I’ve lived in Los Angeles my entire life, and every time I see a tourist it’s the same old story. They’re either window-shopping on Rodeo Dr., trying to find the Hollywood sign or wondering where the beach is. But Los Angeles is not all plastic and pomp. There are way better and more interesting things for tourists to do. I put together a list of nerd-friendly outings while visiting L.A. You can still go to Grauman’s Chinese Theater, but then you have to go to these places:
1.) Dearly Departed Tours If you’re looking for a tourist-y way to see Los Angeles, this is just like Star Tours, except they show you where the famous and infamous have died. You can see where River Phoenix partied last and where the Black Dahlia was found. It may be on the macabre side, but it has to be better than seeing Jennifer Aniston’s guard gate.
2.) Family Amusement Corporation For the old school gamer, this place is nerd paradise. All coin-operated machines provides tons of throwback fun, and the employees will even pretend to be your mom yelling at you to come home. Okay, they won’t actually do that. But it doesn’t matter, because you will be too busy playing Street Fighter IV.
3.) The Magic Castle This place can be on the more knowledgeable tourist’s radar, but is still worth a go. It is the world-famous home to the Academy of Magical Arts, and the mansion itself is a landmark. Neil Patrick Harris is a member, and he would never waste his time on something that wasn’t the shit. You can go for dinner and a show and, of course, the gift shop. This is a great place to get interesting souvenirs like card decks with tricks or other magic box sets. Trust me, you don’t want that mini-Oscar statue anyway.
4.) Crash Space If you are looking for a more participatory activity and fancy yourself a nerdist, this place just might be what you’re looking for. Crash Space consists of workshops where hackers, engineers, artists, etc. get together, break stuff and create new things from their pieces. This can be a great outlet, especially if you come from a smaller town and are looking for more like-minded folk.
5.) The Rocky Horror Picture Show Every Saturday night at midnight, the Nuart Theatre screens the The Rocky Horror Picture Show, and the crowd is often more entertaining than the film. All musical theatre nerds will love the movie, and people watchers will love the audience. It is an interactive experience where many dress as the characters and sing along throughout the screening. It’s like Comic-Con, but for a super niche audience.
6.) Nerdy Day Trips If you hate everything I’ve suggested (although you can’t really hate it if you’ve never done it, right?), give this site a look. They provide offbeat suggestions from visiting Charles Manson’s ‘Caves’ (where he lived with his ‘family’ in the 60’s) to the best comic book stores. Nerdy Day Trips is a pretty amazing collection of ideas not only for Los Angeles but all over the globe.
So tear up your Star Maps and go beyond the typical to-do list. And let me know if you run into Neil Patrick Harris.