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The 10 Nerdiest Cities in America

Calling all nerds! If you've been looking for a new place to call home, we've got the 10 best cities for everything you love—even LARPing.

Randy Nelson

Content Manager

116 articles, 53 comments

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I’m a nerd and proud of it. As a kid growing up in the ’80s, though, there were few things more terrifying than the prospect of being deemed a nerd for my love of comic books, computers, role-playing games, and myriad other “nerdy” pursuits.

Thinking back on it now, it seems crazy that things considered so mainstream and even cool nowadays could get anyone subjected to near constant ridicule at the hands of their peers, but, oh boy, did they ever. I was the poster child for every known form of physical and psychological torture kids are capable of inflicting on one another.

That was then, this is now.

These days, nerds are cool. TV shows like “King of the Nerds” and “The Big Bang Theory” are extremely popular, comic books and video games are part of mainstream popular culture, and a “Star Trek” movie is one of the most anticipated films of the year by nerds and non-nerds alike. The folks who landed the Curiosity rover on Mars are national heroes.

If you hadn’t already guessed, my fellow Movoto bloggers are all pretty nerdtastic. So, naturally, when we recently got to talking about what some of the best cities in the U.S. are for various types of people—see our recent look at the top towns for gamers—the idea of determining where nerds (aka “my people”) would most feel at home came up.

After coming up with our criteria and crunching the numbers, it was Atlanta—also Movoto’s top gamer city—that took the crown. Here’s the list:

The 10 Best Cities for Nerds:

  1. Atlanta, GA
  2. Portland, OR
  3. Seattle, WA
  4. Sacramento, CA
  5. Minneapolis, MN
  6. Boston, MA
  7. Las Vegas, NV
  8. Miami, FL
  9. San Jose, CA
  10. Denver, CO

Read on to find out how I came up with the listing criteria. I’ve also broken down our data to figure out which cities are best for specific types of nerds.

How’d We Do It?

Nerds love data—and I knew I’d need a lot of it in order to figure out the best places for them to live. Luckily, I’m basically my own target audience, so I was able to search my feelings like a Jedi Master in order to come up with the criteria I’d look for when determining what makes a city nerd-friendly. Here’s what I came up with:

  • Number of annual comic book, video game, anime, and sci-fi / fantasy conventions
  • People per comic book store
  • People per video game store
  • People per traditional gaming store
  • People per computer store
  • People per bookstore
  • People per LARPing group
  • People per science museum
  • Distance to the nearest Renaissance faire

Coming up with the criteria was the easy part; tracking down all of the data for the 50 most populous cities in the U.S. was going to require plenty of time at my computer chugging Mountain Dew. Once I had everything I needed, I was able to rank each city for the individual criteria (scored from one to 50, with lower being better) and average those rankings into an overall top 50 list from which I could declare 10 as being the best for nerds.

Conventions: Where Nerds Gather

Star Trek Cosplayers

Sci-fi conventions: Where you can dress like you're on Star Trek and not get laughed at. Photo: Flickr user Jason Scragz

There’s no place better to let your nerd flag fly than at a convention or con. There are ones devoted to pretty much every nerdly pursuit, with the big ones involving video games, comic books, anime, and sci-fi / fantasy. Some, like San Diego Comic-Con and Dragon*Con in Atlanta are international in scope, attracting nerds from around the globe.

Armed with a list of the major annual cons, I was able to determine a rank for each city based on the total number held there. Los Angeles came out on top with 12, including Anime Expo and Comikaze Expo. Second place was a tie between Atlanta (which has a whopping five sci-fi / fantasy cons each year!) and Dallas, both with seven. Third place was a tie between Seattle and Denver with five each.

Comic Book Heroes

For weekly nerd gatherings, nothing beats your local comic book shop, where new books arrive every Wednesday. To figure out how many of these hallowed halls exist in each of our top 50 big cities, I turned to Yelp. As it turns out, Portland has the most comic book shops based on population. You’d think that Los Angeles would be a close second, but Portland was actually followed pretty closely by Sacramento and Las Vegas. Excelsior!

Where Gamers Score Their Wares

Video game stores serve dual purposes, providing both a place for gamers to fuel their hobbies and a non-virtual venue for them to congregate. If you read our recent report on the best U.S. cities to be a gamer, you’ll know that Atlanta earned the high score based on several different criteria.

For this list, I was only concerned with the number of video game stores per population. After acquiring that info from Yelp, I found that this honor unsurprisingly went to our top gaming city, Atlanta, which has an impressive ratio of one video game store for every 16,016 residents. Las Vegas was second and Miami came in third.

Of Dungeons and Decks

With video games taken care of, I looked at the world of analog gaming. Having grown up playing Dungeons & Dragons and being on the slow descent into a minor addiction to Magic the Gathering as I write this, I can appreciate the role traditional gaming plays in the life of a nerd. So, any city that’s going to satisfy that aspect of nerdom is going to need plenty of tabletop/card/role-playing game stores.

Using Yelp, I tracked down how many of these shops each city has and compared that to their population estimates. Portland rolled a natural 20 on the rest of the list to come in first, followed by Sacramento and Minneapolis.

This Totally Computes

Apple Store

Any good nerd city is going to have at least one Apple Store. Photo: Flickr user Blake Patterson

What’s nerdier than computers? Well, maybe pocket protectors, but there aren’t entire stores devoted to those (although that would be kind of rad).

I was able to use Yelp to figure out how many computer stores exist in each of the top 50 cities and compared that to their populations. It should come as no surprise that Silicon Valley’s biggest city, San Jose, ranked No. 1 with one computer store for every 1,991 people. Portland and Phoenix came in second and third, respectively.

Bookstores Are Not Dead

Science fiction and fantasy are two staples of nerd life, and while I’d already considered sci-fi / fantasy conventions as great nerd city criteria, I knew that I’d be remiss if I didn’t factor in places where my nerdy brothers and sisters could feed their need for the printed page. I considered focusing purely on dedicated sci-fi / fantasy book stores, but while those are typically better shopping experiences for genre fans, you can thankfully pick up sci-fi and fantasy books at almost any store.

According to Yelp’s data, Atlanta has the most bookstores per population, with one per every 2,529 people. Coming in second was Seattle followed by Oakland in third.

How Do You Spell Adventure? L-A-R-P

If they’d been around when I was younger, I’d have been a LARPer. LARP stands for “live action role-playing” and it’s just about what it sounds like. It’s a way for nerds to dress up as (and act like) their characters and go on real-world adventures, fighting monsters portrayed by other nerds using foam weapons. LARPs have been the subject of multiple documentaries such as “Darkon” and “Monster Camp,” and are actually becoming pretty widespread.

I figured that any truly nerdy city would have at least one, so I used LARPlist.com to track them down and figure out where the best LARP group to potential player ratio existed. That honor went to Atlanta, with second place going to Portland and Raleigh coming in third.

