It’s hard to define exactly what “geek culture” really is — because it’s endlessly evolving and growing. Maybe you revel in the intricacies of Dr. Who’s timeline or learned to speak fluent Klingon in your spare time, or maybe you have a beautifully curated collection of first-edition graphic novels that you love to talk about over a game of chess. Whatever you love, you can easily head over to Reddit or Tumblr and find a die-hard online fandom that will be happy to adore what you adore and obsess right along with you.
But what if you’re looking for some “in real life” kinds of places to go? Well, you’re in luck! It’s cooler than ever to “geek-out” and fandoms have created events and hangouts of their very own all over Indy. Here are some of the highlights.
Indiana ComicCon 2020
A two-day extravaganza starting on April 10, 2020, at the Indianapolis Convention Center, Indiana’s ComicCon is in its tenth year. ComicCon started as the love-project of two self-described nerds and has blossomed into a spectacular event that hosts around 50,000 people.
The attractions at ComicCon are varied and many, including anime, comics, manga, and games of all kinds — but the biggest attraction may be the chance to show off your cosplay skills (or come look at what others have done). There are always plenty of celebrity guests, as well. Among others coming this year, Harry Potter fans will be delighted to meet Tom Felton and Star Wars fans can get an autograph from Billy Dee Williams.
PopCon Indy 2020
Locally owned and operated, PopCon Indy is the perfect combo of fandom and pop culture, with comics, games, budding artists to explore and plenty of cosplay. Rather than dedicating itself to just one aspect of pop culture, PopCon strives to celebrate them all — including those that haven’t yet broken into the mainstream.
This is the place to go if you love science fiction, want to rub elbows with some fascinating gamers or just want to explore some of the new, independent artists and publishers whose ideas are just starting to catch fire. Frankly, there’s almost no aspect of pop culture that isn’t honored here with a great deal of enthusiasm. Later in the year, PopCon will also host what is billed as a “full-lineup pop cultural festival” that is designed to touch every cinephile’s heart.
Auto Racing at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum
Did you think geeking out is just for comic book and anime fans? Think again! Racing junkies know exactly how exciting motorsports really are and how cool it is to be surrounded by like-minded fans. Indy is the heart of racing country, and the Motor Speedway Museum makes it possible for racing fans to live their dreams all year long.
If you’re anywhere near the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and you adore racing, you won’t want to miss your opportunity to do a Track Lap tour or stand on the “Yard of Bricks.” Then, check out all of the vintage vehicles and racing memorabilia.
If that’s not quite enough to fulfill all of your hopes, check out the Indy Racing Experience. There, you can find out what it’s like to have g-forces hold you down at 180 mph or even drive a ready IndyCar racer.
Game Time Indy
Whether you’re knee-deep in love with games or just want to get your toes wet by dipping into the scene, Game Time Indy is the place for gamers to go, whether they play chess or Pokemon.
One of the favorite hotspots for area gamers, Game Time Indy offers all sorts of ongoing and periodic events that are designed to appeal to everyone from the beginner to the experienced pro. If your game takes dice, cards or anything else to play, Game Time Indy has you covered. It’s also a great place to buy, sell or trade all those Pokemon or “Magic: The Gathering” cards you’ve been holding.
Books & Brews
It’s always fun to find ways to combine your passions, and Books & Brews goes out of its way to combine good food, fine beer and lots of fun — with books, of course. Billed as the “place for people without a place,” the owners of Books & Brews encourage visitors to put down their technology and reconnect through their shared love of books, games and music.
Since books are usually the “gateway” to geekdom, head over to one of their locations in South Indy or near Broad Ripple for Taco Tuesday and get involved in a game of RISK or take in a free concert. There’s plenty to do, whether you come alone or in a group, and it’s an easy place to go if you’d like to be transported back to your geekdom roots.
Gen Con 2020
Billed as “The Home of Tabletop Gaming,” Gen Con is coming back to Indianapolis for the second time. This July 30 to Aug. 2, you can experience the most intensive four days of tabletop and hobby gaming of your life. In 2019, roughly 70,000 gamers attended Gen Con in person, while thousands more tuned in on Twitch or YouTube to share the experience.
Gen Con has been in existence since 1968, so grab your lucky set of dice or your favorite nerdy friend and head on over. If you can’t make the big event, be on the lookout for pop-up events all over. Make a pop-up event and you may even have access to some exclusive demo games before they ever hit the shelves!
As always, there’s plenty to do in Indianapolis, whether you’re a visitor, a newcomer looking to relocate or a long-time resident.