Thursday, August 30, 2012

A Geeks Guide to Las Vegas

Okay, it's time to admit something deep and true about myself: I am a geek.
There, I said it. And I feel so much more free.

Then again, being a geek isn't exactly the social burden it once was. The internet has made it possible for fellow geeks to communicate their obsessions with each other on a mass scale. Geek-centric properties like The Avengers and Game of Thrones are basically the most popular things on the planet right now. Comic-Con is now a cultural even covered by almost every media outlet that actual wants hits. Even Doctor Who has gone from a weird British cult show that American nerds watch on bootleg VHS tapes in their parent's basements to a genuine cultural phenomenon with merchandise taking up endcap space at Barnes and Noble, lavish New York City premieres, and an endless variety of Pinterestable memes comparing Matt Smith and David Tennant's take on The Doctor.

As much as I want to make this post a laundry list that provides the definitive answer in the endless Tennent/ Smith battle, I guess I should probably make this article about Las Vegas on some level since that's what this blog is ostensibly (and definitely) about. Unless Emperor Moffat has the Tardis land in Sin City in a future adventure (and why not? He could team up with Dennis Quaid's Sheriff from Vegas, the upcoming period drama about the rough and tumble history of the town) then I can't really find a good motivation to write about the last Timelord and his bow-tied adventures. But what I can do is recommend the most geek friendly Las Vegas bars, restaurants, attractions, and resorts. And despite the fact the Star Trek Experience and Quark's Bar at the old Las Vegas Hilton (recently regenerated as The LVH) closed a few years back and the full scale USS Enterprise never opened on Fremont Street, Vegas is actually a pretty good place to be a geek, if you know the right places to look.

Insert Coins
512 Fremont St
Las Vegas, NV 89101

A few of these places I've already mentioned, but they're awesomely geeky and IT'S MY BLOG SO GET OFF MY BACK. Plus I know some people haven't read each and every post I've ever written (though if you haven't, get on it if you really want to prove your completist nerd credentials), which is why I'm totally fine with bringing up this amazing geek paradise again even though it was already the subject of one of my early posts. An awesome option for gamers looking to party Vegas-style, this Downtown hotspot is a cocktail that mixes the best elements of an arcade and a nightclub. And their (much cheaper than your average club) bottle service fee gets you a couch and an old school console rental. You can also dance to some better than average music if you're the kind of geek who isn't afraid to show off some killer moves without the aid of DDR. They've also got a well executed blog that understands their audience perfectly. Basically this place is the best.


The crown jewel in the massive CityCenter complex is another place I've blogged about in a previous reality, but it's worth mentioning again due to the fact that the rooms in this futuristic hotel are incredibly tech savvy. A remote controls everything, including the window curtains, air conditioning, light level, and even the television! You can also use the remote to set your room to green-friendly mode by closing the shades and setting the air to an environmentally friendly level in the first LEED Certified hotel in the city.


This lounge in the middle of Rio's bustling casino floor stands out because it was the first place on Planet Earth to install Microsoft Surface in an entertainment venue. The consoles are a prototype for Microsoft's highly anticipated aspirational iPad-killer tablets, and the bar features a group of the 360 degree view touchscreens that you and your friends can gather around to play a large selection of games. The machines are also social and can communicate with the other Surface consoles in the bar, so you can challenge strangers to a friendly game, send them photos, or even flirt with them. If you actually have the cojones to hit on someone using a touchscreen computer, go for it.

The National Atomic Testing Museu/ Area 51 Exhibit
755 East Flamingo Road
Las Vegas, NV 89119

Another place I've mentioned before, in a very recent post about quirky museums in Las Vegas. This place will appeal to your inner science and history nerd, with recreations of underground test facilities and the dummy-filled homes that were used in the tests of these awe inspiring weapons that the government used to test in the desert outside of Las Vegas. In that post, I advised people to avoid the attached Area 51 museum, which costs an extra fee. I haven't been back to the Atomic Testing Museum since the new exhibit opened but I haven't heard great things... but then again,  as a geek, it's kind of our duty to waste $10 on a half-assed alien museum, isn't it? (Bonus! The museum is a quick drive to the Dennis Hof's planned Sci-Fi themed brothel. If you're into that kind of thing. Ick.)