Hanging with Ye Lords and Ladies

I like to call Renaissance faires “LARPing for the rest of us,” since it’s a way for nerds to immerse themselves in a fantasy-adjacent medieval world at the level they feel most comfortable with. Want to dress up as a knight or a princess? You can, but it’s not required to participate. The downside is that you sometimes have to deal with gawkers, but I find that if you just drink a few leather mugs full of mead you don’t mind them as much.

I turned to Google Maps on my quest to pinpoint the nearest Renaissance faires to each of the 50 biggest cities and ranked them by distance, with fewer miles being better. Omaha, Nebraska actually sits atop this throne with its faire a mere eight miles from city center. Atlanta and Los Angeles ranked second with both being 21 miles from their faires, with Portland placing third at 22 miles away.

They Blinded Me with Science

National Air and Space Museum

The National Air and Space Museum is one of the nation's nerdiest attractions. Photo: Flickr user Tim

For my final criteria, I left the realm of fantasy for one rooted firmly in fact. Science Museums are a great place to learn more about the world we live in, the wonders of space, and other traditionally nerdy things. They’re also, as I learned, much more common than I thought—which I think is a great thing.

Based on Wikipedia’s list of U.S. science museums, I was able to calculate how many each city had per population. Washington, D.C. did best, followed by Atlanta and Tucson.

Finding Nerdvana

It’s pretty clear that when nerds eventually take over the world, their new capital will be Atlanta. If you want to get a jump start on the crowd, grab your foam swords, comic book boxes, and bags of dice—the city where the real cool people live is calling.

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posted on: April 10, 2013
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122 Comments

  1. Greg

    Your data is very unscientific for being such a “nerd”. Atlanta has maybe 2 or 3 museums and distance to a Renfest is not nearly as important as per capita participants. Oh, and I am pretty sure that you are using Atlanta’s city population which doesn’t apply here since the metro area is over 10X bigger, but that’s okay – I am pretty sure your goal is to paint Atlanta as a nerdy gamers paradise.

    • David in response to Greg

      Greg,

      You forgot that Dragon*Con is a bigger convention then everything except Comic-Con, and Comic-Con is more focused on the commercial aspect and promoting the future whereas Dragon*Con is more focused on fans gathering to celebrate the past.

      Ultimately, Atlanta is the major metropolitan hub for a larger area and population than many other places. By that I mean even people in neighboring states come to Atlanta because neither Alabama, Tennessee, South Carolina, Mississippi, nor North Florida has anything that competes with a metro center like Atlanta. None of the other big cities has exclusivity to such a large area. The Northeast has many major metro areas in close proximity, as does California.

      The fact that those metro areas are at a geographical disadvantage though, doesn’t change the fact that Dragon*Con pretty much blows away all the other “nerd” cons out there, except maybe PAX, and that’s only because they have a monopoly on Wil Wheaton.

      • Hunter Cressall in response to David

        Dragon*Con is pretty much the nuclear weapon of nerddom. PAX comes close but D*C is ‘on’ 24 hours a day nonstop for four days straight. It’s Mardi Gras if Mardi Gras were larger. It simply has to be seen to be believed. Basically where room parties are the life after SDCC shuts down – D*C IS a room party with 75K (unofficial) guests.

      • Paul in response to David

        Wil Wheaton was at GenCon last year, which doesn’t have nearly the media presence of DragonCon, but does have gaming.

        I didn’t know Atlanta had other cons. When I lived there, D*C was still doing it’s best to shut down any competetion, and it was working.

        • Adam in response to Paul

          We have a good bit of Cons. Take a look at the Atlanta events page. Also with Atlanta becoming such a huge tech hub and R&D hub in the US, more and more techies (nerds) are moving to Atlanta. With GA tech right in down town we have a lot of visitor. I might not have put Atlanta at 1, but def in the top 5. DragonCon and MoMoCOn are the two flag ships, but here are at least two other comic conventions, steam punk conventions, and gaming conventions. Plus places like Battle N Brew and others, we have a good choice of gaming cafes and bars. And don’t forget that Eve Online has their base in Atlanta also.

      • Lord Ben in response to David

        the only problem with Atlanta being a nerd haven is that, well, its Atlanta…

    • Randy Nelson in response to Greg

      You’re close! Atlanta has three science museums, actually.

      Not trying to “paint” any of the cities as anything they’re not, as the rankings are based entirely on data, not anyone’s personal opinion.

      As for the metro area, the retail data and conventions are only for the cities in question. For the Renaissance faires, they could be in other cities but it was based on proximity to the actual city in question.

      • Vandy Beth Glenn in response to Randy Nelson

        Three science museums? I count

        1. Fernbank Museum of Natural History
        2. Fernbank Science Center, which is kinda sorta also a museum (and not affiliated with #1, despite the name)
        3. Tellus, if you want to count it (it’s nearly a two-hour drive away in Cartersville)

        Are these the three you mean? If so, I should think the size of a museum should enter into the calculations. Fernbank Museum is a fine institution, but compared to the Field Museum in Chicago or the AMNH in Manhattan, it’s barely a storage closet.

        • zach in response to Vandy Beth Glenn

          I miss SciTrek

          • Chris in response to zach

            Yeh, me too. You’d think the fact that SciTrek actually closed down due to lack of business and supporters would be a major blow to Atlanta’s nerdiness.

      • Synful in response to Randy Nelson

        On top of the data presented here, Atlanta is home to one of the nerdiest hobby builders. Museum Replicas Limited and Atlanta Cutlery build replicas of every weapon ever made. They sell swords and medieval, movie replica clothing and weapons (yes, even Star Wars), and I swear if I could find one of my many catalogs I would give you an example better than my snow queen cape, but really…not much nerdier than a place that builds the things that make many of us so nerdy. Oh, that’s right…steampunk too. :D

    • Terry in response to Greg

      Texas Ren Faire is packed every weekend it is open, it is also one of the biggest in the country if not the biggest. I know that Houston has comic stores and RPG games and even larping that is not hard to find. We may not be the nerdiest but we definitely belong on this list for the Ren Faire before Portland, I lived in portland and the only faure i ever heard about was the pirate faire.

      • Fenrir in response to Terry

        If anyone’s curious, here’s the respective pages for the Baronies of Dragon’s Mist and Three Mountains (The SCA chapters most of the major areas in/around Portland) with event and meeting dates. Three Mountains doesn’t have any events listed currently, but has a meeting schedule.
        dragonsmist.antir.sca.org/index.php
        currentmiddleages.org/3m/meetings-mainmenu-27.html

      • Steven in response to Terry

        Texas Ren Faire is MUCH bigger than Georgia’s. EVERYTHING’S bigger in Texas! ;-)

    • Daniel in response to Greg

      What could be more nerdy that arguing on the internet over the specifics of an unscientific top 10 list? Brilliant.

    • Trapper in response to Greg

      I grew up near Atlanta, and I still live in Georgia (good ol’ Savannah, prettier place, slower… harder to find work, but I like it).

