Flags Great America
Are you ready for an adventure that will leave you feeling like you’ve stepped into the pages of your favorite comic book? Look no further than Six Flags Great America!
If you’re a fan of adrenaline-pumping rides, you’ll find plenty to love in the DC Universe themed area. From the Dark Knight coaster to Superman: Ultimate Flight, there are plenty of high-speed, heart-pounding rides to choose from.
Additionally, Six Flags Great America hosts a variety of special events and shows, including holiday celebrations and live performances. If you’re a fan of live entertainment, you’ll want to check out the park’s schedule to see what’s coming up.
This premiere immersive entertainment destination has it all: multiple virtual reality experiences, a fully-stocked bar, karaoke, billiards, and a massive theater (frequently featuring music, art, comedy and community events).
Individual VR bays can be rented for 30, 45, 60, 90, or 120-minutes at a time and have over 50 games to choose from. With a large projector screen that will show your friends whats going on in your headset, you will be able to win your game and share the glory with your spectators.
What are the Best Festivals, Conventions, and Live Events in Chicago?
25. St. Patrick’s Day Festivities
Grab some corned beef and cabbage and head down to the Chicago River – you’re in for a jolly green surprise!
Due to harsh political and economic conditions in mid-19th century Ireland and abundant jobs in the construction & transportation industries in the Chicago area, the city became a popular new home for many immigrant families.
According to historical records, the first St. Patrick’s Day parade in Chicago was held in 1843, just a few years after the city was founded. The parade was organized by a group of Irish immigrants who wanted to celebrate their heritage and traditions.
Today, you can enjoy their legacy at one of many St. Patrick’s Day events around the city.
One of the most popular attractions is the “greenification” of the Chicago river. You can watch boats with dye cruise the river, distribute the dye via large hoses, and leave the water a bright, Irish green. Furthermore you can enjoy the St. Patrick’s Day parade, one of the largest in the country, featuring a wide variety of floats, bands, and other entertainment. It’s a great opportunity for people who enjoy attending public events and seeing unique and creative performances.
Since St. Patrick’s Day is so widely celebrated throughout the city, holiday festivities are a great opportunity to meet new people and socialize. Whether you’re attending a bar, pub crawl, or private party, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to meet and connect with fellow shamrock lovers.
If you’re interested in cutting-edge science fiction topics from astrophysics to alien costuming then “Chicago’s longest running science fiction and fantasy convention” is for you! Initially started as a Sci-Fi literary convention, prominent events are either writing (Short Story contest and Writer’s Workshop for aspiring authors) or pop culture related.
Gear-heads will be happy to find an Art Show and Dealer’s Room where local artisans showcase unique, one-of-a-kind merchandise.
Nerds frequently fall into certain stereotypes and hobbies that typically do not include attending mainstream music festivals.
Lollapalooza is different.
I think every nerd should experience it at least once in their lifetime. Heres why:
The music. Lollapalooza is known for its diverse lineup of artists, ranging from mainstream to indie and everything in between. As a nerd, I appreciate being exposed to new music and genres that I may not have discovered otherwise. Plus, seeing live performances of my favorite bands is always a thrilling experience.
The atmosphere. Lollapalooza is not just about the music – it’s also about the culture and community. There are so many people from all walks of life in attendance, and it’s a great opportunity to meet new people and make connections.
The technology. Lollapalooza has a focus on technology and innovation, with stages dedicated to electronic music and interactive experiences as well as cool tech to help attendees find lost items. As a nerd, I love being able to see how tech is creatively being used to support the music industry.
The Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo, or C2E2, is an annual gathering of lovers of comic books, movies, television, video games, and other aspects of pop culture.
C2E2, which takes place at the McCormick Place convention center, offers seminars and workshops with industry experts, celebrity signing sessions, and a sizable exhibition floor packed with merchants offering anything from memorabilia to original artwork.
Additionally, C2E2 hosts a variety of unique occasions, such as cosplay competitions and live concerts.
Chicago TARDIS is an annual convention that celebrates the long-running British science fiction television show, Doctor Who.
The convention features a variety of events and activities for true fans of the show, including: costume contests, an Alley of Delek’s, dance party, merchandise, karaoke, fan created games (including a Doctor Who RPG), on-site childcare, and more.
At its heart, Chicago TARDIS is a great opportunity for fans of Doctor Who to come together, share their love of the show with others, and learn more about the series. It is a fun and exciting event that is sure to be a hit with fans of all ages.
The art of glassblowing involves a thorough understanding of the properties and behavior of glass, including its melting point, viscosity, and thermal expansion.
Remind anyone of high school chemistry?
