A while ago, I was reading a Top Ten Geek Destinations list on CNN, and it was mostly tech destinations, like Microsoft and Apple, or the dorm where facebook was invented. Although the places seemed interesting, I quickly came up with another list of Geeky Destinations that allow us to geek out not about technology, but about places where the awesomeness of geek culture happened. This is that list.
The home of the Goonies. That’s enough, right? Also a shooting location for Short Circuit 2 and the Ring 2, they like sequels apparently. Who wouldn’t want to visit this beautiful waterside location where One-Eyed Willie once sailed? Actually, my husband and I are planning to retire there someday.
This is the current go-to location for scifi series shooting. After it was used for four years by the X-files, many other series have taken up residence here including the Stargate series, Battlestar Galactica, Eureka, and my personal favorite, Supernatural along with a long history of other various shows and movies. There are even guides offered specifically to visit the sites that your favorite shows filmed in.
I’m particularly interested in finding this lake from both The X-Files, Conduit and Supernatural, Dead in the Water
I’m sure all of us remember Clerks, shot entirely on site in a small Quickstop in New Jersey. Well, that Quickstop is still in operation, and right down the highway from my hometown! Just be sure you come with cash, as last time I was there they hadn’t upgraded to credit cards yet. While you are in the area, swing down the road to the Marina Diner, and over to Red Bank for Jack’s Music Shop and Kevin Smith’s comic book shop, all from Chasing Amy. Although Mallrats wasn’t filmed in NJ, the mall that inspired it, Monmouth Mall, is also in that area.
What geek doesn’t have at least some minor fascination with aliens? Or perhaps a very large infatuation. Either way, Roswell is the right place to go for the location of the alien crash landing. They have The International UFO Museum and Research Center and a Festival surrounding the events. It’s more touristy now, but you can be assured of meeting like minded folks there.
Monroeville Mall, PA
“I don’t wanna nitpick Tom, but is this really your plan – Spend your whole life locked inside a mall?” Well, it worked pretty well in Dawn of the Dead, and that particular mall can be found just outside of Pittsburgh, PA in Monroeville. I’ve been there and I’ve never seen zombies, but you never know, so keep a shotgun and an axe ready. Also, bring lots of spam.
Agua Dulce, California
The home of Vasquez Rocks, which was the site of a number of Star Trek episodes, including the TNG episode “Darmok” and the TOS episodes “Shore Leave” and “Arena”. It was also a filming location in Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back where they visit the Arena Diner, and homage to the Star Trek episode.
San Francisco, CA
While this is a geek destination for numerous possible things, we’ve been playing with mostly site locations, and San Francisco has the honor of being the future home of Federation Headquarters and Starfleet Academy. Head down to the Presidio and picture what it might be like in 2373 when it all happens. What? We’re already off the Star Trek timeline, shoot! Still, if you want a few more current things to consider, don’t forget the whole crew of the Enterprise popped in for a visit in 1986 during The Voyage Home. You follow the steps of Kirk, Spock, and the rest of the crew around the city.
There are some things that even though you see them in movies, you just have to experience them for yourselves. Climbing the 72 steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art with Rocky is definitely one of the those things. Trust me, they look even scarier in person. However, if you can reach the top, you get to pump your fists high like the man himself. Bonus points for singing “Gonna Fly Now” or “Eye of the Tiger” on your way to the top! When you come back down, get a picture with the Rocky Statue over to the side of the steps.
There’s an Ikea there! Not just any Ikea, THE IKEA: “I was a doubter just like you, ’til I saw the American dream come true in New Jersey, they got a goddamned Swedish parade.” Jonathan Coulton knows the value of Ikea, and so should you. I’m pretty sure half of our apartment furniture came from the New Jersey Ikea. Really, go visit. It’s huge, you can play on the furniture, and they all have funny names. I hear if you go at the right times you can even get breakfast!
We all marveled at the gorgeous sets and landscapes in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, and you can go visit many of those locations! New Zealand has capitalized on our love of walking where Aragorn once stood (also, Viggo, so hot!) by having a number of tours that take to you to actual filming locations. This one might be a bit pricey, but I’d do it. Now, let me tell you where to send donations.
So, these are all the places on my list. Where do you want to visit?