      I mean, the parks around Atlanta can’t even support the number of LARP groups that inhabit the area, Dragoncon is a beast that cannot be fed, Battle ‘n Brew is an awesome place with a ton of computers and TVs for gaming, weekly nerd-themed trivia (I went for Joss Wheddon Trivia once… place was packed to the rafters), a rock band stage set up, a game-referencing menu of food items and beverages, and a decent selection of craft beer to boot.

      Add to that a pretty kickin’ Ren Faire and a few other top notch cons (I rather like AWA, and I’ve heard a lot of good things about MomoCon), and you’ve got the makings of a truly large nerd town.

      Otherwise, I think you could’ve done something different instead of aggregation of the data. 50 is a decent enough sample size, but you could probably have worked some other stuff out.

      I’d like to see your data set so I can run a regression analysis on it.

      Please?

  2. Sir Lance

    Hmmm…. I guess that means Indianapolis is cooler than Seattle. Salt Lake City is more hip than Boston. Miami is nerdier than Tulsa.

    • Sarah in response to Sir Lance

      I lived in Indianapolis and currently live in Atlanta. Trust me, one is FAR more comfortable being a nerd in Atlanta than being a nerd in Indianapolis.

  3. john

    SERIOUS BUSINESS, GREG

  4. Redgoat

    Hilarious! Pirates help make Portland #2 on this list, but the photo for No. 8 (Miami) was actually taken at the Things From Another World in Portland, OR. That’s one of the PDXYAR (www.pdxyar.org) pirates on the left!

    • Randy Nelson in response to Redgoat

      Yeah, we’re unfortunately a little limited by what we can do photography-wise under the Creative Commons license (quality/availability is pretty small for these topics). I’d have loved for the representative photos to have all come from the cities in question but it just wasn’t possible. Good catch, though! Arrr!

      • Robert in response to Randy Nelson

        What if someone from Miami could provide you with a photo from Tate’s Comics and Games in Ft. Lauderdale, Sunshine Adventure Gaming, or Arcade Odyssey from South Miami?

  5. Viet Nguyen

    Well at least your criteria are little better than the Gamer Top 10 list that your colleague put up. So aside from DragonCon, I’m really wondering what else it offers for nerds. The Greater Seattle Metropolitan Area has PAX, Emerald City ComiCon, Wizards of the Coast, Valve Software, Paul Allen’s Science Fiction Museum. We also have Bill Gates and Paul Allen. Oh – and the reason why we’re probably only #2 in bookstores per capita is because we’re also the home of Amazon.com and people are reading books on their Kindles!

    • Pixie in response to Viet Nguyen

      Not to mention NorWesCon, SacuraCon, RustyCon. (granted NorWes and Rust are in SeaTac)

  6. Rhett

    Actually, I’m with Greg. These metrics are pretty silly. They will strongly prefer “airport and convention center cities” (like Atlanta), cities with lots of little groups/shops/etc rather than larger and well-organized ones, and cities that conveniently define a small population base. It also doesn’t do very much to take your work life as a nerd into account.

    Consider that I’ve lived in both Miami and San Jose. The Renfaire in SFL is a joke and the allegedly plentiful comic book stores don’t really support an integrated community. In San Jose, I made significantly more (even adjusting for tax and cost of living) on a wage I knew was very low for my skill set. I’ve moved other engineers out from Miami and they’ve been shocked at what they can do on their Bay Area salaries.

    So, it might be “what the data indicates,” but your selection criteria for the data are pretty weak.

    • Hmm in response to Rhett

      What does the cost of living have to do with this article? Lol

      • Rhett Aultman in response to Hmm

        If you’re going to live near all those various comic book and game stores, seems you’d want to have good money in your pocket, too.

        • vendetta in response to Rhett Aultman

          well the cost of living in Atlanta is pretty low especially compared to most of the other main cities. and def cheaper in comparison to any city in california.

          • Katie in response to vendetta

            Also the fact that Atlanta is a super easy city to get into- I lived in one of the outskirt towns for a while that was super cheap cost-of-living (have since moved to a fancier neighborhood to the south of ATL. o3o) compared to living right in the city, and it was only a 30 minute drive to downtown- or you could take the MARTA. :)

          • Rhett Aultman in response to vendetta

            Yes, but cost of living is only one part of that equation. The other is wages. It costs me more to live in the Bay Area, but I am paid much more, my wage ceiling is much higher, and a majority of my potential employers will offer me a slice of their equity pie.

            My original point wasn’t strictly cost-of-living. It was that “what you’re likely to live on as a geek” is an important factor over “how many game stores are within your city.” That is, I can play with way more nerd toys because I make so much more *even after the taxes and cost of living*.

  7. Mike Fly

    I’m sad to see Toronto Canada didn’t make the list. It’s a pretty nerdy city – it’s why we set Versus Valerie (our nerdy web series) here. I guess we will have to step it up a notch!

    • Randy Nelson in response to Mike Fly

      I might look at include cities in Canada in next year’s list, but for this first one it was U.S. only. Sorry!

  8. Jon Strickland

    I’d remove E3 from Los Angeles as a qualification because it’s an industry-only event and the general public can’t attend.

    • Randy Nelson in response to Jon Strickland

      Good point, and I actually didn’t factor it into the rankings for that reason. I did mention it in the article as an example of nerdy conventions held in the City of Angels, but I changed that. Thanks!

  9. Anonymous

    Comicon, Wondercon, Anime expo and all the Fur Cons should also be included.

    • Randy Nelson in response to Anonymous

      Comic-Con and Wondercon weren’t included, actually, since they’re not in L.A. proper. But they’re still awesome! I *think* (and hope) Wondercon is coming back to SF next year.

      • Matthew Miller in response to Randy Nelson

        The borders and organizations of “the city proper” vary so much from city to city that it really skews the statistics. Indianapolis includes the whole county (there are cow farms in Indy!) while others just have a tiny core with suburbs organized separately. By using the city proper, you’re cutting Cambridge and Somerville out of Boston, and that’s really the heart of our nerditry. I like your concept, but next year please use urban areas.

      • Pixie in response to Randy Nelson

        I loved going to WonderCon when I lived in SF.

  10. Veaya

    Hooray! I may be from atl and surrounded by geeks. Others may criticize your science – I will bask in the large amount of people here that like larping, table top, video games, comics and fantasy fiction – and most working in computers. Plus of course having a cheap place to stay during dragon con.

  11. Nick

    Portland has a Nerd Chamber of Commerce, Geek-themed Burlesque, Nerd Nite and Science Pubs, and some other things that I don’t think were measured. I imagine other cities can say the same. Surely universities with robotics programs and the like ought to factor in as well.

  12. tylor

    why is Denver so low on the list? try again were at least 6

    • aeryn in response to tylor

      re: denver’s ‘low’ ranking — probably because the renfest in larkspur is a haul… and they didn’t count all the non-headliner cons (aka, less than 2k people). Anomaly Con, Denver Comic Con, Anime Wasabi, Starfest, Myths & Legends (formerly Brethren) Con, NDK, MileHi, GenghisCon, Tacticon, MagnaCon, Rocky Mountain FurCon – actually, that puts us over the count in Atlanta & Seattle! And this year, we have Costume Con!

      also, is anyone aware that we have not one, but TWO GAMING/ARCADE BARS?? Can’t go wrong when you walk into a bar and you’re almost literally running into a wall of pinball machines and there’s an 8 player x-men arcade box on another wall.