Luckily, this Airbnb Experience skips the beakers and periodic table in favor of instructing students how to create their own piece of chemistry.
Lamp-working, or torch-working, is a form of miniature glassblowing where students use a torch to create their own unique small glass piece. The instructor will explain the safety rules and demonstrate the process before helping each student make their own pendant, zipper pull, sun catcher, or light switch pull.
Some consider graffiti to be a form of urban data visualization, as it allows artists to represent and convey information to many through visual means. This connection to data analysis and visualization aligns with the interests of many nerdy individuals, including myself.
At Studio W.I.P., guests can immerse themselves in the world of spray paint and urban art. During the interactive workshop, lead by local artists, guests will become the artist and experiment with lettering, stencils, aerosol, and cap techniques as they create part of a 50ft mural. The main goal of the workshop is to break down stereotypes surrounding spray paint and leave guests with curiosity and basic skills in using aerosol.
Guests are welcome to bring their own beverages and will go home with their own piece of art as a memento of the night.
Enjoy Chicago Art with all the flair of Ferris Bueller and his friends.
On this tour, you’ll start by learning a short history of the Art Institute of Chicago. Then, you’ll spend the rest of your time exploring the galleries and looking at the artwork featured in the classic 1986 American teen comedyFerris Bueller’s Day Off.
You’ll visit three floors of the museum, see 16 pieces of art, and learn about the works, their relationship to the characters, and their placement in the film. By the end of the tour, you’ll have a greater appreciation for these works of art and how they were used in the movie.
*This tour does not include admission to the Art Institute of Chicago.
33. Food Tours!
If you’re the type to fantasize about eating at places like The Three Broomsticksand The Krusty Krab, we recommend exploring Chicago’s delicious, vibrant, and innovative culinary scene on one (or both!) of two highly popular food tours:
Learn more about the city of Chicago through the medium of donuts!
You’ll try some of the best doughnut shops the city has to offer: Doughnut Vault, Firecakes Donuts, Stans Donuts, and Do-Rite Donuts. Along the way, you’ll learn about the history of Chicago, each donut location, and how they fit into the larger food scene.
If you like donuts and happiness then this tour is for you.
Experience an intimate and artistic dining experience enjoying Spanish tapas while listening to Spanish music.
As you finish your tapas, you will be treated to a performance of flamenco, a style of music that mixes stories and anecdotes of life through dance, sounds, melodies, feelings, and emotions. Afterwards, you’ll have a chance to ask questions and even participate in a small lesson.
Your instructor, Ronaldo, is a professional dancer, percussionist, and teacher who has flamenco deeply ingrained in his life, and his wife, Carla, is a chef who studied culinary in Mexico City and has worked at a Michelin Star restaurant in Barcelona. Don’t miss this special opportunity just a short distance from downtown Chicago.
The Publishing House Bed and Breakfast is a boutique hotel in Chicago that was once the home of the Free Methodist Publishing House. It has been renovated and was reopened in 2017 as a bed and breakfast.
The 11 rooms in the inn are dedicated to authors who have written books about Chicago and feature vintage decor, heated floors, and clawfoot tubs. The inn is located near the historic Printer’s Row neighborhood, which is home to many independent bookstores and literary events.
The owners of the inn are literature lovers and excellent cooks who serve guests a lavish breakfast each morning and freshly baked cookies and muffins throughout the day. This inn is a unique destination for book lovers looking to immerse themselves in the world of literature and publishing.
“A little slice of tropical paradise surprisingly nestled in the middle of Wicker Park and not the ocean. We’ve kept things dreamy enough, you won’t even notice the sand is missing. Chicago tropical? We just made that a thing.”
– Liz, your host
Need an escape? Just add water, a flamingo, and a palm or two to this palatial escape in the middle of all the action that Wicker Park has to offer. Relax with +14 friends or family members as you soak in the natural light and fresh ambiance.
The overall tropical vibes of this laid back stay will have you checked into vacation mode as quicker than you can say Marvelous Mojito!
ACME Hotel is a boutique hotel located in the center of Chicago and close to many attractions. It is designed with an eye for style and offers a creative atmosphere with a focus on art, music, and design.
The hotel has a top-notch cocktail lounge called The Berkshire Room, a hot tub bar called Bunny Slope Bar (yes, you drink in the hot tub), and a bakery called WestTown. ACME Hotel offers free delivery of Morning Joe® coffee every morning and free, fast WiFi throughout the hotel.
Each room is equipped with a state-of-the-art Hi Fi system and an Amazon Alexa for added convenience. Enjoy your hotel experience without breaking the budget!
