Philly’s ’15 Nerdiest Places’ shows width and breadth of nerd culture

Philly’s a lot of things. And now “nerdy” is one of them. The “nerd news and humor” website Topless Robot has listed the “15 Nerdiest Places in Philadelphia.”

A collectibles store in Northeast Philadelphia called the Garden of Earthly Delights makes the list. So does Pizza Brain — the world’s first pizza museum and restaurant. And Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens, that maze-like world of mosaics on South Street.   

Georgia Guthrie, the director of the Hacktory isn’t surprised the educational technology and art space came in at number six. “We are very proud to be nerdy. We like to take things apart and learn how they work from the inside out and then use them for our own creative purposes.”

Gina Lavery, with Nerd Nite Philadelphia, said it’s good to have a list that isn’t all stereotypes. “At Nerd Nite I think that we generally define it as — a ‘nerd’ is someone who’s very passionate about something specific,” she said. “So it doesn’t have to be comic books, although I think there are lots of nerds that like comic books.”

Lavery said a nerd is “just someone who’s really into a topic and is really interested in learning and expanding their horizons.”

Lavery said there’s a bunch she’d add to the list. For example: “Barry’s HomeBrew Outlet,” she said. “it’s a store in Olde Kensington. And a rotunda and a sphinx at Penn. And in the Free Library there’s a rare books collection on the top floor, and it has an insane Charles Dickens collection and Edgar Allen Poe. There’s actually a raven, like a taxidermied raven.”

Other nerdy spots on the list: the Franklin Institute’s larger-than-life replica of a human heart and PhilaMOCA — that is, the Philadelphia Mausoleum of Contemporary Art — and of course a Comics Festival.

For those who are nerds or are thinking about plunging in, the Hacktory’s Georgia Guthrie said there are a lot of really nerdy events coming up.

“We are making robotic fireflies that people can come to the park and play with. And there will be a couple workshops where you can make your own,” she said. “And we’re going to have a bike parade to the park where you get to dress up with some electro-luminescent wire — or EL wire — which is really cool and a lot of people aren’t that familiar with.”

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