      (that said, I like how us nerds are all arguing that our city should be ranked nerdier!)

  13. Lin Workman

    Not from there, but have visited enough to say that Phoenix, AZ is a nerd/geek paradise- especially the Phoenix Comic Con. Happens over Memorial Day weekend. Great show that’s a mix of comics, anime, pop culture, media guests, toys, cosplay and more. If you’re in the southwest I highly recommend it. Have been impressed with the comics creator community there, as well as the costuming/fan groups, comic shops, and other events.

    • emperorbailey in response to Lin Workman

      Phx Comicon is the bomb.
      I’ll second that.

  14. Wendy

    I live in Atlanta and agree it’s nerdy but… we don’t HAVE a science museum.

    • Veaya in response to Wendy

      Sadly it’s true, Fernbank doesn’t count.

      • Vandy Beth Glenn in response to Veaya

        Why wouldn’t you count (either) Fernbank?

        • Veaya in response to Vandy Beth Glenn

          This did inspire me to go find the science museums – I wasn’t counting Fernbank as it’s a natural history museum, but it has a science center as well, so I’m putting it back. There are several science museums outside of Atl that I now wish to visit. They aren’t that close, but clearly, I want Atlanta to win, so not arguing. Mostly, it’s fun to see how many cities have strong geek cultures. Case in point, most people on here are outraged that their city didn’t win…. and with this many geeks, not as many trolls as I would have expected. (yep, I’m funny)

  15. Jolie M

    Although I can appreciate your desire to keep this to straight data only I think you didn’t give enough weight to places that are particularly outstanding in their “nerdiness”. San Diego has quite a few great smaller conventions (Gaslight Gathering, Comic Fest, ConDor, Conjecture, Anime Conji, and Kingdom-Con) for those of us who want a more intimate con experience. We also have the Escondido Renaissance Faire; great stores like Mysterious Galaxy (books), Villainous Lair Comics, and Villainous Lair Games; and the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center with a planetarium and IMAX dome theater. I vote for San Diego as number 11.

  16. Brian

    Uh, what kids have you been buying your weed from? Nerds are no more “cool” now than they were in the 80s. You don’t think that skinny kid I glasses reading comics and playing fuckin WoW isn’t still tormented every single moment of his junior high life?

    I think the difference now is that they can actually find other people who are like them and they can section themselves off from the world and evolve into adults and have active social lives. But *at school* they are still as screwed as ever. Don’t believe it’s changed. If anything, it’s gotten worse for these kids because the bullying doesn’t have to end when they get off the school bus.

  17. belinda

    As you were mentioning data is what drives us nerds and makes us happy, unfortunately your research was lacking concerning conventions in Portland specifically.
    I’ve been researching this information for an article/map in a local atlas. The data you came up with for conventions in Portland is incorrect. We have more conventions that you stated in your article…
    Locally there are four comic cons; Stumptown Comic Fest, Wonder Northwest, Portland Zine Symposium, and Rose City Comic Con, which are put on and are mainly comic fan/creator hang out conventions, and one of those four, Rose City, is new this year.
    Since my research is mainly comic related, I didn’t include OryCon which is a sci-fi/fantasy convention, they have tons of people who geek out and dress up. And then there is GameStorm, a gaming convention, which was just held last month.
    In addition to the previous six I mentioned, another convention was hosted this year by the out-of-state company Wizard World who ran their Portland Comic Con on the weekend before Emerald Comic Con, our neighbors in Seattle.
    I believe that is 7 total conventions for the Portland area.

  18. Borg

    Central Florida is so much nerdier than Miami. Tampa and/or Orlando would have been a better pick. Miami is too cool–come to the real breeding grounds of weirdos, freaks, and geeks (and I mean that endearingly).

  19. Cathy M.

    I second Jolie — San Diego has 8 annual conventions: ConDor, KingdomCon, Anime Conji, Gaslight Gathering, Gam3rcon, SDCC, Conjecture, and ComicFest. The anime con is run by the Anime Expo folks now; the others are all 501(c)3 non-profit volunteer-run events. (Yes, even SDCC, unlike D*C.)

    We have quite a few excellent comic stores; Comickaze is my fave. We’re a little light on board game stores, but do have several, but some bookstores with a decent game selection. (I got Agricola at a B&N, using a good coupon.) I think dedicated genre stores should be weighted higher than general stores — extra points to Minneapolis for Uncle Hugo’s and to SD and the greater LA area for Mysterious Galaxy.

    I’m not much of a video gamer, but I know we’ve got at least one classic / vintage video game store, in addition to the usual GameStop / Best Buy / etc. stores, and IIRC, Fry’s Electronics carries a lot of video games, too.

  20. Lisa

    Wow!This why were dominate every industry and continue to attract every industry from The West, North and Midwest. Continue Reading Nerds!

  21. Christopher Peruzzi

    Consider Red Bank, NJ. Home of Comic Book Men, Jay and Silent Bob’s Secret Stash, home to more coffee houses you can shake a stick at and a stone’s throw from their annual Asbury Park Comicon – which has done Cosplay. Red Bank is “Kevin Smith Central” and is home to their SMODcast.

  22. Ando Poore

    Might I make a shameless plug for my own brand new Con? It’s focused on tabletop gaming (board/card and role-playing), and this is our first public year, although we are intending fully to become an annual Con just like the others. This year AndoCon is in mid-July.

    Anyone who’s interested, I encourage you to check us out: AndoCon.org. And of course we’re on Facebook too.

  23. Veaya

    Battle and Brew!

  24. Meredith

    It’s a great list! But you missed out on so many Atlanta conventions. Anime Weekend Atlanta, MomoCon and Seishun con are all anime based (but those kids are nerds too!) and we have a ton of smaller shows themed around specific series such as Jordon Con (Wheel of Time Books / Robert Jordon), 221B Con (new Sherlock weekend event), Anachrocon (Alt history / Steampunk), Trek Trax (Star Trek) and Time Gate (A weird Dr. Who / Stargate and sci-fi con). Maybe those were part of your 5, but I know of at least 10-11 cons Atlanta has now! :D

  25. Stephanie Cila

    I can’t believe we’re 10th D: but I feel like you guys could have used a different picture for NDK. Our cosplayers are really good here and that pic makes it seem like we all look like that XD no offense to them or anything.

  26. Kristina

    Wow, I’m surprised that the DC/Baltimore metro area didn’t make the list. We have several conventions, tons of science museums, lots of comics and LARPing, and one of the biggest faires in the country.

    Plus we have the pirate bar, which obviously makes us superior. ;)

    • Paul in response to Kristina

      I live in the area and I wouldn’t put it on a top ten list. We could have a huge number of items worthy of mention, but the nerds are way outnumbered by not-nerds, and the local “culture” shows it. The DC area is dominated by traffic, lawyers, and the big box mindeset of the suburbs.