This spy-themed restaurant and bar is a must-visit destination for any nerd looking to unleash their inner James Bond or Natasha Romanoff.
The SafeHouse is a playground for the curious mind, with secret passages, hidden rooms, and challenging puzzles that will test your intelligence and cunning. Trying to uncover all of the hidden secrets… I dare you.
The restaurant is filled with spy-themed decor and gadgets, from secret doors and hidden compartments, to fake books and hidden cameras. You’ll have a great time pretending to be a secret agent and trying out all the cool gadgets.
If you’re one of those people who love tacky Christmas decorations, can enjoy listening to Christmas music at any time of the year, and refuses to take down your Christmas tree until February, Elfed Up is the perfect place to unleash your inner Buddy the Elf and embrace your love for all things Christmas.
You’ll have a great time singing along to holiday classics, drinking holiday-themed cocktails, meeting Buddy the Elf, participating in Christmas trivia, and getting into the festive spirit at any time of the year!
Snakes & Lattes is one of the top board game cafes in Chicago. With ambiance that makes you feel like you’re in a game and over 400 board games and tabletop games to choose from. This shop is top notch!
For less than $10 per person, customers can enter the “game vault” and choose the game of their choice.
The café serves coffee, tea, and alcoholic beverages, as well as appetizers, sandwiches, salads, and snacks. Snakes & Lattes also offers events and private parties, and it is possible to reserve tables in advance.
Additionally they host monthly trivia nights that are always a good time!
The Whale is a restaurant in Chicago with a mid-century gambling theme and a 1920s vibe.
The restaurant’s name and theme are inspired by the gambling term “whale,” which refers to a high-stakes gambler who wagers large amounts of money and receives lavish perks from casinos to entice them to gamble.
It serves elevated American fare and cocktails in large portion sizes – you won’t leave hungry or rich!
What are the Best Nerdy Places to Drink in Chicago?
The Geek Easy is a comic book-themed bar in Chicago with video games, karaoke, live events, and a full bar with craft beer. It has a fun and eclectic decor with good lighting and a friendly atmosphere.
The bartenders are quick and polite and the bar has a good selection of ales, meads, and mixed drinks
The space can get crowded and is not well-suited for larger groups, and parking can be challenging on event nights.
Known for its unique and eclectic atmosphere, Wormhole Coffee attracts a diverse crowd of coffee lovers and hipsters. The shop features a wide selection of hand-crafted coffee drinks, including espresso-based beverages, pour-overs, and cold brews… with the best latte art! In addition to its coffee offerings, Wormhole Coffee also serves a variety of pastries, sandwiches, and other light meals.
If you like Star Wars, Back to the Future, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, then you will love the retro sci-fi decor and quirky, one-of-a-kind vibe.
What are the Best Nerdy Places to Shop?
45. Graham Cracker Comics
Graham Cracker Comics is a comic book and gaming store with a wide selection of classic and modern products at reasonable prices. It is known for having a particularly large selection of older, classic games & comics, although the selection of newer games may be more limited.
Nestled in the heart of Chicago, this little shop is jam-packed with all sorts of graphic novels, indie comics, and of course, all your favorite superhero titles. And don’t worry, if you don’t know what you’re looking for, the friendly and knowledgeable staff will be more than happy to point you in the right direction. Or maybe they’ll just recommend something totally random and unexpected – it’s always a surprise at First Aid Comics!
So if you’re in the mood for some top-notch comics and a good time, swing by when you have some time to kill. Just try not to drool on the merchandise too much.
If you have a love for all things weird and unique, Woolly Mammoth Chicago is the place for you!
This shop is filled with all sorts of interesting and eclectic items, including vintage and antique taxidermy, anatomy items, medical stuff, books, toys, skulls, and much more. The shop owner is extremely knowledgeable and can answer any questions you might have about the items on display.
Bucket ‘o Blood Books & Records is a unique store located in the heart of Chicago. Known for its eclectic mix of used books and records, the store attracts a diverse crowd of bibliophiles and music lovers.
As you enter the store, you’ll immediately be struck by the cozy and welcoming atmosphere. The shelves are packed with an impressive selection of used books and records, covering a wide range of genres and subjects. You can easily spend hours browsing the shelves, discovering hidden treasures and forgotten classics.
The store’s friendly and knowledgeable staff are always happy to help you find what you’re looking for or recommend something new. Whether you’re a seasoned collector or just looking for something to read or listen to, Bucket ‘o Blood Books & Records is the perfect place to discover new favorites.
Kinokuniya is a Japanese bookstore chain that specializes in offering a wide selection of Japanese books, magazines, and other printed materials, as well as a range of Japanese stationery and gifts. In addition to its extensive selection of Japanese-language materials, Kinokuniya Chicago also carries a selection of English-language books, including a variety of manga and anime titles.
