Summertime’s here! Even though we’re free to plan our vacation throughout the year, summer has this certain vibe that makes us want to drop everything and hit the road immediately. The sunny weather right outside the office window is not making it easier!
That’s why we decided it’s time to prepare a list of top holiday destinations for nerds. Sunbathing, hiking, sightseeing — that's all fine, but geeky minds need something more! We’ve chosen 7 places that all technology aficionados and science lovers will enjoy.
The Silicon Valley, California, USA
Google, Apple, Intel, Tesla... These names ring a bell, don’t they? One of the opportunities to get close to the technology giants is visiting Silicon Valley — the one and only mecca for all nerds.
Not surprisingly, most of the area is well-guarded and you can’t just walk in and shake hands with Tim Cook or Sundar Pichai. But there are some facilities open to visit and you should definitely take advantage of this possibility. For example, there's a museum run by Intel itself — ready to welcome all who want to learn more about innovation. If you’re into history, you can see the HP Garage — literally a garage — where the story of Hewlett and Packard started in 1938. And of course, there’s the Apple Park Visitor Center. Imagine all the Apple swag you can get!
The real highlight of the area though is the Computer History Museum. The collection of this institution is truly incredible! That’s the right place to visit if you want to see one of Charles Babbage’s Difference Engines, early Cray supercomputers and much more.
The Kennedy Space Center, Florida, USA
Have you ever dreamed about seeing a rocket launch? Do you spend your free time looking at the stars, wondering if anyone’s out there? Then Florida is your best bet for a satisfying vacation! The Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral is one of the most impressive places to visit if you’re a space geek.
You’ll be able to see the stunning Atlantis space shuttle and the Saturn V rocket, look closely at the computers that launched the Apollo Missions, and even visit the control room for the launch of Apollo 8 in the Lunar Theater. From learning about the history of space exploration, through taking an astronaut training, to viewing a real rocket launch — you’ll need more than one day to grasp it all!
If you ever get bored (no way!) and feel like coming back to Earth for a moment, you can always enjoy the lovely Florida beaches. Sipping a drink under a palm tree, dreaming about the amazing Universe we’re part of... who would ask for more?
CERN, Geneva, Franco-Swiss border
If you’re into physics, head for Geneva! You’ll not only see the largest particle physics laboratory there is, but also the highlight of the European Organization for Nuclear Research — the Large Hadron Collider. The experiments run in this huge underground tunnel are the closest we can get to discovering the answer to the ultimate question of life, the Universe and everything (spoiler alert: it’s 42).
The scientists at CERN also work on other topics, such as global computer memory storage systems. If you want to see the complex, you need to book the tour at least a few weeks in advance — but it’s definitely worth it! It’s also a great occasion to see the beautiful landscapes around Geneva and try some local delicacies (Chocolate! Cheese!).
Bletchley Park, UK
A journey to Bletchley Park is almost like a journey to the origins of computing — and thus a must for every software developer! Situated on the outskirts of Milton Keynes, the old mansion is a legendary place where Alan Turing, together with his team, constructed the machine that broke the Enigma code. The machine has been widely considered as an example of an early computer and one of the inventions that sparked further development of modern computing. Right now, the residence is a museum full of amazing stories about World War Two Codebreakers. What can be more exciting than exploring the details of a top-secret operation?
Bletchley Park is also home to the National Museum of Computing, an independent institution where you can see the reconstructions of the Turing-Welchman Bombe that broke Enigma and Tommy Flowers’ Colossus that broke the Lorenz cipher. The Museum also showcases the world’s biggest collection of computers — from the first machines of the 1940s, up to the 1980s and beyond.
The Science Museum, London, UK
London is less than an hour by train from Bletchley Park, so if you’ve already seen the mansion of codebreakers, why not head to the capital? Apart from the countless amazing places it offers, nerds should definitely visit the Science Museum. It’s one of the most fascinating and well-curated museums in the world, where you can explore such topics as computing, robotics, communication, mathematics, chemistry, medicine and more. In addition to fantastic exhibitions, the museum holds special events, late nights and occasional presentations. There’s no option you can get bored there!
American Classic Arcade Museum, New Hampshire, USA
This one is for the gamers! Ever wanted to turn back time and experience the thrill of playing a classic arcade game? It’s all possible in Laconia, where the American Classic Arcade Museum is situated. There are over 300 perfectly working games from the 70s and 80s, all ready to take you down the memory lane and let you enjoy the retro gaming at its finest. If you fancy a bit of solid knowledge, you can also explore video game history there.
What’s worth mentioning is that the admission is completely free and the Museum is a non-profit institution — it was built by passionate volunteers who constantly give their whole hearts to the project. As a registered museum, it can be supported by voluntary contributions which are used to maintain the collection, expand it, preserve the documents and the source code, as well as provide education on arcade games and their creators.
Akihabara Electric Town, Japan
We couldn’t leave Japan out of our list! The whole country thrives on technology and there’s a lot to see there if you’re a tech geek. One of the most iconic places to visit is the Akihabara Electric Town — Tokyo’s flashy electronics district. It’s the heart of Japanese technology and gaming culture — and also a fun place if you’re into anime and manga.
A truly one-of-a-kind area, Akihabara is filled with hundreds of stores with all the latest high-tech equipment — lots of it you can’t get anywhere else in the world! You can literally feel how quickly technology advances there. But if you get nostalgic, you can always drop by one of the numerous retro game stores. Getting lost in the labyrinths of Akihabara sounds like a beginning of a great adventure!