      But Udvar-Hazy should be mentioned once or twice as a sort of geeky mecca that people don’t know about.

  27. Stan

    I still think Los Angeles should rank higher. After all, we do have JPL and Caltech here, and nobody can out-nerd Caltech.

  28. Kat

    Personally I think you missed utah on that mark. Utah has 2 gaming conventions, 1-2 comic book coventions, 5 Anime Conventions, A stempunk convention, and others that I may not know of. We hold gathering’s for cosplayers at least every two weeks. Almost every weekend you may see people Larping it up in the parks. And at almost every con there will be at least one Utah Cosplayer.

    • emperorbailey in response to Kat

      “Utah has 2 gaming conventions, 1-2 comic book coventions, 5 Anime Conventions, A stempunk convention, and others that I may not know of. We hold gathering’s for cosplayers at least every two weeks.”

      I came here for grad school almost 2 years ago, and I haven’t heard of any of that crap. Here in Provo, we have one (underwhelming) comic book store. My wife and I now consider our household the capital of nerdity in Utah.

      Since there doesn’t seem to be any way to communicate directly with each other here, will you Reply with some links for me?
      (1) What specifically are all those conventions?
      (2) How do we hook up with the cosplayers?

      If you can back up your outrageous assertions of Utah nerd culture, you will be our hero. When my wife and I finally decide to have a family… of goldfish, we will name the first one Kat.

  29. Francis Urquhat

    > The 10 Nerdiest Cities in America

    Ok.. this is going to be interesting….

    > These days, nerds are cool. TV shows like King of the Nerds and

    This show is NOT COOL, its C R A P …. MASSIVELY HEAPS AND PILES OF
    */CRAP!!!!!!!!!!!!!/*

    > Big Bang Theory are extremely popular,

    Which I wrote this off as no non GEEK/NERD would watch it… Hmmm…. boy
    was I wrong…

    >comic books and video games are
    > part of mainstream popular culture,

    Really???? I don’t consider the dorqic books and lamer gamers part of
    mainstream culture..

    > and a Star Trek movie is one of the most anticipated films of the year
    > by nerds and non-nerds alike.

    Ummm.. Star Trek ended in 1969, the movies ended in 1999? 1998???

    So what is this an extra 30 seconds of one of them in a 3D (current rage)
    print? ?

    > folks who landed the Curiosity rover on Mars are national heroes. This
    > guy is a star.

    While I agree to a point these people are great… they do NOT MEASURE up
    the Gemini, Mercury, and Apollo era NASA… not even close..BIG SHOES and
    HIGH STANDARDS to measure up to and fill YOU BETCHA.. . and well don’t
    even get me started on the current state of NASA..and their failures and
    the BLOOD on their hands…(Yes I am fully aware of Apollo I thank you!)

    > After coming up with our criteria and crunching the numbers, it was
    > Atlantaalso Movotos top gamer city that took the crown. Heres the list:
    >
    > The 10 Best Cities for Nerds:
    >
    > Atlanta, GA Portland, OR Seattle, WA Sacramento, CA Minneapolis, MN
    > Boston, MA Las Vegas, NV Miami, FL San Jose, CA Denver, CO

    OK… this list is WHACKED…..

    > Read on to find out how I came up with the listing criteria. Ive also
    > broken down our data to figure out which cities are best for specific
    > types of nerds.

    Ok.. so whats in the FlavorAde this bunch is drinking….

    > Howd We Do It?
    > Number of annual comic book, video game, anime, and sci-fi / fantasy
    > conventions People per comic book store People per video game store
    > People per traditional gaming store

    BZZZT! ALL NOT VALID CRITERIA..

    > People per computer store

    Finally ONE VALID CRITERION.

    > People per bookstore

    Ok.. I’ll give quarter credit for this one…

    >People per LARPing group

    I am pretty sure that is ILLEGAL in at least 20 states including Georgia!
    (And NO CREDIT!)

    > People per science museum Distance to

    OK… I am willing to give 0.75 credit for this one…

    > the nearest Renaissance faire

    ABSOLUTELY NO CREDIT FOR THIS!

    > Coming up with the criteria was the easy part;

    Oh was it!?!?! That explains why YOU FAILED SO MASSIVELY!

    > Conventions: Where Nerds Gather Theres no place better to let your nerd
    > flag fly than at a convention or con.

    Ummm Comdex has not been in Atlanta since what??? UMMM 1998????

    BZZZT! THOSE “dorqcons” don’t count.

    > There are ones devoted to pretty much every nerdly pursuit,
    > with the big ones involving video games, comic books, anime, and sci-fi
    > / fantasy. Some, like San Diego Comic-Con and Dragon*Con in Atlanta are
    > international in scope, attracting nerds from around the globe.

    BZZT NOT a VALID CRITERION!

    > Comic Book Heroes For weekly nerd gatherings, nothing beats your local
    > comic book shop, where new books arrive every Wednesday. To figure out
    > how many of these

    BZZT!

    > Where Gamers Score Their Wares

    BZZT!

    > This Totally Computes
    >
    > Whats nerdier than computers? Well, maybe pocket protectors, but there
    > arent entire stores devoted to those (although that would be kind of
    > rad).
    > I was able to use Yelp to figure out how many computer stores exist in
    > each of the top 50 cities and compared that to their populations. It
    > should come as no surprise that Silicon Valleys biggest city, San Jose,
    > ranked No. 1 with one computer store for every 1,991 people. Portland
    > and Phoenix came in second and third, respectively.

    FINALLY A VALID CRITERION… and Atlanta is not even in the top 3! And
    never will be!

    > Bookstores Are Not Dead According to Yelps data, Atlanta has the most
    > bookstores per>>
    >>population, with one per every 2,529 people. Coming in second was
    > Seattle followed by Oakland in third.

    The local BAM is a good way to get some magazines I don’t subscribe to..
    YES I prefer real honest paper magazines.. Nuts n Volts,etc…As for
    books.. unless its on clearance Amazon is the place my books come from,
    after showrooming the book in BAM, the local B&N all closed, and the
    nearest is now 1HR+ if its even still open…BAM does have a nice cheapo
    DVD bin to trawl.

    > How Do You Spell Adventure? L-A-R-P If theyd been around when I was
    > younger,

    I am pretty sure that it STILL ILLEGAL in 20 states including Georgia…
    it doesn’t say nerd/geek… it says L U S E R ! And not in a good way! Far
    and beyond the bad context of nerd/geek in the past and some what today.

    > Hanging with Ye Lords and Ladies

    Bzzzt! Not a valid criterion.

    > They Blinded Me with Science

    I will give partial credit for this… Ontario Science Museum was a cool
    day out… don’t know if it still is….

    > Finding Nerdvana their new capital will be Atlanta. If you want to get a
    > jump start on

    I DO NOT THINK SO! !! ! ! There is ONE, and ONLY ONE REASON to brave, yes
    BRAVE FULTON COUNTY and ATLANTA.. The Varsity. BE PREPARED TO ORDER
    PROPERLY OR NO FOOD!

