From August 28-31, 70,000+ fans will converge on the Washington State Convention Center for Pax Prime, the annual gaming convention held in Seattle. Gamers from all across the world will try out the biggest major releases, as well as delve into the world of indie gaming.
While most PAX attendees will live and breathe out of the Convention Center those four days, what about the fans that wouldn’t mind checking out the “geek scenery” while they’re visiting? Lucky for them, there are plenty of activities you can do in and around Seattle.
Here are some great places you can check out, all within either walking distance or a short bus trip from downtown:
The EMP Museum
The EMP Museum is located at the Seattle Center, right next to the world-famous Space Needle. Formally known as the Experience Music Project and Science Fiction Hall of Fame and Museum, the EMP is an epicenter to all things pop culture. If you are a music buff, Hear My Train a Comin’: Hendrix Hits London or Nirvana: Taking Punk to the Masses will be, well, music to your ears. If you are as excited for The Force Awakens as we are, then Star Wars and the Power of Costume will take you on a tour of the clothing worn by characters who live in a galaxy far, far, away. Even sports fans can get their fix with We Are 12: The Seattle Seahawks and the Road to Victory. These are but a few of the many exhibits the EMP has to offer.
For more on the museum as well as ticket pricing, you can go to the EMP website here.
Golden Age Collectibles
If you ever see a movie taking place in Seattle, chances are the Pike Place Market is included somehow. Whenever you see fish flying through the air and people catching them with one hand, you know you have arrived. Head downstairs from the Fish Market and you will find one of the top comic shops in the city, Golden Age Collectibles.
Established in 1971, Golden Age has been the premier spot for pop culture collectibles in downtown Seattle. From comics to films scripts to life size cutouts, Golden Age has something for every pop culture fan. They also have a section dedicated to vintage Star Wars action figures, and it is one of the largest ones I have seen. For more information on Golden Age, check out their website.
The Fremont Troll
When most people think of Seattle, they think “Starbucks” or “Flannel” or “Rain” (that last one is a misconception. It only rains when YOU visit). However, there’s one word that usually gets lost in the shuffle, “Troll.” Even with Microsoft in Seattle, I am not talking about an internet troll. I am talking about an honest-to-goodness troll that resides under George Washington Memorial Bridge in Seattle’s Fremont District.
In reality, it is an 18-foot tall sculpture, aptly named The Troll, made of rebar, wire and concrete. It was created in 1990 by four local artists as part of a local arts competition to revitalize the area around the bridge. The sculpture is interactive, meaning you can climb and play around it at your leisure. You can even try to poke out its one good hubcap eye, or wrestle the actual Volkswagon Beetle it has a death grip on with its left hand. The Fremont Troll is located at N. 36th Street at Troll Avenue N. (not a joke).
Mere blocks away from the University of Washington resides Scarecrow Video, home to the largest independently owned video and physical media library in the country. With over 120,000 titles and 1,185 separate sections, this is a must visit for any cinephile. Missed that obscure film screening you’ve been meaning to go see? Scarecrow Video can help. Are you a fan of the 1988 Christian Slater movie Gleaming the Cube, which combines the intrigue of weapons smuggling with…skateboarding? Depending on the day, Scarecrow can rent it to you for half price. For more information how membership and donations, you can view Scarecrow’s website here.
While you won’t be seeing Crucial Taunt wailing here anytime soon, Gasworks Park, located on the north shore of Lake Union, is a great spot. Spanning 19.1 acres, Gasworks contains remnants of the last coal gasification plant in the United States. Turned into a park in 1975, Gasworks is a great stop for any fan of the unique. The park can actually been seen in the film 10 Things I Hate About You, where Julia Stiles and Heath Ledger are playing paintball.
We all know PAX will be jam-packed with video game excitement, but if you are looking to get the full Seattle “Geek-Treatment,” these five spots are definitely a great start.
So what do you think? Are you booking your flight to the Pacific Northwest yet? Any Seattleites want to weigh-in on other great geek spots? Let me know on Twitter or in the comments below.