2023’s Geekiest Cities

Four friends dressed in Naruto cosplay pose in a fighting stance at a crowded cosplay event.

Which U.S. cities are best for geeks looking to live long and prosper?

To mark Embrace Your Geekness Day on July 13, Lawn Love ranked 2023’s Geekiest Cities.

We compared the 200 biggest U.S. cities based on four categories. We looked at access to comic book stores, geek social groups, and Comic-Cons, among 13 total metrics.
Geek out with our ranking below. To learn how we ranked the cities, see our methodology.

In this article

City rankings + Infographic

See how each city fared in our ranking:

Infographic showing the Geekiest Cities, a ranking based on access to comic book stores, geek social groups, Comic-Cons, and more
Note: For presentation purposes, not all ties may be displayed for some metrics above.

Top 5 close up

Check out the slideshow below for highlights on each of our top five cities.

Morning light reflects across New York City’s skyline.
No. 1: New York | Overall score: 84.44

Collectibles: 1
Costumes: 1
Community: 1
Events: 6

Local tips: New York is home to hundreds of museums and exhibits, such as the National Museum of Mathematics, the Museum of the Moving Image for movie lovers, and the Grolier Club for bibliophiles.

Meet up with or make friends and play board games at one of three Hex&Co. locations.

Photo credit: Roberto Vivancos | Pexels | Pexels License
The Griffith Observatory stands atop a hill overlooking the Los Angeles skyline.
No. 2: Los Angeles | Overall score: 59.24

Collectibles: 2
Costumes: 2
Community: 5
Events: 3

Local tips: From arcade bars to iconic filming sites, Los Angeles has plenty of options for nerding out.
No geeky visit to LA is complete without stopping by the Scum and Villainy Cantina, a Star Wars-themed bar serving up all things sci-fi. 

Attend L.A. Comic Con this winter, with amplified experiences for gamers in the wake of 2023’s Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) cancellation.

Photo credit: Roberto Nickson | Pexels | Pexels License
Historic hotels and highrise buildings stand out on a hazy day in San Antonio.
No. 3: San Antonio | Overall score: 46.13

Collectibles: 5
Costumes: 8
Community: 4
Events: 5

Local tips: Supplying geeks since 1987, Heroes & Fantasies claims the title of Texas’ largest comic book store. Knight Watch Games is where SA geeks get together over tabletop games or Magic the Gathering. 

Alamo City is also home to Monsternomicon, an interactive improv show based on the rules and characters of Dungeons & Dragons.
Photo credit: weston m | Unsplash | Unsplash License
Two people bike along the water overlooking the Chicago skyline.
No. 4: Chicago | Overall score: 43.35

Collectibles: 4
Costumes: 4
Community: 2
Events: 53

Local tips: Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo (C2E2) is home to the Cosplay Central Crown Championships — the biggest, most prestigious cosplay contest in the world.

Established in 1930, Adler Planetarium was the first planetarium in the Western Hemisphere. Today it hosts more than half a million visitors each year, encouraging guests of all ages and backgrounds to explore the galaxy. 

Photo credit: Chait Goli | Pexels | Pexels License
A giant fountain pool sparkles in front of a miniature Eiffel Tower in downtown Las Vegas.
No. 5: Las Vegas | Overall score: 42.76

Collectibles: 3
Costumes: 3
Community: 12
Events: 4

Local tips: Join the leagues of Iron Man and Thor at Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N., an immersive exhibit displaying iconic costumes, weapons, and equipment from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. 

Attend game nights, karaoke, and themed cosplay parties at Millennium FANDOM BAR

Photo credit: Solvej Nielsen | Pexels | Pexels License

Key insights

The gist

Big cities like New York (No. 1) and Los Angeles (No. 2) soar to the top of our ranking with the highest XP, offering plenty of geek-targeted events, shops, and a large geek community. Three of Texas’ largest citiesSan Antonio (No. 3), Austin (No. 6), and Houston (No. 7) — finish in the top 10, thanks to high scores in Collectibles and Costumes

Meanwhile, smaller Texas cities like Grand Prairie (No. 197) and Brownsville (No. 199) — along with a handful of Western cities — land at the bottom next to Miramar, Florida, in last place. Their kryptonite is a lack of nerdy destinations and events — and the geeks who enjoy them.

