If you're a Chicago Nerd, it's the most wonderful time of the year. That's right, C2E2, Chicago's most awesome comic and nerdery convention, is next weekend. The whole nerdiverse is going to converge on Chicago next weekend in an extravaganza of cosplay, comic sales, panels, artist meetups, and pop-culture referencing t-shirts (so very many t-shirts).
Now, if you're an out-of-towner flying into Chicago, you may say to yourself "Myself," you might say "Sure C2E2 is THE SHOW, but Chicago, that's a real geeky city! I need to get outside and see some of the geekiest things Chicago has to offer! But I am from not-Chicago and know nothing of Chicago's native nerds."
Fear not, oh gentle out-of-towner, for I have lived in Chicago since aught three, and have frequented many of Chicago's nerdiest establishments and institutions. Here for your reading pleasure are some geeky things to do in Chicago whilst you're in town for C2E2.
Yeah, okay, the first thing on here is a shameless plug. I am a cast-member of Improvised Star Trek. But we have a show next weekend! Friday night at midnight! At iO Chicago! Tickets are only $5 AND if you present your C2E2 pass at the box-office, you can get 2-for-1 tickets! IST is a live-comedy show, AND a podcast. We've been performing for four years, and podcasting for three. The show and the podcast have gotten great reviews, and if you want a laugh after a long-day of walking the floor at C2E2, this is right up your alley.
Chicago is just lousy with great museums. The Art Institute, the Field Museum, the list goes on. But the nerdiest museum in Chicago is MSI. Want to see a real German U-Boat? An Enigma Machine? Airplanes? Trains? AUTOMOBILES? SCIENCE!?!?! This is the place for you. Come for the science, stay for the giant frakking U-boat. Second nerdiest museum-type-place to go: The Adler Planetarium.
While not as famous as Alinea, Moto is kind of ground zero for molecular gastronomy (or, nerd food) in Chicago. Want to see someone blast your dinner with science? Imagine if Carl Sagan and Walt Disney had opened a restaurant together: you'd get Moto. And no, it's not just flavored foams.
4. Headquarters, Emporium, Logan Arcade.
Craft beer and arcade games: what's not to love? Chicago has three bar-arcades (or barcades, or beercades) and they're all awesome. I think Headquarters is my favorite, but that might just be because it's the closest to my house.
If you're looking for something a little racier, Sunday April 27th, Plan 9 Burlesque, a geek-themed burlesque company, is putting on a cabaret they're calling "Nerdgasm." One of Chicago's finest burlesque troupes, AND they do geeky shows? Get there, out-of-towners, just get there.
Did you know Chicago has a Zoo? Did you know that zoo is FREE? Yeah, after you've spent all your latinum at C2E2, give your wallet a rest, and go get your learn on with the animals of the Lincoln Park Zoo.
Chicago is home to some of America's geekiest institutions for higher learning, and possibly the geekiest one is the University of Chicago. UChicago made many important contributions to the Manhattan Project, and a certain current US President used to teach there. Plus, it's just a fairly cool campus. Take a little time and wander around.
Well, there you go. 7 awesome geeky things to do if you get some time away from the Convention Center. Have a great time next weekend, everybody!