Tap into your inner nerd at bars, arcades & more in Houston

Four people in an immersive gaming session
Immersive Gamebox offers an immersive group video gaming sesh in Downtown | Courtesy of Immersive Gamebox

Discover a world of comics, board games, arcades and more with our 20 picks for the best nerdy things to do in Houston.

In a city as sprawling and diverse as Houston, you don’t need to go far to find those perfect places where you can take pride in being your nerd self.

Luckily, H-Town has no shortage of geeky things to get into, from arcade bars and comics to board games, toy collections and beyond.

We’ve gathered only a handful of the best nerdy things in Houston where you can go to have fun and meet new people.

The Best Nerdy Things to Do in Houston

Go for the high score with house-made ciders and seltzers at Cidercade in East Downtown | Courtesy of Cidercade

Take over the sticks at bars & arcades in Houston

If you’re looking to pair up a cocktail with a classic gaming sesh, then these picks around Downtown make for a great way to play out the night.

In EaDo, you can grab a beer or cocktail at Neil’s Bahr on Walker Street, then jump into games of Mario Kart, NBA Jam, and dozens of other games on classic video game consoles. Or, crack open a comic book from the vast selection on the wall, and look out for weekly events like karaoke night, movie Mondays, and more.

Only a handful of blocks away, you’ll find Cidercade near Navigation & Canal Street, offering more than 275 new and classic arcade games; a drink menu featuring 48 taps of hard ciders, kombuchas, seltzers and smoothies; and a family-friendly atmosphere until 8pm.

Just a block from Minute Maid Park, longtime arcade vendor Joystix opens their doors on the first and last Friday of the month, letting patrons hit up games throughout with unlimited play for $15, and drinks available from neighboring bar, Eighteen Twenty Lounge.

Midtown’s FAO on Smith Street is an open-daily bar that also operates as a throwback to ’90s arcades with ping pong, card games, arcade cabinets and more, alongside prime photo spots, live DJs, balcony views of Downtown, and a ton of cocktail-fueled fun.

Finally, if you’re willing to forgo the games entirely, then Zenaku on Main Street in Downtown offers an anime-themed nightlife experience with DJ tunes, specialized drinks, massive murals for photos, and an open-minded vibe.

Three people play a tabletop card game with a matcha drink
Coral Sword hosts weekly game nights, or you can always bring your own | Courtesy of Coral Sword

Roll with others for board game nights

Whether you’re a seasoned dungeon master or a newbie to the scene, you can find a crew at the weekly Tuesday night Dungeons & Dragons event at the classic Montrose drinkery, Rudyard’s Pub.

Eastwood’s Coral Sword on Telephone Road is a vibrant, decked out hideaway for all manner of board games and tabletop adventures which you can choose from to play or buy. Plus, they frequently host video game tournaments and social game nights, as well as offer up a delicious cup of coffee for your all-day gaming needs.

And right in the heart of Montrose Boulevard, Asgard Games is a longtime destination for groups looking for space to play board games, Magic the Gathering and Pokemon, roleplaying adventures, and more while you sip cider, beer, and other beverages in an airy atmosphere.

Shop all manner of comics and pop culture at Houston’s oldest comic shop, Third Planet | Courtesy of Third Planet

Stock up on new & classic comic books

Bedrock City Comics might be the king of the comic book with multiple locations in and around Houston, but there are other, smaller shops that offer hard-to-find back issues, toys, collectibles, tabletop games and more.

Near Greenway Plaza, Third Planet Sci-Fi Superstore is the oldest in town, having served the local community for nearly 50 years, offering humble digs where you can browse comics and collectible culture from across the vast spectrum of superheroes, sci-fi and more. Plus, you can dig into manga, LEGO sets, trading cards, model kits, and so many other things at this packed-to-the-ceiling shop.

Just across the Southwest Freeway, a couple exits down the road, you’ll also find Nan’s Games & Comics, which for more than 30 years is known as a haven for comic books, vintage toys and collector’s items, as well as a robust tabletop gaming selection.

And a relative newcomer to the scene, Third Ward’s Gulf Coast Cosmos on Stuart Street offers majors and indie comics, graphic novels, fan art and more that celebrates underrepresented groups and individuals within the comic community. More than that, you can also take part in monthly social events, like the mid-month Geek Meetup, as well as another social meetup for women and fem-bodied individuals only.

Shop new and vintage toys and collectibles from three locations of Misfit Toys | Courtesy of Misfit Toys

Snag sought-after collectibles & vintage toys

If you’re on the hunt for one of your favorite toys from yesteryear, or looking to cash in on that old collection you found in the attic, Misfit Toys offers two locations in the Heights and Memorial areas that serve up classic action figures, rare collectibles, prized Pops, and more.

And on 11th Street in the Heights, Super Happy Incredible Toys offers a heaping dose of nostalgia with their vintage toy collection, pop culture memorabilia, and gadgets, or you can hang out at one of the shop’s monthly social events.

If that’s not enough, you can uncover more kitschy gifts and nerd-worthy must-haves at Cactus Music near Upper Kirby for a whimsical collection of action figures, stickers and pins, books and more, as well as one of the city’s widest selection of physical media in tapes, CDs, vinyl—and yes, the occasional 8-track.

And if all you’re after is reliving that vintage nostalgia, then the Houston Toy Museum on 19th Street in the Heights showcases a wide variety of toys and pop culture that span several decades and features some of the most iconic toys of their respective eras. In addition to special themed exhibitions, you can also join in on meet-and-greets and other monthly events like the Saturday Morning Cartoon Cereal Party, where you can tune into classic episodes of ’80s cartoons while enjoying a milk and cereal buffet.

Get in the game like never before at Zero Latency in Memorial | Courtesy of Zero Latency

Jump into immersive experiences in Houston

When boozing and browsing are not enough, there’s more nerdy things to get into across Houston, including immersive experiences that provide an opportunity to jump right into the action.

Just blocks from Discovery Green at The Shops in Downtown, Immersive Gamebox is an open-daily gaming experience great for groups, families and date nights. Together with friends, you can take on Squid Game challenges, join the Ghostbusters squad, pass through a psychedelic mansion, and more. Games are available for all age groups, starting at ages 3 and up.

Take a step into the surreal at Zero Latency in Memorial, where you put on a virtual reality headset and experience an engrossing video gaming session at Houston’s first free-roam, warehouse-scale, fully immersive virtual reality venue. Battle a zombie outbreak, killer robots in space, or explore a mind-bending mystical world with up to eight players per session. Gaming is open to ages 13 and older, and requires a reservation to play.

Live out your Call of Duty dreams at H-Town Paintball near Hobby Airport, which boasts replica maps Nuketown and Shipment from the blockbuster video game franchise, plus a slate of more styles of paintball play and an on-site beer and beverage menu for night sessions.

And finally, the Strange Bird Immersive Escape Room near Memorial Park is an award-winning twist on the escape room genre that blends theater performance with realism for an engrossing storytelling experience.

Find More Things to Do in Houston All Year Long

You can find more fun in our interactive event calendar and 365 Weekend Guides.

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A longtime Houstonian, Justin Jerkins always keeps an eye out for what's ahead on Houston's horizon while serving as Editor-in-Chief of 365 Things to Do in Houston. When he's not passing along the latest events, destinations and hidden treasures in H-Town, he loves diving into the city's food scene, shopping local and learning about Houston's rich history.