    Ok… so your saying “What IS/ARE PROPER CRITERIA SMARTASS!???”

    # of ACTIVE LUG’s Persons/Active LUG # of LUG Conventions/Shows # of
    Computer Shows

    # of Computer Parts stores and NO RS and worstbuy don’t count! Nor does
    any other mega mart or similar ie: Target etc.. They have to be 100%
    dedicated to computers and/or electronics

    # of electronics parts stores and NO RS aka CellShack does NOT COUNT!
    # of data centers # of NAP’s

    “Recalculating……” and then get back to me…

    • Myles2007 in response to Francis Urquhat

      You a troll dude? When you said LARPING was illegal in Georgia I stopped reading. I live in Georgia and have many friends who LARP. My old College now seems to have a LARPING group. Now your definition of Nerd may be different then other people, but you can’t just say your definition is right and no one else is.

      • Francis Urquhat in response to Myles2007

        ” When you said LARPING was illegal in Georgia I stopped reading.”

        WHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOSHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! Your clear for flight level 250000000 over myles2007…..

        Regardless it still sounds illegal. And no geek/nerd I know ever heard of it let alone involved in it.

        “…, but you can’t just say your definition is right and no one else is.”

        Not only did I just say it, it is…

        NONE of these ‘activities’ are part of NERD/GEEK culture, and I should know.. as a NERD/GEEK,

        comic books are for little eight year olds and last about the time it takes to read and drink down the cola.

        The definition of nerd/geek culture that has these ‘activities’ as the norm has been labeled the stereotypical nerd/geek by the mainstream society, which is incorrect..for the same reasons other items are picked up and used the same in other groups…

        REAL geeks/nerds have no involvement in those ‘activities,’ period.

        • Anon in response to Francis Urquhat

          This is hilarious. Most of the comic book reading demographic is between the ages of 18 and 45. And some live in their parents basement. Don’t know how much more nerdy it can get. Of course, there are those with the school of thought that nerd is slightly different than geek but meh.

          Witnessing posters arguing about the semantics of what defines “nerd” is pretty enlightening though and pretty geeky in itself. I’m pretty new to this since I was only introduced to the comic book world just a few years ago. I went from clubber to geek within a a few months and hang out in comic book forums during lunch breaks. I was amazed at how many of the forum residents were in their 40s and older. But one thing I also witnessed is no matter what fandom, the “nerd” herd consists of some of the most condescending, cynical and judgemental people I’ve ever met who rage over the most petty of things. I think this is why I never socialized with nerds much in high school because no matter how much you reach out to them, they just ignore you, get together with their like minded friends and speak ill of you.
          When college come around, that period had proven that there were some decent nerds who I could actually have a conversation with without having to feel like I was being scrutinized and mocked. That changed my perspective for the time being and some of those nerds eventually became some of my closest friends.

          Though this discussion has me scratching my head. Is it difficult to disagree with something without sounding like an arrogant ass? I love seeing everyone’s input here but some are getting a little too hotheaded for a topic so trivial. And I only found this article via a friend’s facebook post.

    • Chris Kolmar in response to Francis Urquhat

      Probably the best comment I have ever seen. Thanks for the passion Francis!

  30. Collin the Red of AMTGARD

    For those interested, every one of those cities listed has an AMTGARD Chapter. LARPing medieval style with magic. It is D&D with out paper, pencils, or dice. Put down the d20 get out of you mom’s basement walk out in to the sunlight and beat the ever loving heck out of each other with foam padded weapons. You get exercise and it feels a lot better killing with foam, then with a x-box controler.

    Find Amtgard near you: amtgardrecords.com/atlas/

  31. John

    Man, you guys are a bunch of nerds.

  32. Shane

    I’m from Atlanta and the only big nerd thing here is Dragon*Con… perhaps I’m not looking in the right crevices. But usually when you enter a crevice in Atlanta, you get mugged.

  33. Catamount

    Any nerd worthy of the name would know that the singular require with “final” is “criterion.” Probably given the opportunity, you would write “the data says” rather than “the data say.” I question your standing.

    • Catamount in response to Catamount

      I on the other hand was insufficiently anal to copyedit my grammar comment and thus left what should have been “required” in the present tense, so my standing to question is questionable, at best. Carry on.

    • Francis Urquhat in response to Catamount

      “Any nerd worthy of the name would know that the singular require with “final” is “criterion.””

      Nope, geeks/nerds don’t care about that. Thats a totally different group….

  34. Lun Esex

    You should re-do the list based on MSAs (Metropolitan Statistical Areas), rather than just data inside the bounds of a city proper.

    Some cities get overweighted because they’re the hub for their entire region (like Atlanta). Others get downgraded because their “local” region is divided between multiple cities (like the Los Angeles and San Francisco areas).

    For example, from personal experience in San Francisco I know it’s almost impossible to have annual genre conventions in the city itself (see Wondercon’s troubles staying in San Francisco, and the 2002 World Science Fiction Convention that had to move from San Francisco to San Jose). Instead, local cons for San Francisco are in Burlingame and the San Jose area (plus a few local outliers like DunDraCon in San Ramon, FOGcon in Walnut Creek, etc.). On Memorial Day weekend at the end of May there are FOUR major regional local conventions on the same weekend alone: BayCon (general), KublaCon (gaming), FanimeCon (anime), and Clockwork Alchemy (steampunk). Also this year’s Westercon in Sacramento is actually being run by people from the San Francisco area.

    I’m not familiar with the scene in the New York City area, but surely its situation is similar. I wouldn’t be surprised if most of the major local NYC conventions and similar “nerdy” things have to happen in the areas surrounding the city.

    Probably half the list would change if you used MSAs, with the Los Angeles area certainly making the top 10, a combined San Francisco/Oakland/San Jose area would rank much higher (there’s a huge total number of tech museums, book shops, game shops, comic shops, computer stores, etc.), the DC/Baltimore metro area would probably get on the list, etc.

  35. KnitChick

    Um, what about Chicago? There’s at least 3 decent size anime cons each year, plus two giant comic conventions, a Doctor Who convention that gets bigger every year, and tons of others. We’ve even had a Brony con. Plus Bristol is an hour away, we have tons of museums (Museum of Science and Industry is the main one but there’s also a holography museum among others), a ton of comic book shops and plenty of bookstores left. I am DISAPPOINT.

  36. Barbara Jungbauer

    St Paul. St Paul. St Paul.

    I repeat, St. Paul. We are not Minneapolis. We don’t want to be Minneapolis. We are St. Paul. The older, more gracious and beautiful Twin of the Twin Cities.

  37. Gaidigt

    I’m from Atlanta, and I love it, but it does have me wondering about your methodology. A lot of your lists are per capita; are you talking city of or metro area? Different parts of the country are more urban-sprawl oriented, while others are more city-center oriented and this would change your results. Plus, you have to use consistent city boundaries on all counts.

    • Randy Nelson in response to Gaidigt

      Everything is based on the cities proper, not the entire metropolitan area, with the exception of Renaissance faires (proximity to nearest).