Standout stats

Magical metropolis

  • Once again, New York rules in first place with a whopping 25-point lead over our No. 2 city, Los Angeles. Gotham takes the top score in three categories — Collectibles, Costumes, and Community — boasting the highest number of board game and trading card shops, comic book stores, costume stores, and geek Meetup groups

Gaming through Mission City

  • San Antonio (No. 3) is not just for history nerds. Alamo City claims the 3rd-highest number of board game and trading card shops, after New York (No. 1) and Los Angeles (No. 2). SA is also home to 14 stores that host Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) events, the 2nd-highest in our ranking. 

Copious campaigns

  • Roll the dice in Los Angeles (No. 2), which offers the most in-person Dungeons & Dragons groups open to the public, followed by New York (No. 1). NYC stands out with the most stores hosting D&D events

Live, laugh, LARP

  • Atlanta (No. 8) is ideal for those looking to participate in Live Action Role Play (LARP), boasting the most publicly listed LARPing groups. From alien adventures to a galactic Victorian Gaslamp setting, geeks have plenty of opportunities to flex their creativity in A-Town. 

Small but mighty nerdy

  • The force is strong in cities with smaller populations, too. Minneapolis (No. 11), Rochester, New York (No. 18), and Pittsburgh (No. 21) finish ahead of larger cities like Jacksonville, Florida (No. 31), thanks to their passionate geek communities. All three cities enjoy D&D groups open to adventurers new and old. Minneapolis and Rochester also have Major League Quadball — formerly Major League Quidditch — teams.

Leveling up

  • Detroit (No. 37) impresses with the biggest power-up since the past year, ascending 89 spots from No. 126 in our 2022 ranking. Motor City saw an increase in geek Meetup groups and board game and trading card shops. It also got a boost from its Major League Quadball team (a new metric in 2023). 

Fandom fun 

  • Annual Comic-Con events attract thousands of attendees and benefit host cities by circulating millions of dollars through their local economies. 87 cities in our ranking host Comic-Cons, and 68 boast conventions targeted toward specific fandoms. Atlanta (No. 8) hosts the most Comic-Cons, with big events like Dragon Con and ATL Comic Convention. Orlando, Florida (No. 9), hosts the most FanCons.

Expert take

You may be one with the force, but there’s always more to learn in the realm of geeks and nerds.

We reached out to some experts for insight. Explore their thoughts below.

  1. What distinguishes a geek from a nerd?
  1. What is one recent or unexpected trend in the world of geeks that you’ve observed?
  1. What are your best three tips for attending an event like Comic-Con?
  1. What is one way someone can embrace their geekness in their day-to-day life?

Ask The Experts

J. Richard Stevens
Department Chair, Associate Professor
Alisa Freedman
Professor, Japanese Literature, Cultural Studies, and Gender
Charles Coletta
Teaching Professor
Dr. Kathryn E. Lane
Professor of English
Rob Weiner
Professor/Popular Culture Librarian
Dina Smith-Glaviana
Assistant Professor
William Kuskin, PhD
Angela Barajas
Instructor, Integrative Studies, PhD Student, Cultural Studies
Ryan Purcell
Postdoctoral Associate
Dr. Michael Robinson
Professor of Communication Studies
J. Richard Stevens
Department Chair, Associate Professor
University of Colorado, Boulder

What distinguishes a geek from a nerd?

In the 29th Century, “nerd” and “geek” were more synonymous, different kinds of derogatory terms for fandom behavior. But in the 21st Century, the tech boom led to a surge of popularity for fandom spaces, and entertainment media started mainstreaming “geek” culture as a more celebratory space.