The store also frequently hosts events and workshops related to Japanese culture, such as book clubs, language exchange meetings, and art exhibits. Check out the events page before you visit!
Now you know – Chicago isn’t just for beer-swilling sports fans and deep-dish pizza lovers, although it isn’t bad to enjoy those things either! Chicago is a place for Brainiacs, toy lovers, and fans of all types. Bring yourself and leave with a little more.
As I stepped onto Platform 9¾ at King’s Cross Station, I felt a thrill of excitement wash over me. I was finally going to board the Hogwarts Express, the legendary train that would take me to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. I looked around and saw other students, some nervous and some eager, all anxiously awaiting the journey to the magical school.
The Hogwarts Express was a marvel of magical engineering, and I knew that the journey ahead would be filled with excitement and adventure.
When I began preparing for my trip, I knew I needed something special to mark my luggage. I rummaged through my supplies and found some plain, white luggage tags. With a wave of my wand, I etched many magical designs onto the tags and slipped them onto my bags to share with you – my friends.
Now, no matter where your travels on the Hogwarts Express take you, your luggage will be easily identifiable as belonging to a Hogwarts student.
This list is a summary of my magical recommendations – no trip to Diagon Alley needed!
This “Best Of” list is based on my personal experience using various Harry Potter themed luggage tags. Subsequent sections of this post include designs and styles that I haven’t personally tried. They are included in this post because they contain interesting design and aesthetic elements.
Best Customizable Luggage Tag: Hogwarts Student (Customize name, hair and house)
Product Performance: I love all of the customizations on this product – there are tons of hair designs & colors, font styles, and skin types. Plus you can choose the robe colors to reflect your house!
The quality was much higher than I expected and the seller responds quickly to requests for alterations.
Product Performance: The vinyl on the tag is high quality and durable and the leather strap is holding up fine, but I wish it was a little more sturdy. Since the color is predominantly black, I wouldn’t recommend buying the tag if you own black luggage.
It took my husband a minute to understand the pun, so my nit-picky wish is that the goal image was a little more pronounced. Once he got the pun, he loved it!
Best Curses Luggage Tag: I Solemnly Swear A Lot Tag
Product Performance: This design is super cute and I love that it has two parts to attach to my luggage. It feels like my bag had a Harry Potter ambush!
There isn’t a personal information insert anywhere on these tags so if you are looking to label your luggage for loss or theft prevention, I wouldn’t recommend these tags. If you like this style, I have other cute tag options below.
Best Deathly Hallows Luggage Tag: Classic Deathly Hollows Decal
Product Performance: This design is perfect for a Harry Potter fan looking for a subtle design for their luggage. Its clean, simple, and matches with many styles of luggage.
Since the Deathly Hallows aren’t related to a specific Hogwarts house or individual character, this tag would be a really good gift for those who relate more so with the deeper messages of the books.
My only complaint is that the “Deathly Hallows” words are a little hard to read. My friend who isn’t familiar with Harry Potter lore didn’t understand the design and I think it would be nice if the words were large enough to read well.
As the Hogwarts Express stands waiting in the station, students hubbub about the train, eager to start the new school year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
Some students sport luggage tags with the classy golden Platform 9 3/4 emblem with their names and home addresses, while others have magical tags that change colors to help them easily identify their bags. Some particularly mischievous students have even been known to use Disillusionment charms on their luggage, making it nearly impossible for anyone to spot their bags among the piles of trunks and suitcases on the train (not featured in this list).
No matter the type of luggage tag, one thing is certain: the journey to Hogwarts is always an exciting one, filled with anticipation and wonder.
As the Hogwarts Express leaves the station, students from all four Hogwarts houses are bustling about the compartments, eager to start the new school year.
As I observe their luggage tags, some Gryffindor students sport luggage tags emblazoned with the house’s iconic lion crest, while others opt for more subtle designs in the house colors of scarlet and gold. Hufflepuffs, known for their loyalty and dedication, often choose luggage tags with their house’s badger crest, while Ravenclaws tend to favor tags with their house’s eagle crest. Slytherins, always a bit more cunning and ambitious, often choose sleek, sophisticated luggage tags in their house colors of green and silver.
No matter the design, each luggage tag represents the unique character and values of its owner & their house.
I paid close attention to the luggage tags of the students who entered my train compartment, were their designs better than the ones I created?
Surprisingly, each one was adorned with an image of the famous Harry Potter and his friends. I spotted tags with illustrations of Harry, Ron, Hermione, Luna, Dobby and others as well as tags with illustrations of Professor Snape and Draco.
