I’m going to be completely honest: I’ve never visited the Statue of Liberty or the Empire State Building despite living only two hours away from NYC. Instead of heading to tourist traps, I tend to gravitate towards all the nerdy sight-seeing destinations.
If national monuments and skyscrapers aren’t your thing either, you should consider hitting up these nooks and crannies that you’ll instantly geek out over.
Are you on a hunt for the latest manga in your favorite series? Or maybe you’re searching for a manga that you can’t find anywhere. Check out Kinokuniya USA, the source for every nerd’s craving for all things Japanese including, manga, stationery, textbooks, and toys. Make sure to grab yourself a snack at the cafe before you leave!
2. Nintendo NY
The Nintendo Store serves as a tribute to Nintendo’s past and present. On the first floor, you’ll find the latest games, along with Nintendo-themed plushies, clothes, and other paraphernalia. The upstairs houses a mini Nintendo museum, displaying every single Nintendo console from the NES to the Switch.
3. Koryo Books
Most people know of NYC’s Chinatown, but don’t know about Koreatown on 32nd Street. Koryo Books is crammed between buildings on this busy street and contains many goodies for the k-pop fanatic. I know you’ve been jamming out to that bubblegum k-pop song you love so much, so why not head to Koryo Books and pick up an album?
If you love Marvel and DC comics, you’ll be ecstatic when you step foot in Midtown Comics. Flip through hundreds of comics starring your favorite superhero, or discover a lesser-known comic that has nothing to do with superheroes at all! Midtown Comics satisfies the Funko Pop collector as well, with their huge display of different figures.
5. Toy Tokyo
Toy Tokyo is a quirky dreamscape full of toys and collectibles. Not only will you find anime and manga-themed figurines, but you can also get your hands on rare and vintage toys. Despite the fact that this store has some wildly expensive toys, it’s still fun to browse.
What’s better than having a few drinks with your pals and playing some throwback arcade games? Dave & Buster’s has nothing on Barcade—playing the oldies on authentic arcade machines totally beats playing revamped arcade games. Relive your childhood and play games like Millipede, Tetris, X-Men, Crazy Taxi, and more!
7. LEGO Store
You might have LEGO Stores in your area, but you don’t want to miss out on what the Rockefeller Center LEGO Store in NYC has to offer. It has a towering Pick-a-Brick wall, along with ingenious LEGO sculptures scattered throughout the store. Even if you’re not a little kid anymore, a visit to the LEGO Store is always a fun and interesting experience.
Forbidden Planet is a must-see for any geek. It combines a wide selection of comics, mangas, merchandise, and toys to create the ultimate one-stop-shop. If you’re short on time and can’t get to Midtown Comics or Kinokinuya in one day, definitely hit up Forbidden Planet—you might just find what you’re looking for!
8 Bit and Up has a huge selection of video games, consoles, and accessories. It’s dedicated to all things retro, meaning you can finally purchase the best TurboGrafx games you never got as a child. Dust off your old system and pick up some hidden gems at 8 Bit and Up.
10. Ninja New York
Normal restaurants are boring—you just sit there, chat with friends a little, and wait until the server brings your food. Ninja NYC makes sure that your dining experience is a lot more exciting.
Walk through the dimly lit halls and take a seat in your very own pagoda. Your waiter, a ninja, will provide you with delicious Japanese-American cuisine with plenty of flair. I hope you like sharp weapons, fire and jump scares because Ninja NYC has plenty!
I would say that board game lovers will be overwhelmed when stepping into The Compleat Strategist, but that’s an understatement. Board games are packed so tightly from wall-to-wall that you can’t even tell what color the store is painted.
You might have to do some digging to find the game you want, but it’s probably there somewhere. This legendary board gaming store definitely has no shortage of board games, roleplaying games, card games, and miniatures.
12. Modern Pinball
Do you think you’re a pinball wizard? I’m guessing you haven’t played on a real pinball machine in over 15 years. It’s not your fault that you couldn’t brush up on your skills, as pinball arcades have pretty much gone extinct.
Modern Pinball has defied the odds, serving as one of NYC’s only arcades that’s dedicated solely to pinball. Try your hand at a classic like the Addam’s Family or experience the newer Guardians of the Galaxy machine.
While the Superhero Supply Co. isn’t exactly in the heart of NYC, it’s still worth mentioning. The store sells everything that superheroes need, from capes to full-blown costumes, and even superpowers. Before you go off on your next mission to save the world, don’t forget to stock up on some supplies!
14. VR World NYC
If you haven’t invested in virtual reality yet but still want to try it, head to VR World NYC where you can have a vivid VR experience. Take on many different rolls as you create art in a green room, shoot zombies, or even steer a spaceship.
15. The Uncommons
A trip to NYC isn’t complete without hitting up a board game cafe. The Uncommons offers one of the largest selections of board games on the entire East Coast. Not only does it house indie and classic board games, but it also has a wide selection of food and drinks. Enjoy a coffee or a glass of wine as you play Catan with your friends.
Is NYC the Nerdiest City?
Sure, NYC has glamorous stores and beautiful landmarks, but they aren’t as exciting as walking into a store filled to the brim with manga and comics. We can only hope that NYC’s ever-growing nerd population will spur the growth of more geeky destinations.
Have you been to NYC? Let me know if I missed a nerdy destination in the comments below!