In today’s vernacular, that tends to be the distinction: “geek culture” is pro-social, often with a love of science and technology. When “nerd” is used as a pejorative, it is usually used in an anti-social manner, to suggest that interests in popular culture have overtaken “healthy” social interaction.

All that said, different groups and different fandoms employ both terms differently, so both terms can still be used in a positive or derogatory way, depending on the context.

What is one recent or unexpected trend in the world of geeks that you’ve observed?

Social media has blurred the lines between consumption and commentary about entertainment texts.

Fan conversation is much more visible in a larger-scaled way than it used to be. While most fans and audiences still don’t comment on the objects of their passion, those who do are increasingly bundled into tight networks, which amplify their taste politics.

Finding virtual fan communities is much easier than it used to be, though there are many more flavors of fan networks for any given fandom, making finding the right one tricky.

What are your best three tips for attending an event like Comic-Con?

1. Hydrate.

2. Bring a backpack.

3. Plan meals into your schedule.

Comic Cons can be so large and so spread out with multiple scheduled events happening at the same time, so attendees need to prioritize their activities, but it’s very common to forget about meals and water when chasing down the next panel, signing, or photo opportunity.

What is one way someone can embrace their geekness in their day-to-day life?

Online fan discussions, fan T-shirts — there are lots of ways for fans to integrate their passions into the work and home life.

At the root of fandom is culture, so making sure that positive social connections are involved should be a goal, but identifying one’s fandoms and exploring one’s identity with others is a great benefit of passionate cultural practices.

Alisa Freedman
Professor, Japanese Literature, Cultural Studies, and Gender
University of Oregon

What distinguishes a geek from a nerd?

Generally speaking, both geeks and nerds are devoted to getting knowledge about something they are passionate about.

The word “nerd” is often used for someone who is passionate about studying, while “geek” is for an exuberant specialist. For example, a “book nerd” might spend a lot of time reading, and a “book geek” might collect books and know obscure details about publishing.

But even self-proclaimed geeks and nerds debate the nuances of the words. And there are many subcategories. Nerds and geeks can be fans of diverse things. I am sure there are lawn care geeks and nerds.

What is one recent or unexpected trend in the world of geeks that you’ve observed?

Geeks are getting more respect and are gaining confidence to show off their knowledge. Being a geek is something to be proud of. After all, we are attracted to geeky cities because they seem quirky, interesting, and creative.

Geeks use their specialized knowledge to pursue careers in diverse fields, including art, business, technology, and teaching. They expand our understanding of the world.

What are your best three tips for attending an event like Comic-Con?

1. Participate and take it all in. Go to panels and events. You might find a new interest.

2. Pace yourself — there is a lot to see and do at Comic-Cons and much of it happens all at once. Plan ahead to get a sense of what you want to do, but be flexible and willing to find a new passion to geek out about. If all the activity seems too much, take a break. Cons have quiet spaces and reading rooms for participants to collect their thoughts.

3. Be respectful of cultures that might seem strange or different from your own. Comic-Cons strive to create community and welcome all kinds of people. If you want to take someone’s photo, be sure to ask them first.

Extra tip: Stay safe and healthy, and take care of yourself.

What is one way someone can embrace their geekness in their day-to-day life?

Embrace the fandoms you love.

Studying popular culture is a great way to learn about business, art, technology, sociology, cross-cultural comparisons, psychology, history, education, and so much more.

Being a geek teaches us how to be passionate, to study, and to think critically about the things we love. Geeks don’t just consume culture; they also produce new things and methods. Being a geek can be a route to a dream job, a new hobby, and a way to make friends.

Cities are designing spaces for people to geek out, including museums, theme parks, restaurants, and festivals. I find that my students who geek out about something they love do better at school, feel more purposeful, and are happier.

Charles Coletta
Teaching Professor
Bowling Green State University, Department of Popular Culture

What distinguishes a geek from a nerd?

I am not sure if there is a difference in the popular mindset between “geek” and “nerd.”