As the Hogwarts Express chugged along, I pulled out my copy of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and began to scan the pages.
I had always been fascinated by the magical creatures that inhabited the wizarding world, and the Hogwarts Express provided the perfect opportunity to spot some of them in the wild. I scanned the fields and forests outside my window, looking for any sign of the fantastic beasts described in the book. I spotted a herd of unicorns in a distant meadow and a group of centaurs wandering through the trees.
The journey on the Hogwarts Express was turning out to be even more exciting than I had anticipated.
After my completing my magical creature pre-term reading, I pulled out my sketchbook and began to draw some cute chibi characters. With oversized heads and tiny bodies, chibi characters are a whimsical and charming illustrative artform popular in both the magical and muggle worlds.
I couldn’t help but smile as I doodled Harry and his friends. Adding my own creative spin to the already delightful chibi style was an enjoyable way to pass the time. After I was done, I pulled out my wand and animated my characters. They playfully danced around my notebook until the Hogwarts Castle came into view.
As we pull into the station, students grab their bags and filed off the train. I easily located my bags because of the minimalist design I created on my tags. The style is simple and understated in a way that subtly incorporates elements from Hogwarts while being distinctively enchanting.
As I walk toward the castle, I turn back to take one last look at the Hogwarts express. I remember my exciting journey and look forward to future travels throughout the magical world.
At the end of the term, I will pack my bags for yet another adventure in the magical realm. This time, to visit the dubiously dark arts focused school: Durmstrang. Since its far north of Hogwarts (very far outside the country), I will not only need my luggage tag, but a passport cover to match.
Thank goodness for my trusty wand, magical knowledge, and ample creativity. The journey ahead is sure to be filled with adventure, and I can’t wait to see where it will take me.
I love nerdy things. Any time I find myself in situation where I know there’ll be a Funko Pop or two and some good company, I’m ecstatic. When I discovered nerdy travel accessories, it was like rolling my first polyhedral dice across the villain’s dungeon map.
What nerd doesn’t like fun travel accessories? Everyone does!
From tech gadgets to keep your electronics powered up and luggage accents that ensure you’re traveling in style, having the right travel accessories makes your journey as smooth as light speed. I’ve rounded up 30 of my top travel products for you to bring on on your next trip – let me know if I’ve missed anything!
Just as Geralt of Rivia’s mercenary exploits lead him to new places, people, and compromising situations, your travels will hold unexpected new experiences! And require a bit of logistical preparation. Although you won’t have trusty Roach, you can find dependable luggage to ease the burdens of your trip.
If only we all had Hermione’s Undetectable Extension Charm Bag that would allow for an almost infinite amount of space in a suitcase… think of the number of outfits you could bring to a convention or Renaissance Faire!
Quality gadgets amplify the skills of stealthy stars like James Bond, Tony Stark and Ethan Hunt. They know what we know – there’s nothing like a dead battery to slow down an evolving adventure.
Keep all your accessories charged up with a power bank, travel adapter or global charging kit. Assuming you don’t have a private airplane or jet-powered suit, you will likely need some entertainment in-route to your destination. I recommend an iPad and some statement headphones (Hello Kitty, Elf Ears or AirPods with a Nerd-y case).
As you get ready to embark, there are a few last-minute small gadgets that deserve a spot in your travel bag. A Bluetooth adapter will allow you to use your regular cordless earbuds to tap into a headphone jack audio system (in a car or on an airplane). Give your luggage some extra love by using a digital luggage scale to meet weight requirements before getting to the check in counter, and adding a Tile Pro to each of your bags to easily locate them if they get lost.
Despite mask mandates ending earlier this year, many travelers are still choosing wear a face mask when they travel. Stock up on a set of Pokémon masks that will comfortably protect you from sickness in public places. If you’re traveling to a destination that requires you to present a vaccine card, keep it in a small Harry Potter themed holder.
When it comes to general travel health, Spider-Man hand sanitizer is a must—buy a set for each of your carry-on bags, totes, and backpacks. Emergen-C vitamin packets are a great way to give your immune system an extra boost and are easy to bring along.
Closing out this collection of nerdy travel accessories are some extra fun odds and ends. You never know when someone will try to steal your identity so disguise your passport with a clever gamer case.
Staying HYDRA-ted is a constant battle that requires a good reusable water bottle. Now you can stop buying overpriced bottles at the airport, helping both your wallet and the environment. Win-win.
When you’re done saving the day toss your pedestrian clothes and super-suit into a large travel laundry bag. Kick back and relax after a long days work – you deserve it!