Los Angeles is famous for being hip and trendy, but the City of Angels also has plenty of activities for brainiacs and self-proclaimed nerds. For those looking to indulge their geeky side, we've put together a list of local haunts where high SAT scores, Mensa memberships and adoration for Bill Gates are de rigueur.
The creative, hands-on exhibits and IMAX theater at the California Science Center will make you relive the excitement of an elementary school field trip all over again. The venue is now also the permanent home of the space shuttle Endeavour, which officially opens to the public October 30, 2012.
700 State Drive, Los Angeles, 323.724.3623
Behind the unassuming façade of this fascinating museum on Venice Boulevard, there are curiously intellectual exhibits such as decaying dice, dogs of the Soviet Union space program and the unique world of micro-miniatures. The atmosphere is antique shop meets fun house, and admission is just a suggested donation.
9341 Venice Blvd., Los Angeles, 310.836.6131
What geek or gearhead doesn't want to see the Batmobile in person? That's what we thought. Well, you're going to want to head straight to the Petersen Automotive Museum on Wilshire Boulevard's Museum Row. Way more than your standard glossy white showroom, you'll see race cars, motorcycles, concept cars and movie cars from various eras — including Batman's famous ride.
6060 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, 323.930.CARS (2277)
From classic characters to displays of contemporary Pacific Rim pop culture, niche comic book stores in LA are popular without being too trendy. Try The Secret Headquarters in Silver Lake, or Meltdown, Inc. and Golden Apple Comics in Hollywood for your comic fix.
The Secret Headquarters: 3817 Sunset Blvd., Silver Lake, 323.666.2228
Meltdown, Inc.: 7522 Sunset Blvd., Hollywood, 323.851.7223
Golden Apple Comics: 7018 Melrose Ave., Hollywood, 323.658.6047
This place tops Google Sky and then some. Admission is free to gaze through the public telescopes and browse exhibits, plus tickets are cheap to see planetarium shows. If you're looking for a way to romance your nerd-at-heart date, Griffith Observatory is it.
2800 E. Observatory Road, Los Angeles, 213.473.0800
Join the live studio audience of Jeopardy! and watch others who paid attention in school say, "What are radioactive nuclei, Alex" — just don't shout out the answers (even though we know you know them all). Or, get on a game show and compete yourself. If smart sitcoms are more your style, get tickets for a taping of geek cult favorite The Big Bang Theory at Warner Bros. Studios.
This store at popular shopping center The Grove opens up like the sleek aluminum unibody of a MacBook Pro, with a glowing Apple logo above the door. Inside, ogle the latest i-technology or geek out at the Genius Bar.
189 The Grove Drive, Los Angeles, 323.900.8080
Take "Call of Duty" from the Xbox to real life with a few rounds of high-tech tag at Ultrazone Laser Tag. The geek-friendly, multi-level facility in Alhambra features special effects and themed areas.
231 E. Main St., Alhambra, 626.282.6178
This is the third-largest public library in the U.S. — and it is not kidding around. How many libraries do you know that come with stellar art collections, docent-led tours, a mini food court and a gift shop? Unimaginable numbers of reading nooks and massive windows that let in LA's beautiful sunshine make this a top spot for quiet contemplation among the city's studious populace.
630 W. 5th St., Downtown Los Angeles, 213.228.7000
There's no better display of cognitive prowess than beating out other area geeks in a pub quiz. Tons of LA watering holes, including O’Brien’s Irish Pub, Fox and Hounds and The Irish Times Pub & Restaurant, host weekly trivia nights that bring in those who love to debate the right answer with their pals over a hearty stout.
O'Brien's Irish Pub: 2941 Main St., Santa Monica, 310.396.4725
Fox and Hounds: 11100 Ventura Blvd., Studio City, 818.763.7837
The Irish Times Pub & Restaurant: 3267 Motor Ave., Los Angeles, 310.559.9648
This museum on Wilshire's Museum Row attracts folks who love to geek out over environmentally conscious building materials, a 1939 Charles Eames chair design and the perfect combination of art and technology. The museum's Urban Hikes programs lead a parade of design lovers to hidden corners of LA, where they can glimpse under-appreciated details. You'll also want to check out Los Angeles Conservancy tours.
6032 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, 323.932.9393