Apparently, the Oxford English Dictionary defines a nerd as “a person who is boring, stupid and not fashionable” or a person who “is very interested in computers.” I am not sure if those would have come first to my mind.

The OED lists geek as “a person who is boring, wears clothes that are not fashionable, does not know how to behave in social situations, etc.”

Back when I was a kid, “nerd” referred to an awkward person who was into comic books, etc. A character like Horshack from Welcome Back, Kotter, for example.

“Geek” has come to mean (I think) someone who is invested in pop culture and fandom in some manner. A major difference is that the things that once defined nerd or geek culture — like sci-fi movies, comic books, superheroes, fantasy novels, and more — are now at the center of our popular culture. Look at the success of The Big Band Theory, for example. It perpetuated some of the classic geek stereotypes and also expanded some.

What is one recent or unexpected trend in the world of geeks that you’ve observed?

Recent trends in geek culture seem to be just how accepted it has become to the masses. Minor comic book superheroes are now starring in their own movies and television programs.

Geek culture was also thought of as majority male. Females are much more represented at all levels of geek culture (both as creators and consumers).

What are your best three tips for attending an event like Comic-Con?

1. Bring lots of cash.

2. Stay hydrated

3. Have fun celebrating what you love with like-minded folks.

What is one way someone can embrace their geekness in their day-to-day life?

Don’t be embarrassed at whatever it is in pop culture that you love. Remember that although some part of geek culture may not appeal to you, it still is bringing joy to somebody — no need to rain on another’s parade.

One cool way to celebrate pop culture is to visit the Browne Popular Culture Library at the Bowling Green State University campus. We’ve been running for more than 50 years, and it’s a treasure trove of comics, romance novels, mysteries, and film and television scripts, and it’s all open and available to the public for enjoyment and, more importantly, academic research.

Dr. Kathryn E. Lane
Professor of English
Northwestern Oklahoma State University

What distinguishes a geek from a nerd?

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the words “nerd” and “geek” are not really that different in terms of denotative meaning. However, culturally we differentiated a “nerd” as someone who is overly studious, while “geeks” were historically associated with a technological aspect.

Today, the delineation between the terms is more blurred. ​

What is one recent or unexpected trend in the world of geeks that you’ve observed?

The most surprising trend in the world of geeks is self-identification. Consider that being called a “geek” was an insult in the early 2000s. However, today individuals will self-identify as “book geeks” or “Star Wars nerds.”

What is one way someone can embrace their geekness in their day-to-day life?

Be your authentic self all the time. Everyone has something they “geek out” over. Why are we so nervous to share with the world what truly interests us?

One way: Discuss something you learned with your family over dinner one night. Alternatively, talk with a friend about a new interest or check out a book from your local library.

Rob Weiner
Professor/Popular Culture Librarian
Texas Tech University

What distinguishes a geek from a nerd?

Well, today “geek” and “nerd” are often used interchangeably as someone who enjoys certain aspects of popular or technological culture. These include video games and role-playing games, comic book movies, such as the MCU, and those who collect obsessively certain aspects of popular culture, such as sports cards or other unique items like comic books.

The collectors market for comic books has become very popular in the last 2–3 years, and many comics have skyrocketed in price, including certain issues of newer comics because the print runs are so small.

There is also the perception that the geek/nerd is very good with technology and works in various IT capacities. The big geeks/nerds have taken over Hollywood, and we depend on them to take care of our IT needs in organizations, businesses, corporations, universities and colleges as well as other public and private institutions.

However, historically (and technically) they don’t actually mean the same thing. A geek is one who is a obsessed with collecting materials and following trends about their subject of interest, while a nerd is one who is educated and intellectual about a certain topic or subject area.

Nerds focus more on a wider breath of knowledge (and usually have a more technical or scientific knowledge base), while geeks focus on collecting and trends that go with pop culture.