Pinball Hall of Fame
1610 East Tropicana Avenue
Las Vegas, NV 89119

 Another one from my recent list of oddball museums, but it would be a crime to write a post about geek-centric things to do in Las Vegas and fail to mention a place that gathered some of the best pinball machines from the golden age of the game under one roof. This place is old school geek nirvana.

MaximuM Comics
5130 South Fort Apache Road #285
Las Vegas, NV
 Probably the best comic book store in Las Vegas, it's a bit of a drive from The Strip but worth it for their excellent selection. If you're in Las Vegas on Wednesday, you'll be able to find every title from your pull list here, as well as a great selection of back issues and trades as well as super hero and general geek related merch. Just because you're an "adult" doesn't mean you have to stop buying Spider-Man T-shirts. (Note: this advice will always never get you laid.)

Sci Fi Center
900 E Karen Ave, Suite D202
Las Vegas, NV 89109
This place is a friggin' gem. The front of the Sci Fi Center is a little comic book shop with a decent selection, but the coolest part is their "underground screening room" where they show a wide variety of cult, genre, horror, sci-fi and generally geeky films and TV shows. They recently ran a classic Doctor Who marathon and they're known to show Rocky Horror at midnights as well. They also have a monthly live show featuring magic, vaudeville style performers, standup comedy, and more. If I could move into this hidden temple of pure cult nerdom, I'd do it in a heartbeat.

Zombie Apocalypse Store
3420 Spring Mountain Rd
Las Vegas, NV 89102
  This place is both amazing and nutty. While the owners really follow through on their geek-baiting theme and sell zombie related merchandise, they also really do offer "everything you'd need to survive a zombie apocalypse." Their mission statement says that "zombies" are a metaphor for everything, from tornadoes to earthquakes to "The Government," which means the place is basically a superstore for survivalists and promise keepers. You can also rent and shoot real machine guns at the property, and buy knives, swords, gas masks, stun guns, and "exploding targets." Which means you might run into some wing-nuts who think Barack Obama is turning America into a fascist socialist Muslim dystopia... but that's all part of the fun. You're not gonna actually meet a zombie at the store, but you can snap a great Instagram pic of you posing with a real life paranoid revolutionary!

28Go: The Restaurant
4632 S Maryland Pkwy, Suite 12
Las Vegas, NV 89119

Named after a Japanese manga from the 50's that introduced the concept of giant robots duking it out, this place features excellent Ramen and Asian Fusion food served in a setting designed with geeks in mind. Pictures of robots and mechs line the walls, sci-fi movies play on the TVs, and the entire place has a sleek future Tokyo vibe. Their stuffed Waffles and their Ramen are delicious, while drinks served from their "Space Bar" include Sake Fizz Cocktails made with fresh fruit infusions.

Bodies: The Exhibition
The Luxor

There was a time where I resented the existence of Bodies: The Exhibition because I thought it was a ripoff of Bodyworlds, the original touring show that features real human bodies preserved in polymer. But Bodies has survived for a long time at this point that it's earned my respect, with the Vegas version going strong for nearly a decade. If you're a science nerd, getting up close and personal, 3-dimensional views of what we look like on the inside is worth seeing. A lot of the bodies are arranged in crazy poses, which makes seeing the show while taking advantage of the liberal open container laws in Las Vegas even more fun.

Bonus Gulity Pleasure Pick: Tournament of Kings

Yes, The Excalibur's dinner and show is basically a blatant ripoff of Medieval Times. But so what? You get to cheer on knights in an epic jousting tournament while you scarf down mediocre food and drink crappy beer out of mugs. Unless you hate fun, what's not to love?

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this post. I'm interested in visiting Vegas but I don't care about gambling or celine dion. I'm bummed that I missed the Star Trek thing that was there years ago but you've given me a good start.