  38. Rachel Odell

    Add these Cons to the Seattle list and I think we’ve got L.A. beat:

    SteamCon, Crypticon, Sakura-Con…

    Oh, and how many cities have their very own crime-fighting superheroes, like Seattle does. Rain City Superhero Movement-represent!

    Cannot forget about Camlann Village – east of Seattle in Carnation? Ren-nerdness at its finest!

  39. Stone B

    For all the talk about Dragon Con, lets not forget that Atlanta is represented by the only Congressman to ever write a graphic novel. That’s gotta be a deal closer.

  40. Courtney

    Phoenix, AZ didn’t rank? I’m from San Jose and this place is much nerdier. In fact, I haven’t met a single human under 40 that isn’t a nerd yet and I deal with a lot of people daily at my job and on the bus. That and the amount of D&D and card game meetups is insane.

  41. Simon

    What about the SCUL bicycle gang in Boston who have their own totally unique LARP in which they are piloting a rogue startship fleet through outer space? I think they should seriously boost our bay state nerd cred

  42. Robin

    What? Indianapolis didn’t make the list? Really a 45,000 person gaming convention (Gen Con) plus 4 smaller conventions. 6 Gamestores… 5 Comic stores.. and the Nearest Ren Fair (Fishers’ Ren Fair) is in a connected suburb. Plus the worlds largest Children’s (science museum) which is bring the Avatar ehhibit this summer… and a State Museum that has had a Lord of the Ring Exhibit and is Bring Star Wars where Science Meets Imagination this summer… I think we were shorted. shorted…

  43. Foof

    Nerds should know that Minneapolis=/=St. Paul, and the Science Museum of Minnesota is in St. Paul. Just sayin’.

  44. Jeff

    The Boston area has hosted an all-genre LARP convention for SIXTEEN years that’s one of the biggest of its kind in the world. Intercon has been in Chelmsford for most of that time, and we’ll be back again next year. LARP is far more than fantasy with live combat; while we have some of that, we have a lot more of science fiction, cyberpunk, piratical, historical, murder mystery, and more. (More than 80 different LARP events in a single weekend, with hundreds of LARPers, from all around.)

    This weekend, I’ll be going to the eighth Festival of LARPs convention at Brandeis, in Waltham – and it’s smaller than Intercon but far larger than most typical live-combat LARPs. This fall, there will be another SLAW LARP con at WPI. There’ll also be a NELCO LARP theory and seminar convention in Chelmsford late in the summer, where we’ll write a LARP in a weekend, and teach other LARPish things.

    If you limit yourself to the fantasy live combat LARPs, you’ll miss the zombie apocalypse one, or the steampunk one, or the haunted woods one, or the one with characters out of TV, anime, and other non-fantasy stories (where I play Rupert Giles), or the Roman/science fiction one. If I add in the old-style fantasy LARPs, we’re well past fifteen.

    I think, if you really look, you’d be very hard-pressed to find any city that LARPs more than Boston.

  45. Ben Simpson

    Though not strictly nerdy, Atlanta is the backdrop for The Walking Dead graphic novel adaptation, and hosts a Zombie run: thezombierun.com/locations/atlanta too!

  46. Sara C

    With LARPing and Renfaires I would have also used data from the SCA – Society for Creative Anachronism. They are a group that recreates the Middle Ages, a nerdy persuit for sure! Data is broken down geographically, by Kingdom.

    • Randy Nelson in response to Sara C

      Thanks for the awesome link, Sara! There’s an event coming up near me — huzzah!

  47. Baker

    I’m honestly surprised Columbus, Ohio isn’t on your list. We have cons like crazy, including Origins and Marcon, and Ohayocon. Also, we have a pretty big larp community, and plenty of game and comic stores.

  48. Ender

    the results of this test: ” NOT what runes say …”
    that is all. almost. one question. was yelp the official sponser of this list ? cus it seems most of your data was taken from one source. how very unnerdlike of you.. is our once-niche group being infiltrated by radical religious crabpeople? i yelped in horror at the thought.

  49. Miriam

    South East Michigan has more gamers and Engineers per capita than pretty much any other region of the USA. If you walk into a crowd of 100 random people from the area at least 30 of them have roleplayed at least once and more than that regularly play board games (not much else to do here).

    Chicago, IL and the State of Wisconsin also have large geek and nerd clusters.

  50. Snicker

    Sheldon would be ashamed at your statistics.

    Houston is home to at least 6 “nerd” cons: CompicPalooza, Space City Comic Con, ApolloCon, OniCon, OwlCon, Anime Matsuri. (Sadly, ConJour was cancelled this year, or we’d have 7)

    We lose a few points on “per capita” numbers for stores because Houston population numbers are calculated by the greater Houston metro area, but things like Yelp only count Houston ‘proper.’ Still, we boast not only 47 video-game stores, but that includes 2 classic-game bars (for old-school arcade and pinball fans).

    LARPing groups are so thick here, you can’t swing a foam sword without hitting one – we just celebrated over 20 years of Amtgard, plus the SCA and Dagorhir both have strong presence. And that’s not even touching on the VLARPers. Probably because they’re obfuscating…

    Houston doesn’t have just A museum – we have an entire museum DISTRICT – 18 museums (including the Houston Museum of Natural Science) and a ZOO. We also have NASA’s Space Center, the John McGovern Health Museum and much, much more.

    And the cherry topping: Not only the largest faire (Texas Renaissance Festival), but the best NEW faire (Sherwood Forest Faire, as voted by the Renaissance Festival Magazine) AND two MORE ren faires (Four Winds and Scarborough, both going on right now) all within easy driving distance.

    AND you forgot to count other re-enactor events: Dickens on the Strand (an hour south, in Galveston) a Victorian celebration with Steampunk featuring more and more each year; and more civil war re-enactments than I can count.

    So, um, yeah, Houston needs to be on that list.

  51. Kai

    Chicago’s lack of a listing here is more proof the list is flawed. With Chicago having 6 Mind’s Eye Theatre LARP groups (Vampire: The Masquerade), more then a dozen conventions, Over a dozen Museums (Atlanta has 3), Beercades, Arcades, you name it! I mean heck Chicago has a coffee shop with vintage video games, a Delorean, and coffee names like “Peanut Butter Koopa Trooper.” A long with on any given night you can find 10-100 people at Graham Cracker Comic’s Magic the Gathering contests, and the fact that there actually is comic book stores(aka we have more then one).

    Chicago also has a thriving Steampunk scene and Cosplay scene. The Midwest Garrison also is also very active there.

    If you are going to rate cities on ‘geekiness/nerdiness’ try actually doing your research, I’ve done time in Sacramento, compared to Chicago it does not deserve it’s place on the list.