The terms “geek” and “nerd” have historically been associated with those who are “social outcasts” and “oddballs.” “Geek/nerd” has sometimes been thought of as an individual who lives in their parents’ basement, as someone who has no social skills. Of course, this is a ludicrous conception. While they don’t actually mean the same thing, many people today use the term today interchangeably.

Let’s not forget the circus or carnival geek (the geek show), the one who did odd things to shock audiences like biting the heads of off live chickens or rats. The idea was to horrify or gross out the audience for the sake of spectacle. They often were alcoholics or drug addicts and lived very sad and difficult lives.

What is one recent or unexpected trend in the world of geeks that you’ve observed?

One is that geeks/nerds are now accepted into the mainstream and even hold positions of power in various corporations and entertainment industries. We need geeks/nerds to keep the world running smoothly.

What are your best three tips for attending an event like Comic-Con?

1. Realize that Comic-Con is an event unlike any other in the world. It is unique and something everyone should experience.

2. You will have to do a great deal of walking and waiting, so be prepared and be patient.

3. Have fun. Enjoy yourself, but also don’t be sad if you don’t see it all. There is no way to see everything. It’s just too big, but enjoy what you do get to see and do. Make sure you plan way ahead of time like getting your hotel and tickets months or even a year in advance.

What is one way someone can embrace their geekness in their day-to-day life?

Find something you enjoy and make it a part of your life. There is no shame in embracing your geekiness/nerdiness in your day-to-day life.

Hobbies, collecting, or watching a certain movie series/TV show is fun. The most important thing is to have fun with whatever you are doing.

Don’t let your geekiness/nerdiness rule your life, but integrate it so you have something to look forward to.

Dina Smith-Glaviana
Assistant Professor
Virginia Tech

What distinguishes a geek from a nerd?

A geek is someone who is deeply invested/involved in popular culture, particularly with media (TV shows, film, music, etc.), whereas “nerd” is a term used to describe someone who is highly intelligent and deeply committed to studying subjects particularly related to math and science (but any subject, really).

What is one recent or unexpected trend in the world of geeks that you’ve observed?

I suppose the mainstreaming of fans and geeks. We have come a long way since Lord of the Rings came out in the early 2000s. When I was a kid/teen, it was uncool to be a fan of something, and today it is so much more accepted (although the stigma persists to some degree among some groups of individuals).

What are your best three tips for attending an event like Comic-Con?

1. Save more money because you will spend more than you think, not just on memorabilia and merchandise, but on food, drinks, and Starbucks.

2. Unless you are hugely into cosplay, wear something unique and comfortable, perhaps a closet cosplay of a favorite character or something you made yourself.

3. Don’t be shy. Meet celebrities, and accept their hugs when offered.

What is one way someone can embrace their geekiness in their day-to-day life?

This is a fun one: dressing in closet cosplay or wearing fan-themed apparel and accessories.

You can also decorate your home or office with merchandise and art related to your favorite films, TV shows, games, etc. Also, fan-themed coffee mugs will always be a great start to the day.

William Kuskin, PhD
University of Colorado Boulder, College of Arts and Sciences, Department of English

My first Comic Convention was probably back in 1977, in New York City. It was downtown in a hotel, perhaps two big rooms of folding tables and a lot of shapeless nerds standing around cardboard boxes. No geeks back at that time. I don’t remember any cosplay — although it’s not impossible some of the nerds were dressed really oddly. I do remember a makeshift stage in the back of one of the rooms and a raffle I didn’t win. It all felt drab. I remember not having any money, the prices being expensive, and the whole thing feeling disappointing.

We’re through the looking glass now. You can take a college course at the University of Colorado Boulder on comics (I teach one) — indeed you can choose from a number of college courses, adults can own action figures with a straight face, and you’re not branded a cultist if you play Dungeons and Dragons.

More than anything, the world of comics has changed. Back in the ’70s, comics were still somewhat flat. The nerds were deep into superheroes — knew the lore and the pricing structure of all the back issues. The geeks saw something different — they saw possibility. But the stories were still pretty raw. Now you can walk into Time Warp Comics on 28th Street and Valmont in Boulder and enter into a library of the imagination. It’s like walking into Kirke’s’ wardrobe and discovering Narnia is really the multidimensionality of the self.

