The Nerd Mecca
Author: Krista Quinby | Photographer: Jake Campbell
The regions north of Seattle are a mecca for those looking to let their nerd flags fly. Sure, San Diego ComicCon is a blast, but why not stretch your legs a bit and explore some of the nerd-tastic offerings just north of obvious? Whether you’re looking to extend that ComicCon trip into a proper urban exploration or you’re in town for business and looking to find your tribe, there’s more to discover.
First, for the collectors. You basically have to go to Funko. How could you not? The Funko Headquarters is in Everett, just under 30 miles north of Seattle. Funko HQ (2802 Wetmore Ave) opened in 2017 and has quickly become an international nerd tourism draw with lines around the block for limited and special release Pop! figures. If you’re lucky enough to catch a Funko event, you won’t leave empty-handed.
At their summer block party, Funko artists create original character illustrations on demand for crowds of fans. The shop itself is part museum, part theme park, and all pop culture heaven.
Whether you need to fill out your Sailor Moon collection, advertise your abiding love of Harry Potter, or even design and make a Pop! of your very own, Funko HQ should be the top of your trip list. You might want to pack an extra suitcase.
Speaking of shopping, there’s more to love while you’re exploring the Everett area. Everett Comics (2831 Wetmore Ave) is a quieter nerd haven a short walk from Funko, with a great selection of comics and toys. Just a few miles south of downtown Everett, BobaKhan Toys and Collectibles (500 SE Everett Mall Way) is stocked floor to ceiling with treasures.
If you’re on the hunt for some rare vintage find, make this spot a priority. It’s run by some seriously committed cross-fandom nerds, hence the name BobaKhan (Boba Fett from Star Wars and Khan from Star Trek, get it?), and stocks both the new, used, useful and the truly bizarre.
If LEGO is your bag, or you’re traveling with kids, I highly recommend stopping in at Bricks & Minifigs (607 SE Everett Mall Way). This is a buy, sell, trade LEGO shop so your dollar is going to go farther. Plus, the kids will thank you.
And since we’re talking about food now, I have to mention AFK Tavern (1510 41st Street), a drinking establishment built by and for gamers. Borrow a game and settle in for as long as you like— drinking, snacking and gaming to your heart’s content.
While it’s not strictly 21+, those under 18 will need to bring an adult. Geeks from all over make this place their home away from home, and not just because the tater tots are top shelf.
A Nerdy Listicle
You'll want to factor in a couple of these into your trip:
Arena Sports Mill Creek - is fully equipt with lazer tag, bubble soccer, ski ball and the largest Space Invaders I've ever seen.
Next Level Video Games - All ages classic gamer store with fun VR games in the back in downtown Everett.
Another Castle Video Games - A Snohomish Co. nerd institution with 3 locations in Lynnwood, Marysville and a mega castle location in Edmonds with a second building with just arcade games that also serves beer
VoyagerVR Smokey Point - Great group VR packages. Shoot zombies, take a helicopter ride over New York, repair a space station, or just sit on a beach.
Let's Play Cafe - Owned and operated by children of the 80s who want to spread the joy of their youth onto the world. Full arcade on one side and a board gamers dream on the other.
What are you waiting for? Get up here!