Geek out: 4 Chicago places where nerds can boldly go
By Anna Gaynor
Forget basketball. It’s time for the unofficial season of nerd to begin. But instead of staying inside gaming or rereading the entire Harry Potter series, try braving the cold to check out the geekiest activities Chicago has to offer.
Improvised Star Trek, iO Theater
The Chris Farley Cabaret, 1501 N. Kingsbury St.; 312.929.2401
Now that Star Trek is a major movie franchise, it’s easy to forget that its fanbase includes more than just Chris Pine enthusiasts. And with a new TV reboot on the horizon, now is the perfect time to commune with other devoted Trekkies for some laughs. Running on Fridays through December 18, Improvised Star Trek follows the team of the USS Sisyphus, a lesser of the Starfleet vessels. Tickets: $14.
Museum of Science and Industry
5700 S. Lake Shore Drive; 773.684.1414
As one of the largest science museums in the world, MSI has exhibits on the only German WWII submarine in the U.S., the science of making the materials that are used to make everything else—and through January 3, Robot Revolution. If the name doesn’t hook you, then maybe it’s time to reconsider your nerd status. General admission: $18; the museum also offers 52 free days a year for Illinois residents.
Geek Bar Beta
1941 W. North Ave.; 773.687.9824;
As the product of a successful Kickstarter campaign, Geek Bar Beta has devoted itself to all things geeky. With themed drink menus and food items, the spot holds viewing parties for shows such as The Walking Dead and Doctor Who. You can also stop by and play some Geeky Trivia, Dungeons and Dragons, and all sorts of board and card games. Note: Must be over 21 after 9 p.m.
American Science & Surplus
5316 N. Milwaukee Ave.; 773.763.0313
You don’t need deep pockets—or fashionable taste—to spend all day shopping at American Science & Surplus. Aimed for hobbyists, gearheads, and cheapskates, AS&S has a little bit of everything, from a solar-powered radiometer to a miniature version of Da Vinci’s catapult. You can even buy surgical equipment and lab supplies or kits to build your own robot. Talk about nerd heaven.