That’s what comics are about: the exploration of the potential for transformation. Comics tell stories of transformation — from nerds and geeks to superheroes; from cats and dogs to stand-up comedians; from loneliness to love. The past 50 years have seen that transformative power double over and explode onto screens of all sizes and back onto the book itself. It’s a powerful artistic time, and since art is generative, there is always hope.

You still need to bring some serious money to a Comic Convention or you’re going to be disappointed.

Angela Barajas
Instructor, Integrative Studies, PhD Student, Cultural Studies
George Mason University, College of Humanities and Social Sciences

What distinguishes a geek from a nerd?

Colloquially, they are used interchangeably; however, “nerd” has a more scholarly connotation,

whereas “geek” most often refers to an intense interest in obscure popular culture.

What is one recent or unexpected trend in the world of geeks that you’ve observed?

Fanship and fan products (geek stuff) has become mainstream and is now something more akin

to a hobby. Fanship can be a topic of light conversations and is a way fan communities

(fandoms) develop.

What are your best three tips for attending an event like Comic-Con?

1. Bring a refillable water bottle, deodorant, and a pen. Hydration is important and easy to forget

at bustling events. Cons tend to have many people in close quarters, so it is important to be

mindful of hygiene, and lastly it’s a good idea to keep a pen on your person for impromptu

autographs or notes.

2. Be sure to check the Con’s webpage to get an understanding as to what is allowed or required. Some places have dress codes for cosplay and weapon checks needed for props.

3. Similar to 2, a Con’s webpage often has frequently asked questions that can help an attendee

prepare for that specific Con and understand what to expect during their attendance.

What is one way someone can embrace their geekness in their day-to-day life?

There seems to be no shortage of merchandise for someone to express their fanship and represent their fandom. Fanship has become mainstream enough that fan products are readily available at any major box store.

Ryan Purcell
Postdoctoral Associate
Fordham University

What distinguishes a geek from a nerd?

The difference between “geek” and a “nerd,” colloquially, is a matter of specificity. Geeks and nerds are both passionate about learning.

However, generally accepted definitions of a nerd refer to someone who voraciously consumes knowledge on multiple subjects (e.g., computer programming, ancient history, and astrology, among others).

Geeks, on the other hand, tend to be hyper-focused on a particular subset of knowledge.

What is one recent or unexpected trend in the world of geeks that you’ve observed?

Investing in cryptocurrency has become widely popular in the past decade, a trend sped by the advent of mobile trading platforms like Coinbase or Robinhood. For some people, this can be a fiery topic of conversation, a subject that can lead to a rabbit-hole of ideas from obscure investment theories to the latest news of blockchain upgrades, and the consequences to crypto that those ideas portend. I would respectfully refer to these people as crypto-geeks.

Unexpectedly, this crypto-geekiness is driving development in historically underdeveloped urban centers. Over the past few years, crypto-mania has pulled gravity away from well-established tech industry hubs on the West Coast like Silicon Valley and the Bay Area. Cities like Miami and Pittsburgh are increasingly attracting tech and crypto investment industries with permissive legislation, tax abatements, and sensationalized industry conferences. So, the geekiness of cryptocurrency is changing the way we experience cities in the U.S.

What are your best tips for attending an event like comic-con?

Events like Comic-Con feature multiple experiences and presentations, some simultaneously. There are vendor tables, of course — and they are great to explore. But there are also cosplay and gaming events and talks by celebrities, comic industry people, and scholars that might pique your fancy.

So, it can be helpful to preview the conference schedule and make a list of the top items that you would want to check out. You can always deviate from this plan if spontaneity strikes.

What is one way someone can embrace their geekness in their day-to-day life?