  52. AKS

    Any nerds in the Chicago area are welcome to join the Chicago Nerd Social Club: facebook.com/groups/55886508718/
    and chicagonerds.com/

  53. Rich in L.A.

    You list is BS. I just moved from L.A. to Miami. Miami has NOTHING. You do it by population of course it looks good because everyone is spread out. In LA there is a LCBS in walking distance from anywhere and their in store events are amazing. In Miami, NOTHING. No events no signings worth a damn, NOTHING. And the con are crap other than Supercon. L.A. is a nerds paradise, Miami is a nerds Hell.

    • Rich in L.A. in response to Rich in L.A.

      And let me add LA has the largest US Who-Con Gallifrey. While Miami has… Supercon. LA has 4 huge comic cons in within an 30 minutes while Miami has… Supercon. Both have the same Ren-Fair but in Miami you have to drive an hour and a half to get to it. The Sci-Fi cons are of every type, while Miami has… Supercon. L.A. is a nerds paradise, MIAMI is nerd HELL.

  54. Craig

    @Randy: While I am a bit skeptical of the means by which you compiled this data (and how difficult it is to prove its accuracy), I applaud your efforts in doing so. That in and of itself is outrageously nerdtastic.

    And I don’t just say this because Atlanta ranked #1 in your list and because I happen to live there. I moved to Atlanta in 2002 and very quickly discovered how steeped in geekery local Atlantans can be, and I made my own efforts to compile an exhaustively comprehensive guide and directory of all things geek in Atlanta which I call “The Atlanta Fandom Guide”. It’s now more than 8 years in development and I believe it would’ve saved you a lot of time in your data-collecting efforts.

    Just the “Fan Clubs & Meetup Groups” tab alone has more than 200 listings, and I am still adding to it every month! There are, in fact, so many local geek events in Atlanta, that I had to expand outside of the site in order to provide event info — the blog format just wasn’t cutting it. So I launched a Facebook page last August just to cover local news and events.

    And I admit that the site’s “Events & Venues” tab is in need of an overhaul and massive update, but I do the site as a hobby completely commercial/ad-free so I add/update/edit as I have time to do so. But if you browse through the listings on that tab, you’ll discover that Atlanta has more than a dozen local fan conventions… and not just five.

    Also, for those who are citing their city as the nerdiest or seeking to improve their city’s ranking in your list — I challenge you to create a comprehensive geek guide to your city as I have done for Atlanta. I say the proof is on “The Atlanta Fandom Guide” that Atlanta deservedly ranks #1 on Randy’s list. And I’m not just saying that because I publish it — I’m saying that because it has taken me more than 8 years to compile that much info as a guide to everything geeky in Atlanta.

    • Randy Nelson in response to Craig

      Thanks for the nice words, Craig. I think your site is fantastic and the amount of work you’ve put into it is mind-numbing. Hopefully everyone gives it a look!

    • Nick in response to Craig

      Craig…I see you didn’t link to this article on your blog. Perhaps you should do so immediately.

    • Jolie M in response to Craig

      San Diego has one (not run by me) http://www.sansfis.org/FandomIndex/

  55. Jerry Milo Johnson

    How on earth could you write an article about nerd statistics, and NOT post your data?

  56. Lun Esex

    Locals Proud of San Jose’s Ninth Nerdiest Ranking
    news.yahoo.com/locals-proud-san-joses-ninth-nerdiest-ranking-220700546.html

    San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed: “The geeks and nerds will be upset that we’re not No. 1. Actually, we’re the nation’s leader in patent applications year after year.”

    San Jose’s tourism tagline is “Innovation Starts Here.” Meghan Horrigan, director of communication for Team San Jose, said, “We’re thrilled to be on the list. However, we did our own internal debrief and came out way more nerdy.”

    “Being a nerd means different things here. Being smart, working on your own skills, constantly trying to improve is not a bad thing,” counseled Chuck Darrah, department chair of anthropology at San Jose State University.

    Michelle McGurk, the mayor’s senior policy advisor, thinks it’s great. “We’re proud of our city’s geekiness, and we like to have fun with it,” she said.

    So basically San Jose says “Yeah, that’s great. Thanks! We don’t mind being number 9 on your list, because *we’re professionals*.” :)

  57. Atomic Kommie Comics

    “People per comic book store”

    It’s easy to have a high amount of customers in a comic book store…when you’re the ONLY store for 50 miles!
    Try it in NYC, where there are more comic shops within city limits than anywhere else on Earth!

    • Randy Nelson in response to Atomic Kommie Comics

      Actually, for that criterion I wasn’t talking about people inside comic book stores but rather how many comic book stores there are in a city per X number of people. In this case, the fewer people per store the better. For example, if you had one comic book store for every 500 people in a city of two million, that’d be pretty impressive. :)

  58. Tammie

    As a Georgia native, living not far from Atlanta, and some one who is among the community that works and put on conventions, I thought your convention count was a bit short. I sat down and did a quick bit of research and found that Atlanta is host to at least 15 sci-fi/fantasy and related conventions of various sizes.

  59. Shawn

    Don’t forget the fact that we have Cartoon Network! As America’s animation capital, we attract some of the most creative and twisted minds in the country!

  60. Joey

    I would like to also state that Phoenix may not be the closest to its ren fair, it is one of the best in the country. They bought an area of land and built an actual medieval city that is set up year round, and is only used for ren fair

  61. Cori

    I haven’t researched the various nerd-attractions that San Francisco may or may not have, but I will say that when I visited the piers it was such a comfortable place to be nerdy. Nobody gave me a second glance for neon blue sunglasses with a mustache and darkened lenses which I chose to wear flipped up, causing the glasses to look odd and cover my entire face. Looking odd seems to be fairly normal on the piers, which made it an awesome place to be.

  62. Laura

    Were you looking at only major cities? I wonder where Huntsville, AL would land on your list. This is a pretty nerdy city. Lots of engineers with extra cash…I enjoy it greatly.

  63. Thomas

    Just stumbled onto this list, wondering if Austin, TX will be showing up next year considering how big Rooster Teeth is planning on RTX being next year (said they want 15, 000-20,000).

  64. J Womack

    For the record, Houston has multiple science museums and attractions (Johnson Space Center, fercryinoutloud), multiple comics and games stores, it’s near the Texas Renaissance Festival, hosts its own Comicpalooza convention, and we have a place where you can get into a cockpit simulator and fight it out with up to seven other BattleTech Mechs via LAN. Yes, we have simulators for 60′ tall giant frikking robots.

    For the Win.

  65. barbecuesteve

    I live in Atlanta. And I work for the Big Nerd Ranch. Yes. We are the Nerd Capital.

    <3,
    The Nerds.

  66. Shannon

    Dude. In what flawed Verse does Austin, Tx not make the list of top 10 nerdiest cities?

  67. John P

    Have you guys never heard of Austin?

  68. Kari

    I grew up in Atlanta and now live in Texas. Atlanta??? really, not very nerdy. Austin much more so. Austin is like a mini San Jose now for techies and nerds. Definitely do NOT consider Atlanta to be a nerd city at all.

  69. Jennifer

    As others have stated, Austin is fertile nerd territory. Our Ren fests are HUGE, larping prolific, bookstores, both large and indie, abound, and tech, tech, tech is everywhere!

 

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