In my younger and more vulnerable years, a mentor encouraged me to follow my bliss. This nugget of wisdom came from Joseph Campbell, a professor of literature and comparative mythology and religion at Sarah Lawrence College. I have always understood that to mean follow your passion, no matter how far down the rabbit-hole it may take you. Life is short. Why not spend it with ideas and people that you enjoy?

Dr. Michael Robinson
Professor of Communication Studies
University of Lynchburg

What distinguishes a geek from a nerd?

Technically, a “nerd” is someone excited by learning, while a “geek” is someone excited by a subject. Both get used interchangeably at times, and the terms are not nearly as negative as they used to be. The important thing is to see the excitement and energy that defines fandom.

What is one recent or unexpected trend in the world of geeks that you’ve observed?

Fan culture has gone mainstream. I never thought I’d see a world where all the nerdy things I enjoyed when I was young would be so popular. These are exciting times for fandom.

What are your best three tips for attending an event like Comic-Con?

1. Plan in advance as much as you can. Know the schedule, and anticipate wait times. If you are meeting a celebrity or creator, find out their expectations for signing items, custom art, pictures, etc.

2. You’re going to be standing a lot. Be sure to have some comfortable clothing and footwear (and if you are cosplaying, design your outfits accordingly).

3. Ask before you take a photo of someone. Many people are there to have fun and share their fandom and creative costumes, but that doesn’t make them exhibits. Asking shows you respect their privacy and hey, you might make a new friend.

What is one way someone can embrace their geekness in their day-to-day life?

Clothing: To me, nothing says fandom quite like a cool T-shirt. But if you’ve got to dress up for work, sneak in a tie or a pin or even a pair of socks.

Behind the ranking

First, we determined the factors (metrics) that are most relevant to rank the Geekiest Cities. We then assigned a weight to each factor based on its importance and grouped those factors into four categories: Collectibles, Costumes, Community, and Events. The categories, factors, and their weights are listed in the table below.

For each of the 200 biggest U.S. cities, we then gathered data on each factor from the sources listed below the table.

Finally, we calculated scores (out of 100 points) for each city to determine its rank in each factor, each category, and overall. A city’s Overall Score is the average of its scores across all factors and categories. The highest Overall Score ranked “Best” (No. 1) and the lowest “Worst” (No. 200). Note: The “Worst” among individual factors may not be No. 200 due to ties.


Comic-cons.xyz, FanCons.com, LARPfinder, Meetup, MLQ Championship, Other Lawn Love Studies, The Renlist, Wizards of the Coast, and Yelp

Honorable Mentions

Everyone has a geeky side. No wonder cities across the country have begun to embrace the nerds, offering unique spots for fans to geek out together.

You don’t need to be a Dungeon Master to plot out your next nerdy campaign, though. Check out some more geeky destinations below, several of which didn’t make it into our ranking due to population size. 

  • Frisco, Texas (No. 188): Play your way through memory lane at the National Videogame Museum, which features several interactive exhibits, including an ’80s arcade.
  • Huntsville, Alabama (No. 80): Have you always dreamed of being an astronaut? You’re never too old for space camp: Find out what it takes to rocket into the cosmos at the Adult Space Academy
  • Metropolis, Illinois: Visit the Man of Steel’s hometown, where you can view more than 70,000 toys, props, and collectibles at the Super Museum. Every summer, the town hosts Superman Celebration, a weekend of super events to celebrate the iconic superhero. 
  • Pleasant Grove, Utah: Less than an hour away from Salt Lake City, Evermore Park is an immersive fantasy world open all year long. Guests are encouraged to dress up and role-play their way through the dreamy 15-acre theme park. 
  • Seattle (No. 14): Get lost in aisles of comics, vintage toys, and figurines at Golden Age Collectables, the oldest comic book store in the world. 

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Media resources

Main photo credit: Donald Tong (cropped) | Pexels | Pexels License

Sav Maive

Sav Maive is a writer and director based in San Antonio. Sav is a graduate from the University of Virginia and is a loving cat and plant mom.